How can I get records on my ancestors from other countries?

I’ve been working on a family tree and have been gathering information on members from census records. But I’ve reached a halt because now the tree has branchedout to Spain and Mexico. How would I go about getting a hold of those records? Is there a way I can access them in the US? Any help would be great, thanks.

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  • Absolutely.

    The Mormon / LDS church has branch family history centers all around the world. Those are fully open to persons of any faith (I am not LDS but volunteered at one).

    One of their projects is/was microfilming any possible record they could find. These films can be borrowed for a minor fee, and searched by you, at a location near you. No.. this is not online. It IS accessible.

    Another way is by networking, via email lists with other persons working the same localities. You can subscribe to those via The nice thing is that there are often experts on those areas, SOMETIMES even someone living there who offers help. At the very least, you can get leads and suggestions.

  • Unfortunately, it’s technology versus the Roman Catholic Church when you’re researching in both Mexico and Spain. There are a few censuses in Mexico, but they’re skimpy and you’re looking at a whole lot of Jose Garcia’s all born in the same year.

    You need to know the name of the towns in both countries that your ancestors came from in order to find records on them. Then you need to look for baptismal, marriage and death records that will distinguish your ancestor from everyone else in the village or town with the same name.

    See also  Poll. What nationality are you ....?

    The records in both Mexico and Spain are not on the internet. Most of the records, especially pre-, are in the sole possession of the parishes and the bishops. They’re not filmed by the LDS, not copied to a national archives, and not used for anything other than references when the occasional descendent contacts the parish. I’ve spent nearly a year working on just generations in Mexico before I finally found the records. It’s not a needle in a haystack, as the records do exist. But it’s much like a Pepsi challenge where you’re looking for the one letter out of a million that will win the contest. It is out there, but you have to drink a lot of cola to find it.

  • I second the suggestion of using the microfilms from the local Mormon family history center. Short of traveling to the area, this may be the best way to look at the records you need.

    There also is a new website which I have not personally used but I have heard that their goal is to make more international records accessible. If their website is helpful, you can go to the Mormon family history center in your area to get free access!

    Good luck,


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