We spent two days at the Bahamas National Archives researching the Thompson family of lighthouse keepers. Because of my background in historical research I have visited many archives--the US National Archives in DC, the British National Archives in Kew, numerous US state archives from Florida to Maryland--but few if any had personnel as knowledgeable, professional and helpful as we found at the Bahamas National Archives.
The friendly staff went out of their way to assist us in finding the resources we needed to locate as much data as possible in so short a period of time. While the archives has a policy of allowing themselves 24 hours to complete copies for visitors they waived this requirement in recognition of our pressing time limitations. One archivist had completed some of her own research on Bahamian lighthouse keepers and brought it to us from her lunch break. Such helpfulness, and friendliness, may be the truest example of the beauty of The Bahamas: her people are her country's most valuable asset. None of the resources we requested was missing, and the staff new and could produce all of the data we requested (along with their suggestions). As many researchers have experienced this is not always the case when visiting an archive.
We did have an opportunity to see some of the displays on Bahamian history along with some schoolchildren who visited. We think any visitor to The Bahamas would be well served to do the same. We only hope that the Bahamian government helps maintain this valuable archive.
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