Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Argentina 1895 Census Part 4

A comment posted on my one of my last posts concerning the 1895 Census caught my attention. The comment read:

"The site says that although the index is 100% complete, only 63% of the images are online. Any idea why? Or when the rest will appear? My relative, of course, is one of the imageless 37%."

The short answer - The 1895 Census was scanned by FamilySearch about 3-4 years ago. The first 35% microfilms of the collection (give or take 2%) were scanned as bi tonal images (meaning black and white), not gray-scale. The bi tonal images were not very good quality and it was decided to wait to publish the images on the site. Since that time it has been determined that the bi tonal images will be published, so that all images will be available to users. In time the microfilms that were scanned as bi tonally will be redone as gray-scale. After the images are re-scanned in gray-scale they will be linked to the index (which might take some time).

Hopefully this answers the question. In time I am confident that the site and it's collections will get better. Publishing the Mexico 1930 Census (browse only for now), and the Argentina 1895 Census (search only for now), I believe that FamilySearch has shown a desire/interest to reach out to the Hispanic community. We are witnessing some pretty cool advancements in Hispanic family history/genealogy...with a little more time I believe we will see more and more collections online for Hispanic countries.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

FamilySearch and The Generations Network Reach Agreement

I think most people have heard about this by now, but yesterday I received the following email from the Generations Network (parent company of


FamilySearch and The Generations Network Agreement Give Patrons Access to More than 24,000 Databases and Titles

Provo, UT – December 19, 2007 – FamilySearch and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of, today announced an agreement that provides free access of to patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the 13 largest regional family history centers effective today.

With this new agreement, full access will be provided to more than 24,000 databases and titles and 5 billion names in family history records. In addition to the Family History Library, the following 13 regional family history centers have been licensed to receive access to

Mesa, Arizona

Los Angeles, California

Oakland, California

Orange, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Pocatello, Idaho

Las Vegas, Nevada

Logan, Utah

Ogden, Utah

St. George, Utah

Hyde Park, London, England

“We’re excited for our patrons to receive online access to an expanded collection of family history records on,” said Don Anderson, director of FamilySearch Support. “’s indexes and digital images of census, immigration, vital, military and other records, combined with the excellent resources of FamilySearch, will increase the likelihood of success for patrons researching their family history.”

The Generations Network and FamilySearch hope to expand access to other family history centers in the future.

FamilySearch patrons at the designated facilities will have access to’s completely indexed U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, and more than 100 million names in passenger lists from 1820-1960, among other U.S. and international record collections. Throughout the past year, has added indexes to Scotland censuses from 1841-1901, created the largest online collection of military and African American records, and reached more than 4 million user-submitted family trees.

Free access is also available at Brigham Young University Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii campuses, and LDS Business College patrons through a separate agreement with The Generations Network.

“FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is one of the most important physical centers for family history research in the world, and we are happy that patrons to the Library and these major regional centers will have access to,” said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of “We’ve enjoyed a ten-year working relationship with FamilySearch, and we look forward to continued collaboration on a number of family history projects.”

About – Visit us at

With 24,000 searchable databases and titles and more than 2.5 million active users, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 8.7 million unique visitors worldwide and more than 416 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, October 2007).

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Spanish Variant Spellings and Interchangable Letters

Have you ever heard the saying: "There is more than one way to skin a cat.?" I believe a similar saying could be said in genealogy too..."There is more than on way to spell a name."

I have been thinking a lot about my last post on the Argetina 1895 census, especially the part about variant spellings of names. Variant spellings show their ugly face in individual's names (both first and last names), place names, and in their written language in general. Variant spellings are even more fun to deal with when you include a language barrier. Like a census taker from Argentina spelling a French, Italian, or German name.

Interchangeable letters can also make things interesting. I spent the better part of six months (on and off, mostly off) trying to find some towns in Spain, only to find that the town's name was actually spelled (in gazetteers and on maps) completely different. Here are a couple of general rules for variant spellings and interchangeable letters, then I will discuss some specific examples that I have come across in my research, and show you how I solved...hopefully giving you some ideas on solving some of your own problems.

The following interchangeable letters seem to be the most common in Hispanic genealogy. I feel these are the most important ones to be aware of when searching for your ancestors.
  • i and y - Two examples come to mind:
    • Iglesia vs. Yglesia
    • Hoya, Hoia (also see it spelled: Joya, Joia, Oya, Oia) - don't forget the de Hoya or de la Hoya.
  • j-x-g-h - Here are a few examples...I'm sure you could add to the list
    • Jimenez/Gimenez/Ximenez
    • Javier/Xavier
    • Mujer/Muger
  • v and b - v pequeña y b grande - the most confused letters in the Spanish language
    • Villa/Billa
    • Valle/Balle
    • Bautista/Vautista
  • c-s-z -Here are a couple of examples
    • Garcia/Garsia/Garzia
    • Lezuza, Lesuza, Lesusa
Searching indexes

These interchangeable letters can cause major headaches when searching indexes, especially computer databases. I've been researching in Granada, Spain for nearly 3 years now. Most of the parish records have been destroyed, however, the diocesan marriage petitions still exist, and have been indexed by FamilySearch (on microfiche). Searching for the surname Valle I had to search for the following combinations.
  • Valle, Balle, de Valle, de Balle, de la Valle, de la Balle (Hoya was just as much fun)
I would have never would have been as successful as I have been if I hadn't checked all the possible variant spellings of the name. This is an important principle in genealogy/family history: Always try spelling the name at least a couple of different ways.

A Couple of Case Studies

If I'm working with a family that migrated a lot; I find myself referring back to a map or gazetteer. Parish registers and civil registration records often give places of birth for individuals, however, those town names are often misspelled. This can cause frustration and slow down your research. Here are a couple of examples.
  • About a year ago I was working with a lady on your family history. The birth certificate we had (civil registration from Spain) said that the maternal grandmother of the child (being registered) was from "Baloria" in the province of Soria. In hind site this problem should have been easy for me, but it took me some time to figure it out.
    • The first place I looked was online. A Google search did not help me (I know that comes to a suprise to many of you). I checked my favorite map site for Spain, but still couldn't find Baloria.
    • The second place I went to was the Madoz gazetteer/geographical dictionary of Spain (not online). Still no Baloria in the province of Soria.
    • Next I tried some variant spellings: after some work I finally figured it out...Valloria.
  • The other day I received an email from a colleague. She was working with some individuals and couldn't find the following (I went through the same steps, so I'll save you the pain of me explaining them again).
    • A U.S. newspaper obituary said that the deceased was born in: Laquatis, Spain (in the Basque region). My recommendation for this one was: Lauquiz (Spanish) or Laukiz (Basque). If you do a Place Search in the Family History Library Catalog you will need to search for: Laquíniz. In this case we had to work through a bad English translation/interpretation of the town's name, then fight with Spanish and Basque, an extra degree of difficulty, but not unique to Basque problems.
    • A U.S. WW1 draft registration listed a place of birth as: Bancarlos, Navarra, Spain. After some digging in the resources listed above I believe I found it spelled as: Valcarlos, Navarra, Spain. I know that the n and v aren't interchangeable, but this is a good example of being careful of believing the spelling a name.
Do you have an ancestral town you just cannot find in a Hispanic country? Let others help you. Go ahead and post a comment with background information and we'll see if we can figure it out for you. Please provide the town's name and any background information that might be helpful.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Argentina 1895 Census Part 3


I thought I would spend some time and read through some mailing lists/groups to see if anyone was talking about the Argentina 1895 census. People are talking alright, but it seems that the excitement that I anticipated seems to be overshadowed by talk of indexing errors.

