Would you like some rum cake with your eggs?

While researching our family history, we have often found details that don’t seem to jibe with what is expected. Due to external influences, beliefs; languages; foods; and lifestyles are altered. These “clues,” if you will, shed light on why things are and give you a deeper understanding of your history. The following is an example….Check back for more “clues.”

As Christmas is almost here, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the food I’m going to be eating in the next two weeks. The sweets, in particular, the Christmas cake (or black cake or rum cake) as Jamaicans call it, will be in abundance for dessert at my family dinners.

Interestingly enough, my husband’s Scottish-born parents will enjoy a typical Scottish breakfast including, what they call “dumpling.” I have often teased Ian about it…asking him to please pass the rum cake and eggs.

Turns out, I may have been too quick to laugh at his family’s tradition. According to Kwintessential Ltd., a website with different facts about countries, the Jamaican rum cake was derived from the English “plum” pudding and the Scottish dumpling. Brought to the West Indies in the 17th century, it was later altered. The English and the Scots used brandy to flavour the cake, but since Jamaicans didn’t have access to this ingredient, rum was used as a substitute.


It’s the perfect time to celebrate family

Christmas is a time to celebrate family. So, why not give the gift that is not only about family, but about your own family. Jamaican Chinese Worldwide – One Family or The Red Book, as it has been affectionately called, is the perfect gift to give a parent, your children or a cousin.


Mr. William Chin Len Kow and his family, one of the pioneer settlers, arrived in Jamaica in 1895. He is one of the three people who bought the Chinese cemetery for the community in 1901 and was a founding father of Chee Kung Tong. This is an example of one of the photos you will find in this book.

It is a wonderful reference book detailing the history of the Chinese migration to Jamaica between 1854 and 1884 and the lives lived on the island nation between the 1950s to the 1970s . It is a fantastic record of hundreds of families and it illustrates the amazing fact that we are all somehow related.

Enjoy your Christmas and let the story telling begin!

For more information on how to order your own copy of Jamaican Chinese Worldwide – One Family, please email Loraine Lee at lorainealee@rogers.com.