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Jamaica Genealogy
by Nemonie Cassells

I can’t tell you how many times I've asked people about their family background and at some point or the other I hear:

mi family a Syrian from mi granny side
(My family is from a Syrian background on my grandmother’s side)
OR
Wi a coolie, if you si my grandfadda hair, it pretty, pretty!”
(We are Indians from my Grandfather’s side, he has nice hair).

And I can’t tell you either, how many times I have secretly rolled my eyes and chuckled in amusement because in my head I’m thinking:

bwoi dat deh genes deh miss you!”
(Boy that gene surely missed you!) 

Truth be told, many Jamaicans tend to want to embrace what ever European (Or Indian) bloodline they can, even if this bloodline happens to be by marriage, and the individual’s actual genes is not altered by it. 

But on a more serious/important note, a genealogy search is helpful for many reasons including (according to the RGD), these include:

  • Satisfying an inherent desire to know “Who am I?” and “Where Did I come from?”
  • Determining a relationship to some historical person, to some member of the nobility or to famous persons such as movie stars and athletic personalities.
  • Extending and re- connecting family units, which have been fragmented and separated.
  • Educating young people by bringing history to life
  • Tracing causes of deaths through generations in order to assist in medical research
  • Etc. etc.

BUT THE SAD PART...

...is that, until relatively recently, there were only a few medium or portals online that allowed us to do any sort of Jamaica genealogy research.

I can only imagine what it might have been like for those before us who embarked on a Jamaican genealogy search in the past.

NOW THE GOOD NEWS :-)

... is that with the development of the internet and advancement in technology, some records have surfaced and for some persons wanting to look up their family backgrounds, this is now possible!

The following are two (two) of the popular genealogy search tools online as I write...

  1. FamilySearch.org &

    is a good website to find some records on births and marriages about your Jamaican ancestors. Just click on search, then type in the name of your ancestor. Please remember however, to put the name of the country you want to records from in the box provided.

    You may also use this link directly to do your search. https://familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&query=%2Brecord_country%3AJamaica

  2. JamaicanFamilySearch.com

    is another popular website that is used to find historical Jamaican records, dating back to the 1700s.

But even with those, it can be bit 'touch and go' as you know, data is only available if it is uploaded to the internet. And you know that outside of track and field :-), we are not always the quickest out of the blocks.

So what is our recommendation?...

The New Jamaica Genealogy Search Service - From The RGD!

The Registrar General's Department is the official repository for all record of birth, death, marriages etc, in Jamaica - and they now offer the genealogy search as a paid but very welcome service!

You can apply from virtually anywhere in the world - no need to be in Jamaica!

And don't let that scare you know, its much cheaper than you probably would guess :-)

And it is pretty easy, you simply:

  1. Collect all the records you can – birth, marriage, death or adoption certificates, deed polls or any other documents.
  2. Complete the online search form and submit it, or send email to genealogy@rgd.gov.jm. You may also call them directly at 876-619-1260.

For details and the step by step procedure, Click Here. 
You may also, click below to go directly to the only application and search form.

jamaica genealogy search tool

Now go and establish your family history, it's all up to you! 
Actually, I do hope this information helps ;-) Good Luck!

Return To My Island Jamaica Homepage from Jamaica Genealogy
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