Computers vs. Microfilms

Most of us, if not all, would agree that computers have taken genealogy research to the next level. Having things at your finger tips with the click of a mouse or by searching a website are awesome, if you can find what you are looking for.

There has been some talk about the inaccuracies in the 1895 Argentina census. I believe some are a little hesitant to talk about them and voice their opinion, but like I tell my students...'everyone should have an opinion, and not be afraid to share it.' Here's my opinion...researching via computer/internet is completely different than microfilm. Let's way some options.
  • Ordering microfilm to Argentina can take several months. If you are patient that's okay, however, I'd prefer to try an online collection with some errors first before I order a microfilm.
  • Ordering microfilms aside let's look at Family History Centers. I love the satellites of the Family History Library, but most of them have really irregular hours that might not fit your schedule.
  • Family History Center space is limited. Ever been to a center and not been able to use a film reader, because they are being used by others? It's not fun, especially if you've made adjustments in your schedule to visit the center during irregular hours.
Computers in Genealogy and Family History

As more and more record collections become available online, the more and more we need to adapt. If you speak with anyone that has used the U.S. 1900 census on microfilm and internet they will tell you that the internet is the best way to go hands down...even with all of it's errors. Some don't realize that the U.S. 1900 census probably has just as many errors as the Argentina 1895 census.

Recently a study was done on the 1900 U.S. census index and the index recently finished via FamilySearch Indexing by volunteers. In this particular case study the two indexes did not match nearly 65% of the time. Nearly 90% of the time Ancestry's index contained the errors. Long lecture made short - all indexes have problems/errors.

So, what do we do to combat all the errors? Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Alternate spellings - Argentina is just as large as melting pot as the United States. Germans, Italians, French, Spaniards, etc. immigrated to the country. You will want to be careful when searching for your ancestors. 99% of the names will be spelled with a Spanish flavor. Or if the census taker was a native Spanish speaker, and the family was Italian or German the communication may not have been very good, hence some spelling errors may have occurred. About a week ago an individual couldn't find their ancestors they knew were in the 1895 Argentina census. After being a little creative we found them. Take a look:
    • Family Surname: Caballieri (Italian) - the individual was found in the census as: Caballini
    • Family Surname: Haine (French according to the census) - the individual was found in the census as: Haure.
    • Ancestor: Adela Garramuño de Romeiro - the individual was found in the census as: Adela G. de Rameiro
  2. Indexers make mistakes - No one is perfect, and no one index is perfect. If you don't like the quality of an index, then you should step up and participate in the indexing efforts yourself. It is easy to pick on the work of others when you haven't helped. The Mexico 1930 census is available to work on right now. It might not be for your country, but it will give you some experience, which will help you in the future when an indexing project for your country becomes available. By the way - the 1930 Mexico census project is going very slow...please help out.
  3. Be greatful and be patient - Yes, you are entitled to your opinion...but this is the first significant Latin American collection to be available for free on the internet. I can understand if you were complaining about the quality if you were paying for a subscription, but this is free.
The census will get better over time, i.e. browsable (good quality) images, and a way to make the current index better. Don't be afraid to share your is always welcome and necessary for making things better. In the meantime let's make the most of what we have, and use this wonderful resource to find ancestors.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Second Class Now Available on RootsTelevision

Well, the classes from the FHL Hispanic Genealogy and Family History Conference (October 19th and 20th) are now trickling in on RootsTelevision. You can see my 'Buscando Ancestros Mexicanos en el Interent' presentation online for free at:

I haven't watched it yet...hopefully it will be helpful in your research. I would love some feedback. Feel free to drop me a comment here on my blog.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

1895 Argentina Census Now Online part 2

This last week of work has been interesting. I've had a handful of people come into my office and express their surprise at the number of unique visitors FamilySearch Labs is getting from Argentina. According to site statistics Argentina and Canada were in a dead heat for the country with the second most visitors to the site (behind the United States). The spike in the numbers (visitors from Argentina) followed directly on the heels of my post announcing the the database on the site...I guess people are reading my blog, and then sharing the information with others; cool!

Yesterday it was determined that some of the images were scanned as bi-tonal (most were scanned as gray-scale images), meaning that their quality is not as good as they should be. I curious to know if people have actually noticed a difference in some of the images. If you have used the 1895 Census collection on FamilySearch Labs and found that some of the images are not readable will you please let me know? Go ahead and leave me a comment at the end of this post...thanks!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

1895 Argentina Census Now Online

Having the the Mexico 1930 National Census images available online was a pretty significant event for Hispanic genealogy. For the first time a major Latin American collection had been published online for free. It definitely marked a turning point for anyone doing Hispanic family history/genealogy, now the same collection is being indexed. I strongly believe that the Mexico 1930 Census paved the way for other collections. Now on FamilySearch Record Search you can search the 1895 Argentina National Census. The searchable index is linked to digital images and for the first time Argentines have a valuable collection at their fingertips. Again, all available for free!!

Items that can be found on the 1895 Argentina Census:
  • Full name of all individuals in a household.
  • Place of birth if born in Argentina. If an individual was born outside of Argentina, then their nationality was given (same as country of birth).
  • Age, gender, and civil status of all individuals
  • Religion, Occupation, whether the individual could read or write
  • If the person is going to school (for children)
  • If the person owns real estate
  • How many children an individual had (for women) and how many years a couple had been married
  • If the person was physical or mentally handicap or an orphan
I hope everyone that has Argentine ancestors appreciates this collection and uses it in their research. Being online the census will make research much faster and in many cases more easy. keep coming back to Record Search for additional Latin American collections, inevitably more are coming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Roots Television and FHL Hispanic Genealogy Conference Update

I imagine many of you are wondering why the FHL Hispanic Genealogy Conference classes have not been posted on Roots Television. Having asked myself the very same question I did some digging. Here is what I know so far...

asked that the classes not be published on Roots Television at this time. I believe the two are looking for ways to work together in order to publish the Hispanic genealogy classes along with other FHL classes on many different genealogy topics.

