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Puerto Rico Quick Start Guide

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Puerto Rico Gotoarrow.png Quick Start Guide

Puerto Rico: Ancestor's birth, marriage, or death location unknown[edit | edit source]

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. Use the option to limit the locality by the country "United States" and the state as "Other."

FamilySearch Indexed records: Try searching first in indexed records. Try a variety of searches with ancestor’s name, or with parent’s names, or just by parent’s surnames AND using the option to limit locality by country Puerto Rico.

Contact family members: If they do not have even a minimal of information AND have no idea of where and when to look, encourage them to contact family members who might have that information. This could be older aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

Puerto Rico: Ancestor's birth, marriage or death location and names of parents, children, or spouse are known[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Indexed records: Try searching first in indexed records. Try a variety of searches with ancestor’s name, or with parent’s names, or just by parent’s surnames AND using the option to limit locality by country Puerto Rico.

FamilySearch Browse Images: If no results from previous search for the ancestor or any siblings, you will have to browse images for the locality. Civil Registration began in 1885 in Puerto Rico. Catholic Church records are also a good choice as they cover all time periods. If you can find the ancestor in both record types, that is best as you will get more information to advance the pedigree.

FamilySearch Catalog: Not all records for Puerto Rico are online, be sure to check the catalog before giving up on finding records.

Research Strategies[edit | edit source]

Who to search for? If you don’t know the names of the parents, but you know the name of the spouse and/or the names of some of his children, begin with a marriage search (if the married in Puerto Rico and you know the place). Or begin with a search for the birth/baptism record for one of their children (if you have an approximate birth date and place).

Finding a locality[edit | edit source]

  • Google
  • Wikipedia (Spanish version works the best)
  • Try a keyword search in the FamilySearch Catalog for Puerto Rico Gazetteers

Online resources[edit | edit source]

For other online resources please review the Wiki article Hispanic Genealogy Resources Online. Also check the Firefox Bookmarks on the reference counter computer.

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Online Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Births, marriages, deaths, indexes and other records created by civil registration offices in Puerto Rico. Some records may date prior to 1885 as a few municipalities began civil registration before that date. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection. Additional indexed records will be published as they become available.

To search the same collection by municipality, use:


A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:


The same collection is available on Ancestry.com. Their search engine is more powerful. If you do not have a membership, you . can search these records for free at a Family History Center:

Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch has Catholic Church records from the Archdiocese of San Juan Historical Archive available online in its collection Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969. They include records from the municipalities of:

  • Aguadilla
  • Bayamón
  • Carolina
  • Cataño
  • Cayey
  • Dorado
  • Guaynabo
  • Loíza
  • Luquillo
  • Rincón
  • Río Grande
  • Río Piedras
  • San Francisco
  • San Juan
  • Santurce
  • Toa Alta
  • Toa Baja
  • Trujillo Alto
  • Trujillo Bajo
  • Vieques

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

Immigration resources[edit | edit source]

If you’re looking for immigrants who arrived in Puerto Rico, there are several good books and films in the FamilySearch catalog under the subject Puerto Rico Emigration and immigration.