Endangered archives rescued thanks to joint project

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20 September 2021
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Turks & Caicos islands, 1763
FindMyPast has announced the release of more than 25,000 valuable Caribbean records that have been preserved thanks to a special British Library project.

Turks & Caicos Life Events is a collection exclusive to FindMyPast, with thousands of family records from The Turks & Caicos islands in the Caribbean, spanning 1792 to 1947.

Now indexed and available to search online for the first time, each of the three collections forms a valuable resource for anyone exploring the history of the islands and their people. As well as essential names, dates and locations, each transcript also links through to the original source image on the Endangered Archives Project website.

The collection features:

The new indexes have been created in partnership with the British Library’s Endangered Archives Project which imaged the archipelago’s surviving registers held at the Turks & Caicos National Museum. Many of these precious documents, were in poor condition and at risk of being lost having been damaged by damp and flooding. 

The records also shed light on the history and legacy of slavery on the islands. Many records, such as the 1826 baptism of two-year-old Kate Wynns, include stark notes such as “slave belonging to Mr Thos Wynns”.

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Turks & Caicos islands background

A British Overseas Territory in the West Indies, the first British settlers on the Turks & Caicos were thought to have been Bermudian salt collectors who arrived in the second half of the 17th century.

Following the American War of Independence, many loyalists fled to the Caribbean and from the 1780s, brought large numbers of African Slaves to Turks & Caicos to work as forced labour in newly established cotton plantations as well as the islands salt industry. The surnames of some of those Loyalists, such as James Misick, John McIntosh and Wade Stubbs, are now frequent among descendants of their slaves.

(report courtesy of FindMyPast)