I'm pretty confident that the classes will eventually be posted online, however, it is going to take a little longer than we initially hoped.

Factoid: Since being published on Roots Television on November 1st the class: Spanish Parish Records ranks in the top 10 most viewed videos for the month. It has been viewed nearly 1,000 times.

With a demand like that I think it's in FamilySearch's and Roots Television's best interest to get the other classes up as quickly as possible.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

FamilyHistoryLive Hispanic Online Conference

I've been excited to see so many people vote on which classes they would like to see presented online via I have also received several comments to my last post making some recommendations. I might suggest that if the Spanish translation on needs work that you contact them through their site. I currently don't have any affiliation with the company, but was approached by Jonathan Walker, who does weekly online classes through the site, to do a Hispanic conference/fair.

So far we have seen interest in a variety of topics for the Saturday, January 12th conference, which might suggest that more conferences may be needed. The top four recommendations are the following:
  • Spanish Emigration Records (in Spanish...just having problems right now getting accents and tildes to work)
  • El Censo-guia de Archivos
  • Nuevos Recursos del Internet
  • FamilySearch Indexing en Espanol
I might also recommend that a class on the Family History Library Catalog be taught, which was recommended by a user via the comments on the last post. I have only offered 8 different topics, which means this is not a final schedule, however, we will need to begin finalizing the 4 classes by about mid December so we can make final preparations of the classes. Also, keep in mind that we are thinking that 2 classes will be taught at the same time.

I'll be preparing a new poll over the next few days, but anyone can still make class recommendations via the comments option on this blog post, vote on the next poll, or click here to send me an email.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nicaragua FamilySearch Indexing Project Launched

I haven't felt very much excitement in the Hispanic genealogy community for the Nicaragua (Managua) Civil Registration indexing project. Clearly the first initial push on this project is late 20th century records, which aren't the most desirable records for genealogists, however it is important that the project be supported.

The buzz surrounding the Mexico 1930 indexing project (a handful of states are being added as the project progresses) was deafening, at least I thought, until recent reports suggested FamilySearch Indexing is not seeing the number of volunteer indexers working on the project as they initially thought they would. I hope everyone who can dedicate some time to participate will do so...the whole concept behind the program is to let people work on indexing when it's convenient for them.

As an advocate of Hispanic genealogy I would love to see an indexing project for each Latin American country. Doing so would provide motivation for genealogists throughout Latin America to participate in a project that is meaningful to them. Unfortunately I believe that if FamilySearch Indexing continues to see a lack of response to Spanish indexing projects Hispanic countries will be put on the back burner.

Now is the time to prove to FamilySearch and the genealogical community as a whole that Latin America shouldn't be overlooked anymore. FamilySearch has initiated two projects, and hopefully more are on the way; now is the time of opportunity. Please come and participate in indexing. Tell your friends, neighbors, relatives to come and help out. If you are a family history center director or a family history consultant invite everyone that you work with to participate in indexing. Remember: "If we all do a little, then we can all do a lot."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back from Peru

Last week was busy, here is a recap of my week:
  • I attended the genealogy and heraldry congreso presented by the Instituto Peruano de Investigaciones Genealogicas
  • Met with adiministrators from the Archivo General de Peru
  • Presented a class at the Seminario Internacional - Implementacion de technologia avanzada en los archivos. Presented by the Archivo General de Peru
People keep asking how I liked Peru, I tell them I loved it, even though I didn't make it outside of Lima the entire week. Here is a quick review of my trip.

1) XIV Reunion Americana de Genealogia - Congreso Iberoamericano de Ciencias Genealogicas y Heraldicas (sorry, I'm on my laptop and can't get the accent marks to work) - This was an interesting conference. I have never attended one like it before. The presenters were mainly academics from all over Latin America and Spain, and their presentations were mainly on pre 1650 research. The ponencias were only 15 minutes long followed by 5-10 minutes of questions. I found a handful of them to be very interesting, especially the one that asked the question: "Why do we do genealogy?" It was an interesting perspective, and the presenter actually ended by asking the question to the audience. The answers varied, but were very interesting. I could write for days about this conference, but will only say that it was an interesting experience. It looks like the next one will be in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2009)...nothing is final, so stay tuned if you are interested in attending.

2) Meetings with th
e AGN - I learned a lot about Peru civil registration, some of which is not found in any books that I have read on the topic of Hispanic genealogy. Lima (the city of, and it's districts) have civil registration records dating back to 1857. The same should hold true for any municipios that existed in 1857. You can find these records in the municipio where your ancestor was born, married, or died. Starting in 1875 copies of the civil registration books were sent to each regional archive. The AGN (Archivo General de la Nacion) has civil registration books for Lima city beginning with this date. The records from 1875 to 1900 can be found in the Archivo Historico (branch of the AGN), and those after 1900 are located in the AGN itself (all the way to the present). Outside of Lima, for example in the region of Cuzco (regions are equivalent to U.S. States) all civil registration records after 1875 should be in the regional archive of Cuzco, because that's when the duplication of the records began. Before that date you will need to check with each municipio.

I also lear
ned a little more about the marriage petitions or expedientes matrimoniales created by the civil government. Each couple getting married had to present a couple of records in order to get married. These expediente packets include: baptisms (or birth certificate), death record of previous spouse (if anyone was previously married), and other notarized material ensuring that the couple had met all the prerequisites to marry. These records are great supplements to the actual marriage records. The AGN had some of these records, but you may also want to contact the municipio where your ancestors married.

3) Seminario Internacional - The AGN asked FamilySearch to do a two evening conference at the Archivo Historico. We talked about the different technologies that FamilySearch uses to digitize record collections. It was a fun conference and full of people. The first night we estimated 250+ people attended the conference. As you can see by the picture there was standing room only.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More Mexico IGI Batch Numbers Added...

If you are reading this, and you still haven't visited the Mexico IGI batch number wiki you are missing out! If you have been to the site and benefited from the work of others, then we hope that you will return the favor and contribute other batch numbers to the site too...that's why I decided to make it a wiki. A wiki allows any registered user (in this case) to add information on any page. Some of you may think that this is scary and seems like a big problem with so many people being able to change the pages, but this is a work that should be done by many, not one or a handful of people.

I wanted to take a minute and give another update of the site. As of today (6 Nov 2007) 809 batch numbers for 20 different states have been added to the wiki...not bad for being up for less than one month. This is just a drop in the bucket of the total number of batches out there for Mexico. Come be apart of something that is growing, and helpful to others. This is a wonderful opportunity to share with each other.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

FHL Hispanic Conference Classes and Roots Television Update


We should be begin seeing the classes online at: starting next week. Some of the English classes will be the first to be posted followed closely by the Spanish classes. I'm writing now, because next week I will be in Lima, Peru attending a conference so I don't know when I will be able to blog. Please visit Roots Television's site to watch for when the classes are posted. They will most likely be on the Hispanic Roots station (could be on the conferences station too). To get the Hispanic Roots channel click here...or just select Hispanic Roots from the pick list located in the upper right corner of the home page.

