Iberian Invasion
Follow our four-point plan of attack to trace your roots in Spain, Portugal and the Basque region.
Since ancient times, the Iberian peninsula—encompassing Spain, Portugal, and the long-contested Basque country—has been coveted and conquered by the Romans, Germanic tribes, Arabs, Holy Roman Empire and Napoleon. For genealogists today, tracing your ancestry in the Iberian region is a conquest with its own challenges: language barriers, decentralized records, lagging digitization and state takeovers of church registers, among others.
But those obstacles aren’t insurmountable—technological weapons can help you break down language barriers, records access is gradually improving, and the reward for tackling Spanish, Portuguese or Basque records likely will be well worth the struggle: The area’s church and notarial records in particular are some of the world’s richest genealogical treasures. Follow these four steps for your own successful assault on the formidable peninsula.