Bridge to the Future

Holdings - Archives

The Finding Aids for archival records are structured around the different categories/supra-fonds of records in the custody of the Jamaica Archives, which have been organised into five (5) main categories, namely, Central Government, Local Government, Statutory Bodies, Private and Ecclesiastical. The indices provide an historical overview of the creating agencies, the types of records included in each collection and the dates when they were created. Individual entries in the indices provide information on the reference number, which is derived from one of the main categories of records, the description of the item and the date of creation.


These records are organized into two (2) main groups based on their office of origin:

  1. Legal: These are records from the various courts of Jamaica, namely, the Court of Chancery, Grand Court, Assize Court, Supreme Court and parish court records for the period 1676 – 1947.
  2. Administrative: Records from the Island Records Office (IRO), Colonial Secretary’s Office (CSO), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA). They cover the period 1661 – 2010 and include records such as inventories, crop accounts, manumission of slaves, slave registers, parish registers, Journals of the House of Assembly records, correspondence files, maps/plans, etc.


This collection consists of the surviving records of the Vestries, Municipal Boards, Parochial Boards and Parish Councils for seventeen (17) parishes, namely, St. Thomas-ye-Vale, St. Catherine, St. James, Hanover, Trelawney, Kingston and St. Andrew, Westmoreland, Clarendon, St. Ann, St. Elizabeth, Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Manchester, St. George, Port Royal and St. David. In addition to minutes of meetings, the Local Government records include slave returns, slave trials, petty session courts, accounts, tax rolls, poor relief registers and correspondence to and from central government authorities. The records are organised by parishes and cover the period 1735 – 1978.


These are records produced or received from quasi-government bodies or agencies with statutory authority and include minute books, reports, correspondence, commentaries, journals, brochures, newsletters and publications for the period 1896 – 2007.


These are papers and other records of individuals and organisations donated to the Archives Unit by virtue of their historical value and significance. These records include correspondence, diaries, minute books, accounts, publications, photographs, medals and estate journals, estate plans, agreements, deeds, conveyances. They range in size from an item to a large collection such as the Worthy Park papers and cover the period 1715 – 2006.


This collection consists of records deposited by the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church (now part of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands), the United Congregation of Israelites, the Moravian Church, the Methodist/Wesleyan Church and the Society of Friends (Quakers). There are no records for the Baptist Church and Roman Catholic Archives houses the records of the Catholic Church. They include birth, marriage and death records, congregation registers, minute books, correspondence, Synod journals, reports and records re educational institutions for the period 1757 – 2008.


The Unit maintains a small reference collection of printed items on aspects of Jamaican history and life. There are also copies of Proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate (and their predecessors), Departmental and Annual Reports, Blue Books of Jamaica, Laws of Jamaica, Jamaica Gazettes, Handbooks of Jamaica and Who’s Who in Jamaica.