A party quiz question that used to go the rounds was "France's longest border is with what country?" The answer is: Brazil. (See our post on Overseas France) The 'joke" was that it was usually a surprise to all present. Even the French forget about Overseas France.
This hidden forgetfulness can make research difficult to say the least. Hence, our joy at discovering Manioc, a digital library dedicated to the history and cultures of the French Caribbean, Amazonia and Guiana. It both complements and supplements the website of La Banque Numérique des Patrimoines Martiniquais (BNPM), for its greatest focus is on the enslaved people in those regions. Two databases are of particular interest:
- The Slaves and Freed Black People of French Guiana - These are transcriptions and extracts of declarations of births and marriages made by freed slaves who had not been previously documented. They are presented as separated PDFs that can be read online.
- Notarial records concerning slavery in Martinique - This is a rare treasure, indeed, containing the transcriptions of over three thousand notarial acts, relating to slaves and slave-owners of Martinique during the eighteenth century. The website claims that nearly fifteen thousand people are named, all of them indexed.
There are also hundreds of digitized books and studies, some of which also may be of interest to the genealogist of the region, such as an Almanac for all of the colonies for the year 1784.
This website surely could be of help to those of you researching your ancestors in Overseas France.
©2021 Anne Morddel