An estimated 41.3 million Americans have Hispanic ancestry, so it’s no wonder we honor Hispanic culture, traditions and people every year. The month-long heritage observation begins Sept. 15, the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua achieved independence from Spain. Mexico and Chile commemorate their independence days later in the month. This year, Family Tree Magazine is joining in the celebration with a roundup of Web sites to help you discover your Hispanic roots.
• Cuba Gen Web <www.cubagenweb.org>: Search for military records from the Cuban War of Independence (1895 to 1898) and the 10 Years War (1868 to 1878), passenger lists (mainly from the 1800s) and Santiago marriages (1670 to 1799). These search forms can be tricky to navigate. When you click the Search Form button for any of the databases, a giant grid appears. You then can click on a box and type in the appropriate term. You also can browse cemetery transcriptions and a glossary of Spanish genealogy terms.
• FamilySearch: Historical Records for Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America <www.familysearch.org>: FamilySearch has been concentrating its digitization efforts on records of these areas. To browse or search them, go to FamilySearch.org and scroll down to the map and region list. Select either Caribbean, Central and South America, or USA, Canada and Mexico. A list of record collections from the selected region will appear on your screen; click a collection title to search it.
• Genealogy of Mexico <members.tripod.com/~garyfelix/index1.htm>: At first glance this site can seem overwhelming, but buried under its bright exterior, you’ll find lists of early settlers and explorers from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and resources for researching your surname. Once you click on a button, scroll down to browse the transcriptions.
• Hispanic Genealogy Centre<www.hispanicgenealogy.com>: The Hispanic Genealogical Society of New York’s compendium of links (click Resources) connects you with primarily Puerto Rican resources. The society also operates <www.prroots.com>.
• Hispanic Heritage<www.gale.com/free_resources/chh>: A fun, free resource, Hispanic Heritage provides tools for studying important Hispanic individuals and historical events. Online biographies of well-known Hispanics include writer Isabel Allende, artist Frida Kahlo and boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya. The timeline covers events from Spaniards landing at the present-day Bahamas in 1492 to Cuban-born playwright Nilo Cruz winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for drama. After you’ve finished studying, test your knowledge with the Hispanic culture quiz (in Spanish and English, por supuesto).
• Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research<members.aol.com/shhar>: Browse a list of early California families, read how-to articles and sign up for the society’s monthly e-newsletter, Somos Primos <www.somosprimos.com>.
Finally, don’t forget to search staple family history sites such as Cyndi’s List <cyndislist.com/hispanic.htm> and World-Gen Web <worldgenweb.org> for more links and research help. Once you’ve discovered these sites’ tools for tracing your roots, you’ll surely want to celebrate.
From the October 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.