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Full helpers description

Legal papers relating to estates in Jamaica (documents relating to Stephen Drew's Jamaican Tontine)

Senate House Library, University of London -- Special Collections


An extensive correspondence concerning subscriptions to a 'tontine' (a money making subscription scheme) to establish an estate in Jamaica. This would be of value to a family historian who knows that they have ancestors who may have been involved in these sort of projects.

Detailed usage description

An extensive correspondence concerning subscriptions to a 'tontine' to establish an estate in Jamaica. A tontine is a form of life assurance: investors buy a share in a tontine, and receive payouts when other subscribers die, and the balance is paid to the last surviving member. The correspondence contains several hundred letters to and from subscribers, lists of subscribers, and in some cases subscription certificates which include details about the subscriber's birth date, address and parents.

This collection would give both excellent genealogical data if your ancestor is named on a subscription certificate, and good contextualising information if they were involved in correspondence.

How to tell if the collection is useful

The collection is not indexed by name, and therefore if you suspect you may have a relative named in it you will need to view it in person and work your way through to find them.

If you plan to email the archivist with a query we suggest that you read our tutorial on how to do this most effectively.

Access arrangements

Reference access to Senate House Library holdings for members of the public costs £5 per day, or £25 for seven days. Access to archival holdings generally requires that you make prior arrangement with the . Details of membership arrangements and opening hours are available on their website.

More Information

The catalogue number for this collection is MS 691. A collection level description of this collection is available on AIM25.

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Abstracting information

Usage Themes Geographic area covered Size of collection Dates
  • Family history
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life

Mostly the UK. (Although the tontine was to raise funds for an estate in Jamaica, most of the subscribers were from the UK.)

Several hundred people are referred to in the collection.

1805 -- 1836


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