The Jamaican family recognises the unique family structure that comprises a mixture of nuclear and extended families. Nuclear family make up comprise mother, father and children. Extended families comprise nuclear family plus grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, adopted relations and cousins.
The organisation of the Jamaican family structure is complex that is highlighted by the inherent system of historical circumstances both prior to and post slavery. This has resulted in several patterns of family organisation of which is considered normal within the context of the Jamaican society.
Many beliefs and practices followed today the influences are of African origin. While the majority of Jamaican population is of African ancestry, other influences can be found from groups such as European, Chinese, Indian and Lebanese. Many Jamaican families comprise a mixture of ethnicities.
RESEARCHING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY …… WHERE DO WE BEGIN
For many Jamaican families it is difficult to name sometimes our grandparents, especially our great-grandparents and least likely to name our great-great grandparents.
The writer has explored the family roots to the late 18th century. During the – wonderfully overused word - ”journey” has discovered a rich array of information that has satisfied sufficiently the message that her father conveyed to her with the phrase - “do you know that we are blessed people”. For many years that phrase made no sense. The writer discovered the complicated lives that the ancestors had to endure, the array of professions undertaken by freed ancestors, the economic struggle to maintain the family unit that usually led to high infant mortality especially during the time of the flu pandemic during the early 20th century.
Also discovered the Jamaican comedy of manners fashioned by Victorian and Edwardian values such as the upkeep of high status of social climbers within the Jamaican community. In 1944, legislation passed that endorsed the free to vote for the majority of the Jamaican population ( politically achieved at an earlier date than for African-Americans of the day).
You too will discover the rich array of history for you and your family.