I hope you all enjoy the classes and that you all plan on attending the online family history conference via


Friday, October 26, 2007

A Tale of the Numbers...

First Things First

I have been tempted to wait a few more days to do another post, but blogging is addicting and I thought I would throw some numbers at me they are pretty interesting. I'm not one for math and numbers, I've hated them all my life, but these numbers are pretty exciting. It's almost like a response to my somewhat controversial review of the FHL Hispanic conference last weekend.

If you haven't stopped by for a few days (since the 24th), then please read the post titled: Hispanic Family History Conference Online. Please read through the post and leave comments...also, I've posted a poll on the same topic, please, please (I'm begging all of you) cast your vote!

The numbers

Visits and page views - Since my last two posts (see above) my blog visits and page views have more than doubled. Over the last five days the blog has averaged 43 visits and 2.6 page views per visit. The average visit length on the blog is just over 6 minutes. This shows me that the last two topics have been hot topics, and visitors want to learn more about Hispanic genealogy especially through online conferences. These numbers also tell me that my initial goal for the blog is being accomplished. The purpose of the blog is to educate others on the topic of Hispanic genealogy, and it appears that people are using it as a place to come and learn about different resources available to them. Thank you all for visiting and encouraging me to continue blogging, please let others know about it...and keep coming back!!

Visitor IP Address info - My site meter doesn't give any bank account numbers or other personal information, but is does tell me where visitors live. today's numbers were quite interesting to me, because 60% were from outside the United States (40 visits as of 9:00pm MST). This is pretty high given that I write all my articles in English. If you don't struggle reading English, then you can always use Google to help you out. I admit it's not the best way to have something translated, but it's probably just as good or better than my grammar. To view my blog in Spanish go to and do a search for "hispanic genealogy+Lynn Turner" then click on the link by my blog's URL that says: "Traduzca esta pagina" and the site and all it's contents will appear in Spanish. Here is the breakdown of the foreign visitors that visited the blog today.

  • Spain - 7 visitors
  • Puerto Rico - 4 visitors
  • Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, and Argentina - 2 visitors each
  • El Salvador, Costa Rica, Peru, Uruguay, and Liectenstein - 1 visitor each
My site meter isn't perfect. It is possible that the same person visited my blog 2 or more times through out the day, however, I think these viewers were mostly unique given that the site meter tells me where in each country the visitors were from, for example. The El Salvador visitor was from Atiquizaya, Ahuachapan. Thank you all again for visiting and using the blog it definitely encourages me to keep doing it.

Mexico IGI Batch Number Experiment - A little background. I teach part-time at Brigham Young University a class called: Computers in Family History. Part of the class on Wednesday, October 10th was on wikis. Since I asked the class to create or contribute to a genealogical wiki I decided that I would do the same. As part of my lecture that day I had the class watch a little video called: Wikis in Plain English. After the class I watched another video done by the same company (The Common Craft) called Wetpaint Wikis in Plain English. If you have 5-10 minutes you should watch these videos. Wetpaint seemed like an easy wiki to use, so the Mexico IGI batch number experiment was born.

Since October 13th I have had 3 other individuals join the wiki and 2 of them have contributed at least one batch number. Let me tell you what we have done in 2 weeks worth of work. Since October 13th 109 batches have been entered into the wiki. That is 109 batches for 31 towns/cities in Mexico. If you don't know what IGI batch numbers are or how they can help you in your research please read: IGI on FamilySearch and watch my meager attempt at a video version called My IGI Videoette. Hopefully my videos will get better! 109 batch numbers is a great start and I have a feeling that it is only going to get bigger. Please join the wiki and see how easy it is to add batch numbers to the pages. The more people contributing the better. Imagine if only one person was trying to undertake this kind of would take forever, but with the help of the community it will won't take as long. Just for your information the top 4 states with the most batch numbers up until today are:
Thank you OFRAME for joining and contributing all that you have!!

Well, the numbers probably aren't as interesting to you as they are to me, however, I think we can all learn from them. Thank you all again for coming to the site and encouraging me via your visits to keep blogging and keep contributing to the Hispanic genealogical community.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hispanic Family History Conference Online

One of the emails that I received asking that the FHL transmit or record the classes from the recent Hispanic genealogy conference was from a passionate family historian from Mexico. The emailer couldn't understand why the conference was going to take place in Salt Lake City. It amused me when the emailer compared it having the Muslim pilgrimage to Mexico City instead to Mecca. It amused me, because Salt Lake City is often referred to the Mecca for family history / genealogy research. To me it makes sense having a conference at the largest genealogical library in the World, the same library that draws thousands from around the globe to research their ancestors.

Again, I would like to thank all those that emailed me (and Ruth) asking that something be done so that those that couldn't make it to 'Mecca' could participate. The same emailer suggested that we hold the conference in different countries each year, which is a wonderful idea, however, it's probably not the most cost effective way to do it, and it would take us more than 15 years to cover every country. So, what's the best way to reach out to the potentially thousands of people desiring to drink from the genealogical well? THE INTERNET!!

About a week or so ago I had a phone conversation with Jonathan Walker, who works with offering one class per week on Hispanic genealogy. We decided that we would like to do an online family history fair/conference in January. We are hoping for Saturday, January 12th, however that may change by a week or so...stay tuned.

Jonathan and I feel that there is a need to reach out to those around the world so that we can learn from one another and try to get more people interested in discovering their Hispanic roots. We think that starting small and proving to others that there is a need is the best way to start. We have decided to hold 4 classes (2 classes be presented simultaneously).

First things first...what are you interested in? What topics would you like to hear us discuss in our first online fair/conference? This is a chance for you to recommend a class on a topic that you have always needed or wanted. We will take the 4 highest recommended topics and prepare the classes. Did I mention that the classes can be in Spanish or English?

So, how do you make your recommendations? Leave a comment at the end of this blog post, or participate in the poll that will be made available in the near future. I will propose a few topics to get the ball rolling, but it will be up to you guys to determine which topics are presented. You can also email Jonathan (I'll post his email once I have his permission). If people would like to contact me to make their recommendations I would prefer it be done via the blog (comments section and or via the poll)

Mark 12 Jan 2008 on your calendar (keep in mind that this date is subject to change). You will see several announcements in a handful of mailing lists and online newsletters over the next couple of months. Please let others know...some may not have believed me that the more noise you make the more attention you'll get, but in this case it is true. If the first online fair/conference is successful, then it will only result in more frequent and larger ones in the future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hispanic Family History Conference Review

I think the announcement that Roots Television was going to record several of the classes, and the rain/snow showers kept a lot of people away from the conference. I'm guessing that we had about 75 registered attendees, which is not good if you want more classes on the topic of Hispanic genealogy. As most of you know when the demand isn't high for a particular product, then those producing that product aren't too anxious to continue producing it. I'm not saying that there isn't a need, nor am I saying that the interest level isn't there, but I was disappointed to see small class sizes.

