Genealogy in Montserrat was changed beginning with the 1995 eruption of Mount Chance which buried the capitol Plymouth. Most of the island’s population became refugees.
Even with the losses of some records and cemeteries, many earliest records had already been microfilmed or published. For example, microfilmed deeds can be found at the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the earliest Anglican registers are at the National Archives in Kew. No primary records survive prior to 1712 as they were burned in the French invasion.
The island historically was divided into four parishes for administrative purposes: St. Peter (north), St. Anthony (central), St. Patrick (south) and St. George (east). A newer parish of St. John’s was created. All five had Anglican parishes.
Historic cemeteries were destroyed in the eruption, others abandoned or inaccessible. Fortunately, the tombstones from select ones had been transcribed in 1913-14 in Vere Langford Oliver’s More Monumental Inscriptions: Tombstones of the British West Indies. Historic residents of all denominations would have been buried in the Anglican parish graveyards.
Important early records such as censuses and church registers have been published in Caribbeana: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075409/00002/allvolumes Early censuses, housed at the National Archives have been extracted in Caribbeana: 1677/8 (Vol. 2, pp. 216-320) and 729 (Volume 4, p. 302). Early eighteenth century Anglican Church registers published in Caribbeana include: St. Anthony (Volume 1, pp. 42-44, 86-88, 92-93, 138-139); St. George: (Volume 1, pp. 88-90, 139); St. Patrick (Volume 1, p. 92); St. Peter (Volume 1, pp. 90-92, 139-140); various (Volume 1, pp. 361-364).
The earliest Catholic registers (1771-1838) are at the UWI. In regard to the Catholic graveyard at St. Patrick’s, it was destroyed in the eruption with no surviving records or transcripts.
Some Internet resources include “Caribbean Genealogy Research: www.candoo.com/genresources/#MONTSERRAT ; “Caribbean Surname Index”: www.candoo.com/surnames/viewforum.php?f=89 and the Montserrat GenWeb Project: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~msrwgw
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