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Connecting the Decendants of Gilbert and Adina Powell- Williams, Swaby, Jones, Cassells, Blagrove, Morants of Jamaica, West Indies

I understand, For many Jamaican families it is difficult to name sometimes our grandparents, especially our great-grandparents, and least likely to name our great-great grandparents. I hope with more people doing genealogy on families in Jamaica, this changes in the near future!

I am the Grand-daughter of GILBERT POWELL and ADINA WILLIAMS, and the daughter of GEORGE POWELL.

I understand that my father's side of the family only knows of, maybe... three (3) of his children.

My mother KATHLEEN(birth surname unk) gave birth to 8 Children. There are 6 living:1 male and 5 females, two (2)  died in their infancy.

The places the family have been known to live are: St. Elizabeth, St Toolis, Porus, Graighead, Buttup New Baalbec (Some spell it buck up) and Mandeville, Prospect Manchester.

My grandparents owned a piece of land (left it to my father) with a house in Mandeville, Manchester, that he, my grandmother and father lived on until their death. I hear the land is composed mostly of red dirt /soil and nothing grows in that area. my father, his father and my grandma are now buried on that land.

Most of my uncles have died except two, Aymond, who presently lives in England and Joe who is living in Jamaica. I have never met my father's side of the family.

Most families back then, I understand had many  children(12+) so I have many cousins that  I  have never met.
 Some of my aunts are still living, but some who earned their wings are  '''Beter''' (deceased  in 2000).   Some still reside  in Jamaica, except '''Salome''' (lives In Canada) Most  do travel frequently  abroad, to the USA, Canada and England to visit other relatives. Naturally  due to marriage,  the women and  their descendants are more difficult to research. Some  married  into the following families: Swaby, Jones, '''Smith''', Blagrove, CASSELLS, Morant, Thompson, WHITE, Garrow  and  more.

Some other branches or extended family surnames include : James, Lilly, Whood, Milton, Morris, WILLIAMS, Preddie, Bryant, Monocrieffe, Palmer, Beckford, Desroches, Thompson, Chambers, Carty, White, Whyte, Ferdinand, Harrison, (I'm a Drscendant of William Heny Harrison):Harris, Elliott, Blake, Adams, Getfield? Mckoy, Roach, Garwood, Ricketts, MILLS, Smith etc.
Quite a few family menbers migrated elsewhere for various reasons including Job opportunities etc. they now live in various parts of the world, including England, USA, Canada and Barbados. Some have gone on to own there own successfull businesses.

If u read this and think we are related, If you happen to know this family, or if you are/were neighbors, please feel free to contact me.

During my search I have noticed my grandmother's name has Hebrew and Greek association, the others ( her children) are all names from the Bible. I find this very interesting! I have some slight ideas, but could use some claification.

Presently seeking info on ADINA Williams (POWELL) her siblings( if any) her parents,

birth, death marriage dates etc. 

Seeking the same info for GILBERT POWELL( aka HUBERT, name was possible used as a nick name)

Update notes: The Holness, Royalls are neighbors of the POWELL family in Prospect, Manchester.

Places of interest'

St Catherine,

Watson Hill,



Santa Cruz,

Ballard Valley,

Portland (Buff Bay and BoundBrook)

Ancestry and related names

Roach, Parchment, Ebanks, Bent, Powell (GENUS, other possible name) ( all 4 Has a History of intermarriages )






Rose, Mills, Williams ( intermarriages) Abranowitz, katz, Goodman, Brook/Brooks, Long, Philips, Horn, Hendricks,

Marks, Temple ( some of my earlier ancestor) but  have no clue on who they are?? any HELP would be appreciated. 

Miller, Braimon (also earliest),

Taylor, Freeman Dahlgren, O'connor, Belnap ( by marriage) Moxhan, James, Delion, Dillion (connected fam )

Genus- A Henry Genus (related to Vernon, Orr) migrated to (He is The Progenitor of the Belize branch) Guatamala then Belize, late 1800. searching for the one who connect us, around the middle c1800. I would also like to find out who was the first Genus/Jenus family in Jamaica, and where the name originated.

