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|Records of the Colonial Office|
The records generated by governments are obviously important for genealogists and contrary to popular understanding the records of West Indian colonial governments and administrations were not sent to the Colonial Office and have not been transferred to The National Archives. Where these survive they are to be found in the relevant archive or government department.
However, because the Colonial Office (and its predecessors and successors) were responsible for managing colonial affairs the records of the Colonial Office now in the National Archives contain the most valuable sources for Caribbean genealogists in the UK. Remember that these records are the records collected or created by the Colonial Office and not those of the colonial governments.
The records of the Colonial Office have information on all manner of colonial life - touching upon economic, military, social and political aspects. There are numerous references to individuals: for example applications for colonial appointments, establishment lists, applications for naturalization, reports on slave rebellions, petitions, inhabitants lists, returns of paupers, foreign refugees, payments for relief following rebellion, invasion, hurricanes and crop failures, local militia and grants of freedom (manumission).
In general terms the records of the Colonial Office are arranged by country or territory (eg Windward Islands, Leeward Islands and West Indies); dependencies are to be found under the administrative country (eg Cayman Islands is under Jamaica and the Virgin Islands are under St Christopher).
The records are then arranged according to the type of document for example original correspondence (inwards letters), acts, sessional papers, out-letters and government gazettes. Read more about records of the Colonial Office.
Thirdly, the records are usually arranged by the date of the file.
Creators: Guy Grannum
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