Basic information

This guide was last updated in 2009

Collate the basic details that are already known to you and your family.

Write down as many of your ancestors’ names, dates, locations and occupations as you can, and any other details that you can muster.

It is helpful to put the same questions to several family members: different relatives may tell you different stories or have flexible ideas about names, dates and ages: this is what oral history is all about. Note them all down, and you can investigate later. It is helpful to check that the names you are recording are the actual names of your ancestors, rather than pet names (which are very common in Jamaica), and it is worth while recording birthdays and anniversaries even if the precise year is not known.

One of the key pieces of information that you will need is the area of Jamaica in which your ancestors lived: ideally, the name of the parish. There are more than 20 parishes on the island, so if you have no idea where you are looking, your search may be a long one.

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