Jamaica Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Jamaica, go to the Religious Records page.


Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • Religion in Jamaica, according to the most recent census (2001), consists of a breakdown of 66% Christian (62% Protestant, 2% Roman Catholic, and 2% Jehovah's Witnesses), 3% unstated, and 10% other.
  • 62% of the Jamaican population are Protestants. Jamaican Protestantism is composed of several denominations: 24% Church of God, 11% Seventh-day Adventist, 10% Pentecostal, 7% Baptist, 4% Anglican, 2% United Church, 2% Methodist, 1% Moravian and 1% Brethren Christian. The Church of God has 111 congregations in six regions.
  • There are about 50,000 (2%) Catholics in Jamaica.
  • Anglicanism was introduced by the British in 1664. In 1824, the Diocese of Jamaica, which also included Belize and the Bahamas, was established.[1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name



How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Jamaica.
b. Click on Places within Jamaica and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Anglican Church Records[edit | edit source]

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).

Jamaica Parishes[edit | edit source]

Cornwall County

Middlesex County

Surrey County

Additional Parishes

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Anglicanism was introduced by the British in 1664. The first church was built on the spot of the Spanish Church of the Red Cross in Spanish Town, and is the oldest Anglican cathedral outside of the British Isles and the oldest place of continuous worship in the western hemisphere. By the early nineteenth century, abolitionism had propelled other denominations to the forefront, and threatened the established Anglican church. Thus, in 1824, the Diocese of Jamaica, which also included Belize and the Bahamas, was established. In 1861, the Bahamas became a separate diocese, and, in 1891, the same happened to Belize. During the 1960s, the Cayman Islands were added, and, in 2001, the diocese was renamed the Diocese of Jamaica & the Cayman Islands. Today, the diocese is part of the Church in the Province of the West Indies.[3]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Jamaica Baptist Union is a Baptist Christian denomination, affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance, in Jamaica. The headquarters is in Kingston, Jamaica. The Baptist Union of Jamaica dates back to 1782 when George Liele, a former freed slave from Atlanta in Georgia, came to Jamaica and began preaching in Kingston. In 1814, the BMS World Mission, a British organization, sent its first missionary to the island to open a school in Falmouth in the Trelawny Parish, for the children of slaves. The ministry continued to grow and expand during British colonization. After emancipation, Baptists contributed to the creation of "free villages" for the new emancipated people. This included the purchase of large parcels of land cut into small holdings, which were sold to families. The villages also included a school and a Baptist church. The Baptists also created, in 1843, the Calabar Theological College for training ministers for local preaching and missions in Africa and the Caribbean, which became the United Theological College of the West Indies in 1966. In 1849, the Jamaica Baptist Union was officially founded. In 2016, it has 337 churches and 40,000 members.[4]

Brethren Christian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • There are about 50,000 (2%) Catholics in Jamaica, which is divided into three dioceses, including one archdiocese:
    • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston in Jamaica
    • Roman Catholic Diocese of Mandeville
    • Roman Catholic Diocese of Montego Bay
    • The Missionaries of the Poor monastic order originated in Kingston, Jamaica.[5][6]

Church of God Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first missionary of the Church came to Jamaica in 1841, but his stay was brief. In 1853, missionaries were again sent to Jamaica. They found a great deal of antagonism and stayed only six weeks.Latter-day Saint families of John L. Whitefields and Jay P. Bills, came to Jamaica in the late 1960s and began holding meetings in Mandeville. The Mandeville Branch (a small congregation) was created 22 March 1970. Full-time missionaries began teaching again in Jamaica in November 1978. By 1983, membership had increased to 300. Jamaica became part of the new West Indies Mission created in 1983. In November of that year ground was broken for a chapel in Kingston.
Total Church Membership: 6,542. Congregations: 18.[7]


Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

For a detailed history, see History of Church, Methodist Jamaica District

Moravian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

For a detailed history, see Jamaica Province of the Moravian Church

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Presbyterian Church of Jamaica was organized in 1823 by the Scottish Missionary Society. [8]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

United Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is a united church formed on 1 December 1965 as the "United Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman" by bringing the Protestant denominations "Presbyterian Church in Jamaica" and "Congregational Union of Jamaica" together. The "Disciples of Christ in Jamaica" joined on 13 December 1992, at which time the current name was adopted. All started in 1800 when the Scottish Missionary Society established the Presbyterian denomination in Jamaica. In 1848 the first Synod was held. Congregational churches were formed by the assistance of the London Missionary Society from 1834. Later the Colonial Missionary Socirty take over the congregational work. The Congregational Union of Jamaica was formed in 1877. The Disciples of Christ (United States) started mission in 1839. Between 1870 and 1950 over 30 congregations were established. It became independent in the 1950s. Since the United Church was established, it has represented a strong presence of the Reformed faith in Jamaica.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Jamaica", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica, accessed 26 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Jamaica", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Jamaica, accessed 26 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese_of_Jamaica_and_the_Cayman_Islands, accessed 26 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Jamaica Baptist Union", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica_Baptist_Union, accessed 26 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Jamaica", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Jamaica, accessed 26 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Jamaica", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Jamaica, accessed 26 March 2020.
  7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Jamaica, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Jamaica, accessed 26 March 2020.
  8. "1900 Handbook of Jamaica", http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/handbk10.htm, accessed 13 May 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_in_Jamaica_and_the_Cayman_Islands, accessed 27 March 2020.

References[edit | edit source]