Cuba Finding Records
Cuba Finding Records
To find church, civil or other records for your ancestor in Cuba you will need to know the various levels of jurisdictions (government or religious administrative) in Cuba. Only three locality levels are normally used. The country of Cuba is divided into provinces (provincias), municipalities (municipios), and cities, towns, villages, etc.
Under the municipality level you will find civil registration records In large cities there may be several offices. Some small towns may not be their own municipality and therefore their records will not be kept in the town. YOu will need to determine the correct municipality or municipio in order to locate civil registration records. In order to access civil registration records you will have to write to a civil registration office in Cuba.
Church records are usually located in the parish. A parish is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction where a Catholic priest serves and keeps records. The parish is usually named for a Saint and is located in the largest town in the parish jurisdiction. Large cities may have many parishes while a small town usually only has one.
Place Levels (Jurisdictions)
Places are usually written from smallest to largest on a family group record.
City/town, Province, Country
In order to locate civil registration records you will need to know which municipality the town belongs. When you write localities on your family group sheet, the municipio is not listed.
When you want to include the parish, which is especially important in large cities, in your locality field you would write it in the following manner:
Parish, City/town, State, Country
The parish of ?? is located in the city of ??
To find your localities, see the following sources:
- Google Maps is a great place to figure out distances between towns.
- Wikipedia in Spanish is a great way to learn about the history and juridictions of the town.
To find your Catholic parish, see the following sources:
You can learn if you ancestor's town or city had an established parish by checking a Catholic Church directory. It will list the archdiocese officials and the diocesses with their parishes, so you can easily determine all nearby parishes. It may include historical information about each parish, and sometimes it provides addresses for parishes, the diocese headquarters, and the diocese archives where additional records may be kept.
If your ancestor came from a large city that had several parishes, you will need to know what section of the city he or she lived in to determine what parish he or she belonged to. However, in a large city such as Havana, you may find that even if you know the closest parish, sometimes the family went to the cathedral or the parish of a relative in the same city for the baptism of a child. If you do not find the complete family in the home of the parish, search the surrounding parishes of the city.
If your family lived in a very small village that did not have an established parish, you will need to check a map, church directory, or gazetteer to determine which nearby town had a parish.
Records from FamilySearch
FamilySearch does not have access to original images of parish or civil registration records. There are some extracted parish records and/or indexes for the cities of Camaguey Havana, Remedios, Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara, Guamutas, Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba, and Santa Clara. You will find them in the FamilySearch Catalog under the name of the town. These books are found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
There are also Cuban genealogy books that are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. You will find them by searching for Cuba in the FamilySearch Catalog under the subject of Genealogy.