Helping Others Find Their Ancestors from Mexico

October 5, 2018  - by 

You don’t have to be an expert in Mexican genealogy to help others learn more about their ancestors from Mexico. FamilySearch has a large and growing collection of Mexican family history records online. Use these Mexico records and FamilySearch hints to help someone with Mexican ancestry discover more about their family.

The Power of Record Hints

Not long ago a woman began visiting the family history center near the Mexico City Mexico Temple. “The first time she came, she was very worried,” recalls Gloria Sánchez Popoca, a missionary at the family history center. “[She] dreamed for several days that her mother was crying a lot and asking for help.” [She] didn’t know anything about her parents: her father had abandoned her family, and her mother passed away when [she] was only 11. Her godparents, who raised her, didn’t know anything about her birth parents either.

Despite these barriers, Sister Sánchez Popoca helped the woman enter what little she knew into the FamilySearch Family Tree. Immediately, record hints started to appear, including the woman’s mother’s birth certificate, her parents’ marriage certificate (she didn’t know her parents were married) and the birth certificates of two brothers she did not know existed. She even found birth certificates for her grandparents. “A whole world of information opened up that helped her know she had a family,” says Sister Sánchez Popoca. “And all thanks to the new published records….[They are] a blessing.”

What’s Available at FamilySearch.org

The records that helped this woman were made available through a partnership with Ancestry.com that has added more than 65 million Mexico records to the online collections at FamilySearch.org. The heart of the collection is civil registration records, encompassing more than 200 million searchable names in birth, marriage, and death records for almost every state in Mexico, dating as far back as 1859. Records generally include the names, dates, and places involved in these events. Parents, spouses, other relatives, or witnesses may be mentioned. You may even learn a person’s age, occupation, or residence.

Whether you’re looking for your own relatives or helping someone else with ancestors from Mexico, the first thing you need to know is how to access them. There are two main types of records in the FamilySearch collection:

  1. Older Mexican civil registration records are written out in paragraph form, such as the example shown below.
  2. More recent records are in formatted registers (which are generally easier to read).

Many of the genealogical details from the older documents (such as those highlighted in the example above) have already been extracted by indexers, and will appear in record hints or search results.

In other cases, the images are available to browse, which requires some language skill. Need help reading the language? This Spanish Genealogical Word List may help you read some of the original record. If you or your patron want to read the entire document but lack Spanish language skills, consider printing or downloading the record and sharing it with someone who can interpret it for you.

Create Temple Experiences

María de los Angeles Martínez, a family history consultant, wrote to FamilySearch about helping a recent convert to the Church. “The missionaries brought him in so we could help him create his FamilySearch Account and see if we could find some of his ancestors, as they planned to take him to the temple and perform baptisms the next day. He was so amazed to find records of his close relatives…. He cried with joy to learn information about his relatives, and his testimony of the gospel grew stronger.”

The Mexico record collections can be a powerful tool for helping families with Mexican heritage prepare names for the temple. Be sure to try these records as you prepare personalized family history experiences with patrons who have Mexican ancestry.

 

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton teaches personal and family history to worldwide audiences. She's a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine, past Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems, and the author of How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records (co-authored with Harold Henderson, CG); Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy; "Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites," and hundreds of articles. She has degrees in history and humanities from Brigham Young University. Read her work at sunnymorton.com.

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  1. Sunny Morton, I can’t find birth, baptismal and marriage records for my paternal grandmother. Her name Virginia Aguirre born aprox 1875-1882, La Piedad, Michoacan, MX. Married Secundino Montes aprox 1900 Mexico City (central). Her 2 live oldest sons born and Baptized San Miguel Arcangel Church. She lived in Chihuahua, Chihuahua MX then onto Portsmouth, VA. She passed away 1938 in East Los Angeles, Ca. Thank you, Sincerely, Virginia Montes, Sept 26, 2019