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22 March 2011

Jamaican Civil Registration of Births

When researching Jewish families in any part of the world, it is always nice to have multiple sources for information. It can not only be useful in verifying current information but may also provide help in adding new family members. One great example of this, are the records of the Civil Registration of Births for Jamaica.
In their wonderful book, The Jews of Jamaica Tombstone Inscriptions 1663-1880 (FHL book #979.92 V3), Richard D. Barnett and Philip Wright, list the burials of 2 sons of Jacob Henry De Pass and his wife Louise Alberga. Those sons, George Cecil and Arthur Rich are buried in Kingston, Jamaica at the Orange Street Cemetery. While it is possible that these are the only 2 children in the family, another record to search would be helpful in finding out if that were true.
Thanks to the Historical Record Collections database located at, that is now possible to do from home. On the front page of FamilySearch, the collections can be browsed by location. Simply by clicking on the link for Caribbean, Central and South America, (Shown Below) all of the collections for that region can be shown.

In that list of 75 collections for the region, there are 3 specifically for Jamaica. Included in those are the Jamaica, Civil Birth Registrations with over 1.25 million records. Included with those records are all the images. This makes searching the records quite easy.

In looking for records of the family of Jacob Henry De Pass and his wife Louise Alberga, a simple search using the last name De Pass yields 660 hits. Included amongst those records are the birth registrations of four daughters. They are an unnamed daughter born in 1880, as well as Violet May born in 1882, Dorris Marjorie born in 1889 and Norah Gwendolan born in 1890. According to the records (shown below) all 4 daughters were born in Kingston.

A further search of these records finds many more members of the family. While this example is of Jamaica, there are now hundreds of databases from around the world that may include record of our Jewish ancestors. A few moments to get acquainted with the site could prove to be most beneficial in your research.

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