July 14, 2016

Researching Your African Ancestry in the Caribbean

One of the greatest ways of researching African ancestry in the Caribbean is by actually reading many history books and from different resources and countries.  If you don't have the time to go through so many books in the beginning then there is a shortcut.  I found that UNESCO Publishing is the best shortcut to take.  The book is called General History of the Caribbean, Volume III, The Slave Societies of the Caribbean. The books is well written and the publisher is known to write history books as unbiased history.  This book is in a set of 6 books but this one is the one you'll need out of the set. The book provides many references for sources used so that you can research at your leisure.

The book discusses social structures within the slave societies in the Caribbean; yes there were social societies among them.  The book is insightful with providing you with slave caste as well as freeman caste. The book discusses the difference in slavery from one Caribbean island to another.I found the book maintaining my attention and not boring at all.  However I'm bias in saying that because I love reading up on history, especially when I'm attempting to apply what I've learned to my own ancestry.  By taking this approach, it has helped me in direction of where to look for my ancestors.

This book has actually assisted me in understanding how is it that I have cousins throughout the Caribbean, South America and even within the USA once I received my DNA results.  I have many African American cousins who have no connection to the Caribbean as far as they know but yet we share significant amount of DNA.  This book actually opened my eyes as to how that is even possible.

What I found interesting was that there are images from a document in 1683, a subversive rebel message from Barbados.  A painting of Toussaint Louverture from around 1802, a painting of punishing slaves in Cuba, the Kalinda dance (stick dance) in Dominica, the sad imagery of slaves being hung alive, and then the image of a private in the 5th West Indian Regiment in 1814; yes he is of African descent. There are many more images of paintings in the book.

Before you go running to Amazon or any website that sells books, I say stop.  They are way too overpriced on these websites with some of them going for over $300.  You do not need to spend that kind of money.  Instead I recommend that you purchase it from the publisher; this is where I got the book and it sells for 25 pounds which is close to about $34 US dollars.  Note that the exchange rate fluctuates so the price is based on the exchange rate at the time of purchase, however the price should not fluctuate drastically.  I highly recommend the book to anyone researching their African ancestry.  Simply click here to be taken to the page where you can order a copy for a very reasonable price.