Published August 29, 2019

While looking through old civil birth records from St Kitts, I noticed a registration for the child of Carl C. Lyon, a photographer in the capital city Basseterre. The name rang a bell. A photograph has been passed down by my husband’s Kittitian family, featuring his great-grandmother Margaret Johanna Cannonier…

Read More The traveling photographer

Published August 13, 2019

Slavery was abolished in the British West Indies in 1834. The transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans was abolished by Great Britain in 1807. So how can multiple births appear in the vital records of St Kitts from the 1860s, classifying parents as Africans? The mothers in these cases were most…

Read More The “liberated Africans” of St Kitts

Published June 29, 2019

My husband’s great uncle (who he grew up calling grandpa) was a Mallalieu, born in St Kitts in 1919. His middle name was Mumford, which would be considered unusual by most Americans today, but in his Kittitian family, it wasn’t the first occurrence. There was an earlier family member who…

Read More Crossed paths of Mumford and Mallalieu

Published March 31, 2019

While trying to reconstruct the history of family from Saint Kitts, I sometimes look at records in the Former British Colonial Dependencies Slave Registers. They can not only give clues to enslaved people, but also their slave owners. My husband’s third great-grandmother, Catherine Fasioux, was living in St Kitts in the early 1800s, where…

Read More Trying to make sense of slave registers

Published February 16, 2019

As a follow up to the blog post regarding an Andrew Cannonier of St Kitts, I have fallen down a rabbit hole with another Andrew Cannonier, who left the beautiful island of St Christopher and jumped, with both feet, into life as an American. I have found multiple Andrew Cannoniers…

Read More Jumping in with both feet

Published January 19, 2019

There are challenges researching the family tree for a surname like Smith or Jones, but it can be equally difficult to trace back an unusual last name. My husband’s great grandmother from St Kitts was born Margaret Johanna Cannonier (1868-1940), and I have been trying to make sense of how the…

Read More Cannonier – what’s in a name?

Published August 7, 2018

Among the surnames of the St Kitts branch of my husband’s family tree is Maillard. Ann Francis Catherine Maillard (1828-1919) his 2nd great-grandmother, married William Mallalieu. William and Ann lived in the parish of Saint Ann, located on the northern half of the island. Curious about how far back the Maillards may…

Read More St Kitts land grab

Published November 28, 2017

My husband’s ancestors from St Kitts include his 3rd great-grandparents originally from Madeira, Francisco Ricardo de Meneses Cabral and Libania Joaquina Vieira da Silva. Their daughter Eliza was his 2nd great-grandmother, while another daughter Ascenia Augusta was the grandmother of Edgar Oscar Challenger (1905-2000), a labor leader and historian of St…

Read More Edgar Challenger in the FDR presidential library

Published June 21, 2017

  The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania holds a wealth of period documents from their missionary efforts in St Kitts. Examination of the death records from 1854 shows a heartbreaking number – page after page – of parishioner deaths from cholera. Unfortunately, a combination of poor sanitary conditions and ignorance about…

Read More A fog of ignorance in the cholera epidemic of 1854

Published April 4, 2017

In the civil marriage and birth records of St Kitts, my husband’s 2nd great grandfather Richard Johnson Marshall is listed as a school master, with race recorded as “colored”. It is known that he was born about 1845 on the nearby British West Indian island of Antigua, only a few…

Read More Mico – A path to education after slavery