Jamaican birth records in late 1800's with no given name

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Jamaican birth records in late 1800's with no given name

Postby Teri » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:30 pm

Does anyone know whether it was common to have no name for an infant on Jamaican birth records of the late 1800's? I have found what has to be the birth record (1887, District of Adelphi, Parish of St. James) of my great-aunt because the parents' names and father's occupation are listed- however, under name (for the baby) it is blank, under sex, it is written female.

According to a book about the Maroons ("Maroon Heritage: Archaeological Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives" ed. E. Kofi Agorsah, 1994 Canoe Press) it was a common practice to delay the giving of a name to a child among Maroons, and on the birth records it was left blank.

Any comments or ideas? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Jamaican birth records in late 1800's with no given name

Postby caquart » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:18 pm

I also have found a number of birth records after civil registration in Jamaica that give no name for the child - just date of birth and sex. I'm not sure why this is. It's not only Jamaica as I have a similar situation in Grenada. I have no connections to Maroons that I know of.

Cathy A.
Researching the Aquart family: Martinique, St.Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica.
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Re: Jamaican birth records in late 1800's with no given name

Postby bimjim » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:45 pm

While searching some of the LDS microfilmed records for Barbados I also found whole stretches - page after page - of birth registrations with no first names, no fathers' names, very little else than the location, the mother's name, and a birth date. On occasion not even a box for the sex of the child checked.

These seem to have been births reported periodically by midwives of country home births where they possibly lived in their area and came to the records office once every several months. It seems the midwives did not even go back later to find out what names the children had been given or, if they did eventually know, never inserted them.

I really had to shake my head when I thought of descendants, scores of years (or centuries) later, trying to find their way back through the family tree and hitting this void of deliberate blanks.

A very sad case - not of a natural disaster destroying records - but of the records never even being completed in the first place. Laziness? Stupidity? Spite? Incompetence? Lack of interest? It could not have been lack of education, because at least some of the forms had been completed.
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Re: Jamaican birth records in late 1800's with no given name

Postby Teri » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:30 am

Thanks Cathy A. and bimjim :)
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