Location: Martinique, France
Surnames/tags: Martinique Martinique_du_Nord One_Place_Studies
This is the main page for the One Place Study of the north of Martinique (not to be confused with the short-lived commune called Martinique du Nord), and the communes around the perimeter of Mont Pelée, up until the time of the eruption in 1902.
It covers the following communes:
- Macouba, including Grand'Riviére.
- Basse Pointe
- Grande-Anse, including Marigot.
- Ajoupa Bouillon
- le Morne Rouge
- Saint-Pierre, including le Mouillage & le Fort.
Right now this unofficial project just has one member, me. I am Duane Poncy.
Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.
- developing more thorough guidelines for this project,
- identifying resources for research,
- historical research and development of freespace pages,
- adding new individuals who lived here in this period of time,
- making sure that place names are historically accurate for ancestors who were Niçards,
- adding subcategories of communes that existed in the Comté -there are about 100 of them, so this may be a very gradual process.
- transcription of the Parrish and Civic record indexes of births, marriages, and deaths in these communes. The records are online, but there is no digitized index to help genealogist who are studying Martinique.
- I am also interested in the history of these places, including the plantations and the slavery that accompanied them, as well as the indigenous prehistory.
This project could also use the help of some French speakers who can add information in French. I am not a native or fluent French speaker, so I would love some help by others who know the language. The indexes don't require much language knowledge, but translating the actual records does (as well as the ability to decipher sometimes atrocious handwriting).
A Short Glossary
Here is a short list of terms from the records which may cause confusion, especially among English speakers. Please feel free to add to it.
Créole — This is a word with complex and contextual meaning. It is a cultural referent, and not a racial referent, as many have come to believe. Originally, the term referred to any person of French (or Spanish) descent who was born in the colonies. During the 17th and 18th centuries, in the French Antilles, this meant mostly white, French settlers. But by the end of slavery in Martinique, in 1848, much of the population was mixed race, giving the term a new complexity. In recent years, it’s use by intellectuals in post-colonial studies has emphasized this multi-racial aspect of the word, but this is a rather new meaning. For those working in genealogy or history of the Antilles, it is important to realize the context; when an old record refers to someone as, ‘créole’ it means simply, ‘native born.’
Bèké — a modern créole word for plantation owner, used after the end of slavery into the twentieth century,
Négociant — a trader and wholesaler. The négociant may be the person who purchased the goods from the ships docking in Saint-Pierre, and resold them to the merchands (merchants). The same person might also arrange for the sale of slaves to the plantation owners, or sugar and rum to buyers overseas. It may also be used as "businessman" or "merchant".