Discovering one’s family history can highlight illnesses that were prevalent in the bloodline and identify new cultural connections of which people may not have been aware.
Chief archivist at the Archives Department Ingrid Thompson stressed this yesterday during an open day at the department’s Lazaretto, Black Rock, St Michael offices.
“People need to arm themselves with as much information as possible and by doing so, it would help us to understand who we are. When you do your family history, you can find out how they lived, the types of jobs they worked doing.
“By going through the death records you can know your medical history and know of any illnesses that are prevalent in your family,” Thompson said.
She also recalled that many black Barbadians and Whites who went through their records were shocked when they found some of the places of their ancestors.
“There was a [Caucasian man] who went through his ancestry and realised that one of his ancestors was from Ireland, but married a black woman from the Foster Hall Plantation here. It was only then that he understood many of the things his father did throughout his life.
“Persons believe that because our skin colour is black, we don’t have European ancestry, but we have both European and African and this research helps to identify this,” she added. (TG)