The search of family trace or origin in Cameroon can be a very daunting task. This is usually the interest of Cameroonians living out of Cameroon without getting a proper idea of their tribe of origin, their division and sub-division of origin, their region of origin and their family lineage of origin. Hence when these persons attain the age of adulthood, there is always this hunger and drive to satisfy the question ‘Where do I come from in Cameroon?
Persons of Cameroonian decent living out of Cameroon can lose their family trace in Cameroon in the following circumstances;
- They travelled out of Cameroon as a result of a child trafficking scheme,
- They were born out of Cameroon by parents of Cameroonian decent but did not have the opportunity to know the true story of their family trace back in Cameroon as a result of the death of their parents,
- Their parents just did not agree to tell their children the trace of their family origin,
- They were born of one parent of Cameroon decent and another of foreign decent and they got affiliated to the culture of the parent of foreign decent,
- They became victims of a family separation process abroad and it blocked their chances of knowing their family trace in Cameroon,
- They became victims of a situation abroad like war or natural disaster and this limited their chances of getting knowledge about their family trace in Cameroon.
- They are off springs of a surrogate procedure.
PROOF OF BEING A CAMEROONIAN CITIZEN
What is the proof that you are a Cameroonian by origin?
According to Law No. 1968-LF-3 of the 11th June 1968 to set up the Cameroon Nationality Code, Cameroon nationality of origin can be established in three ways;
- By Descent: This applies to the following situations;
- A legitimate child born of Cameroonian parents,
- An illegitimate child whose natural parents are both Cameroonians,
- A legitimate child born of a Cameroonian father or a Cameroonian mother,
- An illegitimate child born of parents of whom one is Cameroonian, when his affiliation to that one is first established, though the other be foreign, but subject in either case to the minor’s right to renounce Cameroon nationality within six months before his majority, either if he was born out of Cameroon or if, according to the national law of the foreign parent, he is able to avail himself of that nationality,
- A legitimate child born of a Cameroonian mother and a father of no nationality or of unknown nationality,
- An illegitimate child born of parents of whom one is Cameroonian, though his affiliation to that one be later established, if the other is of no nationality or of unknown nationality.
- By Birth:
- Cameroonian nationality attaches to every child born in Cameroon of unknown parents. Provided that, if during his minority his affiliation is established with regard to a foreign parent and if in accordance with the national law of this foreign parent, he has the nationality of the latter, he shall be deemed never to have been a Cameroonian.
- A new born child found in Cameroon will be presumed prima facie to have been born in Cameroon.
- Cameroon nationality attaches, subject to the right to renounce it within six months before majority, to:
- A legitimate child born of foreign parents, if both he and his father or mother were born in Cameroon,
- An illegitimate child born of foreign parents, if both he and the parent to whom his affiliation is first established were born in Cameroon.
The acquisition of Cameroon nationality extends automatically to any person unable to claim any other nationality of origin if that person was born in Cameroon.
- The affiliation of an illegitimate child has no effect on his nationality unless established in the course of his minority.
PROOF OF BELONGING TO A VILLAGE IN CAMEROON
The search for family trace in Cameroon is linked to the possible village(s) from which the person after haven satisfied the conditions of being a Cameroonian by origin could have come from.
A clue on discovering the village(s) from which a person could possibly come from in Cameroon can be gotten from the family name (Surname) of the individual. This is because family names in Cameroon are usually affiliated to villages, divisions, sub-divisions and regions in Cameroon.
The Republic of Cameroon has over 250 tribes which speak at least 285 different indigenous languages in the 10 regions of Cameroon. Each tribe has its specificity with regards to traditional names.
So the family name (Surname) of the individual is very instrumental in the search for family origin in Cameroon.
PROOF OF BELONGING TO A FAMILY IN CAMEROON
After the discovery of the region, division, sub division and possibly the village from which a person comes from. The next step is to trace the actual family from which the individual may belong. In this regard, the procedure to trace the family origin of an interested person will be illustrated below.
PROCEDURE TO TRACE FAMILY ORIGIN IN CAMEROON
The family tree genealogy of an individual in Cameroon can be traced using the following strategies;
- Records Method: This strategy is aimed at tracing a family tree through the visit of record documents. In this regard, the following searches can be affiliated to the following records;
- Birth date and place: the records to search for are; church records, civil registration and census records.
- Marriage place and date: the records to search for are; church records and civil registration records.
- Death date, place and burial: the records to search for are; church records and civil registration records.
- Maiden Name: the records to search for are; church records and civil registration records.
- Parents, children, spouses and other family members: the records to search for are; church records, civil registration records and census records.
- Surviving relatives: the records to search for are; Genealogies and Directories.
- Residence: the records to search for are; church records and civil registration.
- Occupation: the records to search for are; church records and civil registration records.
- Religion: the records to search for are; church records and history.
- Physical description: the records to search for are; Military records.
- Local Research Resources: This strategy entails the visit of archives, libraries and societies (such as cultural meetings in the villages, sub divisions and divisions).
- Land and Property Ownership: This strategy entails the visit to the records of land ownership in the traced village as the history behind communal and personal land in villages date back to ancestral times.
In conclusion, the search for family trace or origin in Cameroon is a cumbersome exercise which is engaged with extreme attention to detail.