Are your ancestors Latin American? Allow our experts to help you trace with your Latin American genealogy research.
Church Records for Latin American Genealogy Research
Latin American is comprised of more than a dozen different countries, all with their own unique scenery, cultures and customs. However, though they are very different in many ways, the records used for Latin American genealogy research are quite similar. As with many areas of the world, some of the best records are Catholic parish registers and civil registration records. If your ancestors were Catholic, church records are usually the best place to start. While the quality and quantity of church records varies from parish to parish, some areas of Latin America have baptism, marriage and death records dating back to the early 1500s when priests and missionaries first starting arriving in the New World.
Civil Registration Records
If your ancestors were another religion or you can’t find the parish records for them, civil registration is the next best source. However, civil registration began fairly late in most Latin American countries – most began in the 1870s-1880s, and some not until as late as 1940 – so if your ancestors lived prior to that time it may take more time and effort in a variety of other sources to learn more about them.
Latin American genealogy records are not nationally indexed, so in order to search them you’ll need to learn exactly what city/town/village or parish your family lived in. Larger cities usually include multiple civil registration offices (and multiple parishes), so if you don’t know exactly where your ancestral family lived within the city you may need to search several locations to find the records that pertain to your ancestors. Alternately, some smaller villages didn’t have their own civil registration office, and in those cases you’ll need to determine which office had jurisdiction over that place so that you can search for records there.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
Our professionals and onsite agents are experienced at tracking down the city/town/village of origin for your Latin American ancestors, determining what records were created for that place throughout history, finding out where those records are located now, and obtaining copies of them for you.