Barbados Emigration and Immigration

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Barbados  Gotoarrow.png  Emigration and Immigration

As a leg in the triangular trade, many ships traveling between the British Isles, Africa, and America stopped in Barbados during the colonial period.
Wikipedia has more about this subject: Triangular_trade


English Immigrants


The multi-volume Calendar of Colonial State Papers Colonial, America, and West Indies (1574-1739), which is available for free online (see discussion in Barbados Public Records), highlights many connections between England and Barbados.

A standard work on early Barbados immigrants, which is now also widely available on the Internet, is:

  • Hotten, John Camden. The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men Sold for a Term of Years; Apprentices; Children Stolen; Maidens Pressed; and Others Who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700, with Their Ages, the Localities Where They Formerly Lived in the Mother Country, the Names of the Ships in which They Embarked, and Other Interesting Particulars; from MSS. Preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty's Public Record Office, England. London: the author, 1874. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books and Internet Archive; 1983 reprint: FHL Collection 973 W2hot 1983

Brandow published an addendum to Hotten's work:

  • Brandow, James C. Omitted Chapters from Hotten's Original Lists of Persons of Quality ... and Others Who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Cooper published a study of Cornish emigrants to Barbados 1634-1659:

  • Cooper, Cliff. "Barbados Connection," Journal of the Cornwall Family History Society, Vol. 79 (Mar. 1996). FHL Collection 942.37 B2cf

A collection labeled "Apprenticeship Indentures" for Lyme Regis Borough, held at the Dorset Record Office (Dorchester, England), identifies several English indentured servants shipped to Barbados and other American colonies in the 1680s (Reference DC/LR/M/9). Murphy published an abstract: 

  • Murphy, Nathan W. "‘To be sent to America,’ Indentured Servants Registered at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, 1683-1689,” Genealogists’ Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 3 (September 2007): 101-102. FHL Collection 942 B2gm v. 29, no. 3 (Sept. 2007); these immigrants are included in the free online Immigrant Servants Database.


African Immigrants

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Internet site contains references to 35,000 slave voyages, including over 67,000 Africans aboard slave ships, using name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation. The database is about the slave trade between Africa, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Irish Immigrants

In their genealogical article on Irish settlers of Barbados, Radford and White conclude that Barbados probate records offer the most likely prospects of connecting a Barbadian back to the Emerald Isle.[1]

Sheppard wrote a history of the Irish in Barbados. Many of the Irish were indentured servants brought to labor in sugar plantations. Because their pale skin burned red in the tropic climate, they were dubbed "redlegs" by the English.

  • Sheppard, Jill. The "Redlegs" of Barbados, Their Origins and History. Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1977. FHL Collection 972.981 H6s

Scottish Immigrants

David Dobson has dedicated many years to establishing links between Scotland and their dispersed Scottish cousins who made their homes throughout the world:

  • Dobson, David. Barbados and Scotland Links, 1627-1877. Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield, 2005. FHL Collection 972.981 W2d


American Emigrants

The constant arrival of shiploads of African, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh immigrants during the colonial period quickly led to overcrowding on this tiny island. Many people left to seek brighter futures on the North American mainland in colonies such as South Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Genealogists often encounter references to Barbados in colonial American sources. Published Barbados genealogies identify many such emigrants. Several histories chronicle these Atlantic World links:

  • Alleyne, Warren and Henry Fraser. The Barbados-Carolina Connection. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1988. FHL Collection 972.981 H2a
  • Kent, David L. Barbados and America. Arlington, Va.: C.M. Kent, 1980. FHL Collection 972.981 X2b

There are very few records of people leaving Barbados during the colonial period. One exception is an original "list of tickets granted to people leaving the island in 1679" is kept at the Barbados Department of Archives. The collection has been microfilmed: FHL Collection 1162149 Item 1

In the seventeenth century, residents of Bergen County, New Jersey named a town "New Barbados."

Marler attempted to identify Barbados "Redbone" surnames present in Louisiana:

  • Marler, Don C. Redbones of Louisiana: For 200 Years Redbones Have Been Louisiana's Mystery People. Hemphill, Texas: Dogwood Press, 2003. FHL Collection 976.3 F2md

Caribbean Emigrants

"Whence the 'Black Irish' of Jamaica? ... From Ireland--through Barbados--to Jamaica." (Introduction)

  • Williams, Joseph J. Whence the "Black Irish" of Jamaica? New York, N.Y.: Dial Press, 1932. FHL Collection 972.92 W2w


  1. Dwight A. Radford and Arden C. White, "The Irish in Barbados," The Irish at Home and Abroad: A Newsletter of Irish Genealogy and Heritage, Vol. 2, No. 3 (1994/1995):92-97. FHL Collection 941.5 D25ih v. 2 (1994/1995)