Puerto Rico Archives and Libraries

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Puerto Rico Wiki Topics
Puerto Rico flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Puerto Rico Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Archives[edit | edit source]

Diocesan Archive of the Archdiocese of San Juan (Archivo Diocesano de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan)
Calle San Sebastián, Old San Juan
Section 902196, San Juan, PR 00901-19767
Telephone: (787) 977-1447
Website: Diocesan Archive of the Archdiocese of San Juan

The Archivo Diocesano of San Juan holds various documents relating to the history of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, Documentation begins from 1799 to the start of the 20th century, some of it concerning the administration of the church. Subseries within the Justice Section (Sección Justicia) include documents of particular interest for the genealogist: Dispensations- Dispensas de Consanguinidad that are case files for permission for couples who are related to marry. Probanzas de Solteria are preliminary documents announcing an intent to marry. Other documents reflect aspects of the 19th century worldview: legitimation of offspring, licenses for contracting marriage and ecclesiastic divorce. As parental permission was required for grooms under the age of 25 and brides under 23, additional family information was recorded. This is a joint effort between the Archdiocese of San Juan, the University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras Campus), the University of the Sacred Heart and the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and Caribbean. Presently as of October 2021, the archives will be moved to another location.
The origin of parish archives reach to the Middle Ages. From the Council of Trent (1545-1563), dioceses are divided into parishes and parish and diocesan archives arise with their respective collections of documentary funds. Parish archives existed in Europe and America before the Council of Trent. The Tridentine systematized the practice of having parish archives in each of the Spanish dioceses. Through the Royal Decree of July 12, 1564, the obligation is imposed on every parish to keep books of baptized persons and marriages. The main objective of this practice was to establish kinship ties that could elucidate marriage impediments. In the particular case of Puerto Rico, Bishop López de Haro, following the Synod of 1645, orders the use of parish records in order to avoid lawsuits and litigation at the time of baptizing a child. That is why today we can count on the Archdiocesan Historical Archive of San Juan.

General Archive of Puerto Rico and National Library of Puerto Rico (Archivo General de Puerto Rico y Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico)
Ave. Ponce de León # 500
San Juan
Website: General Archive of Puerto Rico and National Library of Puerto Rico

Guide to Puerto Rican Records in the National Archives New York City)
Website: Guide to Puerto Rican Records in the National Archives New York City

This reference paper describes the records held by the National Archives at New York City pertaining to Federal government activity in Puerto Rico. These records span 28 different record groups and comprise a total of over 2,750 cubic feet, including six microfilm publications. The majority of documents are in English, however some record groups contain a significant portion of material in Spanish. Furthermore, due to a mistranslation in the Treaty of Paris, the island was commonly referred to as “Porto Rico” in U.S. documents until this practice was formally changed by an act of Congress in 1932. Links are provided to the relevant Archival Research Catalogue (ARC) entry, when available.

Municipal Historical Archive of Caguas (Archivo Histórico Municipal de Caguas)
Padial Street, Caguas, PR
PO Box 907, Caguas, PR 00726-0907
Telephone: (787) 746-0669/(787) 746-4136
Fax: (787) 258-5189
Website: Municipal Historical Archive of Caguas

The Municipal Historical Archive of Caguas preserves, in an environment that helps its conservation, all those municipal documents with historical value. The more than 650,000 documents are grouped according to the principle of origin. All belong to the City Council fund, grouped into three main sections: Government, Secretariat and Finance. Each section is divided into subsections, series and sub-series. The dates covered range from 1806 to 1955.

