St. Vincent and the Grenadines genealogy research can be difficult but it’s not impossible. Genealogy research in the Caribbean in general is a challenge, so descendants of Vincentians are not alone in their frustration.
Because so few records have been digitized and made available off the island, researchers must learn to do their digging in a more determined manner. St. Vincent and the Grenadines genealogy research requires making use of a wide variety of resources available across the internet from subscription genealogy databases and subscription newspaper databases in the UK and US to Google Books.
In most cases where there are digital images available from St. Vincent (such as 1809 deed records here), the only index is buried somewhere within hundreds of images, leaving researchers to go through dozens (if not more) of pages looking for a list of names. See some will records from 1806-1811 here. These records are part of the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP).
In most genealogy research it is usually wise to go to the source of the records. However, in the case of SVG specifically, and the Caribbean in general, going to an island in person is no guarantee of being able to see or handle any records.
Fortunately there is much to be found if you’re willing to do some digging in a non-traditional way. Newspaper records and old books are great places to start. There are also a few very active online communities that include some experts who can help steer you in the right direction. Like us, they each have extensive experience with St. Vincent research and have dealt with the obstacles that come with doing family tree research on the island and/or the Caribbean.
Photo: A portion of a page from an 1809 St. Vincent deed book digitized as part of the EAP.
Article author: Suzanne Burnette, BritishStVincent.com Archivist & Developer