Some DNA related Surnames.

Bonner, WALL, Hamilton,

ARMISTEAD 1635c from Northern Europe to VA ( Colonials and American Planters) (William Armistead 1745, VA) Would like to make the connection of this family to mine around the late 1700 /1800s. to the present. (Found connection thru Smith, Powell, Moxan and more lines) Woolery (part of a Jamaican Maroons family)

UPDATE : below are some Present and Ancesrial family names: unfortunately I am unable to directly connect my immediate family to the various branches. closest are the Bakers, Elliott /Downie, Genus/Orr.

Maternally, the Nelsons, Morrisons, Oliphants, Whittakers, Marables, Evans etc are genetically at present, my closest family menbers.

maternal male lines Herriot, Grant, Smith

from research the Heath, Baker, Genus and Parchment are related possibly by marriage. and were in 1700 living in the USA and St Catherine.

The Armistead, Gordon, Taaffe, Penn and Mitchell are related by marriage. and were living in Texas and St Catherine in the 1800.

The Campbell, Higginbotham, Grier and Wilson are common to both sides of the family.

Surnames continued.

Agranovich, BAKER, Bass, Berry, Beebe, Browne, Black, Boehm, Burrell, Burwell, Bombalaski, BOOTH, Briggs, Bunch, Coy, Carter, Chin, Chavers, Cook, Cunningham, Delaney, Davis, DOWNIE Edmond, ELLIOTT, Favorite, Farmer, Gale, Gayle, GENUS/Jenus, Gore, GRIER, GRANT, Gregg, Goldstein, Gunn(Planter) Gossett, Haimo, Hill, Harrison, Harris, HARRIOTT, HEATH, Hamilton, Holliday, Humphrey, Jackson, JJ, Lee, Lambert, Low,(Colonial) Law, Lightfoot, MARTIN, Nash, Nahmias? Mitchell, NELSON, MILLER, Moore, MORRISON, MANN, McDonald/MacDonald, MOSHETTI/MOSHETTE, ORR, PAGE Protter, PLUMMER, PATTERSON, Parchment, Robinson,(Planter) Rod, Rogers, SCALF, Scott, Savage, SHERMAN, Shaw, SIMS, Simms, Strange, Straw, Steele, Stewart, Stuart, SUMMONS, Tonkin, Tomkins, Taylor, Tilton,

Van Der linden( Various Van Der's, including Van Der Knaap)

WALKER, Wolfe, Wall (Colonial and Planter) WILSON, Williams, Young,

Some Ancestry : Irish, German,

A possible family link, Thomas Henry Heath married a Powell.

Also trying to find the Bakers, Reids etc connection.

Places of Interest

Barbados, Virginia, Kentucky, Mass, Warren Co., Georgia, Texas



Clan Oliphant

Search help

Resting Places and Memorials- Jamaica

Bethany Moravian Church, Manchester


Post and forum looking for family or friend

Ainsley Harriott story ______________________

Jamaican genealogist -

Dianne Frankson

UK search

the National Archives in Kew, London

The Hyde Park Family History Centre holds a variety of parish registers from the 18th-20th

JA search ___________


What is the point of Family Tree--

RBS heritage l

National Archives


Move to

Williams DNA project

Powell DNA Project

About Jamaica

HISTORY __________

The Jews were among the first ethnic group to settle in Jamaica, arriving in the early sixteenth century to work in sugar manufacturing. After completing their period of indentured labour, they moved into business and other professions

Although small in number they still have significant influence in Jamaica culture in these areas.

In 1845 the first Indians arrived in Jamaica to work as indentured servants on the sugar plantations that had been abandoned by the African-Jamaicans after the abolition of slavery. The first labourers came from Northern India, but others arrived later from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, the Central Provinces, Punjab and the North West Frontiers.

