Research: This service involves assisting patrons with genealogical, academic and professional research as well as undertaking preliminary research for airmail, email and telephone enquiries.
Academic Research – Academic research is a type of research that is conducted toward the goal of scholarly advancement and is predominantly undertaken by educators, students, historians and other intellectuals.
Students from secondary and tertiary institutions visit the Barbados Archives Department to conduct research for school projects such as School Based Assessments (SBA’s), undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. Teachers, tutors and lecturers also consult the Archives’ holdings to pursue research in preparation for lesson planning, seminars, lectures, presentations and book-writing.
Useful points for conducting academic research –
- Identify your research topic and consider visiting the library first to study the books relevant to your topic.
- Call ahead to determine whether key records, books or periodicals are available at the Archives or whether they can be sourced elsewhere.
- Establish the difference between primary and secondary source material:Primary sources refer to original source material. These include records such as minutes of meetings, policy and procedure manuals, rules and regulations, contracts, laws, annual reports, diaries and financial statements. Secondary sources refer to published source material such as books and periodicals.
- Familiarise yourself with the Archives’ finding aids. If uncertain about the use and structure of finding aids consult the archivist or archives assistants.
- Manage your time wisely. Try not to leave your visit to the Archives for the last day before a deadline.
Genealogical Research –
Genealogical or ancestry research is concerned with locating and gathering information on family relations by way of consulting records such as baptisms, marriages and burials and also by talking to living family members about ones deceased, distant or previously unknown.
Genealogical research is the most popular form of research undertaken at the Barbados Archives Department. Persons search a number of sources at the Archives in order to uncover information regarding their family past. Such sources include:
Points to Note for Conducting Effective Genealogical Research – When initiating genealogical research, consider the following points:
- Start from the known and progress to the unknown i.e. begin from family members you know such as yourself, your parents or grandparents and work back to those ancestors you do not know.
- Talk to relatives and older persons, who would have lived in the same district as your ancestors.
- Dates of birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial are important when constructing your family tree.
- Consider family religion. The Anglican religion was the dominant one but persons also attended the Wesleyan Methodist, Moravian and Roman Catholic Churches. From 1769 to 1884 for example, baptisms for the latter churches were recorded separately from those of the Anglican Church.
- Find out about family connections in other countries and whether family members have emigrated.
Professional Research –
Professional research can be defined as research undertaken by an employee on behalf of his or her company or business institution.
Individuals from both public and private sector institutions visit the Archives to undertake research for their respective places of employment. Most source material in this area of research comes from annual reports of the respective entities, minutes of meetings, correspondence, accounting ledgers and so on.
Outreach: The Barbados Archives Department has, on occasion, partnered with other holding institutions and governmental agencies in organizing such outreach activities as workshops, lectures and exhibitions.
Archives Department, on terms of request, usually offers tours to students from secondary and tertiary institutions.
Conservation: This section is responsible for undertaking traditional repair and other forms of archival conservation.
Records Management: The Department has responsibility for coordinating records management procedures for all government and statutory institutions.