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Syllabus for Workshop taught by Lynn C. Turner and Ismael Orrantia, presented at the NGS 2010 Conference.

The Hispanic research workshop will cover three main topics:

  1. Building a firm foundation by identifying and discussing finding aids, Catholic Church parish records, civil registration, and census records; all of which should be consulted first in Hispanic research
  2. Building on the foundation: step-by-step instructions for researching in Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America
  3. Building on the foundation: step-by-step instructions for researching in South America and Spain

At the end of the workshop participants should be able to identify and use foundational sources for several different Hispanic countries to help solve their Hispanic research questions.

Contents

BUILDING A FIRM FOUNDATION

Finding Aids ===

There are two types of finding aids: (1) finding aids that help us determine political and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and (2) finding aids that indicate record location and/or availability.

Record Selection Table #1


Research Intent
Record #1
Record #2
Record #3
Identify Provincial/Municipio

Boundaries

Historical or Modern Political Map Gazetteer / Geographical

Dictionary

Encyclopedia
Identify Diocesan/Parish Boundaries Historical or Modern Ecclesiastical Map Ecclesiastical Directory Gazetteer / Geographical Dictionary
Identify where diocesan/parish records are located Ecclesiastical Directory FamilySearch’s Family History Library Catalog Archival/Institutional

Guide or Inventory

Identify where civil registration records are located Archival/Institutional

Guide or Inventory

FamilySearch’s Family History Library Catalog Gen Society / Community Knowledge

NOTE: Examples of finding aids will be discussed in further detail during the Building on the Foundationclass.

Censos / Padrones

Latin American census records are similar to English language census records. Census records typically include names, ages, gender, and some locality information for individuals recorded in a particular census.

  • National (Censos nacionales) – census that covers the entire population of a country for a given year. Examples include: 1869 and 1895 Argentina and 1930 Mexico; accessible at FamilySearch Records
  • Municipal / Regional (Censos muncipiales / regionales) – census that covers several towns/villages or second-level localities (provinces/states/departments). Examples include: 1887 Santa Fe (Argentina), Provincial Census – accesible at http://www.censo1887.com.ar/contenido.php and 1877 Bergondo, La Coruña, Spain Municipal Census – accessible at archivo municipal de Bergondo)
  • Town/City (censos de habitants) and Catholic Parish (censos parroquiales / matriculas) – census that covers a small geographical area from cities to ranches. Examples include: 1877 Guatemala City Census and 1855 Buenos Aires City Census – accessible at FamilySearch Records

Civil Registration

The idea and implementation of civil registration started with Napoleon in France in the year 1792. The first Latin American country to adopt civil registration was México in 1859. All other Latin American countries established civil registration later on; for additional information about when civil registration started, visit http://wiki.familysearch.org(search for any country’s civil registration page). The most common civil registration records used in genealogical research are births, marriages, and deaths.

Births

Birth records normally include the following information about the person who is being registered:

  • Residence – municipio or district where the child is being registered. Name of the town or city where the family lived.
  • Date – day, month, and year of registration and of birth.
  • Informant’s Name (comparciente) – name of the person providing information to the civil registrar. Often times it is a relative such as parent, aunt/uncle, or grandparent.
  • Name of Registrant – name of the individual being registered; usually individuals are registered within months of their birth.
  • Name of the Parents – Names of the parents of the individual being registered. In some cases, paternal and maternal grandparents are recorded as well.

Marriages

Marriage records usually include the following information about the couple getting married:

  • Residence – municipio or district where the couple is getting married. Name of the town or city where the bride and groom lived.
  • Date – day, month, and year of the marriage.
  • Groom’s Name and Information – Full name of the groom, his residence and/or birth place, his occupation, and age.
  • Groom’s Parents’ Information – Full names of groom’s parents and their residence.
  • Bride’s Name and Information – Full name of the bride, her residence and/or birth place, and her age.
  • Bride’s Parents’ Information – Full names of bride’s parents and their residence.
  • Witnesses’ Information – Full names of the witnesses.

