Jamaica Archives & Records Department

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Jamaica Archives & Records Department

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Jamaica Archives


  • National

Contact area


Claudette Thomas Primary contact



Street address

59-63 Church Street



Country name


Postal code







Racquel Stratchan Innerarity



Street address

Corner King & Manchester Streets
Spanish Town



St. Catherine

Country name


Postal code






Description area


The Jamaica Archives and Records Department had its beginnings in the Island Secretary’s Office (ISO) established in 1659 as the administrative and record keeping arm of the Colonial Government. The Island Secretary’s Office was dismantled in 1879 and some of its functions transferred to the Island Records Office (IRO) in Spanish Town under the Records Law of that year. As a Government Department, the Jamaica Archives began in 1955 with the establishment of an Archives Section in the Island Records Office and the appointment of Clinton Black as government archivist, the first such appointment in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Some of the records transferred to IRO in 1879 became the holdings of the Archives Section and in 1962 were amalgamated with the historical records of the law courts to form the Jamaica Archives. During that year the records in the Archives Section was moved to the new building specifically erected to house them at the corner of King and Manchester Streets, Spanish Town.
The Jamaica Archives remained a part of the Island Records Office until 1982 when it became a Department in its own right following the passage of the Archives Act, 1982. During the latter half of the 1980s when records management responsibilities were added to the Department, the Government Records Centre was established in Kingston, and the name of the Department changed to The Jamaica Archives and Records Department (JARD).
The Department serves as the main repository in the country for the preservation of government records in paper, audiovisual and electronic formats, relating to the country's history and heritage. It collects archival materials relating to Jamaica produced by government ministries, agencies and department and persons of national importance as well as churches, charities and other organisations to ensure that primary materials of cultural value to Jamaica are preserved. It provides a research and reference service to the public and disseminates information on the collection to promote interest and knowledge of the nation's history and culture.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

The Archives Act, 1982
The Archives Act (Regulations), 1988

Administrative structure

The Jamaica Archives and Records Department is funded by the Government of Jamaica through the Office of the Prime Minister. The Department operates from three (3) Units – the Jamaica Archives Unit, the Audiovisual Archives Unit and the Government Records Centre, where the office of the Government Archivist is located. Each Unit plays a separate role to fulfill the Mission of the Department.

Records management and collecting policies


The Jamaica Archives was opened in 1962 and was designed to give the best possible conditions for preservation and public access, and to be a focus for promoting awareness and understanding of the country's documentary heritage.


The Jamaica Archives hold records of:
Central Government
Local Government
Statutory Bodies, including Charities
Church records
Records of private individuals and families
We also have a small reference section of publications relating to Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Access area

Opening times

Open: Mondays to Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fridays, 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Closed: Weekends and Public Holidays

Access conditions and requirements


Services area

Research services

The Reading / Search Room contains a small reference library for local studies; seating space for 10 researchers; microfilm readers for 2 researchers and large tables for the consultation of maps.
The Jamaica Archives offers free of charge, advice and information about their collections, including supplying copies from catalogues. We also offer a paid research service for researchers.

Reproduction services

The Jamaica Archives provide a limited photocopying service for archives and printed collections. Photocopies can be supplied if the original is in good condition and subject to copyright law. Where items are too fragile or unwieldy for photocopying, digital photographs and microfilmed images may be supplied instead. Please consult with staff for details.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Record created on October 4, 2013 and revised on September 29, 2014




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

Primary contact

59-63 Church Street Kingston