In 1854 the first Chinese migrants arrived as indentured labourers. Most were from Hong Kong and from the Kwang Tung Province in southeast China. In the early years of the twentieth century migrants from Palestine and Lebanon settled in Jamaica, fleeing political and religious persecution in their home countries and in search of a better way of life. The peoples of the Middle East, India and China have retained many of the cultural values from their places of origin and have enriched Jamaica with their contributions to farming, commerce and other professions, while integrating with their own traditions and expertise into the Jamaican society

The first Africans to arrive came in 1513 from the Iberian Peninsula after having been taken from West Africa by the Spanish and the Portuguese. They were servants, cowboys, herders of cattle, pigs and horses, as well as hunters. When the English captured Jamaica in 1655, many of them fought with the Spanish who gave them their freedom and then fled to the mountains resisting the British for many years to maintain their freedom, becoming known as Maroons (Senior, 2003, p. 5 and 446).

By 1700 Jamaica was awash with sugar plantations and Jamaica's population was comprised of 7,000 English to 40,000 slaves. The sugar industry grew quickly in Jamaica -- in 1672 there were 70 plantations producing 772 tonnes of sugar per annum -- growing in the 1770s to over 680 plantations. By 1800, it was 21,000 English to 300,000 slaves, which increased to some 500,000 slaves by the 18th century. In 1820 there were 5,349 properties in Jamaica of which 1,189 contained over 100 slaves (Brathwaite, 1971, p. 121).

Each estate was its own small world, complete with an entire labour force of field workers and skilled artisans, a hospital, water supply, cattle, mules and horses as well as its own fuel source. Each plantation fueled the wheels of British mercantilism. Sugar, molasses and rum were exported to England for sale and ships were financed to return to Africa and collect more slaves in exchange for trinkets and transport them to the West Indies as a labour source. This became known as The Triangular Trade. Money was not left in England's colonies, the financing came from Mother England, and to Mother England the profits returned.

To a large extent, Jamaican customs and culture were fashioned by sugar. According to John Hearne (1965), for two hundred years sugar was the only reason behind Jamaica's existence as a centre for human habitation (as quoted in Sherlock and Bennett, 2001, p. 157). For centuries, sugar was Jamaica's most important crop. Jamaica was once considered the 'jewel' in Britain's crown. In 1805, the island's peak of sugar production, it produced 101,600 tonnes of sugar. It was the world's leading individual sugar producer.

The cultivation of sugar was intricately intertwined with the system of slavery. This connection has set the course of the nation's demographics since the 18th century when slaves vastly outnumbered any other population group. The descendants of these slaves comprise the majority of Jamaica's population. They have influenced every sphere of Jamaican life and their contributions are immeasurable.

THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE The Atlantic Slave Trade began in the 15th century when the Portuguese took hold of land near Gibraltar and soon encountered Africans. Devout Catholics, they quickly took these "heathens" prisoner, and by mid-century, the first public sale of these prisoners was held. By 1455 Portugal was importing close to 800 African slaves a year ­ bartering for them peacefully instead of capturing them through warfare. Sugar cultivation began in the Azores islands, and as the demand for sugar grew, so did the demand for slaves to work the fields of sugar cane. By the 16th century, other countries wanted a piece of this action and the competition for the sugar and slave trades began.

Between 1500-1800 some eleven million Africans were moved as a result (Sherlock and Bennett, 2000, p. 124). They were captured by war, as retribution for crimes committed or by abduction, and marched to the coast in "coffles" with their necks yoked to each other. They were placed in trading posts or forts to await the horrifying six to twelve week Middle Passage voyage between Africa and the Americas ­ during which they were chained together, underfed, kept in the ship's hold in the thousands ­ packed more like sardines than humans. Those who survived were fattened up and oiled to look healthy prior to being auctioned in public squares to the highest bidders. Jamaican slaves tended to come from the Ashanti, Coromantee, Mandingo and Yoruba. Field slaves fetched £25- £75 while skilled slaves such as carpenters fetched prices as high as £300 (Lonely Planet, 2000, p. 21-26). On reaching the plantation, they underwent a 'seasoning' process in which they were placed with an experienced slave who taught them the ways of the estate (Senior, 2003, p. 446).

