Puerto Rico Getting Started
Getting started with research on your ancestor from Puerto Rico is not difficult. This page is designed to give you a few ideas about how to get started. Begin by following these steps:
1. Write down what you know[edit | edit source]
Start with yourself. Begin by writing down what you know about yourself, your parents, and your grandparents. Use the link below to print a pedigree chart you can use to enter the names, dates, and places you may already know. If you do not know exact dates and places, estimate them. Circle any missing or incomplete information, and decide what you want to find first.
Use a family group sheet to record information about family groups. Use one form for each family. You will record the names of the husband and wife at the top of the form and then list each of their children in the order they were born.
2. Gather records[edit | edit source]
Begin by looking for records that you may already have around your home. Many important clues can be found in the things we already have at home. Here is a list of the types of records that might be of use:
- Certificates of births, deaths, and marriages
- Funeral programs
- Documents relating to education
- Documents about military service
- Newspaper articles
- Birth announcements
- Marriage announcements
- Citizenship or naturalization papers
- Family bibles
3. Talk with your family[edit | edit source]
Contact your family and friends. Record any useful information and stories they provide. Ask about copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates as well as journals, letters, photos, and other records that might be available. Find out if they know other people you should contact. Be sure to record any new information.
Although sometimes memories can be faulty, you can usually get some great clues as you interview older relatives. It’s also important to remember that many family legends prove to be unreliable but usually there are bits and pieces, or perhaps one small thread in these legends that might prove to be true.
For more tips for beginners be sure to read the article Getting Started
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As you take this genealogical journey remember that your relatives and family friends may also be interested to learn more about their ancestors and heritage. Please share with them the information you find. It may spark more memories and clues that will help you along the way. You can preserve, share, and donate your family history with the help of free software found at FamilySearch.org.
5. Ask for help[edit | edit source]
Visit a local FamilySearch center for free personal help and many other valuable services. Center staff may also direct you to other local community resources. Find a center near you online at FamilySearch.org. You can leave a question on our Facebook Research Community pages. For those who speak Spanish you may feel more comfortable posting in the page Puerto Rico Genealogy Research. If you prefer a page that is predominantly in English, we recommend the Hispanic Genealogy Research page which has been designed for those who have Hispanic ancestry but may not speak much, if any Spanish.
6. Know the town of origin in Puerto Rico[edit | edit source]
Probably the most important piece of information you will need to begin research in Puerto Rico is the name of a specific town in Puerto Rico where your ancestor was from. The article Locating Place of Origin will give you some ideas about what you can do to find this important piece of the genealogical puzzle.
If you already know the name of the town or village in Puerto Rico where your ancestor came from, you are now ready to begin looking for records. Please see the article Finding Records to help you locate the records of your ancestor’s hometown in Puerto Rico.
For more information see the Puerto Rico Quick Start Guide.
Return to the Puerto Rico page