Every result will provide an image of the registration and a transcript of the vital facts. The amount of information you find will depend on the quality and age of the original record. Most results will include
Spouse’s father’s name
The image may provide additional information; such as, the person’s occupation, marital status, age, and names of witnesses.
Civil registration in Jamaica – the official registering of births, marriages and deaths by the state – started in 1878, and was enforced from 1880, covering the entire population. A central office, called the Registrar General’s Department (“RGD”), was established in Spanish Town in 1879. Registration is carried out through a network of Local District Registrars (“LDRs”), responsible for their own districts and for submitting copies of their records to the RGD.
Each LDR has an alpha code, which prefixes every registration number given at the registering of a birth, marriage or death (the numbering is sequential).
The first letter in the alpha code relates to the Parish. In this context, Parish means the local authority administrative areas (and not ecclesiastical parishes, such as those created by the Anglican Church). Throughout the civil registration era there have been 14 Parishes in Jamaica; neither they, nor the three Counties in which they are nested, have any significance for civil registration.
The second letter in the alpha code is specific to the Local District Registrar.
In combination, these letters create the identifier for the LDR.
For example, all LDRs in the Parish of Manchester (in the County of Middlesex) have the leading alpha character I in their code. Mandeville, which is an LDR within Manchester, has the alpha code IA, while Old England has the code IT.
As in many jurisdictions, Jamaica’s Local District Registrars have changed over time. Some have been renamed, other subdivided with population expansion, so creating new LDRs. Where the availability of two-letter codes is no longer sufficient, a third alpha character is added. For example, again within Manchester Parish, over time new LDRs were created such as Williamsfield (code IAA) and Royal Flat (IAE).
Note that it is known that the letter J was never used in any of these codes, and it appears that the same may be true of the letter U.
A table showing the Local District Registrars can be access from the Useful Links bar to the right.
These records include civil marriage ceremonies conducted by local registrars. However, as with civil registration systems elsewhere, all places of worship licensed to celebrate marriages had to submit copies of their registers to the Registrar General’s Department.
Anglican parish registers probably constitute the main source – in other words, the records of marriage created by the individual Anglican churches throughout the island, such as Christ Church in Port Antonio and St Gabriel in May Pen. However, there are plenty of marriage records relating to other denominations. When using this collection, you will soon records marked as being Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian, for example.
Certified copy marriage certificates can be obtained. These are good for all legal purposes, such as evidencing change of name and proof of ID. They can be ordered online from the Registrar General’s Department in Spanish Town, Jamaica. A link is available in the Useful Links and Resources.
The form asks for the Marriage Entry Number, which is the unique reference which the RGD will use to find the original register and then produce a certificate from the right entry in the register. This should be the registration number mentioned above, preceded by its LDR code – e.g. IA123 would be the 123rd marriage registered in Mandeville (IA) in Manchester Parish. If you do not have this entry number, you can request it, without charge, from the RGD. A link is available in the Useful Links and Resources.