Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Getting Started with Spanish Language or Hispanic Genealogy

Note: My blog can be instantly translated into any of 60 different languages by clicking on the Google translation link to the right. Mi blog puede ser traducido inmediatamente en cualquiera de los 60 idiomas diferentes haciendo clic en el enlace de la traducción de Google a la derecha.

Many of those people presently living in the United States are recent immigrants and even if they speak English, they have parents or grandparents who spoke another language. Many studies indicate that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world based on the number of native speakers. It is not surprising that there are huge numbers of Spanish language genealogy and family history resources. But for those with Spanish-language ancestors, there are also a number of records available in English. Many of these resources are now available online. This post is a basic introduction to the records and resources, in both English and Spanish, that are available for doing Spanish Language family history research. Many of the English language family history websites are also available in Spanish.

You can use Google Translate to translate entire pages of the Internet from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English.

There are a number of helpful books on Spanish and Hispanic genealogy. I have found these books from Professor George Ryskamp to be most helpful:
  • Ryskamp, George R. Finding Your Hispanic Roots. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1997. Available only in English.
  • Ryskamp, George R. Tracing Your Hispanic Heritage. Riverside, Calif: Hispanic Family History Research, 1984.
  • Ryskamp, George R., and Peggy Ryskamp. A Student's Guide to Mexican American Genealogy. Phoenix, Ariz: Oryx Press, 1996.
Where do I start? Basic online websites
The first place to start is the Research Wiki. This website is available also in Spanish. (Esta sitio de la web está disponible en español también). These resources give both an overview of how to do family history research, but also provide links to basic resources in individual countries. is also a major source for original Spanish-language records from a variety of sources. See the Historical Record Collections. In both the Historical Record Collections and in the Research Wiki, search for records by the place of origin.

Online family tree programs are helpful in connecting with relatives around the world. Family Tree is available in Spanish as is the Family Tree program.

Here are some specific online resources. There is a Getting Started page for every country in the world on the Research Wiki.
There are dozens of additional web sites. Search for genealogy (genealogía) in the country of origin. 

If you have questions about Hispanic genealogy, you are welcome to send them to me in either English or Spanish. Si tiene preguntas acerca de la genealogía hispana, le invitamos a enviarlas a mí, ya sea en Inglés o Español.


  1. For those with Hispanic ancestors who came to California before 1850 may I suggest the group Los Californianos?
    Also The Huntington Early Population Project for Mission records.

  2. I really believe that Spanish should be taught in school starting in Kindergarten.

  3. I agree with Claudia. The demand for Spanish courses has doubled worldwide in ten years.