Puerto Rico Locating Place of Origin

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Puerto Rico Gotoarrow.png Locating Place of Origin

Sometimes the most difficult part of researching your Puerto Rican ancestors is locating their hometown. If your Hispanic ancestor came from Puerto Rico to another part of the United States, the following record types might provide that elusive clue to their place of origin.

Important Tips

Before you can begin to search in the records of Puerto Rico you must find that one record that gives the name of his or her hometown. You must also know enough about the ancestor to positively identify him in the records. Dates (even if they are approximate), places, and familial connections are key to helping you decide if a person you find, who has the same name as your ancestor, really is your ancestor.

  • Do you know the name of his parents?
  • Do you know his birth, marriage, or death date or can you calculate an approximate range of years to search for his birth, marriage, or death?
  • Do you know the name of his wife? Did they marry before or after coming to the United States?
  • Do you know the names of any of his siblings?

If you try to search for Civil Registration or Catholic Church records at FamilySearch limit the locality by Puerto Rico.

Documents in the home

Often the document you need to pinpoint the place of origin of your Puerto Rican ancestor is already found at home. These might include the following:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates or licenses
  • Death certificates
  • Obituaries
  • Funeral cards
  • Journals
  • Photographs
  • Letters
  • Family Bible
  • Military service records

Other record types that might also provide clues

If you don't find the record you need at home, you may consider a search for any one or several of these types of documents. Often the key to finding the place of origin is to view every document you can find on your ancestor no matter how significant or insignificant you might think it is.

US Census Records 1910-1940

For those living in Puerto Rico during this time period the US Census is essential. The census forms are in Spanish but they are the same as their English counterparts. Follow the same rules that you would use for US Census research. You can search these records at FamilySearch.

  • In order to facilitate your research limity the locality by country (United States) and state (Other).
  • You must be able to recognize your ancestor in the context of his family. If you don't know the names of parents, siblings, spouse and/or children or other identifying factors to confirm his identity, your search may be an exercise in frustration.