The Trinidad General Registers of Indian Indentureship record the arrival of immigrants from India between 1845 and 1917 to work on the sugar, cocoa and coconut plantations in the former British colony of Trinidad. The arrival of approximately 147,500 immigrants was prompted by the acute labour shortage following the emancipation of the enslaved Africans in 1838. Under the indentureship system, immigrants were contracted for a period of five years. The last ship, the Ganges, arrived in Trinidad in 1917. The indentureship system was eventaully abolished in 1920.
The registers are 16 large bound volumes covering 298 ships and their dates of arrival, as well as information on each immigrant –registration number, name of immigrant, father’s names, sex, age and estate of indenture. Later volumes provide more detail such as caste and the names of villages in India from which they came. While there are some gaps in information due to missing registers, these registers, along with ship registers (a compilation of emigration passes) and estate registers, are invaluable primary sources on the history of the immigrants and their life under British colonial rule. Today, their descendants continue to keep their traditions alive and add to the multi-ethnic nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
We invite you to embark on your search for your family history by using this guide to help locate the year and ship on which your ancestor may have arrived.