Although the initial slave traders were the Portuguese and the Dutch, between 1750 and 1807 (the year in which the British Empire abolished the slave trade), Britain "dominated the buying and selling of slaves to the Americas" (Sherlock and Bennett, 2000, p. 161). Shipbuilding flourished and manufacturing expanded: the "process of industrialization in England from the second quarter of the eighteenth century as to an important extent a response to colonial demands for rails, axes, buckets, coaches, clocks, saddles...and a thousand other things" (Inikori, 1979, as quoted in Sherlock and Bennett, 2000, p. 162).

SUGAR ESTATES A typical sugar estate was 900 acres. This included a Great House where the owner or overseer and the domestic slaves lived, and nearby accommodation for the bookkeeper, distiller, mason, carpenter, blacksmith, cooper and wheelwright. With the exception of the bookkeeper, by the middle of the eighteenth century, skilled black slaves had replaced white indentured servants in these posts. (Brathwaite, 1971, p. 131). The field slaves' quarters were usually about a half mile away, closer to the industrial sugar mill, distillery and the boiling and curing houses, as well as the blacksmiths' and carpenters' sheds and thrash houses. In addition, there was a poultry pen and a cattle yard along with a Negro hospital. Some estates, if large enough, had accommodation for an estate doctor (p. 131-2).

Estates had estate gardens and the slaves had their own kitchen gardens as well as polnicks ­ provision grounds found in the hills, which were required by law from as early as 1678. During slavery, however, slaves kept pigs and poultry and grew mangoes, plantain, ackee, okra, yam and other ground provisions (Brathwaite, 1971, p. 133-4). The cultivation of these lands took on greater proportions as plantations were abandoned when the island faced increasing competition from Brazil, Cuba and beet sugar, a loss in labour after emancipation in the 1830s as well as the loss of protective trade duties after the passage of the 1846 Sugar Equalization Act in England.

The workforce on each plantation was divided into gangs determined by age and fitness. On average most estates had three main field gangs. The first was comprised of the strongest and most able men and women. The second was comprised of those no longer able to serve in the first, and the third, of older slaves and older children. Some estates had four gangs, depending on the number of children living on the estate. Children started working as young as 3 or 4 years old (Senior, 2003, p. 207).


Christmas street parades of Jonkonnu were misunderstood by Europeans. Jamaican slaves came mainly from West Africa. Their customs survived based on memory and myths. They encompassed the life cycle, i.e. a newborn was not regarded as being of this world until nine days had passed and burial often involved libations at the graveside, and the belief that the dead body's spirit would not be at rest for some 40 days. They included forms of religion in which healing was considered an act of faith completed by obeahmen and communication with the spirits involved possession often induced by dancing and drumming. African-based religions include Kumina, Myal and Revival. Many involved recreational, ceremonial and functional use of music and dance (Brathwaite, 1971). "Slaves," Brathwaite explains, "danced and sang at work, at play, at worship, from fear, from sorrow from joy" (p. 220). They recreated African musical instruments from materials found in Jamaica (calabash, conch, bamboo, etc.) and featured improvisation in song and dance. All of these customs and many more such as the Christmas street parades of Jonkonnu, were misunderstood and undervalued by Europeans with the exception of the political use of drumming to send coded messages from plantation to plantation.

Drumming of any kind was therefore often banned. Jamaican music today has emerged from the traditional musical forms of work songs sung by slaves, the ceremonial music used in religious services and the social and recreational music played on holidays and during leisure time (Senior, 2003, p. 339).

The cramped housing space provided to the slaves, which limited their dwellings (often made of wattle and daub) to one window and one door, meant that very little other than sleeping took place indoors. Life, as in Africa, was lived communally, outside. (Brathwaite, 1971, p. 233-4).

Similarly language, as in Africa, is considered powerful ­ particularly naming. Brathwaite (1971) gives an example of a woman whose child falls ill and wants her name to be changed, believing that this would allow her to be cured, (p. 237). Language is certainly an area where African retention is strongest. Jamaicans today move between Patois ­ a creolised English ­ and standard English. Jamaican patois