Kinsearching February 5, 2006




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     When tracing their immigrant ancestors to the New World, many genealogists assume their forebears came directly to what is now the United States. That, however, was not always the case. Often overlooked is the fact that many individuals lived first in such places as the British West Indies before settling later on mainland America. Throughout most of the 17th and 18th centuries especially, there was a continuous flow of people from the West Indies and other islands like Bermuda to the Atlantic seaboard. To help family researchers explore this possibility in the easternmost Caribbean island, Geraldine Lane has compiled TRACING ANCESTORS IN BARBADOS, A PRACTICAL GUIDE.

     Instead of highlighting Barbadian records held in England, Lane's unique guide focuses on genealogical materials maintained in Barbados, a former British colony. Despite the effects of hurricanes and fires over the years, a good number of records have survived although they are not always easy to locate or understand. The book discusses resources and research problems pertaining to all levels of Barbadian society. Naturally, the wealthy planter families generated much data that appear frequently in local records. Although the British government dispatched many convicts and political rebels from Scotland and Ireland to the island, particularly in the 1600s and the mid 1700s, details about them are often deficient or are incomplete. Since some indentured servants stayed only a short time before moving elsewhere, they may have passed through without being mentioned in records. Information about slaves is rare before they received emancipation in 1838.

     Lane begins her work with short chapters on how to do family research, a chronology of important dates in Barbadian history, major archives, and internet sites and significant published works. The rest of the chapters deal with specific subjects and resources including vital statistics, religious records (Catholic, Jewish, and non-conformist), censuses, wills, deeds, cemeteries and gravestones, plantations, maps, island administration, military, immigration and emigration, slavery, and DNA. At the end of several chapters, Lane provides a list of books and articles for further reading. Written for all levels of research experience, Lane's TRACING ANCESTORS IN BARBADOS, A PRACTICAL GUIDE serves as a comprehensive manual for novices and as a means of discovering new resources for advanced genealogists.

     Bound with attractive covers, the 155-page paperback has a preface, an introduction, a glossary of terms such as "redlegs" (meaning "poor whites"), several maps, illustrations, tables, six appendices (composed of work sheets and miscellaneous lists like names of all the island's governors from the island's settlement in 1627 to its declaration of independence from Britain in 1966), an extensive bibliography, and an index. As item number 3282, the manual may be purchased for $22.95 postpaid or $24.95 UPS by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about M. J. McGEE. He is listed in Blackjack Grove on the 1860 Hopkins Co., TX, census where he appears with his family:

M. J. McGEE, white, male, age 34, physion (sic), born in NC
E. F. McGEE, white, female, 32, b. in TN
Texana McGEE, white, female, 11, b. in TX
Thomas McGEE, white, male, 8, b. in TX
Lycrugus (sic) McGEE, white, male, 6, b. in TX
Enus McGEE, white, female?, 3, b. in TX
Louis McGEE, white, male, 2/12, b. in TX.