Registration parishes and districts in Jamaica

Civil registration began in Jamaica in 1878 with births and marriages followed by deaths in 1880. It became law that records of vital events were to be administered by the Jamaican government. Prior to 1878 records for baptisms, marriages and burials were centralised at Island Secretary Office in Spanish Town.  Since 1st April 1878 records were in the custody of  Register General which were then deposited into General Record Office, Spanish Town. Commencement of Civil registration arose as one of the consequences of discussions regarding one of the decisions to re -structure the organisation of the church. As of the 1st April 1878 each parish was divided in registration districts each with appointed registrar. Prior to 1878,  records of vital events were organised and held by churches such as Church of England and dissenter churches of the following denominations: Wesleyan, Jewish, Methodist, Baptist, Moravian, United Brethren, Quakers, London Mission Society and Roman Catholic.

Presently Jamaica is made up of  fourteen parishes of which each is assigned a code that identifies the administration of registration  records that pertains to births, marriages and burials. Original parishes created between 1655 – 1675 were:

St Elizabeth
St James
St Ann
St John
St Andrew
St George
St David
St Thomas
Port Royal

Presently parish registration codes assigned:

Kingston: A Clarendon: H
St Andrew: B Manchester: I
St Thomas: C St Elizabeth: K
Portland: D Westmoreland: L
St Catherine: E Hanover: M
St Mary: F St James: N
St Ann: G Trelawny: O

An example of a birth registration

Birth certificates were introduced 1878. Please note that the following refers to a fictional case, however it represents the example of  the administrative details found on a birth certificate.

Birth of Mary Brown was registered as HT114 on  12th March 1897 to parents Albert and May Brown.

  • H refers to parish of Clarendon
  • T refers to the local district of Spalding in Clarendon – a local district register office.
  • 114 usually refers to the 114th person who registered the birth after the creation of the local district register office.

See below for a link to the map illustrating codes assigned

Copyright Sharon Tomlin 2008