Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
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Record Description
Record Type: Parish Transcripts
Collection years: 1664-1880
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Diocese of Jamaica. Registrar General's Department, Spanish Town

What is in This Collection?

This collection will include records from 1664 to 1880. The events of baptism, marriage, and burial were all recorded in one volume until 1754, when a law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book. Banns, or proclamations of “an intent” to marry, were recorded in yet another book. Starting in 1812, preprinted registers were introduced, and then separate registers were kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Before 1812, bishops’ transcripts were usually recorded on loose pieces of paper. Following that year, the transcripts were recorded on the same preprinted forms as parish registers.

In 1824, the Diocese of Jamaica was established. In 1825, the office of Registrar of the Diocese was established. Rectors sent copies of existing registers there and sent annual transcripts thereafter. The parish register transcripts include baptisms, marriages, and burials. Birth and death registers were mandated by law in 1843 and kept for a few years, but the law was widely ignored and was repealed after a few years. Civil registration replaced this system in 1880.

Parish registers were created to record church events of baptism or christening, marriage, and burial. Baptismal entries usually list the person’s birth date, and burial entries list the death date. In the Church of England, baptism, which was also called christening, was performed soon after the birth of a child. Marriage in the church legally united a man and a woman for civil legal reasons and for the purpose of founding a religiously sanctified family. Burial is a function of the church to inter the deceased soon after death.

Church of England parish registers are the most reliable and accurate family history source until July 1837, when the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. However, parish registers continue to play an important role because they are often more readily available than civil registers. Bishops’ transcripts are a backup source for parish registers that are missing or illegible.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

Parish Creation Dates

This list gives the date each parish was created. The first parishes were created in 1664.

  • St. Andrew - original parish
  • St. Ann - original parish
  • St. Catherine - original parish
  • Clarendon - original parish
  • St. David - original parish, absorbed by St. Thomas in the East, 1866
  • St. Dorothy - separated from Clarendon, 1675; absorbed by St. Catherine, 1866
  • St. Elizabeth - original parish
  • St. George - original parish, absorbed by Portland, 1866
  • Hanover - separated from Westmoreland, 1723
  • St. James - original parish
  • St. John - original parish; absorbed by St. Catherine, 1866
  • Kingston - separated from St. Andrew, 1693
  • Manchester - created from St. Elizabeth
  • Clarendon and Vere, 1814
  • St. Mary - original parish
  • Metcalfe - created from St. George and St. Mary, 1841; absorbed by St. Mary, 1866
  • Portland - created from St. George and St. Thomas in the East, 1723
  • Port Royal - original parish, portion absorbed by Kingston and the rest by St. Andrew, 1866
  • St. Thomas in the East - original parish, portion absorbed by Portland, 1866
  • St. Thomas in the Vale - separated from St. Catherine 1675; reabsorbed by it, 1866
  • Trelawny - separated from St. James, 1770
  • Vere - separated from Clarendon, 1673; reabsorbed by it, 1866
  • Westmoreland - separated from St. Elizabeth, 1703

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880.

What Can These Recoards Tell Me?

The registers are arranged in five series:

  • Copy registers of individual parishes, early to about 1825
  • Parish registers (transcripts compiled at the Diocesan Office), 1826 to 1850 and 1860 to 1871
  • Parish registers, new series (transcripts as in 2), 1849 to1860
  • Law 6 registers (refers to law 6 passed in 1871)
  • Birth and death registers, 1844-1851

The entries for parishes are combined in all but the first series. There are indexes for each parish covering the first three series of registers. There is a separate but incomplete index for the period 1860-1871. There is a separate index for Law 6 registers.

Entries for the different events were carried to a succeeding register at different times. Consequently, the inclusive dates of an individual volume may overlap with another volume. For example, the inclusive dates for a volume may be 1822-1844, representing baptisms 1822-1833, marriages 1822-1844 and burials 1822-1840; and the inclusive dates for the next vol. 1834-1855 representing baptisms 1833-1855, marriages 1844-1855 and burials 1840-1855. Volume numbers indicated in the listing are those assigned by the archive.

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Date of baptism
  • Place of birth
  • Full name of child
  • Parents' names
  • Parent's residence
  • Parent's profession


  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age, marital status
  • Groom's occupation
  • Bride's name, age, marital status
  • Residences of bride and groom


  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of burial
  • Year of death
  • Race of deceased
  • Residence of deceased


  • Name and age of deceased
  • Day, month and year of death
  • Gender, profession of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Residence of deceased
  • Name and residence of informant

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

To search for a person in a Church of England parish register, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of the person
  • Approximate date of the event
  • Where the person lived and the corresponding parish
  • When the person lived - If you do not know the time period, you must estimate it from what you know of more recent generations.

To search by index

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select Parish
  2. Select Record Type and Years to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • If possible, use what you know to find an image of the original record. The index contains only basic identifying information for a person; the original record therefore may contain more information not found in the index.
  • Continue to search the index for family members.
  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later.
  • Use the age or estimated birth date to determine an approximate birth date to find church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage and death records.
  • Use the information in each record to find additional family members in the censuses.
  • Use the information found in the record to find land or probate records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family member’s records to find more generations of the family.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Check for variants of given names and surnames. It was not uncommon for an individual to be listed under a nickname, middle name, or abbreviation of their given name (Do not include the nickname instructions to foreign collections as the list is US-oriented)
  • Search the records of nearby locations
  • You may find a birth date listed or be able to approximate a birth date
  • Marriage records after 1754 list the names of witnesses, who were often family members. These can help you identify your ancestor’s family
  • Your ancestor may have been baptized in the same parish they were later married in
  • If possible, you may want to search both the parish registers and the bishops’ transcripts since one is a handwritten copy of the other and might contain differences

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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