Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library


At various periods in the history Jamaica, Acts were passed to encourage immigration to the island.  Due to the ratio of slaves to white persons on the island, and the concern that there might be slave insurrections, Acts were passed to encourage the immigration of white persons to improve the ratio.  After the abolition of slavery, there was a need for additional labor on the island, and an Act was passed, primarily to try to get immigrants to fill the gap.  Later, Acts were passed to bring laborers from India into the island.

1673 to 1729 Land Grants in Western Hanover

Land grants or patents were given to immigrants to encourage them to settle in Jamaica. This is a hand-drawn version of a map showing patents etc. around Orange Bay and Green Island in Hanover from 1673 to 1729. P. Dickson has numbered and transcribed the names and information written on each parcel on the map, and placed the numbers on the map, so that the information can be easily read and tied together. See Hanover 1729.

1734 to 1753 Lists of White Families

These are two Lists of White Families introduced into Jamaica from 1734 to 1753 under several Acts that were passed in England to encourage settlers to move to the island. The lists were included in CO 137/28.

List One consisted of 145 families, for a total of 347 individuals,described as "white families and artificers." At the end of the page you will find a report taken from the Journals of the House of Commons in 1753 concerning the efficacy of the Acts. Go to List One

List Two consisted of 112 families, for a total of 353 individuals. For most of them the list shows when and where they settled, and how many acres of land they received. Go to List Two.

1735 - 1754 Return of Land Grants

Land Grants were given to settlers to encourage them to establish "settlements" in Jamaica. These Returns for 1735 to 1754 provide the details of each grant: date, name, number of acres, legal description of the location, boundaries, and owners of adjoining properties. There are 208 grants altogether. The information comes from the National Archives (England) CO 137/28 folios 197 to 223.

Folios 197 to 210 detail 101 grants. See Land Grants.

Folios 211 to 222 contain 107 land grants. See Land Grants 2.

1783 Land Grants to American Loyalists

A list of names of American Loyalists who were granted land in St. Elizabeth in 1783.

1795 French Immigrants in Jamaica

Refugees from St. Domingue began to arrive in Jamaica in 1791. (St. Domingue was a French colony on the western part of the island of Hispaniola, an area which has since become Haiti.) When more refugees arrived in 1792, a Roman Catholic Chapel was opened in Kingston, for the first time in about 100 years. The refugees became the main core of that church, which also included Spaniards, Irish and English congregants.

In 1793 through 1798 more French refugees arrived in Jamaica in considerable numbers. Many of them fled St. Domingue with very little but their lives. Evidence of this is seen in two lists found in Colonial Office Correspondence, viz.:

       A list of French Families receiving aid from the Government, showing Names, Number of Persons, and Sums Received per Month. See French Families List 1

       Names of French taken into Jamaica in 1793-1795, whether as Prisoners or Emigrants, Ships on which captured, or place from which sailed, Military or personal status, Weekly subsistence and financial aid. See French Families List 2

See also the Letter to the Earl of Balcarres from Marquis Caduch concerning the situation of the French in Jamaica in 1795. A proclamation. See Balcarres and French

For more about descendants of French immigrants, please see Malabre Manuscript lead page.

1805 - 1824 Return of Land Grants

A Return of the Number of Patents for Land granted in Jamaica from January 1805 to December 1824 with the names of persons to whom granted, the quantity of land, and the parish where situated. (As reported in Colonial Correspondence CO137/162, Jan) See Return of Land Grants 1805-1824.


Return of Immigrants who arrived in the island of Jamaica from the 30th September 1840 to the 30th September 1841 under the immigration Act 4th Victoria Chapter 23. (CO140/133. NA. Kew).  This was an Act to encourage immigration to Jamaica, after the Abolition of Slavery in 1838. There were 1,417 immigrants listed in the report, and they were grouped by families.

The official report gave the name of the Ship or Vessel, and the Port from whence it came. It listed the date and place of arrival in Jamaica. The name and age of each immigrant was listed, and sometimes the trade or calling was included.

Newspaper reports from the Morning Journal provided additional information on some of the immigrants, including their nationalities.

For the passenger lists for the 13 ships on which they arrived, please go to:
Immigration list 1
Immigration list 2
Immigration list 3


A Report, which was received from the Agent General of Immigration, was sent down to the House of Representatives by his Excellency the Governor, on Wednesday, the 10th November, 1841. It stated that since the beginning of November, 1840, to the 30th September, 1841, 1417 immigrants have been imported into this island, under the provisions, of the immigration act. These are the individuals listed in the above reports in "Immigrants to Jamaica, 1840-1841". The report gives further details on the places of origin, and the outcome of these immigrants. To read the comments in the report from the Agent General of Immigration, please go to Immigration Report.


Many of the above immigrants who went to Jamaica signed Indenture Agreements, and became Indentured Servants. Under the terms of these Agreements, the "Master" would provide the "Servant" with his passage to Jamaica, clothes, food and drink, washing, lodging, and a small annual salary, and the "Servant" would agree to serve in Jamaica for a certain number of years.

For an example of such an Agreement to Serve, please see a transcription followed by the image of an agreement signed by Patrick Burke in 1739.


Jamaican newspapers sometimes carried the names of passengers arriving in Jamaica on various ships. Such passenger lists may be found in the following newspapers and journals on this site:

The Royal Gazette: A full list of links can be found at Gazettes

The Gleaner: There is a lead page to all the links to the Gleaner at Gleaner

Falmouth Post and General Advertizer: A full list of links can be found at Falmouth Post.

Historical background

For a time-line of Jamaican history, showing where these immigration movements fit in, see History

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