Understanding that there was more of a world wide interest lessens the blow for me. Receiving about 50 emails from individuals requesting that the conference be recorded or transmitted via the web was great (it was a huge determining factor for getting classes recorded) . I think that those of you that sent the emails represented hundreds or even possibly thousands through out Latin America and Spain. You 'emailers' should be happy to know that 8 total classes were video taped by Roots Television, which turned out to be one half of all the Saturday classes. Roots TV was incredible to work with, and I believe we will be seeing the classes on their site in the near future...which brings me back to supply and demand. If we want to see more Hispanic classes (and other material for Hispanic countries) videotaped by Roots TV, then we need to prove to them that there is a need. If only the 50 people that emailed me visit their site to view the Hispanic conference material, then they probably won't add more stuff on the topic. Roots TV did tell me that they thought that this would merely be the tip of the iceberg, however, if no one comes to their site to use it, the iceberg just might melt away...THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION: MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD IN THE GENEALOGICAL COMMUNITY. TELL EVERYONE - USE THE ONLINE CLASSES, MAKE YOUR PRESENCE FELT ON THE ROOTS TELEVISION SITE!! Just like you guys made this videotaping happen you can make Hispanic genealogy the hottest niche in the industry/community.

Since I told everyone in my classes not to take notes, I thought I would let everyone know where I have posted the slides from my presentations. Hopefully those of you that weren't at the classes will benefit from them as well. You can find them by visiting the 'Hispanic Genealogy' google group ( you can also find a link to the group on the bottom right side of the screen of this blog under the section titled: 'Groups'). If you have a genealogy / family history question you can also ask it on the google group in the discussions section. You can also check out the different Mexico websites (we only scratched the surface in the class) that I wrote about back in June by clicking here.

Thanks again for all the made this happen, now let's raise the bar! Let's make sure that the Hispanic community gets as much attention genealogically speaking as does the United States and Europe.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mexico IGI Batch Number Experiment

I am probably the worst genealogist in the world when it comes to research logs and keeping track of where I have searched, especially when it comes to recording IGI batch numbers. Luckily groups like Nuestros Ranchos and the Asociación de Genealogía Hispana have done a wonderful job in parts of Mexico (thank you Nuestros Ranchos), and other Latin American countries (thank you AGH) to record batch information.

I was teaching my students this last week about wikis, and we talked about the FamilySearch Wiki and all the good it's doing, but it also got me thinking. Wikis are designed for mass authoring or contributors. Depending on the wiki and how it's set up anyone coming to your site or anyone that creates an account can help build content, or facilitate a group of people working on a specific project.

The wheels started turning; I have always been troubled by the fact that there isn't one good repository/website that lists IGI batch numbers for all of I created an IGI Mexico batch lab /experiment. I created a wiki for anyone can use and/or contribute to; it's found at:

All you have to do to contribute a batch number is to create an account, which is free, then you can add batch numbers to your heart's content. The more people that contribute the better and more complete the batch number collection will be. For those of you new to wikis and/or to wetpaint, I recommend going through the video tour, which is made available once you create your account. You will be amazed at how easy it is to add stuff to the wiki.

For more information about IGI batch numbers and why they are so important in Mexican (and Hispanic genealogy in general) genealogy / family history please read my blog post:

Friday, October 12, 2007

FHL Hispanic Conference and Roots Television

Thanks to some faithful and diligent genealogy / family history enthusiasts out there I have some good news to report. About two weeks ago my email contact information was posted in a mailing list. The message said that if there was enough interest I might be able to find a way to get the Hispanic family history conference to more people than just those that are able to attend in Salt Lake City.

I was inundated with emails (nearly 50), which would make up at least 1/4 to 1/3 of the number that will most likely attend in person. I made some phone calls and sent out some emails, and about a week ago I was contacted by LDS Public Affairs asking for my permission to let Roots Television to tape one (maybe more) of my classes. I only had one request, that the classes be made available via the internet, not just television. Today I just learned that the taped classes will be posted online for all to use. I hope that you all pass the word along, because the more interest Roots Television sees in Hispanic genealogy could very easily influence them to gather and/or produce more classes on the subject.

Thanks everyone that made this wish come true...I hope that you all benefit from the conference regardless whether you can attend the conference in person or not.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Central America Genealogy

I was sifting through my posts today and realized that I really haven't posted anything specific to Central America. Understanding that I won't be able to include all resources for all countries in one post I thought I would start small and add new information over time.


A fairly new website is available for those of you with ancestros from the Zacapa region. The site can be found at: The site claims to have a 95, 000 name database that they will search for you, however, they want to add to it so they are asking for an interchange of information. For more details check out the Objetivo page on the site. This brings up the topic of family reconstitution/One-place studies or prosopography, but we'll leave that for another day.


Some of you may be aware, but for those of you that aren't the latest upcoming FamilySearch Indexing project for Hispanic countries is Managua civil registration records. This is exciting for those with Nicaraguan ancestry, because until recently there hasn't been many records available to use. Now in time (hopefully everyone will help no matter where their ancestry is from in Latin America) Nicaragua will have a nice collection indexed online.

As I mentioned above...this is only the beginning of hopefully many posts on Central America. There are many resource out there...stay tuned, I'll write about more shortly.

Friday, October 5, 2007

FamilySearch Press Release - 4 Oct 2007

I just received this news release via email this morning. I hope you find it as interesting as I do...hopefully those of you that use family history centers as your 'research centers' will take advantage of this!

Not Sure Which Genealogy Management Software to Use?

Select vendors allow free use of products through local family history centers.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH─FamilySearch announced that many popular desktop genealogy products can now be used for free in its family history centers in North America. Patrons who already own or use any of the products to manage their personal family histories at home will be able to conveniently update personal files through flash drives while working at the research centers. FamilySearch’s popular genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File) is available as a free download at

FamilySearch’s family history centers are frequented by millions of genealogy enthusiasts. Patrons use the centers’ computers, Internet, and microfilm readers to do genealogy research. “Once you start moving beyond your parents and grandparents in your personal research, I cannot imagine keeping track of your family tree and research efforts completely by hand or in paper files anymore,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “Great software programs are available that make it easy to build, organize, manage, share, and view your family history,” Nauta added.

