Need help finding your Mexican ancestor’s hometown? Or obtaining onsite records? We can help you trace your Mexican ancestry!
Getting Started with Your Mexican Family History
To research your Mexican ancestry you’ll first want to find out the specific hometown where your ancestor(s) came from (or at least the state), and enough additional information about them that you can identify them in the records for that area. Additional information includes things like occupation; dates of birth, marriage, or death; names of parents, siblings, spouse or children; and religion. This is especially important if your ancestor had a common name or if you don’t know the specific town and have to search by state, since you’ll likely find several potential matches and will need to determine which one is yours. To find out this information you can start by talking to family members and collecting documents from the latter part of your ancestor’s life.
Using Records to Trace Your Mexican Ancestry
If you have Mexican ancestry, the two main sources for tracing your family lines are civil registration records and Catholic Church records. In order to conduct the most efficient research possible you’ll want to keep in mind some specific dates and historical events. Mexican civil registration officially began in 1857, but most areas didn’t start recording events until 1860. So if you’re looking for events that happened prior to 1860 your best bet is probably the Catholic Church records. The Catholic Church was established in Mexico in 1527, and was the primary record keeper until civil registration began. However, keep in mind that the Catholic Church didn’t formalize their record keeping process until after the Council of Trent in 1563, and each diocese only includes records for events that occurred after that diocese was established, so for some areas the records are spotty, at best. (You can see a list of when each diocese was established here.) Also, many records have been lost or destroyed over the intervening centuries, so they no longer exist.
Obtaining Catholic Church Records
The good news is that most Mexicans were Catholic, so their baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, burials and other events were almost certainly recorded by their local parish or diocese at some point, and these records were usually quite detailed. Some records contain notes and information about up to three generations in one record (the ancestor the record is about, their parents, and sometimes even grandparents). Also, local parishes were supposed to send copies of their record books to the diocesan archives, so it is possible that even if the originals were lost or destroyed, the copies might still exist at another location.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
Whether you are just starting out with researching your Mexican ancestry or if you have already identified a town of origin and just need help accessing onsite records, our experts can help you extend your family history and learn more about your heritage!