Estates Search Guidance Notes

To search for Estates (or Plantations), click the tab called Estates at the top of the screen.

To see notes on the sources used for compiling data on estates please click here.

What is included here under 'Estate' are groups of enslaved of (generally) 15 people or more. (For more on this see the notes on sources.) Where an owner was in possession of relatively small groups then the 'estate' name will often be 'Unknown'. Generally where the estate had a specific name (such as 'Abbey Green') they will have been sugar plantations. But this was not always the case. Entering 'Unknown' as the name will produce almost 3,000 'estates' across the Caribbean which will typically refer to the ownership of a group of relatively small numbers of enslaved people. They might, for instance, be working as domestics or urban workers rather than on plantations.

Search terms must be at least three characters long. You can include the wildcard % in the text: for example, searching for am% in the Estate name or in the Connected individuals boxes will return every name with the characters ‘am’ within it (and produce a very large number of results). So it is best to try to be as specific as possible. You can combine search terms: for example, you may want to search for the Estate Name, Belle Air, in the Parish of Manchester in the Colony of Jamaica.

Searching by Estate: if you know the Estate (or plantation) name you are looking for then simply enter the name in the Estate Name box and click Update Records. The numerous records where the name is not known can be found by entering Unknown in the Estate Name box.

Searching a particular Colony: select its name from the drop-down list. You can then narrow the search further by choosing the Parish and, where there were such, the Division. (Only the lists of Parishes and Divisions relevant to the particular Colony will appear when you specify the colony.)

Searching for an associated person: you may want to search for a person associated with an estate (in any capacity – as owner, Attorney, Executor etc.). If so, enter the name in the Connected individuals box. Enter as much of the name(s) as you know (and add other search criteria if you can).

Searching by the number of enslaved, crop or the size of the estate: entering the numbers of enslaved in the boxes or entering a term – such as sugar or cotton – to search by Crop is likely to produce a large number of results unless you qualify the search. This is also likely to happen if you enter details of the size of estate into the Size (Acres) boxes. As with searching for estates or individuals, add other search criteria (such as by colony) if you can to reduce the number of results.

When the results appear you will see beneath the estate name and its location, any general notes on the estate, a list of associated people and the capacity in which they were associated (such as Owner or Attorney), any compensation claims associated, and, under Estate Information, the records we have, ordered chronologically. Where we have plotted the location of an estate on a map you will also see a thumbnail of the map location. (Currently this only applies to Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada.) [Notes on using the maps.]

Clicking the name of an associated person or the associated claim will take you to the person or the claim. Looking at the records for the person will also show any other estates with which he or she was associated together with biographical information and so on.

You can also find Estates associated with a person by using the Advanced Search form, finding the person you want and then scrolling down the page to Associated Estates.