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Value your heritage
There is a lot of work to be done with respect to encouraging Barbadians here and in the Diaspora to value their ancestral heritage.
That is the view of Genealogist, Sandra Taitt-Eaddy. Taitt-Eaddy, who is a Barbadian based in the United States, made the comments while delivering a presentation at the family history workshop entitled ‘Ancestry Research: An Introduction’, which was held yesterday morning as part of the Second Barbados Diaspora Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“To think that slavery was about what was done to us is a mistake, it is about what we were able to do to it and we survived. When I do this work and I look at all that these people had to overcome and that we are still here – we are here because they chose to live ... We need to begin to value our ancestors and what they have persevered in to make sure that generations later we can stand here,” she contended.
To that end, she maintained it was important that children and grandchildren of Barbadians living abroad, do not lose sight of their family history and she explained gives them a link to Barbados, which she noted opens the door for them to give back to this country.
“... Those funds then help to build our economy, but if our children lose sight of that connection, for those of us in the Diaspora, then we don’t get the benefit of their financial contribution,” the genealogist said.
Providing the participants with several steps that can be used in their efforts to trace their family history, Taitt-Eaddy advised them to remember their ancestors; start collecting oral traditions; be on the lookout for such things as artwork, books, court records, probate wills, plantation records and travel records as well as review baptism, death and marriage records.
With that in mind, the genealogist warned participants that some records prior to slavery may not bear the surname of individuals, which she noted could make the search a little difficult. But, she explained that if they know the name of the plantation that their family member was enslaved to, the plantation records would show the names of the slaves, their ages, race, place of birth and occupations.
Moreover, she noted that to trace Barbadians who would have migrated to the United States for example, persons should also check the census records, as they too would hold a vital link to their ancestors. (JRT)