Deaths

Death records usually include the following information about the deceased.

  • Residence – municipio or district where the death was registered. Name of the town or city where the deceased lived.
  • Deceased’s Information – Full name of the deceased, his or her residence and/or birth place, occupation, age, marital status, cause of death, place of burial.
  • Family Information – Full names of father and mother (if single or child) or full name of spouse (if married). Occasionally deaths will mention names of children (if deceased had living children at the time of death).

Catholic Church Parish Registers

Catholic Church parish registers are the most reliable sources of information for Hispanic genealogical research in Latin America. Parish registers pre-date civil registration records, and they act as a supplement to them after civil registration began. Authorized parish priests created parish registers to record church sacraments. The most commonly used sacramental records (parish registers) are: baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Baptisms

Besides the name of the child being baptized; baptism records normally include the following information:

  • Residence and/or Birth Place - Parish and town where the child was baptized.
  • Dates – baptism day, month, and year and normally the birth date. Most children are born within months of their baptism.
  • Family Information – Full names of the child’s parents and their residence and/or birth place. Occasionally baptism records will also include the full names of the paternal and maternal grandparents.

Marriages

Marriage records usually include the following information about the couple getting married:

  • Residence - Parish and town where the marriage took place.
  • Dates - marriage day, month, and year. The marriage banns dates are also given.
  • Groom’s Name and Information – Full name of the groom and his residence and/or birth place.
  • Groom’s Parents’ Information – Full names of groom’s parents and their residence and/or birth place.
  • Bride’s Name and Information – Full name of the bride and her residence and/or birth place.
  • Bride’s Parents’ Information – Full names of bride’s parents and their residence and/or birth place.
  • Additional Information – marriage records will also indicate whether the bride and groom had any Canonical impediments that would require a dispensation before the marriage.

Burials

Burial records usually include the following information about the deceased. Burial records are also very helpful to identify infants that died before they were baptized.

  • Residence – Parish and town where the burial took place. During the 18th century and before most burials happened in the parish church.
  • Deceased’s Information – Full name of the deceased, his or her residence and/or birth place, age, marital status; and occasionally cause of death and occupation.
  • Family Information – Full names of father and mother (if single or child) or full name of spouse (if married). Occasionally deaths will mention names of children (if deceased had living children at the time of death).
  • Additional Information – if the deceased made a will, the notary’s name who authored the testament will be provided.


Record Selection Table #2



Research Intent
Record #1
Record #2
Record #3
Find Birth / Baptism Information Catholic Parish Registers Civil Registration Census
Find Marriage Information Catholic Parish Registers Civil Registration Census
Find Death / Burial Information Catholic Parish Registers Civil Registration Census
Find Residence Information Census Catholic Parish Registers Civil Registration

NOTE: Depending on the time period and country, civil registration should be serached before Catholic parish registers.

BUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION, PART 1

Mexico, Caribbean, Central America

Research tools

Ancestry.com

This Web site will help us identify any possible records of our ancestors that came to the United States. Some of the records that this collection has are:

  • U.S. Military Collection
  • Census
  • U.S. Immigration Collection
  • Birth, Marriage & Death Records

FamilySearch-Records

This Web site has a variety of tools that will help us to locate our ancestors. There are several areas that we can use:

  • Browsing the record collection will help us to see some of the images that have been digitized and are available on the Internet.
  • We can always use the first part and enter the name of the individual we are researching and see if this person have been found or indexed, and as we find the name of the individual we are researching, we can also locate the microfilm number were the information was taken from.

FamilySearch-Catalog

As we do our research, this site will help us to know the numbers of the microfilms to use in order to find the copy of the original documents; also, we can locate some individuals in the International Genealogical Index.

BUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION, PART 2

South America (Argentina) Case Study

Research Intent

Carlos Molinet, a Swiss immigrant, married Catalina Zingerling, a German immigrant, around 1880 in Argentina.

