After a long weekend, a few late nights, dozens of stories shared, hundreds of new people met and pounds of carrot cake  (eaten mostly by me, thanks Fathia). Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011 is OVER! And what a weekend…

So while we recover and start planning for next year we thought we’d share  Carlston’s reflections on the Caribbean Family History Group’s first time at the world largest family history event.

(l-r) Fathia + Carlston – Caribbean Family History Group Solihull and Sharon Tomlin –

“I know that I went feeling excited and thinking that we could at least say we had been there and perhaps have visits from the odd person, but the reality has been far different!

It has become clear to me that Caribbean Family History is not a side show in within Genealogy/Family History but a mainstream activity!

On Friday, and continued on Saturday, it has been the normal ‘punters’ to the show – ‘White/European’ British enthusiasts – that have been coming along and saying:
‘I have a family member who was from or went to Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago etc….. What can you tell me?’ In hind sight this should not be a surprise, but it was! A gratifying one.

Other things they have said – ‘Can I have your information for a friend of mine, or my son in law etc… who wants to/or to help them do their research in Jamaica…?’ One woman was even trying to get gemmed up so that she could surprise her  friend on her 50th birthday, with a family tree! 😉

Yesterday, the attendee mix was greater – many more with African Caribbean descent and with a focus of starting their trees or extending further back.  But once again we were busy all day with all sorts of enquiries, ending in Fathia and I giving our workshop with Sharon Tomlin in the afternoon.  I had visits from the show organiser’s asking us how it was going and I had the chance to share with them what I had learned from the first day.  I heard enough to think that they were glad that we were there.


Thank yous so far must go to:

  • Kelly and Ayshah from Caribbean Family Group (Lambeth) and all their hard work in conjunction with ours to get things sorted and adding the great knowledge to what we had to share!
  • Fathia of course!
  • Sharon Tomlin of and
  • All the Solihull group that has attended to visit the show and help out at the stand – Cynthia, Sharon C, Dennis L, Dawn, Marilyn, Fiona, also…. (have I forgotten anyone?)
  • Guy Grannum who has made his booklet on starting Caribbean Family History available for sale, along with some other books – and they have been selling well. He also came across and spent the afternoon on our stall helping the public with advice, which was very helpful! Also someone from did the same thing on his time off!  They had wider expertise to help with some of the questions about the islands outside our main focus as a group.  However, these questions are that we intend to get to grips with in due course.
  • Others who I should have remembered but have forgotten (forgive)  and some I have yet to speak to but will comment on in due course.”

7 thoughts on “

  1. I attended this show for the first time with a fellow researcher called Phyllis. We had a plan and it involved seeing Hugh Quashire, who by the way is a fabulous, humble man and it was a pleasure talking to him.

    I did come away with some ideas on how to commence a book for one of the many lines of my tree, and how to document 11 generations of family on one tree.

    Next year I would like to see a stand specifically focused on afro-caribbean ancestry and searching, so that we are not forgotten. Afterall, we are the voices of the future an our oral history needs to continue.

  2. I think your web site is one of the best that I have seen when it comes to Caribbean family history. I am the author of “A Struggle to Walk with Dignity”ISBN:978-0-9784982-0-7, released in 2008 Toronto Canada. It took me ten years to do the research on my autobiography, because of my grandfather Herbert T. Thomas-1856 to 1930. His accomplishments as a Jamaican born man for his time was phenomenal, and linked to the UK. I am willing to share this info with anyone interested in his history as an Author, Police Inspector, lecturer and Naturalist. However he has been forgotten by his country, and that is very sad as we must preserve our history for the next generation. Just click on the title above to all the info on book,
    web site: with thanks, Gerald.

  3. Hello,

    I think I was they “guy” from Ancestry. In reality I was an Ancestry Advocate (volunteer) and helping out on the Ancestry stand on the Friday and helping out on the Guild of One-Name Studies & Society of Genealogists “Ask The Experts” desks on Saturday and Sunday.

    My name is Bob Cumberbatch and I have been hunting down the Cumberbatchs from all around the world. Like Guy Grannum my surname study is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies and I have learned so much about research in the Caribbean and especially Barbados and on surnames.

    I just dropped you an email about some very interesting material at and

  4. To get the facts on Jamaican Police Inspector Herbert Theodore Thomas 1856 to 1930, who served his country and the UK for 47 years
    only to have his history erased in his own country Jamaica is very sad. Now all is revealed on this new website for all to see the truth about a great man;visit: and scroll down to Links to Jamaican Genealogy. From the author of “A Struggle to Walk with Dignity-The TRUE story of a Jamaican-born Canadian”. Thank you, Gerald.

  5. The simplest way to find all the lost information on Jamaican Police Inspector Herbert Theodore Thomas 1856 to 1930, & his grandson author
    Gerald A. Archambeau who has lived in Canada most of his life, is to Google : User Pages- Info on Jamaican Police Inspector Herbert T. Thomas.
    The total family are: “Untrodden Jamaica”1890, “Something about Obeah” 1891, The story of a West Indian Policeman-47 years in the Jamaica Constabulary” 1927 & “A Struggle to Walk with Dignity-The TRUE story of a Jamaican-born Canadian”2008. For the benefit of historians, and the next generation of Caribbean People. With my

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