Sunday, June 15, 2014 Introduces the Puerto Rican Civil Registry

Puerto Rican Civil Registry [Ancestry]

Recently, Ancestry released the Puerto Rico Civil Registry within their records. Even though I have been using these records for five years now, the Ancestry version of these records allowed me to something I was previously unable to do: Search records by a inputting names, places, and dates option like most of their records. I was skeptical at first that it would work. Could Ancestry really have most of these records cataloged and searchable when even FamilySearch doesn't? I was happy that my answer was YES, it was very possible and real. Ancestry also released a guide to using the Puerto Rican records which is extremely helpful for those who might not speak Spanish as a first language but would love to delve right in to using the records. 

Puerto Rican Record and Research Guides [Ancestry]

I was blown away with the records I was able to find in under 10 mins flat. I was able to find: a great grandfather's death record, his infant son's death record, my 4th great grandfather's from Guadeloupe death record, and a pair of 3rd great grandparents' death records from my maternal side (I probably found a couple more but these were the biggest finds). Some of these records I had searched high and low for YEARS trying to find their records within the towns we thought they died in. For example, my 3rd great grandmother actually died in Guaynabo and not Cataño as we previously thought and her husband in Vega Baja and not in Manatí. My 4th great grandfather from Guadeloupe, Gustave Jean Charles actually died in Ponce in 1891 and I had thought he had died in Salinas with clues from other records. 

Last weekend, I did a marathon search for probably six hours straight researching my own family lines as well as collateral ones. What is great about this search is that if you type in both parents' names but no first name for the child, you could potentially find new family members. For example, I wanted to see if my grandfather Felipe Rivera Ortiz had any other siblings of which I had no idea of. I typed in "Rivera Ortiz" into the search bar for the surname and then added "Alejandro Rivera" as the father and "Mercedes Ortiz" as the mother, then I could parse through the results and see who matched the information I placed. Check out the results below: 

Searching Rivera Ortiz siblings [Ancestry]
Rivera Ortiz Siblings [Ancestry]

From the the top 10 results, here you can see that 7 of them were right on the money. Since I wasn't raised with my grandfather, I didn't have a full list of his siblings either living or deceased. I had information here and there from what family members knew, but from this list I was able to add another five siblings which I didn't know previously existed. Unfortunately, many of them died shortly after birth for various versions from malnutrition or stomach issues such as gastroenteritis. These search options allowed me to extend my family a bit more and really learn more about my great grandparents. It seems that during their first years together in La Perla and in San Juan things were rough since many of their children didn't make it to adulthood, probably from the difficult economic times they were facing. Even though I don't have stories from my grandfather, I was able to get a peak into the life of my paternal family. 

I am super grateful for Ancestry's upload of these records and I know that it will only get better from here. I'm still searching for some records and definitely won't stop until I have them in my hands! I actually just found my great grandfather's death certificate as I write this post just by playing around with the search options! Which you occasional have to do to find the record you are looking for, especially if something was spelled incorrectly or written wrong with the record or transcription into Ancestry. 

These records on Ancestry have given me more life and also has many my subscription to Ancestry much, much more meaningful! And I did't think I'm the only Puerto Rican that feels that way! Thanks again Ancestry, now to just wait for those church records and I'll be the happiest camper of them all! :)  

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I feel the exact same way, so glad you were able to find so many new records. It really is like a miracle.