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How-To, Guides to Archives, and Miscellaneous Books and Articles

Methodology | Guides to Archives | Published Bibliographies

Methodology - How To

Researching the Refugees in the United States

Gardien, Kent
. "The Domingan Kettle: Philadelphian-Emigré Planters in Alabama". In the National Genealogical Society Quarterly 76 (Sep 1988): pp.173-187.

This well-written article is a must for all Saint-Domingue researchers. It demonstrates basic methodology by tracing a series of refugee families who invested in and settled in the ill-fated Vine and Olive Colony in Alabama, the site of which is located near present-day Demopolis. The definitive guide for Saint-Domingue research. Get a copy and study it!
Cuban Research
(These two guides are not specifically aimed at Saint-Domingue refugees, but give some idea of the documents extant from the time the refugees were on the island:)

Carr, Peter E. Guide to Cuban Genealogical Research. Chicago: Adams Press, [1991] ISBN 0-9631209-05
This 103 page guide is divided into 3 main sections: family sources, primary sources, and secondary sources. It covers churh records; civil registration, census and passenger records; notarial and land records; slave records; military records; newspapers, directories, and other published sources ; records of private industry; diplomatic records; records in Spain. Gives suggestions for preliminary research & discusses problem areas peculiar to Spanish genealogy.

Sánchez-Johnson, Mayra F. Research Guide for Cuba. SaLt Lake City: Cuban Genealogical Society, 1995.

This guide contains 43 pages covering primary and secondary sources. Also discussed are 4 archives essential to Cuban research (3 in Spain, 1 in Cuba) and the specific groups of documents in them, that contain material pertaining to the island.

Jamaican Research

Mitchell, Madeleine E.
Jamaican Ancestry: How to find out More. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-7884-1050-4. Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl, Bowie Maryland 20716. 1-800-398-7709. Website at http://www.heritagebooks.com

Challenged at every turn by a lack of research-aid materials as she conducted her own Jamaican family research, Mitchell put together this guide, to show that much Jamaican research can be done without leaving the U.S. The key is accessing the various sources through libraries and other repositories.

Opening chapters include an oral and factual history of Jamaica. Others discuss civil and church records, maps, land records, census lists, immigration sources. Many other sources are addressed: military records; schools and institutions of higher learning; almanacs, handbooks and directories; the different kinds of courts; newspapers; and occupations. The last few chapters provide a bibliography of additional references and genealogies and a listing of useful addresses. The book is indexed by full names as well as subject. te author's comments on her personal research experiences, interspersed throughout, provide insight and inspiration.

There is even a small section on the colonists from Saint-Domingue (listed under "Haiti" in the index). From this topic, one learns that the refugees settled mostly in the cities of Kingston and Spanish Town, and in the (civil) parishes of Portland and St. Ann. Also of interest is the fact that there are some documents in the Public Records Office in London, in the Admiralty section, medical department registers, concerning "French" prisoners of war from 1798 to 1806. And finally, the 1844 census of Jamaica enumerated 1,342 people in that colony who were born in Saint- Domingue or France.

The author's home page can be found at http://users. pullman.com/mitchelm/jamaica.htm. She also moderates the WorldGenWeb Jamaica page at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~jamwgw/index.htm

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Guides to Archives

» France

There is no one guide for conducting Saint-Domingue research in French archives. Many books and articles address different groups of records, in the Archives Nationales (Paris), the Archives Outre-Mer (Aix-en-Provence), the Archives Diplomatiques (Paris and Nantes), and even those in departmental and local archives.

The following is a list of publications that I have consulted and found useful. Some of them address Saint-Domingue in particular, others outline generic methods for conducting research in France. If you know of others, please send me the citation, a description, and your experience with it, so I can post it here. In most cases, you will have to either visit these archives yourself or hire a researcher. If you choose to do the latter, they are all mandatory reading. Use them to make a TTD list.

Bernard, Gildas. "Archives Nationales. Section Moderne. Aid to the Colonists of Saint-Domingue". In Guide des recherches sur l'histoire des familles, 273-276. Paris: Archives Nationales, 1981. 944.D276 [LDS-FHC]

Aid and indemnity to the colonists of Saint-Domingue was paid as early as November 1793, and the very last payment was made in 1896. This section explains the nature of the aid and procedure for applying for it, and explores various archival sources in France (at the departmental and national level) where these documents can be found. English translation

Cosnay, Chantal. "Le Notariat de Saint-Domingue". In Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe, 15 (Apr 1990): 129.

This article guides the reader smoothly and painlessly through the procedure necessary to access the Saint-Domingue Notarial Minutes. It will not help with American research, but is recommended to for those who might have a few days to spend in the archives in Aix-en-Provence researching in the originals. It also delves into the history of these rich, well-organized documents and explains why there is a disparity in the years covered by the records of the 400 notaries that practiced in the colony between 1701 and 1804.