The challenge is deciding which software programs might be best for the user’s needs. People who want to purchase a commercial program for home use can sample software applications in centers to help decide which to purchase for home use. FamilySearch is working with software developers to make relevant desktop applications available for free for use in family history centers. Some of the products are genealogy management software, while others provide advanced tools for editing and searching personal or online databases, or expanded options for printing or viewing family tree data.

Center patrons that use any of the featured products at home will now have the convenience of using the same product in their local family history center. FamilySearch also offers its own genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File 5.2) for free through Following are the new products available for use in centers:

Genealogy Management Software

  • Ancestral Quest 12 (By Incline Software).
  • Roots Magic (formerly Family Origins)
  • Legacy Family Tree (By Milennia Corporation)

- more -

Family History Software Utilities

  • Personal Historian (Roots Magic). Writes and preserves personal life stories.
  • PAFWiz 2.0 (Incline Software). Add-on tools and report utility for PAF 5.2.
  • PAF Insight (Ohana Software). Performs advanced functions for LDS patrons. Provides improved merging, place editing, and other data cleanup tools.
  • PAF Companion 5.2 (Progeny Software). Add-on utility that prints a variety of quality charts and reports in different formats.
  • Family Atlas (Roots Magic). Creates and publishes custom maps directly from personal genealogy data.
  • Pedigree Analysis (Generation Maps). Patrons can submit any genealogy computer file for a free pedigree analysis.
  • Genelines (Progeny Software). Depicts an ancestor's life in the context of time by bringing together elements of time, history, and family relationships on visual time line charts.
  • Map My Family Tree (Progeny Software). Automatically “geocodes” a family tree from any popular genealogy file format and illustrates where ancestors were born, were married, and died on a navigable geographic map. It also prints customized maps.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Somos Primos Newsletter

If you haven't subscribed to the monthly Somos Primos Newsletter (online...subscription is free), then you are missing out. The newsletter encompasses all things Hispanic heritage, and always has something for the family historian/genealogist.

This morning I was just browsing through October's are a couple of topics that caught my eye (keeping in mind that there are too many to mention).
You can also visit the Somos Primos website and search or browse all the back issues of the newsletter. Check it out...the newsletter will point you to new resources, books, compiled family histories, and other historical information for Mexico, Spain, Caribbean/Cuba, Southwest U.S., Sephardic heritage and many other's by far my favorite online newsletter for Hispanic heritage, history, and family history.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PARES - Portal de Archivos Españoles

Hands down the best website for Spanish genealogy is The website has great genealogical information and online records for the entire country of Spain. If you haven't visited the site yet, you are missing out on some great stuff. Granted it doesn't have every Spaniard that ever lived, but it is a great place to start.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Austin, Texas presenting a couple of classes at the Nosotros Los Tejanos confernece. One of my classes focused on finding immigrant ancestors from Spain. I quickly found myself adjusting my class to the can really divide Spanish emigration into two time periods 1) Early to 1821 2) 1821 to Present-more or less. Of the fifity plus that were in the class not one had ancestors that arrived after the Colonial period ended. The class that I had hard time preparing actually became fairly easy to teach, thanks to Pares.

I am not claiming that all Spaniards will be in the database, however, Spanish law before 1821 'forced' all those leaving to go through the port in Sevilla. How many actually followed that law compared to how many actually emigrated is another topic. The Archivo General de Indias maintains a collection called: Libros de Asientos: Pasajeros a Indias, and has published a series of books called Catálogos de Pasajeros a Indias, which is basically an extraction of the libros and the petitions to emigrate from the Sevilla port. Both of these are available through Pares (up to 1700 at least). The Catálogos de Pasajeros a Indias is important in this case, because it makes searching the libros de asientos possible. The libros de asientos on the site are the actual images listing the emigrants, which are not in the best shape, and for anyone trying to read Spanish handwriting from before the early 1600s knows how difficult it can be.

The best way to access the collections is to do a Búsqueda Simple or Avanzada. To narrow your search make sure that you specify a time period and select the appropriate this case that would be the Archivo General de Indias. You can browse the collection by selecting the Inventario Dinámico de Archivos and selecting Archivo General de Indias. To see the original images you will need to enter the Casa de la Contratación the extracted entries can be browsed by going to The Catálogos de Pasajeros a Indias.

Before you search you will want the least the name of your immigrant ancestor and a fairly narrow date range of when he left Spain for the New World. Without at least this information you search might be in vain. Please keep in mind that I am not advocating that everyone that emigrated to the New World between the mid 1500s thru about 1821 will be found on the site. I am suggesting that you begin your search here though...searching the internet from home is a lot cheaper and faster than most other methods. Give the site a chance, I think you will be surprised how much genealogical and historical information the Ministerio de Cultura has added to the site. The site is free to use, and it has become a lot easier to use too.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My IGI Videoette

I have tested the 'new features waters' of Blogger, and put together my first 'videoette.' I thought I would put together a short presentation on the IGI, because it is so important to those doing Hispanic genealogy. I hope you enjoy it...I am putting together all my video and audio files myself (with free software) so please be patient as I figure out the best way for me to edit everything.

You can read more about the IGI in one of my earlier posts:

I hope you give me some feedback on my videoette. I'm curious if you like the idea or not, and if you do what other topics would you like me to cover?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hispanic and Mexican Family History Classes Online

Last weekend I taught a couple classes at a genealogy conference in Austin, Texas. I briefly mentioned that there were some online genealogy classes that the conference attendees should take advantage of...everyone wanted to know more and I promised that I would put the information up on my blog.

Visit and click on the link 'Class Calendar' located on the home page. If you look at the calendar you will see that on Sunday evenings Jonathan Walker teaches classes on Hispanic genealogy from 7:15pm to 7:45pm. For anyone interested in these classes please contact Jonathan at:

Thank you all for a wonderful conference!! It was a lot of fun...

Monday, September 17, 2007

FamilySearch Wiki Beta Launched

If you haven't heard yet, the FamilySearch Wiki (beta version) was launched about a week ago. The site is available for anyone to browse, and the World Wide Support division of FamilySearch is looking for volunteers to help grow the content. If you would like a user account to log in and add an article you will probably have to go through the Contact Us page for now, but open registration should happen sooner than later.

I haven't been involved in the project for about a month now so my numbers might be off a little. There are over 3,000 articles on the site so far, and more than 200 of them are in Spanish. The majority of the articles have been taken from the Research Guidance and Research Helps found on, but they have been in the process of updating them. Many of the articles contain additional information on the research topics including links to websites to helpful sites, and updated contact information for libraries and archives. The site is really becoming a great resources for anyone learning how to do their family history.

