Mexico Locating Place of Origin
Mexico Locating Place of Origin
Sometimes the most difficult part of researching your immigrant Mexican ancestor is locating their hometown. If your Hispanic ancestor came from Mexico to the United States, the following record types might provide that elusive clue to their place of origin.
Before you can begin to search in the records of Mexico you must find that one record that gives the name of his or her hometown. You must also know enough about the ancestor to positively identify him in the records. Dates (even if they are approximate), places, and familial connections are key to helping you decide if a person you find, who has the same name as your ancestor, really is your ancestor.
- Do you know the name of his parents?
- Do you know his birth, marriage, or death date or can you calculate an approximate range of years to search for his birth, marriage, or death?
- Do you know the name of his wife? Did they marry before or after coming to the United States?
- Do you know the names of any of his siblings?
Documents in the home
Often the document you need to pinpoint the place of origin of your Mexico ancestor is already found at home. These might include the following:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates or licenses
- Death certificates
- Funeral cards
- Family Bible
- Naturalization papers
- Citizenship papers
- Military service records
Other record types that might also provide clues
If you don't find the record you need at home, you may consider a search for any one or several of these types of documents. Often the key to finding the place of origin is to view every document you can find on your ancestor no matter how significant or insignificant you might think it is.
- Catholic Church records
- Citizenship and/or Naturalization Papers
- Military Records especially Draft Registration cards. Immigrants were required to register for the World War I and World War II draft regardless of their citizenship status.
- Social Security Records if you find your ancestor in the Social Security Death Index, you should order a copy of his application for a Social Security number. You do so using this link. Order a copy of a Deceased Person's Social Security Application
- Marriage Records
- Death Certificates Caution: These records are only as accurate as the memory of the informant.
- Border Crossing Records If your ancestor crossed the border between 1895-1957.
- Alien Registration Form If your ancestor lived in the United States between 1 August 1940 and 31 March 1944). Search the index online and then request more information via email if you find a possible match before ordering the complete file.
- Census Records can help you to pinpoint the arrival year of an immigrant and provide information about citizenship status.
1930 Federal Census of Mexico
If you know your ancestor was living in Mexico in 1930, you might want to search the 1930 Mexico Federal Census but you must remember that the collection does present a few challenges.
- The record coverage is not complete. Many places are missing including the Distrito Federal or Mexico City.
- You must be able to recognize your ancestor in the context of his family. If you don't know the names of parents, siblings, spouse and/or children or other identifying factors to confirm his identity, your search may be an exercise in frustration.