Example from the register of St Catherine’s parish taken from FamilySearch.org, showing the baptism of a daughter to John Lee (brother of Robert Cooper Lee) and Mary Lord. It also shows the baptism of a legitimate child, the ‘bastard’ son of Robert Taylor, records the ‘mulatto’ status of the Clifford children and shows two adult baptisms.
One of the wonderful things about genealogical research is the willingness of so many people to share what they know, to help you find records you are looking for, and to make information available to everyone without charge. There are volunteers working all over the world to read and transcribe vital records, and other material, and to put it on-line.
Assuming you have access to a computer (or you would not be reading this!) you have a vast volume of information to draw on that could not have been imagined by our predecessors who had to work by visiting their local parish church, writing to the vicar of a parish they thought their ancestor might have come from, or requesting documents from their local county record office in the hope that they would find something useful. All these avenues are still available, and are often very useful, but working from home, or in your local library (which may also have a subscription to some of the paid genealogy sites such as Ancestry) there are many records available to you for free.
The first site I ever used, and one of the very first to put records onto the internet, was familysearch.org . To quote from them directly:
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years.
The site has recently had a makeover and increasingly hosts a much wider variety of records than the baptisms and marriages of the original IGI (International Genealogical Index). In addition to transcribed indexes they now also include images from parish registers, and burials and census records are gradually being added. For Jamaica’s early parish registers, baptisms are now indexed but for the present to access older marriages and burials you must still use the images of the original handwritten indexes and then find the corresponding register page.
Transcribing Jamaican records presents particular problems, not just of difficult handwriting, but because of the complex state of relationships and colour status so it is always worth trying different combinations of parent names and different spellings. Apart from those who had no choice in coming to Jamaica from Africa, there were many arrivals from other parts of the world and as IGI widens its geographic spread you may now be able to find your ancestors who came from places other than Great Britain. You may also find ancestors who left Jamaica for the USA, Canada and other countries.
Recently completed indexing projects that will shortly be available on line include the following:
- Italia (Antenati Italiani), Bergamo—Nati, 1875-1894 [Part 2C]
- U.S.—1900 Census
- Magyarország, Szabolcs—polgári anyakönyvi adatok, 1895–1978 [3. Rész]
- U.S. (Community Project), New York—New York Passenger Lists, 1942–1957 [Part J]
- Belgium, Limburg, Lommel—Civil Registration, 1891–1910 [Part 2]
- U.S. (Community Project), New York, New York—Passenger Lists, 1942–1957 [Part F]
- Italia (Antenati Italiani), Cremona—Nati, 1875–1902 [Part 2B]
- U.S. (Community Project), Illinois—Northern District Naturalization Index, 1926–1979 [Part D]
- U.S. (Community Project), Illinois—Northern District Naturalization Index, 1926–1979 [Part C]
- U.S., Virginia, Richmond—Birth Index, 1870–1912
- U.S., Florida—County Marriages, 1830–1957 [Part D]
- U.S., Massachusetts, Plymouth County–Probate Index, 1881–1939
- Sverige, Stockholm stad—Register til kyrkoböcker, 1546–1927
- Italia (Antenati Italiani), Udine—Nati, 1875–1901 [Parte 2B]
- Russland, Sankt Petersburg—Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1833–1885 [Teil A]
- U.S., Georgia—Deaths, 1931–1940 [Part A]
- Canada, New Brunswick—Provincial Marriages, 1789–1950 [Part A]
- U.S., Georgia—Deaths, 1931–1940 [Part B]
- Brasil, Rio de Janeiro—Cartões de Imigração, 1900–1965 [Parte 3DD]
- Jamaica—Civil Marriages and Deaths, 1871–1995 [Part B]
- U.S. (Community Project), Illinois—Northern District Naturalization Index, 1926–1979 [Part A]
- U.S. (Community Project), Rhode Island—Naturalization Index of the District Courts, 1906–1991
- U.S., Tennessee—Deaths, 1956–1961
- U.S., California—County Marriages 1850–1952 [Part D]
- El Salvador—Registros Civiles 1836–1910 [Part B]
- U.S., Kentucky—Death Certificates, 1956–1961
- Brasil, Rio de Janeiro—Cartões de Imigração, 1900–1965 [Parte 3EE]
- U.S. (Community Project), Connecticut—Naturalization Indexes from the District Court, 1851–1992
- U.S. (Community Project), New York—Passenger Lists, 1942–1957 [Part K]
- U.S.—Applications for Headstones for Veterans, 1941–1949
- Italia (Antenati Italiani), Bergamo—Nati, 1875-1894 [Part 2B]
- México, Coahuila, Matamoros y Torreón registros Iglesia Católica, 1870-1966
- Deutschland, Mecklenburg-Schwerin—1867 Volkszählung [Teil C]
- U.S., Alabama—County Marriages, 1809–1950 [Part D]
- Nederland, Zuid-Holland, Leiden—Burgelijke Stand, Geboorten, 1870–1882
- U.S., Arkansas—WWII , First Draft Registration Cards, 1940–1945 [Part C]
- Danmark—Borgerlige Ægteskabsbøger, 1923–1961