Municipal Historical Archive of Ponce (Archivo Histórico Municipal de Ponce)
Calle Marina 9215 Ponce PR
Section 331709 Ponce, PR 00733-1709
Telephone: (787) 843-1422
Fax: (787) 843-3222
Email: archivohisponce@yahoo.com
Website: Municipal Historical Archive of Ponce

The documentary fund of the Municipal Historical Archive of Ponce began in 1812 with the first book of Acts of the Cabildo when the first mayor, Don José Ortiz de la Renta, was elected and continues until 2006 with the documents that are considered of historical value. It is divided into nine sections: Government, Secretariats, Finance, Plans, Newspaper Library, Photographs, Video-tape, Private Collections and Central Government. It also has collections of books on the history of Ponce, many of them sold out. Private collections include Alfredo Wiechers and Fortuño.
The Ponce Historic Archive has the biggest collection of documents, letters, photos, microfilms and more, in the entire island. It houses over 300,000 files, each containing thousands of more items. Although most of its contents are Ponce related, there are also some collections dedicated to other Puerto Rican municipalities. Historians, professors, researchers, and more can be granted access.

National Archives at New York City
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House
One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
Telephone: Toll-free 866-840-1752 or 212-401-1620
Fax: 212-401-1638
Email: newyork.archives@nara.gov
Website: National Archives at New York City

This branch of the National Archives has records created by federal agencies and courts in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The archives has naturalization records, internal revenue service records, customs lists, and records of the U.S. District Court of Appeals. They also have microfilms of all available federal census records, many naturalization records, court records, passenger lists for New York City and other ports, Revolutionary War military records, some Civil War service indexes, and World War I draft registrations. The staff will make photocopies for a fee.[1]

National Archives - Puerto Rico
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: Toll-free 86-NARA-NARA or 866-272-6272
Website: National Historical Publications & Records Commission Puerto Rico

San Juan Military Archive (Archivo Militar de San Juan)
Calle Norzagaray 501 Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan, PR 00901-1219
Telephone: (787) 729-6791
Fax : (787) 289-7165
Website: San Juan NHS Museum and Archival Collections

The organization of the collections in the Archive is governed by the principle of origin, that is, the disposition they had in the original deposits, or the order in which the different donors organized it, is maintained. Collections are classified with the name of the deposit, the agency or the donor. Documentary funds cover the 18th centuries to the present. Among the most outstanding funds are the administrative history of the Park, which contains documentation on its background. In addition, some documentary resources come from New York, Washington, and US Army funds, among others. It also includes historical preservation projects that have been carried out in the Murada City, in which the reconditioning processes in the fortifications of the Isleta de San Juan are detailed. Also, documentation of the Spanish Crown, and Tomás O'Reilly (18th century). In addition, the Archive retains documents on the work that has been done on the time of the attacks on San Juan by the English navy and documentation from the Public Record Office in London (General Archive of Great Britain), among others. Currently, the Archive contains about 120,000 cataloged pieces. These relate to Puerto Rican military history, that of the Caribbean, and that of the whole of America, from the establishment of Europeans in the archipelago, especially on the Island of San Juan Bautista, to the present.

Vieques Historical Archives (Archivo Histórico de Vieques)
Cll El Fuerte Moscou Isabel II
Vieques, PR 00765
471 Calle Magnolia, Isabel Segunda
Vieques, PR 00765
Telephone: (787) 741-1717
Email: robert.rabin@cprdv.org
Website: Vieques Historical Archives
Website #2: Vieques Historical Archives
Website #3: New Digital Archives: The Museum of Vieques Historic Memory
Website #4: Fortín Conde de Mirasol

The Vieques Historical Archives (AHV) was established in 1990 as a center for research on Vieques with a huge

amount of documentation related to a wide variety of topics: archeology, architecture, literature, African slavery and the sugar industry of the nineteenth century, twentieth-century sugar mills, worker struggle of 1915, the presence and activities of the United States Navy on the island and the historic and heroic struggle against the military presence. Both the AHV and Museum of Vieques Historic Memory (MMHV) document the socio-historical processes Vieques from the perspective of people in struggle.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico
Apartado 9024184
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Email: info@icp.pr.gov
Telephone: 787-724-0700 or 787-724-8393
Website: https://www.icp.pr.gov/bnpr/

Carnegie Library (Biblioteca Carnegie)
7 Avenida de la Constitución
San Juan, PR 00901
Telephone: (787) 722-4739
Email: info@yourlibrarysanjuan.org
Website: Carnegie Library
Website #2: Carnegie Library in Puerto Rico
Website #3: Biblioteca Carnegie in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Website #4: The Carnegie Library

