St Helena Ancestry and Research

Image result for st helena old engraving
For all those with an interest in St Helena Ancestry Chris Hillman announces that the database of information is now available for public research on the UK charity Friends of St Helena (FoSH) website -

You can now navigate to the 'St Helena Ancestors' section and begin your research. This is located on  and allows a simultaneous search of 24 separate databases with an estimated 120,000 names. Given the population of this island has long averaged about 3,000-4,000 this is thought to be an almost total capture of all available information over the past 350 years.

All visitors can freely run searches for names (forenames and/or surnames) across either limited or unlimited time periods. Account has been taken of variations in name spellings (a common problem in St Helena’s records). Visitors can judge the likelihood they have found their forebears subscribing to the Society from the number of “hits” within defined year spans.
– Dr Jesse Chris Hillman
ancestors (at) 

The information available in 24 datasets is as follows:

All Anglican Baptisms to 1920.* Over 24,000 records for St James Church (from 1680), St Paul’s (from 1830), St John’s and St Matthew’s (both from 1862) and the garrison chaplain (from 1836, usually at St James). There are three separate name indexes – the baptisee (usually children), the father and the mother.

All Anglican Marriages to 1920.* Over 4,700 records of Anglican Church marriages at St James Church (from 1681), St Paul’s (from 1830), St John’s and St Matthew’s (both from 1862) and by the garrison chaplain (from 1836, usually at St James). There are two separate name indexes – the bride and groom.

All Anglican Marriage Banns.* Over 700 Anglican Church banns read out at St James Church (from 1849). Again, there are two separate name indexes – the bride and groom.

*In compliance with the 100-year privacy rule, an additional year of data will be released every New Year’s Day into the future.

All Anglican Burials to 1988. Over 13,000 records of Anglican Church burials at St James Church (from 1767), St Paul’s (from 1830), and St Matthew’s (from 1927) and by the garrison chaplain (from 1868).

All Gravestones & Memorials to 1996. Over 2,200 gravestone and memorial inscription from 1686 at a wide range of locations such as St James Church (North porch, tablets in garden and internal wall tablets), St Paul’s, St Matthew’s, Halley’s Mount, the Dungeon cemetery, Butcher Graves (Plantation House), the Waterwitch Monument, the cenotaph, etc.

St Helena Regiment. Over 3,000 records of men who served in the St Helena Regiment in 1819 and/or 1827 with pension records through to 1859.

HEIC Company Master Listing. Over 1,400 records for the period 1673 - 1910 (mostly during the 19th century, 1910 being the last year a pension was paid).

St Helena Clerics & Bishops. Over 180 records of Anglican clergy and Roman Catholic chaplains serving on the Island for the period 1587 to 2011.

Governors. Over 100 Governors and Acting Governors over the period 1659 to 2016.

Passenger to and from St Helena. Over 400 passenger names over the period 1673 to 1949.

1673 Settlers Return. Over 90 names of new and returning settlers in 1673.

1679 Funeral Bier Signatures. Comprises a list of 24 early settler names.

1814 Census. Comprises over 300 householders.

1815 Principal Houses Census (Kitching book). The names of 76 principal house occupants 
during the time of Napoleon’s imprisonment on the Island (1815-1821) have been sourced from G.C. Kitching's Handbook & Gazetteer of the Island of St Helena.

1815-1821 St Helena Who’s Who (Chaplin book). Comprises 589 names sourced from 

Chaplin's A St Helena who's who, or a directory of the island during the captivity of Napoleon in 1815-1821.

1815-1821 French Presence on Island. Comprises 176 names sourced from Martineau and a few from Chaplin. This includes details of the French party accompanying Napoleon to the Island.

1827 St Helena Inhabitants (Fox). comprises 341 inhabitant names. These have been extracted by Colin Fox from the 1827 East India Company Register & Directory (British Library F/4/1264) and lists the leading inhabitants, their occupations and their ownership of slaves.

1827-1839 Fox Slave Lists (Fox). Comprises over 1,600 slave names and descriptions collected by Colin Fox. In 1827, the value of each slave was estimated ahead of their freedom. A second survey was undertaken in 1839 to determine how much progress each slave had made in paying back their debt to the government.

1860 USA Census, St Helena Birthplace. Comprises 114 records. Enables extraction of people who recorded “St Helena” as their birthplace in the 1860 USA census.
1841-1911 UK Censuses, St Helena Birthplace. Comprises over 1,500 records. UK Censuses conducted in 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901 and 1911 have been searched for people who claimed they were born at St Helena.

1938 People Names (Gosse book). Over 400 people’s names and activities, occupations and relationships have been extracted from Philip Gosse, St Helena 1502-1938. Oswestry: Anthony Nelson, 1938 for the period 1502-1938.

1885 People Names (Janisch book). Over 600 people’s names have been extracted from Hudson Ralph Janisch, Extracts from the St Helena Records, St Helena, Benjamin Grant, 1885.

2007 People Names (Royle book). Details of over 400 people have been extracted from the relatively recently published book, Stephen A Royle, The Company’s Island: St Helena, Company Colonies and the Colonial Endeavour. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

Freemasons on St Helena. Records extracted from data available from the Freemasonry Library and Museum in London include over 250 names for the period 1862-1921.

For additional information insert 'st helena' as search term in this blog's search facility - see left top of blog page. 

1 comment:

Jeff Spencer said...

Most interesting. In following my family in the 1st Battalian, Leicestershire Regiment I noted that enroute from Halifax, Nova Scotia (embarked 23rd December 1895) to Cape Town (landed 18th January 1896) that they left a company at St. Helena, presumably to supplement the excisting garrison. This company did not rejoin the battalian until 13th December 1897.
[Source: A History of the 17th (The Leicestershire) Regiment, Lt.Col. E.A.H. Webb.]