Sources of vital records and documents

Athough the vital records (from 1880 forward) are in Guyana, at present, there is no known way of someone outside the country getting access to them or of ordering copies. Even if one was in Guyana there would be difficulty in accessing records at the National Archives as they are available only on Friday. Too, many of the documents are in very bad condition. Many researchers have sent written requests to various Government departments but never receive a reply. A very lucky few have had success with writing to churches for their records, but even the churches rarely reply to letters or requests, even when money is offered or enclosed with the request.

How can we to verify our ancestors' births, deaths, marriages?

Various Records:
For those ancestors who remained in Guyana in the 1940s to mid 1960s prior to emigrating, they may be listed in the "Who's Who in Guyana, 1945-1948" - probably depending on their job and status. This listing may be available on microfilm at the Mormon Church Family History Centers.
Newspaper Resources:
When British Guiana gained independence in 1966, the British did take back to England with them copies of many colonial newspapers, among them, the Argosy and the Colonist (for early 19th century).. Luckily they did, as births, marriages and death notices were printed in the newspaper and these may be our only source of getting this data. These newspapers are housed in two sites in London, England, however, the newspapers are not indexed. A wonderful lady named, Inge Veecock, indexed the entries from the Argosy and Colonist papers. The indexes are available in London libraries and also at the Mormon Church Salt Lake City library. The book or microfilm of the index book may possibly be loaned on order at your local Mormon Church Family HIstory Center. A listing of the newspapers of pre-1966 newspapers has been listed from the British Library catalogue where they have copies of the newspapers on microfilm. For more information go to our Newspaper listings tab.

The Archives were moved from the original building on Main Street to a new building on Homestretch Avenue, D'urban Park. This blog site shows a photo of the new building. The archives have a large Immigrant Records Department. The holdings of this department are:

  1. Overall view of holdings,
  2. Immigrant Death Registers
  3. Summary of Immigration Department holdings

It is feared that time, weather, and lack of preservation procedures have diminished what was there originally. Just what records are contained in the Guyana National Archives? According to librarian Arthur E. Gropp of the New Orleans Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University of Louisiana in his book "Guide to libraries and archives in Central America and the West Indies, Panama, Bermuda and British Guiana" of 1941 the following records are held (partial listing, as of 1941)

A collection of 30 titles of newspapers, the earliest being the Berbice Gazette, 1818; the Demerara and Essequebo Gazette, 1819; and the Guiana Chronicle, 1819-1841.
NOTE: Printing introduced to BG in December 1790. The first newspaper was printed on November 1, 1793.
WEBBER. "Centenary history & handbook of British Guiana, 1931, p. 109. The colonial Secretary reported May 30, 1940, that the introduction of printing took place in 1793 [after Roday, The Press in British Guiana, 1918] and that the first title may have been the "Essequebo and Demerary Council"

  • Administrative papers of Berbice
  • Military Register, 1766-1796
  • Blue Book of Berbice, 1830-31
  • Blue Book of British Guiana, 1844-1856
  • Blue Book of Demerara & Essequebo, 1821, 1827-28, 1830-31
  • Land Grants
  • Petitions, 1813-1830
  • Dispatches, Berbice 1812-1823
  • Account Book, Rio Demerary, 1794-1796
  • Registrar's Office Georgetown (almost all records prior to 1803 are in Dutch) agreements, 1770-
  • Contracts, 1770-
  • Deeds of release of apprenticeship, 1836 (indentureship records)
  • Leases, 1770 - ?
  • Mortgages, 1870
  • Parish population records
  • Plans of plots (originals)
  • Royal Gazette (1841- ) [Official Gazette from 1851 - ]
  • Suits (law)
  • Transports, 1770 - (deeds to land in Essequebo and Demerara; Berbice are in New Amsterdam)
  • Property Register (A book for each district by names of places and urban districts by ward; also includes encumbrances on property)
  • Registrar General Office - Births, 1869 - , Deaths, 1869 - , Marriages 1903 - (for earlier records see church records for baptisms, marriages & burials)