Archives Nationales de France. Guide des Sources de l'Histoire de l'Amerique Latine et des Antilles dans les Archives Françaises. Paris: Archives Nationales, 1984. Z1610.F72 1984 [TULAL]

A guide to sources for the history of Latin America and the Antilles in French archives. Consult it if you plan to go to France to research.

Direction des Archives de France, la, et. alii. Guide des Sources de l'histoire des États-Unis dans les archives françaises. Paris: France Expansion, 1976.

This guide lists in great detail, the groups of documents in various archives in France (national, departmental, municipal, etc.) that pertain to the history of the U.S. The French West Indies are included in the scope of this work. A must if you are going to France to conduct research.

Leland, Waldo G. Guide to Materials for American History in the Libraries and Archives of Paris. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1932. Reprint. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1965. [LSUHill]

Of special interest are the numerous listings in the index under "Santo Domingo", i.e. Saint-Domingue and Haiti

» United States

The same applies here as for France - There is no one book that addresses Saint-Domingue research in American archives. Any suggestions??

» England

Grannum, Guy. Tracing Your West Indian Ancestors. Sources in the Public Record Office. by Guy Grannum. Order from PRO Publications, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR. £11.95 (p&h included), credit card orders accepted.


Tracing your West Indian Ancestors... looks not only at the islands of the British West Indies, but also includes Bermuda (in the Atlantic), and Guyana, Belize, and Sierra Leone (on the mainland of South America). It brings together for the first time, the wide variety of records useful for the study of British West Indies ancestry in the Public Record Office.
Grannum's guide has two aims: to introduce researchers with West Indian ancestors to the rich and varied records in the Public Record Office, and to encourage and develop research into this much neglected field of genealogy.
Mr. Grannum has taken a large, unwieldy subject and packaged it logically into 11 concise chapters, including:
West Indians,
• Records of the Colonial Office,
• How People Got to the West Indies,
• Life Cycle Records,
• Land and Property,
• Military and Related Records,
• Slaves,
• the Colonial Civil Servant,
• Emigration to the U.K., and
• Non-British Colonies.
Besides enumerating and describing the kinds of records that exist, Grannum also explains the bureaucracy that created them.
Each chapter has its own bibliography, and several appendices, including a geographical bibliography and addresses of West Indian archives round out this excellent reference work. Examples of original documents are generously distributed throughout.
Because the PRO does not have the staff or time to research mail requests, this book is required reading for anyone planning a research trip there, or for "doing one's homework" before hiring a researcher in England — it will help determine which record groups might be the most productive.

» Haïti

Frisch, Peter J.
"La Recherche Généalogique in Haïti". In Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe, 36 (March 1992): 538-539

Although this article is not a definitive guide to all the archives in Haïti, it confirms that there is little colonial material left in that country. It discusses the documents of the late colonial and early independence era that are still extant, where they are, and their physical condition. Frisch also provides some insight into early social customs, and cites examples of individual cases which suggest how the researcher should prepare for research in these records.


» Cuba

Franco, José Luciano.
Documentos para la historia de Haiti en el Archivo Nácional. Publicaciones del Archivo Nacional de Cuba, no. 23. La Habana: Archivo Nácional de Cuba, 1954. F1921-F8 [LSUMidl]

Documents for the history of Haïti (i.e. Saint-Domingue) in the Archivo Nacional of Cuba. Unfortunately the documents are not readily accessible.

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Published Bibliographies

(Please tell me about any other such bibliographies that exist on the subject of Saint-Domingue)

Lawless, Robert. Haiti A Research Handbook. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1990. Z1531.L38 1990 [TULAL]

One of several good bibliographies; this one has an informative introduction at the beginning of each chapter. Nine of the chapters deal with different historical eras of the island; other disciplines (science, the arts, etc.) are discussed in later chapters.

Shannon, Magdaline W. "Bibliography of Saint-Domingue especially for the period of 1700-1804". In Revue de la Société Haïtienne d'histoire de geographie et de geologie 37 (Decembre 1979): 5-55.

An excellent bibliography. 50 pages of sources, including a separate section of Gabriel Debien's works at the end.


Société Haitienne d'Histoire de Geographie et de Geologie. "Cinquante Années d'Existence (1925-1975)". In Revue de la Société Haitienne d'histoire de geographie et de geologie 36 (Mars 1978): 8-31. F1900.S64 [LSUMidl]

This article is a subject/title index to the first 117 issues of the Society's Revue, many articles of which deal with colonial (Saint-Domingue) material.


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