Todays the start of Hispanic Heritage month, honoring the histories of the United States 46.9 million residents of Hispanic origin, who according to the Census Bureau make up the nation’s largest ethnic minority.
About 64 percent of the countrys Hispanic residents have a Mexican background; 9 percent are Puerto Rican; 3.5 percent, Cuban; 3.1 percent, Salvadoran; and 2.7 percent, Dominican.
Four Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common last names in the 2000 US census: Garcia (placing eighth with 858,289 occurrences), Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th).
Researching Hispanic roots? Here are some places to start:
- Our online Hispanic Heritage Toolkit has resources and tips for learning about Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Central and South American ancestors.
See our advice for research in the Caribbean, too.
- Visit the free FamilySearch Record Search Pilot to look for ancestors in the 1930 Mexican census; Mexican baptisms, marriages and burials; and church records from several Mexican states. (Scroll down on this page to see the list).
The site also has a growing collection of church, civil registration and census records from the Caribbean and Central and South America.
- Ancestry.com and the free Ancestry Library Edition (see if its available at your library) have border-crossing records from Mexico covering 1903 to 1957. These records are on microfilm at the National Archives.
- Those with Mexican ancestry can use our Mexican Research Guide, available as a $4 download in our online store.
Besides researching your Hispanic roots, here are a couple of other ways to mark the occasion:
- The Smithsonian lists some events and educator resources, and takes you on a virtual Hispanic heritage cultural tour.
- PBS is airing “Latin Music USA,” a documentary series, Mondays, Oct. 12 and 19, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.