I’ve long been puzzled by why there are quite a few AfroCaribbean people in the Bahamas with the same slightly unusual surname as me.
I think I might now have the answer. Possibly not the whole answer, but good enough.
A rough trawl of various Caribbean family history websites seems to point the most of the Bahamian Moncurs being descended from a trio of brothers, James, Samuel and Louis all born between 1810 and 1815. There was also a Thomas Moncur born around the same time, and I’m not sure quite how he fits into the story.
Unfortunately, while the records of their deaths are online, their birth records appear not to be available. It is of course entirely possible that their births were simply not recorded, except perhaps in individual slave registers.
I have not been able to trace any earlier births or marriages, so I assume that these individuals had a father whose surname was Moncur. As records started being kept officially in the Bahamas in 1850, we are reliant on church registers, slave registers etc for any earlier birth death or marriage records.
The records seem to point back to Abaco island, which was settled by loyalist refugees from America who brought their slaves with them.
The name Moncur is also known from the slave states in America and comes from earlier migration to the Americas by people who became land owners and possibly slave owners.
In the Bahamas most slaves acquired their western surnames from their slave owner.
So, waving our hands a bit, I’m going to guess that the AfroCaribbean Moncurs are descended from a white slave owner or plantation manager who lived in the Bahamas sometime around the Napoleonic War period. It’s possible that I might be out by a generation and the original slave master arrived in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War, but the sources don’t seem to be there to settle that point.
However, despite other distant family connections to slavery in Jamaica, there seems to be no direct connection with my line of farming folk …