I have been thinking for a couple of weeks how to go about writing about PARES. It is imperative that before you attempt and get frustrated that you grab a notebook, MS Excel, or even the free application of spreadsheets that Google offers. Create a table with the phrase or person you're seeking, then create a list. Even if you speak Spanish, I recommend that you follow the steps mentioned, it will make your life easier. Once you have create table, head over to Google Translate and type each phrase one at a time. Notice that there will be a few different translations for a word or phrase, document them all in the spreadsheet. Believe me you'll appreciate that you did this as documents may not appear when searching one way but will appear another way. I've also discovered that typing in an individual's name will not make the record come up. However, if you type a term and reference Puerto Rico or even Santo Domingo (remember that was the original name) then the record can appear along with your ancestor's name in the information. The archive obviously didn't add the person's name to it's search tables/index and they don't have strong SEO knowledge.
So for my example I'm going to use one of my direct great grandmothers in my tree to show you how it works. So first thing we are going to do is visit PARES. The website address as mentioned in a prior post is pares.mcu.es. Note that I DIDN'T enter any "www". Don't add anything but what you see in a new window or you can click on it and it will lead you there too. If you add "www" you won't be able to access their website. I'm keeping this simple for beginners. As you gain experience you will be able to navigate the website without issue.
So at the top we are going to select "Busqueda Avanzada". I love using this advance option as you can make the website provide you more hits than using "Busqueda Sencilla" (simple search). Simply click on the option and you will see the next screen. It's basically following the same type of instructions as I provided for the 1884 Lorenzo Puerto Rico Census. The website can be very clunky so don't be surprised when you don't discover records; just keep trying. I learned the hard way in always documenting what I typed. I actually came across a record for an Irish great grandfather who was sent over to Puerto Rico as a slave due to Cromwell. He was freed and married his former owner's daughter. I never documented how I found it and have yet to find it again, I'm still looking for that record. So this is a warning as to why you should follow what I suggested when it comes to PARES.
So above in the first set of boxes, you have the first field (Buscar) where you're going to type in what it is you seek. The "Feche desde" doesn't function correctly but you're required to enter in data if you get more hits that the system can handle.
Now the radio buttons are up to you and what you'd like to see, they happen to work better than the dates if you get too many hits. I personally tend to break them down based on images and non-images so that I can decide what it is I want to do.
- Todos los registros - All types of records
- Registros digitalizados - Only digitized records (images)
- Registros no digitalizados - Only non-digitized records (no images)
The next box labeled "Signatura" is basically the location of the archive record. We use it for creating sources or when writing an article to document where the record can be found. You want to document this information if your writing a book about your family's history once you locate the record. It is also a good idea to keep a spreadsheet going to document where you located records so that you can easy find the source record. The section after that "FILTRO POR ÍNDICES DE DESCRIPCIÓN" speaks to the catalog; again skip that option. The next section is where I make additional changes so that I can see all matches. I change it from the default setting to "Mostrar todos paginados (Proceso más lento a mayor número de resultados)".
You now have two button to select from, "Limpiar formulario" which means clear all searches and "Buscar" which is the Search button. Now go back up to the top. So I have my ancestor Teresa Cueto is arrived in Puerto Rico from Cadiz, Spain. If you descend from the Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo (look for my blog post), then you'll be interested in this as she is Maria Florentina's paternal grandmother. You will also be interested as you'll get to see Maria Florentina's father in this record as he is also from Cadiz, Spain.
So for this example I want you to type in Teresa Cueto Cadiz. You can't get more precise than that. Scroll back down to the bottom and click on Buscar.
Notice the huge difference. Had this search engine been correctly designed, it would have provided these search results as her name should have picked it up. The archive I want you to look at is the Archivo General de Indias. I have found ancestors in other archives but this one is the main one I work with. In addition the search results are so wacky that it provides search results that don't even match the exact term. Like I said, a clunky search engine but at least you know it's not you. Now click on the first link where the red arrow is pointing.
Note that you cannot save your search results to "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" depending on which browser you use. So document, document, document!
Notice there is a box in the first column, ignore it. You then have Titulo (title), Signatura (see reference about about this), Fecha Creacion (Date created), Fecha Formacion (Date item created) and Dig (digital image). Notice that you also see an item label Maria Carrascquilla. Both of these records have to do with Teresa Cueto. You see both were petitioning to go to Puerto Rico to join husband or son who were of importance as you soon find out. Click on Teresa Cueto's name.
Now at the top of the image you should see three buttons
- Ver Imagenes - See Images
- Envie Telemantico - allows you to email up to five pages of images in PDF format starting with source info page
- Emprimir - which allows you to print the current screen