August 7, 2015

Puerto Rico Census from the 1800's

If you were ever told that census records don't exist for the 1800's then the likelihood is that the person just wasn't aware.  One such group is FamilySearch themselves and they have the records.  I had written to them asking when would the Puerto Rico census records be digitized and uploaded.  The response I received back was extremely telling why no one is aware they are available and why they have not been digitized.

You see when you're using an English website and search for them in English in their catalog such as on FamilySearch, you will not get the results you expect. I went back and forth with their helpdesk advising them that they did have records and them responding that they didn't exist.  So I finally responded back with a link and their response was that of a deer facing headlights in the road. Yes I got total silence for 10 days until I wrote back and asked.

Again I asked when they would be uploaded and unfortunately whomever was working the ticket doesn't do well with reading comprehension or possibly doesn't read at all. After 4 weeks of going back and forth, I got fed up and finally called them. I felt as if I was speaking a foreign language with the individual who was responding to the emails.

Up until this point, I've always felt that those working the ticket system via the website were extremely knowledgeable.  I actually got a better response and clarification when I picked up the phone and called them.  It turns out that they are planning, by the fall, a massive upload which should include these films; please note I said "SHOULD" so that doesn't mean it is going to happen.

If you truly want it to happen then feel free to copy and paste the below list and send emails to put pressure to insure that it will happen.  If you have questions, feel free to post below and I'll try my best to respond to the best of my knowledge. One individual asking isn't enough, we need many to go back and continue to ask.

To give you an example of what the census records look like, I'm posting a few images from the 1860 Census that I took of Trujillo Alto.  Note that Trujillo Alto is actually listed under Carolina and is on the same film as that of the Civil Registration records but not available online.

It was through these census records that I was able to find more ancestors in church books and also determine how many children existed in a family up until 1860. I also have 1870 and 1872 Census records to reference along with 1898.  The reason I took these images with a camera was because it was difficult to nearly impossible to read them on the screen as I was dealing with a broken machine that made them too blurry.  This caused issues in trying to decipher or reading them. With computer software I was able to clean up images and zoom in as much as I wanted without distorting it too much.

The following list is what I found in their catalog. They have census records going back to 1800 on some regions.  You can follow the links for each region as they will open in a new window:

Bayamon, Puerto Rico:

Caguas, Puerto Rico:

Another Caguas, Puerto Rico search view:

Camuy, Puerto Rico:

Comerio, Puerto Rico:

Fajardo, Puerto Rico:

Isabela, Puerto Rico:

Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico:

Juncos, Puerto Rico:

Lares, Puerto Rico:

Manati, Puerto Rico:

Ponce, Puerto Rico:

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico:

Rosario, San German, Puerto Rico:

San German, Puerto Rico:

San Juan, Puerto Rico (Includes Rio Piedras, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Santo Domingo, Puerta de Tierra):

Toa Baja, Puerto Rico:
Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico (found under Carolina) - Scroll down, first item on list

Utuardo, Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico Censo y Riqueza:

Finally and most importantly, if and when these images are uploaded, I hope that each of you who visit this page volunteer in indexing these records so that we can easily find ancestors using the search window tools available on the website. Yes it is free but it take volunteers to make this possible. Please do your part in helping preserve our ancestors!

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