Jamaica Emigration and Immigration

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jamaica Wiki Topics
Flag of Jamaica.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Jamaica Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Jamaica[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Jamaica, see Jamaica Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Jamaica Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.===Immigration to Jamaica===

  • Jamaica was a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. *Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations.
  • Many slaves managed to escape, forming autonomous communities in remote and easily defended areas in the interior of Jamaica, mixing with the remaining Taino; these communities became known as Maroons.
  • Small numbers of Jews also came to live on the island.
  • The Irish in Jamaica also formed a large part of the island's early population, making up two-thirds of the white population on the island in the late 17th century, twice that of the English population. They were brought in as indentured laborers and soldiers after the conquest of 1655. The majority of Irish were transported by force as political prisoners of war from Ireland. Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century.
  • When the English captured Jamaica in 1655, most Spanish colonists fled, with the exception of Spanish Jews, who chose to remain in the island. Spanish slave holders freed their slaves before leaving Jamaica.
  • Many slaves dispersed into the mountains, joining the already established maroon communities. During the centuries of slavery, Jamaican Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, where they maintained their freedom and independence for generations.
  • Beginning in the 1840s, the British began using Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations.
  • The majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, with significant European, East Asian (primarily Chinese), Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. [1]

German Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Between 1834 and 1842 four groups of Germans left for Jamaica:

  1. Thirteen families from the Braunschweig area landed in 1834 in Kingston. Their first settlement "Brunswick" failed. They eventually went to Clarendon.
  2. In December 1834 506 Germans landed in Port Royal. Some settled in Ballintoy/Alva, St Ann.
  3. 532 Germans landed in 1835 in Rio Bueno, Trelawny. Most of them originated from the Weserbergland and Westphalia, 28 came from Waldeck. 251 founded Seaford Town in Westmoreland. Of these settlers 34 died within the next two years, 108 moved on (mostly to the USA) and 119 stayed.
  4. 107 settlers arrived in December 1838, originating from Northern Germany, Franken and the Rhön (cultural areas).

Emigration from Jamaica[edit | edit source]

  • It was estimated in 2004 that up to 2.5 million Jamaicans and Jamaican descendants live abroad. The largest pools of Jamaicans, outside of Jamaica itself, exist in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, other Caribbean islands, and all across the Caribbean Coast of Central America, namely Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. There has also been emigration of Jamaicans to other Caribbeans countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guyana, and The Bahamas.
  • After a slave rebellion in 1795–96, many Maroons from the Maroon town of Cudjoe's Town (Trelawny Town) were expelled to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone.
  • Jamaicans in the United Kingdom number an estimated 800,000 making them by far the country's largest African-Caribbean group. Large-scale migration from Jamaica to the UK occurred primarily in the 1950s and 1960s when the country was still under British rule. Jamaican communities exist in most large UK cities.
  • Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are quite considerable in numerous cities in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the Miami metro area, Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Hartford, Providence and Los Angeles.
  • In Canada, the Jamaican population is centered in Toronto, with smaller communities in cities such as Hamilton, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa. Jamaican Canadians comprise about 30% of the entire Black Canadian population.
  • A notable though much smaller group of emigrants are Jamaicans in Ethiopia. These are mostly Rastafarians, in whose theological worldview Africa is the promised land, or "Zion", or more specifically Ethiopia. Most live in the small town of Shashamane about 150 miles (240 km) south of the capital Addis Ababa.
  • More recently many resort- and wild-life-management-skilled Jamaicans have been trending emigration toward such far-flung nations as Australia, New Zealand (especially in Wellington and, to a lesser extent, Auckland) the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.[1][2]

Records of Jamaican Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries below.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Jamaica", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica, accessed 11 June 2021.
  2. "Jamaican diaspora", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_diaspora, accessed 11 June 2021.