Meet the Latin America Research Team!

October 14, 2019  - by 
A street in latin America with two women in traditional dresses standing in the middle

Latin American research presents a variety of challenges, especially if you can’t understand the different languages that the records are written in. Thankfully, the Family History Library Latin America research team is here to help!

The purpose of the Latin America research team is to help people become personally inspired by the lives and stories of their ancestors. To do that, the team assists visitors at the Family History Library and answers questions at the online FamilySearch Community page. They also teach webinars twice a month and help train the dedicated team of volunteers who work on the International floor of the library.

Meet the Team

Arturo Cuellar, Lauren Wake, Debbie Gurtler, Norian Antunes, Brand Baird
Left to right: Arturo Cuellar, Lauren Wake, Debbie Gurtler, Norian Antunes, Brand Baird.

The Latin America research team recognizes that not everyone can make it to the library, so they constantly look for ways to spread their efforts to other places in the world. Debbie Gurtler is the fearless manager, and her team of multilingual experts includes the following:

All members of the team speak Spanish, and Noriane also speaks Portuguese. They can also read records in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and even some Latin!

In order to stay up to date in their area of research, the Latin America research team frequently attends conferences and networks with others in the field. They also peruse genealogical journals and visit archives and repositories so that they have more information and experience to help others with their own research.

Passion for Latin American Culture

A woman holds and smiles at a child

One of the things that the team loves most about their work is the Latin American culture, which often centers on remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away. For this reason, the team especially enjoys reuniting people with the stories of their family.

Your Latin American ancestors come from a part of the world with a rich and colorful history and stories that are just waiting to be told—and the Latin America team is here to help you tell that story.

For help with your Latin American research, check out the 2019 Latin America Research Seminar on October 29–November 2. You can attend these classes at the Family History Library or watch the classes via an online webinar.

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  1. That is great. I am from Brazil and I have been studying and researching the Brazilian documents for decades. There is so many details, if you do not understand the history of the country it is almost impossible to find the your ancestor. For example the Catholic church used to add the name Maria to the baby girls when they were baptized, them later at their marriage the record would remove the name of Maria.

  2. am wanting to know what happened to my dad he died october 19, 1981 in bogota , colombia….why what sickness caused him to die? he is buried in bogota at central cemetery i think..his name was united nations diplomat francisco . jose urrutia and he was 71 at death also a copy of his obit is needed too

  3. I need a genealogist to check for birth records in Ibague, Colombia. The name I’m looking for is not in the Colombian records. Can you recommend a genealogist? Thank you

    1. Hi Elinor! There are a few ways you can search for your ancestors on FamilySearch. Here are my two favorite ways to search: You can search Historical Records that have been transcribed/indexed by volunteers, which are found here. There are different search fields (like first name, last name, location, etc.) in the form that you may use to narrow your search.

      If you do not find the information about your ancestors by searching Historical Records, try searching Historical Images here where you’ll find records that have not been transcribed/indexed yet that you can sift through manually.

      If you’d like more personalized help, I recommend joining a group in the FamilySearch Community here. Here you can collaborate with amateur and advanced genealogists alike.

  4. Hola! Estoy buscando información sobre mis tatarabuelos que vinieron desde la región de Mecklenburgo alrededor de 1860. Se llamaban Federico Nusch y Carolina Zeese. Tengo un árbol en Family Search con toda la info de ellos pero no logro encontrar el acta de matrimonio ni sus registros de emigración. ¿Podrían recomendarme un profesioinal que me asesore? Por supuesto, estoy dispuesto a pagar por sus servicios. Tengo mucha evidencia circunstancial y sé que eran pastores y que vinieron desde la región de Swerin, Grabowhöfe y alrededores. También sé que trajeron un tipo de oveja especial para cruza en Argentina para la Estancia Negrete que era propiedad de un escocés de apellido Hannah y que luego trabajaron en una estancia llamada Poronguitos propiedad de un conocido alemán en su momento llamado Klaus Stengmann que tenía vículos con el dictador de ese momento, Juan Manuel de Rosas. He encontrado a los hermanos de Carolina Zeese y hasta registros de viaje de ellos (Sofía Zeese y su marido Detlef Poehls) pero no tengo información sobre ellos. ¿Podrían ayudarme? Desde ya muchas gracias de antemano.

    Google Translate – Spanish to English: Hi! I’m looking for information about my great-great-grandparents who came from the Mecklenburg region around 1860. Their names were Federico Nusch and Carolina Zeese. I have a tree in Family Search with all the information about them but I can’t find the marriage certificate or their immigration records. Could you recommend a professional to advise me? Of course, I am willing to pay for your services. I have a lot of circumstantial evidence and I know that they were shepherds and that they came from the region of Swerin, Grabowhöfe and surroundings. I also know that they brought a special type of sheep for crossbreeding in Argentina to Estancia Negrete that was owned by a Scotsman with the last name Hannah and that later they worked in a ranch called Poronguitos owned by a well-known German at the time called Klaus Stengmann who had ties with the dictator of that time, Juan Manuel de Rosas. I have found Carolina Zeese’s siblings and even travel records for them (Sofia Zeese and her husband Detlef Poehls) but I have no information about them. Could you help me? Thank you very much in advance.

    1. Hi Carlos! Thank you for your research question. Please check out the FREE Family History Library Online Consultations where you can schedule time with a consultant to help you on any family history question you may have. You can also connect with other FamilySearch users who may be able to help you, by joining the FamilySearch Community. Good luck and thank you for reading the blog!

      Google Translate – English to Spanish: ¡Hola Carlos! Gracias por su pregunta de investigación. Consulte las Consultas en línea de la Biblioteca de Historia Familiar GRATUITAS donde puede programar tiempo con un consultor para que lo ayude con cualquier pregunta de historia familiar que pueda tener. También puede conectarse con otros usuarios de FamilySearch que puedan ayudarlo uniéndose a la Comunidad de FamilySearch . ¡Buena suerte y gracias por leer el blog!