Those with African ancestors from the Caribbean, Sri Lanka or other former British colonies, take note: Slave registers of former British colonial dependencies, covering 1812 to 1834, are now part of subscription database sites Ancestry.co.uk
(which also has a pay-per-view option) and Ancestry.com
The registers name 2.7 million slaves and 280,000 slave owners in 17 former dependencies: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Berbice (part of what's now Guyana), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Dominica, Grenada, British Honduras (now Belize), Jamaica, St. Christopher, Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Vincent and Mauritius (an island off the coast of Africa).
Other information includes parish, age of slave, and sometimes, birthplace. Often, a slave used the surname of his owner, and ages were generally guessed.
Hundreds of thousands of African slaves worked on sugar, tea and tobacco plantations in British colonies. Britain made the slave trade illegal in 1807 and outlawed owning slaves in 1834.
Starting in 1812, slave owners had to complete slave registers every three years so the government could stem illegal trading.
Not all of the paper registers are part of the Ancestry.com or Ancestry.uk collection, including some from Jamaica, St. Christopher, Grenada, Dominica, Nevis, St Lucia, Demerara, Berbice, Montserrat, Bermuda, St. Vincent, Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope. The originals are at the British national archives
You can find more on researching British Colonial-era slaves
at the national archives Web site. FamilyTreeMagazine.com offers tips and resources for finding Caribbean ancestors