Many people with Surinamese relatives are looking forward to this moment, because so far ancestor research in Suriname has been laborious and often comes to a dead end due to many sources being poorly accessible. Since 2017, the Historical Database of Suriname and the Caribbean has worked on the online publication of population archives of Suriname and the former Netherlands Antilles. The Suriname slave registers were already published online in 2018-2019. The Civil Registry makes it possible to research the lives of Surinamese residents after the slavery period. This means that Surinamese people with ancestors who came from India, Indonesia, or China as contract workers can also learn more about their family history.
This database is also an important step for academic research because it helps connect the slavery period in Suriname with the period thereafter. How did former slaves shape their lives as free people? And how did contract workers from China, India and Java integrate into Surinamese society? The nearly 60 years between 1863 and 1921 play a key role in the formation of today’s multicultural Surinamese society.
CollaborationThe Historical Database of Suriname is a collaboration between the National Archives of Suriname and the Netherlands, Radboud University Nijmegen, and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. The publication of the Civil Registry was made possible in part by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the Platform for the Digital Infrastructure of Social Sciences and Humanities (PDI-SSH).
Looking for volunteers to enter data into the Suriname Civil Registry!Since September 2021, hundreds of volunteers have worked to enter data into the Civil Registry of Suriname. This is a huge task, which is why the researchers are urgently looking for more help. Anyone who is willing to join the project is warmly invited to apply at https://hdsc.ning.com/ .
Because the birth certificates from Paramaribo are only the start: many more Civil Registry records will be added in the near future, including death and marriage certificates.