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Updated list of over 400 voyages of East Indian Laborers

Replies: 41

St. Vincent Laborers: Bacchus

Richard B. Cheddie (View posts)
Posted: 1105845010000
Classification: Query
Although this family name is quite prevalent in St. Vincent, it can be found among the Indians in some of the other West Indies countries that received indentured laborers. Just a side note that in the records this name is also spelled as Box, Bux, and Buckus. If this is not challenging enough for genealists researching this name, some family members also use Barcus.

In St. Vincent some of the Bacchus came aboard the Newcastle in 1867. A partial passenger list is located on my website at www.geocities.com/yuddh1. This site also contains the estates, names of ships, and some of the indentured laborers that were alloted to them.

I met someone who was researching his family in St. Vincent and he, too, said that he was descended from the Ram Bullock Singh's. Seems there were a set of brothers (or cousins) that came over from India. So I have been trying to find the details to answer his questions.

People often wondered why the Indians in St. Vincent intermarried to such an extent. I believe at the time they did not have much of a choice. Between 1861 and 1880, eight ships brought 2,474 East Indian indentured laborers to St. Vincent who were allotted to 33 estates on the island. (The first ship was the Travancore which sailed from Madras and arrived in St. Vincent on Jun 1, 1861.) Shortly after the beginning, strife arose among the races that resided on the island due to economic pressures, and on more than one occasion civil disturbances resulted. It got so bad that many of the Indians, after their indentureship ended, opted to return to India, or moved to the larger colonies that had larger Indian populations, such as Trinidad or Guyana.

Those that remained later suffered a one-two punch from mother nature when a destructive hurricane was subsequently followed by the eruption of the volcano and many Indians died. So faced with economic, cultural intolerance, and the mother nature's wrath, they had to depend on each other more. (Also, the missionaries were actively working on converting them to Christianity which is why most bear European surnames today.) The Indians there face still some overt and subtly forms of racism and are sometimes regard as the lowest class citizens. Over time many to moved off the island to seek greener pasture. There are large populations in the High Wycombe area in England, and in New York City area in the United States. I should add that most of the Indo-Vincentians that I know lives in St. Croix US Virgin Island.

For the most part there isn't a lot of information available on the descendants of the laborers from St. Vincent since not many chose to write about the subject, as was the case in St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, and St. Croix, all of whom received less than 5,000 Indians each (the latter three just one shipload each). As a matter of fact I have only seen four pieces of work that mentioned the East Indians in St. Vincent, and only one was very detailed. It is the "Remnants of the Great Coolie Scramble: The East Indians of St. Vincent, From Indenture to Migration to Britain" by Dr. Arnold Thomas. I was recently in contact with him and he said that he was working on a book about the Indians in St. Vincent. So I am looking forward to reading it.

The internet, education, and self-pride have been critical in the growing interest into the genealogy of the Indian families that have moved overseas.(The same thing is happening in all of the islands, which is good.)

I encourage you to share openinly the info you have so that over time there will much more available. In addition to St. Vincent message board here at Rootsweb, there is www.groups.yahoo.com/group/bhatchaman. This group deals with the genealogy of East Indians in the West Indies and there is a lot of sharing of info,ideas, and current info provided by the members of the group.

Also, keep in mind that 2011 will be the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Indians in St. Vincent. In 2003, Martinique celebrated their arrival day, and for 2004 the island of Guadeloupe had a year long (private, local, public, and national celebrations) of the arrival of the Indians to that island. As a result a lot of info about the Indians there have been posted on line.

There is a local researcher (just started) that began collecting info on the Indians in St. Vincent. His task will be a long one, but that was where we started out in St. Lucia.

One of the things that you will definitely need to get your hands on is the emigration pass of your ancestor. This pass contained where in India the laborer was from, some physical description, the caste, the next of kin in India, and sometimes family members they were accompanied by. One copy was given to the laborer, one was kept in India, and another was sent to the administration office of the colony to which the laborer was sent. In addition there was a ships list, a general register, and a depot register avaiable. So the records are out there somewhere.

If you are aware of other Indians families from St. Vincent try to get them to record their own family genealogies, as well as stories about how life was for them when they were younger, how it has changed, and some of the hopes and dreams that they would like to see happen. This will help to raise the consciousness of others about how much the Indians contributed to St. Vincent's history. This is being done by a couple of volunteers in St. Lucia and hopefully this will happen in Grenada once they get back on their feet after such a devastating hurricane last year.

I have to say that I have been impressed to see some cultural heritage of the Indians has survived in St. Vincent given all that has happened in past and present. And a lot more can be preserved if those who know better step up and save the oral history of their ancestors.

As you can see, it is a subject about which I am quite passionate. So Karissa, Garry, Felix, and rest of you curious souls, Well done! You are on the right path.




SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Karissa Baptiste 1058887448000 
garry 1105655253000 
Richard B. Cheddie 1105845010000 
Sian 1108489913000 
kornelbaptist... 1352930136000 
Sacha Graham 1406125493000 
Richard B. Cheddie 1108341840000 
x113899 1120171141000 
kornelbaptist... 1352929104000 
x113899 1120349002000 
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