Here are a couple of examples:
Here are a couple of cool features of the site:
  • Discussion Groups - aka Forums...there are only a couple right now, but they will probably grow. Forums are great to communicate and coordinate research with others. They are especially nice to ask for help or advice.
  • Multiple Languages - Right now the site is a little English top heavy, but as more and more people get involved there will be thousands of articles in many languages. Simply click on one of the language flags on the home page to use the site in that language. Can you believe that they already have 200+ articles in Spanish?
  • Search - It was so hard to find and use content on, now you can search for a specific topic like "Chile immigration" and you will be directed straight to that article.
There are several more features...visit the site and discover them yourself!! The more people use the site and contribute the more successful it will become. No matter what level of researcher you feel that you are everyone has something to contribute...try it, you'll like it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

FamilySearch Presentation at the Nosotros Los Tejanos Genealogy Conference

Many of the people that attended my class "Discovering the FamilySearch Treasure Trove" at the Nosotros Los Tejanos Genealogy and History Conference asked for a handout, and/or a copy of my presentation. Here is a list of websites that I talked about, but you will need to visit: (give me a couple of days to post it please).

FamilySearch Websites:
Many of you were asking for my blog's URL...if you are reading this, then you already found it, but here it is anyway:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 and Partnership Announced and have teamed up. This is great news for anyone with Latin American ancestry...finally someone besides FamilySearch posts a significant database/collection for a country in Latin America.

The Familias-Argentinas database contains more than 130,000 connected entries, and is claiming it is the the biggest of its kind for South America.

After the database has been launched, it will be free to access at for 10 days.

To read more about the partnership and how you can tap into it visit:

Sunday, September 9, 2007

1930 Mexican Census Indexing Project

I hope everyone is ready to help out with the indexing of the 1930 Mexican census. If you haven't already heard, the census is one of the upcoming projects that will be available through FamilySearch's new web-based indexing program.

The project will be the first Spanish project offered through FamilySearch Indexing (FSI), and will be an excellent research tool for anyone doing Mexican family history research. If you haven't indexed before, it is now easier than ever before. Visit and register...your account will be activated within a couple of days. Once your account has been activated you will be able to choose from several different projects to help in the indexing efforts.

FSI has plenty of tutorials to get you going. It will walk you through the download of the FSI software, and other items that will help you as you index. The neatest thing about FSI, besides from being web-based, is that you can work at your own pace. A batch (one census page in this case) will take about 30 minutes to do. If you get interrupted you will be able to save your work and return when you have time.

Your participation in the Mexico 1930 census project is very important. If enough people participate and FamilySearch sees that Spanish projects are getting accomplished quickly, then they will inevitably post more Spanish projects. Once projects are done (in some cases partly finished) they will be published on the new Record Search ( Evidence of this is the handful of collections they already have posted on the site. Up to this point the U.S. 1900 census has been the major one state is indexed (and checked), then the index along with the images are posted on the site.

Image the day when hundreds of Spanish record collections are posted on the internet free to search. I think the Mexican 1930 census project will only be the tip of the iceberg for Spanish family history related records posted online...we can either standby and wait for others to do the work, or we can actively participate and help speed up the process.

Please visit and register. Your help is needed...remember: "If we all do a little, then we can all do a lot." Keep your eyes open for the Mexico 1930 census project to be released within a week or two. The following Mexican states will be the first to be indexed:

  • Aguascalientes
  • Baja and Campeche
  • Chiapas
  • Chihuahua
FamilySearch Indexing works/partners with genealogy and historical societies and other interested groups (see bottom of the page). If you belong to a society or group you may want to contact the FamilySearch Indexing support at:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Dispensas Matrimoniales

It's been a busy past few weeks. I transferred to a new position in the Family History department, and I started teaching at BYU again...'Computers in Family History.' To say the least, I'm a little behind on my blog posts, however, I promised a little on dispensas matrimoniales...enjoy.

According to Catholic canon law there are a handful of impediments that can hold a couple back from getting married. I'm not going to try to name them all, but you can find many of them online, and in 'Finding Your Hispanic Roots' (page 195) by George R. Ryskamp. In short there are two major categories of impediments:

  1. Diriment - diriment impediments are not pardonable if one is discovered after a couple was married...they would actually void the marriage. This is why a pre-marriage investigation took place before a couple got married. If the impediments were discovered before the marriage, the couple could petition to the diocesan bishop for special permission to marry. The more common diriment impediments include:
    • Consanguinidad - couple was blood related within the 4th degree, or a common great great grandparent.
    • Afinidad - couple was related by marriage within the 4th degree
    • Espiritual o Compadrazgo - couple was related by godparents within the 4th degree
  2. Preventative - Preventative were not as example would be a commitment of one of the marrying parties to marry someone else.
Regular parish marriage records normally elude to the pre-marriage investigation and the resulting dispensation. The key term in the marriage record is: "no habiendo resultado impedimiento ninguno...(phrases vary)" or if the couple did run up to an impediment the record will read something like: "...con dispensa apostolica del tercero grado...(phrases vary)" If you find a phrase similar to this there is probably another record for the marriage, the dispensation of the impediment. Dispensas are normally found in the dioceses, because the diocesan bishop was the one to grant it.

Dispensas contain a lot of great information about the marrying couple and why they needed a dispensation. In my research in the Granda, Spain expedientes matrimoniales and dispensas I have seen dispensation records as long as 30 pages. The records often structured this way:

  • Presentation of the marriage applicants/petition - this is usually a paragraph outlining the couple desiring to marry. Usually gives their place of birth, their parents' names (especially a minor was involved), and their intent to marry each other.
  • Acceptance of the marriage petition - usually not very long, however, the parish priest accepts to investigate the impediment so the couple can marry.
  • Investigator idenitfied - statement who will carry out the pre-marriage investigation. This was normally done by a local notary or the local parish priest. In the dispensas that I've used this section usually lists the questions that the investigator is going to ask the witnesses. If anyone is interested I can supply these questions...but I don't want to go too long.
  • Testimony of 3 witnesses - three different individuals that know the couple getting married. They testify that they know of the impediment and outline how the couple is related (great for genealogists). These testimonies sometimes give interesting biographical data, like how long the bride or groom has lived in a particular parish, etc.
  • Applicant statements - bride and groom give a statement of the facts found in the investigation
  • Summary - the investigator basically sums up the findings of the investigation for the bishop. Many times this summary will include a drawing (click here for an example) that shows the bishop in one page how the couple was related.
  • Dispensation - Statement/document signed by the diocesan bishop granting the couple permission to marry.
I have spent several hundred hours researching in Granada, Spain over the last few years. The families that I'm research live in a town where all the parish records have been destroyed. I have used only expedientes matrimoniales (dispensas are mixed in with them), and have uncovered 200+ years of genealogy. Even though I'm not finding all the children of each couple, I have successfully found over 400 individuals. The collection is a gold mine, because many of the parish records in the diocese of Granada were destroyed during the civil war. The marriages are indexed and cover the years 1556 - 1933. To find dispensations you should be looking in diocesan archives first since the dispensations were actually granted by the diocesan bishop.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hispanic Family History and Genealogy Conference at the FHL

I really wanted to get to marriage dispensations, however, I promised that I would update update everyone about the annual Hispanic Family History and Genealogy Conference at the Family History Library when I got more first things first.

