Jamaica has been divided into 14 parishes. Half of these bear names of churches, like St. Ann, St. Mary, St. Catherine etc. When Jamaica was taken over by England in 1655, their system of administration was applied to record births, marriages and deaths on the island. At some point in time Jamaica had 21 parishes. Through merging and boundary changes, 14 parishes have remained since the year 1866.
In order to search for church and vital records, it is necessary to know the exact place of an event in the life of an ancestor. The birth, marriage or place of death needs to be matched with the correct parish.