Finding Black Ancestry

Although slavery in the British Caribbean officially ended on 1 August 1834, most former slaves were apprenticed to their former masters for a period of four years. Only children under the age of six, and slaves in Antigua and the Bahamas (who had passed local laws abolishing apprenticeship) were freed immediately. Therefore, for most people, slavery did not officially end until 1 August 1838.


To research African-Caribbean people who were freed before and after emancipation, the usual sources such as church registers, employment records, poor law records and wills, etc. can be used - most of which will be held in Caribbean archives and libraries, although copies are sometimes available in the UK. General guidance on building family trees is available at Family History.


Using these sources it is often possible for people to trace their families back to the 1840s. Going back earlier into the period of slavery is more challenging because African-Caribbeans were viewed as property, so the name of at least one owner is very useful to narrow down the options for your particular ancestor.

Paul Crooks on BBC London Television speaking about Black British ancestry

Ancestry Talks in association with Haringey Libraries


We're kicking-off at Wood Green Library on


Thursday, 10th August 2017 at 7.30pm

For EventBrite Booking: Book here
Facebook: @paulcrooksancestry

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Marking 40th Anniversary of Roots
Thursday, August 10 at 7:30pm - 9,00pm

Wood Green Central Library
187-197A High Road,
Wood Green,, N22

Tracing Your Roots: Secrets of the 1817 Slave Registers

Saturday, September 23 at 2:30 pm - 4:30pm

Paddington Arts Centre
32 Woodfield Road
London, W9 2BE


African Caribbean Ancestry:

Who Do You Think You Are?
Lunchtime Talk in City of London
Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 12noon - 2.00pm

Artizan Street Library & Community Centre

1 Artizan St 
London, E1 7AF

Marking the 40th Anniversary of Roots
Thursday, 5th October at 7:30pm - 9.00pm

Marcus Garvey Library
Tottenham Green Centre,
1 Philip Lane,
London, N15

Tracing Black Ancestry: Secrets of the 1817 Slave Registers Uncovered
Saturday 7th October 2017, 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Croydon Central Library
Katharine Street
CR9 1ET7

Marking the 40th Anniversary of Roots
Sunday, October 15 at 5:30pm - 8,00pm

St.Anns' Library
Cissbury Road,
N15 5PU

Wilberforce? Or Will-By-Force?

Slaves Who Abolished Slavery 
Lunchtime Talk in City of London
Wednesday 18th October 2017, 12.30 - 1.30pm

Shoe Lane Library
Little Hill House,
Little New Street, EC4A 3JR


Marking the 40th Anniversary of Roots
Friday 13 October 2017, 7.00 - 8.30pm

The Library at Deptford Lounge
9 Giffin Street


Contact  - Paul Crooks