Fort Buchanan Library
Depot Road, Bldg. 518, Fort Buchanan
Guaynabo, PR 00965
Telephone: (787) 707-3208/3812
Email: info@yourlibrarysanjuan.org
Website: Ft. Buchanan Family and MWR
Website #2: Fort Buchanan Library

Jane Stern Dorado Community Library
331 Calle Méndez Vigo
Dorado, PR 00646
Telephone: (787) 796-3675
Email: director@jsdcl.org
Email #2: info@jsdcl.org
Website: The Jane Stern Community Library
Website #2: The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library

The main library occupies 8,125 sq. ft. in Dorado’s Luis Muñoz Marin municipal government building, and has become a center of learning unique in Puerto Rico for the breadth and depth of services provided in its meeting rooms, play areas and computer labs. As the library’s mission has evolved in the digital age, the major goals of its community outreach to underserved populations are to provide programs that support learning and supplement and enrich the education of public school students; to provide computer training to Puerto Rico citizens from children to seniors through courses ranging from basic use to an advanced IT curriculum; and to provide access to computers and the internet through our computer labs, laptops and reliable Wi-Fi.

José M. Lázaro Library (Sistema de Bibliotecas University of Puerto Rico)
Edificio José M. Lázaro, Calle Mangos
San Juan, PR 00931
Ave. Ponce de León San Juan, PR 00931-3302
Telephone: (787) 764-0000 x 85506 85507 85509
Email: ludibel.torres@upr.edu
Website: Sistema de Bibliotecas University of Puerto Rico

The Library System of the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, contributes to the management of learning, teaching, research, creative work and service that the Campus has as its mission. Through the articulation of services and programs, it integrates information and communication technologies that favor efficient and effective access to updated and pertinent information resources to the curriculum and research. It actively encourages the development of information skills and competencies and promotes the continuous learning and training of an individual capable of generating new knowledge.

Ponce Municipal Library (Biblioteca Publica de Ponce) (Mariana Suarez de Longo Library)
Ave Boulevard Miguel Pou
Ponce, PR 00716
Telephone: (787) 812-3004/3006/3007/3011
Email: library.municipal.msl@ponce.pr.gov
Email #2: joarleen.torres@ponce.pr.gov
Website: Ponce Municipal Library
Website #2: Biblioteca Municipal e Infantil Mariana Suarez de Longo

San Juan Community Library
2105 Cll Topacio, San Juan, PR 00924
Avenida Apolo, corner of Topacio
Guaynabo, PR 00970
Telephone: (787) 789-4600
Email: info@yourlibrarysanjuan.org
Website: San Juan Community Library
Website #2: San Juan Community Library
Website #3: San Juan Community Library at BUCAPLAA
Website #4: San Juan Community Library
Website #5: San Juan Community Library At Bucaplaa
Website #6: The San Juan Community Library

Founded in 1987, San Juan Community Library is one of only a handful of lending libraries in Puerto Rico. Our library has over 30,000 books, DVDs in Spanish and English in its collection. SJCL is also the only public library with a digital branch, with 1,000 ebooks/audiobooks and 25,000 ebooks from Project Gutenberg (classic titles in public domain).

The list of 66 libraries spanning 43 cities in Puerto Rico can be seen at Puerto Rico Public Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Caparra Archaeological Site (Fortín Conde de Mirasol)
Rd. #2 at kilometer 6.2
Guaynabo, PR 00966
Telephone: (787) 781-4795
Website: Caparra Archaeological Site
Website #2: Caparra Archaeological Site
Website #3: Caparra Ruins: Remains of the First Spanish Settlement

The Caparra Archeological Site is a National Historic Landmark that encompasses the location and significant remains of Puerto Rico’s first capital – some of the oldest evidence of the Spanish in the “New World.” The archeological site at Caparra has provided information that has been instrumental in understanding early construction materials and techniques in Puerto Rico, as well as Spanish colonialism in the Caribbean Island region.