  • Locate the family in Argentina.
  • Find baptism/birth information for children.
  • Find marriage of Carlos and Catalina.

Step #1 – Identify Family Residence

  • 1895 Argentina National Census found at: http://pilot.familysearch.org (on home page click on “Browse Our Record Collections” →click on Latin America area of map→ select 1895 Argentina Census) - search for Carlos Molinet and Catalina Zingerling
  • 1887 Santa Fe Provincial Census found at: http://www.censo1887.com.ar/contenido.php (from home page, click on “Ver”) – search for Carlos Molinet and Catalina Zingerling
  • 1869 Argentina National Census found at: http://pilot.familysearch.org (on home page, click on “Browse Our Record Collections” →click on Latin America area of map→select 1869 Argentina Census) - search for Carlos Molinet and Catalina Zingerling

Step #2 – Use Finding Aids to Determine Political and Ecclesiastical Boundaries and Record Availability

  • Determine civil registration availability. Use civil registration table at: http://wiki.familysearch.org (should link to specific page…to be created)
  • Search Catholic Church Ecclesiastical Directory found at: http://immigrants.byu.edu/Downloads/Anuario_Eclesiastico/default.htm. Determine ecclesiastical boundaries for towns/cities of Esperanza and Santa Fe.
  • Identify record availability using Family History Library Catalog found at: http://www.familysearch.org (on home page click on “Library” tab→click on “Library Catalog”). Perform “Place Search” for “Santa Fe, Argentina” and “Esperanza, Argentina”.

Step #3 – Search Catholic Parish Registers from Santa Fe and Esperanza

  • Search microfilms of baptisms and deaths of Santa Fe and Esperanza for the years between 1880 and 1900 (years the family may have been living in the area).

Spain Case Study

Research Intent

Find Juan Maldonado’s baptism / birth record. He was born about 1862 in Gallegos de Argañan, Spain. His parents were Domingo Maldonado and Antonia Hernandez.

  • Determine political and ecclesiastical boundaries for Gallegos de Argañan.
  • Determine record availability for Gallegos de Argañan for the time period in question.
  • Search for Juan Maldonado’s baptism / birth record.

Step #1 – Determine political or ecclesiastical boundaries for Gallegos de Argañan

    1. Political Boundaries – Find Gallegos de Argañan in a gazetteer / geographical dictionary. Gazetteer can be found at: http://books.google.com (search for “Gallegos de Argañan”)[1]
    2. Ecclesiastical Boundaries – Find Gallegos de Argañan in Catholic Church directory. Directory can be found at: http://www.punsola.fr (click on “Données” →click on “Les dioceses d’Espagne aujourd’hui” →click on “Ciudad Rodigro” on map →click on “Ciudad Rodrigo.pdf” link).

Step #2 – Identify Record Availability and Search for Birth / Baptism of Juan Maldonado

  • Identify record availability using Family History Library Catalog found at: http://www.familysearch.org (on home page click on “Library” tab→click on “Library Catalog”). Perform “Place Search” for “Gallegos de Argañan, Spain”.
  • Search Catholic Church parish registers found at: http://pilot.familysearch.org (on home page click on “Browse Our Record Collections” →click on Europe area of map→click on “Spain, Ciudad Rodrigo Diocese Parish Records 1550-1930” →click on “Gallegos de Argañan” and browse baptisms for the time period in question)

Bibliography and Notes

  1. Platt, Lyman D., Census Records for Latin America and the Hispanic United States, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
  2. Platt, Lyman D., Hispanic Surnames and Family History, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
  3. Ryskamp, George, Finding Your Hispanic Roots, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
  4. Ryskamp, George and Peggy, Finding Your Mexican Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide, Provo, UT: Ancestry Publishing Co., 2007.



  1. Dicccionario geografico de Espana, Pascual Madoz…also found at: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/cultura/bibliotecavirtualandalucia/consulta/registro.cmd?id=6353 <br/> fckLR

 

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