Jamaica Church Records
Jamaica Church Records
The official religion in Jamaica is Church of England with records beginning as early as 1664. The records are cataloged by parish (see Jamaica/Jurisdictions).
Up to the year 1824, each parish had a separate book with baptisms, marriages and burials. In 1824 the Diocese of Jamaica was established. The system of recording changed. Many parishes are in the same volume, therefore an the same film, but there were separate volumes for vital events”. It is advisable to look up the index volumes (there may be several) under each event list for your surname. The names are alphabetically divided but have to be searched under a given letter.
In Jamaica burials will be most likely close to death dates. Christenings, however, could be years apart from the actual birth, especially if a family had daughters only and then a son. It could well be that the sisters were christened together with their brother.
Law 6 registers are government registers from 1866 to civil registration times. They have Indexes as well. Look at the indexes first to determine the correct records. Law 6 registers are found under Jamaica/Church records.
According to Noel B. Livingston (writing in 1910), parish registers 'were in 1890 removed from the various churches where they had been previously kept and placed under the custody of the Registrar-General, who was appointed in 1877 on the passing of a law for the proper registration of births and deaths. This officer is also the Deputy-Keeper of the records already referred to, and his office and the records under his care are kept in the same building in Spanish Town used as the Island Record Office.'
- Metcalfe Parish
- Port Royal Parish
- Saint David Parish
- Saint Dorothy Parish
- Saint George Parish
- Saint John Parish
- Saint Thomas ye Vale Parish
- Vere Parish
Family History Library Collection
In order to locate the correct records, it is useful to study the notes after clicking on “Parish register transcripts 1646-1880” in the Family History Catalog, which are currently being digitised: Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Some of the indexes are tightly bound and the volume and page numbers (folies) of the entry of interest may be blurred. It is advisable to check the entry before and after for clarification. In particular, take note if the volume (liber) is listed as New Series, for this leads to a different set of films with perhaps the same volume number.
After the year, page and volume are found, a search in the Family History Library catalog will provide the film with the actual entry. (Note: In church records, christenings and burials are listed rather than births and deaths.)
The British Library Collection
Lists of early Jamaica marriages were discovered in the British Library in London. They are available for free online:
- Noel B. Livingston, 'Jamaica Records,' Caribbeana, Vol. 1 (1910):136. Digitised by dLOC - free.