Barbados is a nation of emigrants. Those who didn’t come to the island by force came in search or work and economic opportunities. As England’s first successful colony, Barbados was home to wealthy colonists. Some worked in the 150-year-old West Indies Trade with the North American mainland. When opportunities on the island declined, many migrated from Barbados to Virginia, South Carolina, New England, and to other islands. Barbados sent intellectual and physical capital to Jamaica, Trinidad, Demerara, Cuba, Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia, and other parts, often in search of economic opportunity. Ancestors worked as seamen and merchant marines, they took jobs on board the many ships visiting Barbados’ harbors.

Large numbers of Afro-Barbadian ancestors used the event of Emancipation in 1838 to search for new opportunities, particularly in Demerara, Guyana.  I am not aware of my ancestors who traveled here, but I always meet Guyanese who have a Barbadian ancestor.

The United States was a popular destination for Barbadian families from Panama.  Here,  they might meet up with relatives migrating directly from Barbados to New York. To locate some of the migration records these ancestors created, utilize the free website ellisislandrecords.org and ancestry.com.

photoDaisy NYC

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