Casa Alonso (Museo Casa Alonso)
34 Cll. Betances Pueblo
Vega Baja, PR 00693
Telephone: (787) 855-1931/858-8079
Website: Museo Casa Alonso

Museo Casa Alonso is Vega Baja's official art and history museum and it is housed within one of Puerto Rico's finest examples of 19th-century architecture. In the museum, you'll find pieces of art, historical documents related to the town's history, and personal objects belonging to some of Puerto Rican most famous poets.

Count Mirasol Fort (Fortín Conde de Mirasol)
Cll El Fuerte Moscou Isabel II
Vieques, PR 00765
471 Calle Magnolia, Isabel Segunda
Vieques, PR 00765
Telephone: (787) 741-1717
Email: robert.rabin@cprdv.org
Website: Fortin Conde de Mirasol
Website #2: Visit Museum Fort Conde de Mirasol on Vieques
Website #3: Fortín Conde de Mirasol
Website #4: Vieques: Brief History of Fortín Conde de Mirasol
Website #5: Fortín Conde de Mirasol
Website #6: Fortín Conde De Mirasol
Website #7: Fortin Conde De Mirasol Museum

El Fortin Conde de Mirasol was built between 1845 and 1855. “El Fortin” (The fort) is the best place on the island to learn about the island’s history. The Colonial style restored building houses a beautiful art gallery and a nice collection of indigenous artifacts. Although never completed, the fort has ramparts and a fully restored central building that houses a history and art museum; it's also home to Radio Vieques and the Vieques Historic Archives. Not surprisingly, its gift shop has an extensive selection of books on the island's history.

History Museum of Ponce (Museo de la Historia de Ponce]
53 Cll. Reina Isabel
Ponce, PR 00730
Telephone: (787) 844-7071/844-7042/567-4000
Email: heidi.dilan@ponce.pr.gov
Website: Museo de la Historia de Ponce
Website #2: Museo de la Historia de Ponce
Website #3: History Museum
Website #4: Meet or relive the past at the Ponce History Museum
Website #5: Museo de la Historia de Ponce
Website #6: Museum of the History of Ponce
Website #7: Museo de la Historia de Ponce

Inaugurated in 1992, the museum depicts the city's ecology, economy, architecture, government, and elements of daily life. It seeks to promote the research, conservation, and dissemination of the historic heritage of Ponce and Puerto Rico.

Río Piedras History, Anthropology and Art Museum (Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte de Río Piedras)
Ave. Universidad
Rio Piedras
San Juan, PR 00931
Telephone: (787) 763-3939
Email: museo.universidad@upr.edu
Website: Río Piedras History, Anthropology and Art Museum
Website #2: Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte
Website #3: Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte
Website #4: Museo de Historia, Antropologia y Arte de la Universidad de Puerto Rico
Website #5: A Visit to the Little Museum on Campus

It is the first museum in Puerto Rico created by law, in 1951. The building is designed by the prominent German architect Henry Klumb. Its Antillean archeology collection is one of the most complete in the entire Caribbean. It also has collections of Puerto Rican and international painting, drawing, engraving, sculpture, posters, folk art, historical documents, philately, numismatics and ethnographic objects.

Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center (Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes)
Carretera 503 k.m. 2.5
Ponce, PR 00730
Telephone: (787) 840-5685/2255
Website: A Visit to the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center
Website #2: Centro Ceremonial Indigena
Website #3: Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
Website #4: Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center & Caguana Ball Courts
Website #5: Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
Website #6: Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
Website #7: Tibes Indian Ceremonial Park
Website #8: Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
Website #9: Unearthing the Story of Tibes: New Looks at an Ancient Society

Ponce is home to The Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center, an ancient Taíno village. It was initially discovered by a charcoal maker from the area when a large flood in 1975 uncovered the buried remains--which were later shown to be a group of ceremonial plazas and ball fields. Some researchers suggest that, because of their placements, the plazas might have also been used as astral observatories. The largest indigenous cemetery, containing 186 skeletons, was also found. This site is considered to be one of the most important historical and archeological sites in the Antilles.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 81. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.