August 8, 2015

Accessing the 1884 San Lorenzo Puerto Rico Census

There is a monsoon brewing outside so I decided to write up this post while enjoying a cup of coffee.

One of the amazing this about researching is that once you figure out something you always say to yourself, "That was easy! Why didn't I think of this?!"  Now going back to when the islands of Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba separated from Spain will determine what can be obtained from Spain. Here is where its important to know years.  If you don't know this information then you should use Google to your advantage and do a simple search.

Now having this information help to know whether you'll find records in Spain. Spain's archive website is full of information. In addition, I've written to them in the past and they surprised me on Christmas Eve one year with documents I received in the mail. The key is to always be pleasant to those you're asking help from; never be demanding and it will take you a long way. Note that I didn't even pay for the documents and it was a ship's manifest of soldiers that arrived in Puerto Rico in 1803 from Spain via the port of A Coruna.

So the website is and you can either click on it or type it into the browser as you see it. This means no "www" or "http:" needed.  When you arrive at this website, there is just too much going on for the new user and for that person that doesn't speak the language. Many different departments exist under this website. Some of the archives in Spain are larger than a football stadium.  In addition, it is estimated that only 5% of their archives have been cataloged and can be found on their website.

So at the top you'll notice a menu that should look like the below. Click on the image to make the view larger and then hit escape when your done viewing; from a laptop/computer. For this blog post, we are going to concentrate of simply getting to the San Lorenzo 1884 Census; I'll talk about PARES itself on another post. Click on Busqueda Avanzada which means Advance Search.

I never use the Busqueda Sencilla which is their Simple Search.  It is always better to be in control of what you seek.  In the Buscar field you're going to type the following: Hato Grande Riqueza.  Remember how I've always said that it helps to read history of the region you search? Well San Lorenzo used to be known as Hato Grande hence the reason why you're going to search under that name. Those that are scanning the records and uploading them in Spain are not going to read history books and enter its current name. However if you're armed with that information, searching becomes much easier.

Now as for the remain fields, for this post, you're going to leave them blank, scroll to the bottom and click on the Buscar button.

You should see the following on your screen.

Now click on the Ministerio de Ultramar. You should see the below view. I've circle and numbered so that as I speak of them you'll know what I'm speaking about. First and MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not ever use your back button on your browser. It does not play well with this website. Instead use (see 1) Atras.  This is the only back button that will work well and never make a mess of what you searched. If by any chance you did, then I highly recommend you begin again.

Now (2) is the Title to what is the record's name; important that you keep track of titles. The next one (3) is the reference number to where the documents are located in the archives. You'll also notice there is a date that I forgot to circle. This date references the period for the documents; notice the 1883/1884.  The last one (4) is a camera that I circle. This is what you are going to click on. It will lead directly to the images.

Ok, I'm going to make this a little less painful by walking you through this view and making your navigation easier.  I've color coded the image so you can follow:

RED:  You can advance forward and backwards 8 images as a time by clicking on the plus or minus
BLUE: Allows you to jump forward to any image you choose (we will be using this)
GREEN: Notice the first document of the eight images is highlighted in a light gray box. This means it is selected and appears on the pane to the left. So by clicking on any image on the right will change what you see on the left.
YELLOW:  Allows you to zoom into the image(click Atras to go back to small view), allows you to change view (give it a try to see, just click again to change it back), allows you to turn clockwise and counter clockwise, change contrast, print one page or many pages and finally allows you to save the image to your computer.

Now knowing this information, we are going to use the blue area. Click down on the drop down and scroll until you see "429 Verso", click on the next item, "Bloque 2".  Now look at your image. It is the very first page of 1884 Census record available for San Lorenzo. Notice how clean and sharp the image looks, well all of the remaining images are just as sharp.

Notice that its not facing the right direction. Using the tools I mentioned above, you can turn it counter clockwise to read, you can click on the next image on the right hand side. To look at the next set of 8 images, use the plus signs I mentioned and you can print or save them; your choosing.  I hope this walk through has helped.  I will be speaking about PARES more on another post.  This was a quick tutorial on simply getting to the 1884 San Lorenzo Puerto Rico Census. Happy Researching!