Welcome to A Parcel of Ribbons, a website about Georgian Jamaica named after the parcel that my ancestor’s brother Robert Cooper Lee took with him to Jamaica to sell. Here you will find original articles, family trees, transcriptions of Wills and other documents and links to useful information resources for anyone interested in Jamaican genealogy and the history of the colonial period.
I came upon Jamaica quite by accident while researching my family history. I have always been fascinated by the past lives of ordinary people. School exam history with its emphasis on wars and acts of parliament bored me, but the lives of our ancestors, where and how they lived, that was something else.
It is a cliché, but nonetheless true, that the internet has revolutionised family history research. When I first began using a primitive computer database to record my findings almost the only website available for basic parish register data was the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Now there is a huge amount of available material and much of it is in image form, reducing the need to seek out the original source in person.
I hope that by sharing here some of what I have accumulated it may prove of use or interest to others researching their Jamaican connected families, or who simply have an interest in the history of the eighteenth century.
The ‘long eighteenth century’ from the exiling of James II in 1688 to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, or even the great Reform Act of 1832, is an amazing and formative period in the creation of the modern world. It is also a critical period in the history of Jamaica, from its colonisation by the British beginning in 1655, through the development of ‘King Sugar’ made possible by the enslavement of tens of thousands of Africans, to eventual emancipation in 1838 – all driven by the white Plantocracy for whom Jamaica would provide the route to a fortune or an early grave.
As a result of setting up this website I went on to become a qualified genealogist, with a Diploma in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. I now run Quandary Genealogy researching family trees and specialising in those linking Jamaica and the UK.
Anne M Powers