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About Barbados Archives Department


The Barbados Archives Department’s role is to ensure organizational efficiency and accountability, identify, collect, process and preserve public and private records of Barbados that are of permanent and enduring legal, cultural and historical value and to make information from them available within legal limits and so support the understanding of Barbadian life. 


The creation of the Barbados Archives Department followed a 1961 survey of the records in Barbados by Englishman, Michael J. Chandler of the Corporation of London Record Office under the auspices of the University of the West Indies, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.The legal instrument under which the Archives Department was created was a 1963 Order-in-Council. The department was established in 1964. It began providing a reference service to the public in 1965 as it was felt essential to show the value of preserving and exploiting the information in the ‘old records’ which date back to 1637.


Research: This service involves assisting users with genealogical, academic and administrative research as well as undertaking preliminary research through airmail, email and telephone.

Records Management: The department has responsibility for furnishing technical advice related to records management procedures to governmental Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

Conservation: This section is responsible for undertaking in-house traditional repair and other forms of archival conservation.


Among the records to be found in the Archives are the earliest deeds registers, the 1834 Emancipation Act, 18th and 19th century recors of Drax Hall plantation, governors’ correspondence, the 1966 Independence instruments and the private collections of Sir Grantley Adams, Frank Collymore and H. A. Vaughn, as well as many private manuscript and photographic collections. There is also a collection of published works that include official and unofficial Barbadiana and Caribbeana. Present among these works are some significant rare items.

Population Records

These are used extensively by persons researching family history and include the following:

Wills: 1647-1959; Burials: 1643-1921; Baptisms: 1637-1903; Marriages: 1643-1912.


All visitors to the Reading Room are required to sign a visitor’s book on a daily basis. First time visitors are required to read and complete a Researcher Registration Form, read the Reading Room Rules and must also agree to abide by them before consulting any materials. All materials are used on site. Researchers must use pencils only. The use of electronic devices (except scanners) is allowed. 


Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 4:15 pm; closed on public holidays

Address: Black Rock, St. James, Barbados

Contact: Email: bda@caribsurf.com; Tel: (246) 535-0090; Fax: (246) 425-5911