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Island People

Read about the people of, and related to, our island

I judge people by what they might be, not are, nor will be.
Robert Browning, in ‘The Speed of Darkness’ (1968)

History, they say, is not about events; it’s about people. This is a subset of our Island Information pages which covers items related to St Helena people.


If there is something about St Helena’s people that we have not covered please contact us and we’ll try to add it in.

Below: Pages • Read More

Island People

The Pages

Information Index
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Island People
Read about the people of, and related to, our island

Community Pages
It’s what’s happening…

Subject Index
These are the pages you are searching for

Image Search
Find images on our site

Recording images of St Helena

Betsy Balcombe
Napoleon’s Friend

The ‘Blue Book’
The Annual Colonial Report

Boer Prisoners (1900-1902)
Home-from-home? Not really…

A Brief History
How we got to here

Characters of St Helena
Eccentric? Colourful? Mad? You decide…

Comparative History
Here and there

Dark Tourism
Visiting the darker parts of our history.

Duke of Edinburgh Playground
For Kids; For Everyone

The Three ‘R’s

The ones that got away

Not all our visitors wanted to be here!

Family And Friends
How to find people on St Helena

Famous Visitors
Let’s drop a few names

The First Battle For St Helena?
Well, maybe…

The Friendly Societies
Lending a hand

Ghost Stories of St Helena
Don’t look round, but…

For the people, by the people?

The Governor of St Helena
The British monarch’s official representative

Historians of St Helena
Recording our past

Important People
They made their mark

It’s the economy, stupid

Isn’t that everything?

Memories of St Helena
‘Well, back in the day…’

Myths Debunked!
Everybody knows that…

His imprisonment, his death, and some things you maybe don’t know about him

Napoleonic Bicentenary
A reason to celebrate…

Who on earth is ‘Gavin Ellick’?

Saint Helena
She gave our island her name

Maybe it’s a state of mind?

Our Sister Islands
Part of our Territory

Slaves and slavery
Part of what makes us what we are

Exploring Space
To the stars and beyond

Origins of island surnames
How islanders got their family names

Titbits from the records
To amuse and inform

Unrest and Rebellion
We’re not gonna take it!

A Very Brief History
The most important bits

Get Married Here
…a memorable place

Anything that didn’t fit in elsewhere

If what you’re looking for isn’t in this index, please consult our Information Index page (the master index) or use the Page Search facility (below).

The Art of Biography is different from Geography
Geography is about Maps, but Biography is about Chaps.


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Below: Article: Family life • Films by Green Renaissance

Article: Family life

From the 2002 Master’s thesis in Human Geography, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, by Maarten Hogenstijn and Daniël van Middelkoop, Page 63{1}

St Helena people

The family is what holds Saint Helenian society together. Relatives help each other with odd jobs or goods all the time, and the flow of remittances is through family relations. Family is a favourite topic of conversation and an important source of identity. What family you are from determines to a large extent what place you will occupy in society. It is the first source of identification, as French consul Michel Martineau stresses: You will hear that if you ask someone who is he or who is she, they will always classify the person by which family he or she belongs to. The first son of, you know. Or, he belongs to this branch. I mean just ask around, who is that, and they will tell family. The individual identity only comes through that. It never works from friendship. They will never tell he is a friend of.

The importance of family life is stressed in many ways. Many people spend Sundays with family. If you go out on Saint Helena, it will often be with the whole family. At Donny’s Club for example, there is always a children’s disco before the adult disco starts on Friday or Saturday nights. A ‘Family day out’ is often organised. Families go out picnicking on Horse Pasture or at Lemon Valley in weekends. As an outsider, you are very lucky to get invited to such occasions. Bishop John comments: I am lucky, because at Christmas I get invited to family celebrations and it’s not just mother-father-children, but it is more what I would call an extended family. It’s far more close-knit here that it would be say in the UK, where the nucleus tends to be just father, mother children. Whereas here, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters all tend to live in the same area.A comment that is often heard informally is that everyone is related to everyone else. This is especially true in outlying districts like Blue Hill or Levelwood, where people tended to marry within their districts. But even in total the number of families on the island is not that great. The phone book listed 153 different family names. But six family names together accounted for a third of the total number of entries.

Films by Green Renaissance

In 2018 a team from Green Renaissance made a number of short films about St Helena, but instead of focussing on the scenery and sights, they focussed on the people. The films make fascinating viewing and you might say they feature modern-day local characters. You can view them on the Green Renaissance website.


Laugh at funny Island People humour - LOL

{1} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

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