Monday, July 16, 2007

Hispanic Genealogy Books


I thought I would write about something other than online sources for a change. This list of books is not designed to be an all inclusive list of everything out there on the topic, however, these should are a few that I have found useful and/or very interesting.

Genealogy Specific Books

These books I find myself using these books quite often (some more than others).
  • Finding Your Hispanic Roots by George R. Ryskamp - Some of the chapters are out of date (for example the IGI and Family History Library Catalog), but the chapters on record types are invaluable. Dr. Ryskamp's insights and explanations on parish, civil registration, military, and notarial records are the best ones out there. A must buy for anyone doing Hispanic genealogy.
  • Finding Your Mexican Ancestors by George R. Ryskamp - Published by Ancestry this year, this book is a great resource for anyone doing genealogy/family history in Mexico. The book contains valuable websites, archive addresses, and great suggestions for finding those hard to find Mexican ancestors.
  • Hispanic Surnames and Family History by Lyman D. Platt - This book is an interesting and quite helpful. It lists common Hispanic surnames in North America and Hispanic surnames in general. Dr. Platt has also compiled a bibliography of helpful publications/periodicals and a quite comprehensive list of Hispanic family biographies.
  • Census Records for Latin America and the Hispanic United States by Lyman D. Platt - Like his other book this is one of a kind. The book does a good job of listing a lot of census records, but it does not list all of them. It's a good starting point, but a more thorough search should be done to determine whether census records exist for the area you are researching in.
  • Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World by Jeffrey S. Malka - I have not read all of this book. Sephardic genealogy is not my main focus, but for anyone doing Hispanic genealogy should be aware of it, and the possibility of some ancestors being Jewish. From what I have read in this book it seems thorough, and provides good recommendations for tracking down your Sephardic roots.
  • Mexican-American Genealogical Research: following the paper trail to Mexico by John Schmal and Donna Morales - I have not read this book, but I plan on reading it in the near future. It is an interesting niche in research. Many people that I speak with struggle with connecting to their ancestral country. This book sounds helpful for bridging that gap.
History Books

I could probably list hundreds of helpful books, and several country specific history books. I enjoy reading history books, because they help me understand the political and social situations for the different places where I am researching. Here are a few interesting books for Hispanic Southwest United States/northern Mexico (depending on the time period).
  • Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans by Gloria Golden "We were told that our Spanish was archaic, Ladino." This book opened my eyes to the Jewish influence of many of the colonists of the early southwestern United States. I'll let you find out what a Crypto-Jew is if you don't already know.
  • The Mexican Frontier 1821-1846 by David J. Weber - I'm currently reading this unique book. Weber seems to be one of only a few historians that recognize that this time period of Mexican independence was important in shaping Mexico. For me it is interesting to learn what was going on politically during this time period, and how the Mexican government interacted with the northern territories.
  • Soldiers, Scoundrels, Poets, and Priests by David J. McLaughlin - A compilation of short biographies of some of the most important players in early California.

There are hundreds of history books out there, and I know that there are people out there that have there favorites. If you know of a book or books that you would like to share with others please add them to the comments section of this post.

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