May 7, 2015

Dominican Republic Genealogy - Where to Research

So today I finished up another semester in school and I'm celebrating it with sharing some information on Dominican Republic or like many of us call it; Quisqueya.  A word that the indigenous people on the island called it; the Taino Indians.  Much of their language still exist today and many don't realizes that they are speaking the language. Words like tobacco, hurricane and hammock are examples of what came from the Taino language.

I knew very little to nothing about my Dominican ancestors when I started. Words whispered here and there were memories quietly waiting there but silently waiting for someone to reawaken them. However that all changed with the assistance of my family and the Instituto Dominicano de Genealogia (, helping me understand how my ancestors played a key role in the development of this country. You'll find the Facebook page to this organization at the bottom of this post.

Much of the history was unknown to me prior to reaching out and reading about it. Before you begin in your research you must understand and accept that there is good and bad in all families and there is good and bad in behavior and decisions of these ancestors. There will be times you will question why continue when you find bad history but remember there is good history too. Just remember that if it were not for this "individual"; YOU WOULD NOT BE HERE! You will more than likely come across black great grandparents (I can guarantee it) and you will also discover that many were slaves.  If you can't accept that then you obviously can't accept yourself. I advise everyone that to love yourself is to love everything about who you are and how you came about.  Anything short of that basically boils down to that you're lying to yourself.  You will learn by looking through the books of history and recognizing that we are not accountable for the actions of our ancestors whether they are good or bad.  If you are accepting of this then you are ready to know "WHO YOU ARE!".

So let me start with that if you don't speak the Spanish language then don't let that hold you back. If you can't read the Spanish language; definitely don't let that hold you back. Note that there are options available to you when you don't even know they are there. If you would like an English version of what is available just to get you started then I recommend the below page. Yes I know its Wikipedia but its better than nothing and I didn't find any errors on it when comparing what I read in Dominican History books.

I also have other resources available for your use.  These are just some that I have easily available but I'm sure I have others around here.  They are as follows:

Archivo General de la Nacion :
(VERY useful with many databases; use Google Translate to navigate it.)
On this website there are many books as well as a searchable index of resources. In addition there is a database available on immigrants that came to the island from all over the world. You will discover some amazing surprises such as photos of your ancestors if they ever migrated. It is definitely a very good free resource. (See list of tutorials here.)

Genealogia Dominicana  :
Here you will find many records that have been transcribed as well as articles that have been written. Use the articles as research tools and not as 100% accurate.  Over time there are things that are discovered that can change what an article states so its always good to double check the resources on these articles if you truly want to discover ancestors.

Middle East Ancestry (Lebanese Ancestory - Maronite Catholics)  DOCUMENT LINK
This link is a document so don't panic when the window pops up; its a really good written article and very resourceful for your research.

FamilySearch :
This is one of my favorite links. This link will lead you directly to Dominican Republic records available online. This link actually helped me in finding birth, death, and marriage records to many of my ancestors. It is a very resourceful website. Notice that when you look at some of them, you'll see a camera to the left. This means that there are images available for you to look at. They are normally broken down by municipalities.  Note that if you looking in the region of Moca and La Vega that there are no records available prior to 1805. I'll leave the details for another post.  In addition, there is a catalog on this website where you can order microfilms of records not available online but can be viewed locally; no need to visit DR or Utah to view records (See tutorial to access church records online here).

This is one of the more difficult websites to navigate but not impossible. I've actually found documents of ancestors writing to the Spanish King. Great grandmothers requesting permission to join their husbands in the New World or Nueva EspaƱa.  This is a discussion for another day as well. This portal is the archives in Spain and there is only a fraction of the records here than what they actually have. The collection is so vast that they don't even really know what they have.

Facebook: Instituto Dominicano de Genealogia
If you don't have Facebook then you should definitely get it now. Very resourceful articles provided all the time on the page. I highly recommend it!