I sat in on a planning meeting for the conference and the final schedule should be set. Here is what you can expect...

Friday, October 19th
  • 8am - Finding and Using Hispanic Sources that Tell the Story (4 hrs) by Dr. George R. Ryskamp
  • 1pm - Research Before 1650 in Spain and Mexico (4 hrs) by Dr. George R. Ryskamp
Saturday, October 20th
  • 10am
    • Cómo empezar por Leandro Soria
    • Buscando antepasados Mexicanos en el internet por Lynn Turner, AG
    • Introducción del por Elder Orrantia (missionary serving in the FHL)
    • How to begin Spanish language research by Candela Romero
    • Usando el IGI y otros indices en la investigación genealogica por Dr. George R. Ryskamp
  • 11am
    • Censo Mexicano de 1930 por Ruth Gomez Schirmacher, AG
    • PAF - principantes por Elder Orrantia
    • Registros parroquiales y civiles por Lynn Turner, AG
    • Investigación en archivos nacionales de España y Latinoamerica por Dr. George R. Ryskamp
    • Parish and Civil Registration Records by Peggy Ryskamp, CG
  • Lunch - (not provided)
  • 1pm
    • Archivos municipales por Dr. George R. Ryskamp
    • Como preparar nombres para Templeready por Elder Orrantia
    • How to read Spanish records by Lynn Turner, AG
    • Como leer y entender los registros por Ruth Gomez Schirmacher, AG
    • Como hacer mas interesante su historia familiar por Karina Morales
  • 2pm
    • Helping people overcome obstacles by Jennifer Kerns
    • FamilySearch Indexing en Español por Ruth Gomez Schirmacher, AG
    • Como usar y entender catalogos de los archivos por Lynn Turner, AG
    • Genealogia y la geografia de Mexico por Peggy Ryskamp, CG
    • Como usar el catalogo de la Biblioteca de Historia Familiar por Irene Jimenez
  • 3pm
    • Consultas de investigacion genealogica - Time given to conference attendees to do some of their own research and get some help from conference instructors.
The conference will be free, however, the FHL would like people to register for the classes before attending. You can register via email ( or telephone (801 240 4950). The schedule might change a little. To keep current with any changes visit the Family History Library Monthly Class Schedules.

Please let others know...and get as many people there as possible. The more conference attendees the better the chances that the 'conference' will turn into a semi-annual event. Note: all classes will be taught in Spanish, unless the title is in English.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Expedientes Matrimoniales Continued

I felt bad last week for having to cut my post short, however, it was probably getting a little long so maybe it was a good thing I was having a few issues. The issues seem to be resolved now, and I'm ready to continue my last post, but with a twist...I have included my preliminary findings on which dioceses have pre-marriage investigations in Spain. I also couldn't wait until next week to talk about marriage dispensations, so I've included an image to wet your appetite.

Pre-marriage Investigation records is the topic (aka expedientes matrimoniales, información matrimonial, and diligencias matrimoniales) and I was discussing how to find them. Before I continue down that vein I wanted to share what I have found for Spain as far as the availability of pre-marriage investigations.

Using the Guía de la Iglesia de España. I have found that the following dioceses have collections of expedientes matrimoniales (followed by the years covered by each collection). For a complete list of Spain's dioceses click here...
  • Avila (1529-1979)
  • Barbastro-Monzon (1545-1982)
  • Barcelona (1649-1776)*
  • Burgos (1813-1996)
  • Cadiz-Ceuta (1596-1997)
  • Canarias (1700-1840)
  • Ciudad Rodrigo (1633-1981)*
  • Coria-Caceres (no years given)
  • Girona (1344-1950)
  • Granada (1556-1933)*
  • Guadix (no years given-mixed with limpezas de sangre)
  • Huesca (1600-1900)
  • Jerez de la Frontera (1659-1892)
  • Leon (1600-1900)
  • Lleida (beginning in 1900)
  • Malaga (1775-1900)
  • Mallorca (1800-1900)
  • Menorca (1900-1965)
  • Mondenado (1700-1900)
  • Ourense (1800-1900)
  • Plascensia (no years given)
  • Salamanca (1918 to present)
  • Santander (1557-1973?)
  • Santiago de Compostela (1500s-1900)
  • Siguenza (1600-1900)
  • Tarragona (no years given)
  • Teruel-Albarracin (1582-1834)
  • Toledo (no years given)
  • Tortosa (no years given)
  • Seu d'Urgell (1602-1952)
  • Valladolid (no years given)
  • Vitoria (no years given)
  • Zamora (1506-1919)
  • Zaragoza (no years given)

This study was brief, and not exhaustive of all available resources. Some of these are vague and/or include marriage dispensations (see upcoming posts on this topic...see above image for an example of this too). The * denotes that these collections are available through the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City.

For Latin American countries you will want to search at the parish level to begin with. For example the FHL has informaciones matrimoniales for the parish of Ojuelos de Jalisco, Jalisco, Mexico for the years 1800 thru 1945. Pre-marriage investigations for other Latin American countries will most likely be in the parish archives, but the diocesan archives should be checked as well. To search for informaciones matrimoniales for your ancestor's parish in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC). Follow these steps:
  1. go to
  2. click on Explore the Family History Library Catalog
  3. click on Place Search
  4. in the first box enter the town name where your ancestor would have married (for example Ojuelos de Jalisco)
  5. in the second box enter the country (example: Mexico) and click Search
  6. click on Church Records
  7. click on the link that says: Registros Parroquiales [followed by a range of years]
  8. in the upper right hand corner of the screen click on View Film Notes
  9. the records will be arranged by baptisms, confirmations, then marriages. The entries titled informaciones matrimoniales are the pre-marriage investigation records.
From this point you will have to order the microfilm to your local family history center. Contact your local center for microfilm ordering information.

You can also try the Censo-guia. Since this post is getting long, I will save you from all the details. It is pretty self explanatory, just enter place name information like the FHLC, and click search. If you find the archive you are looking for, the site contains parish and diocesan archives, you will see a list of collections on the left side of the screen. You can click on each entry (or the plus next to each entry), and learn more about the collections. This guide or inventory of collections within archives can guide you to records available throughout Latin America. If the link above doesn't work follow these steps:
  1. go to
  2. click on Archivos
  3. click on Censo-guia de Archivos
  4. click on Directorio de Archivos
  5. perform your search
I have really liked using these records. They complement 'regular' parish records very well, and have proven to be a viable parish record substitute. Please come back and learn more about these and many other valuable records you can use in your family history research.