July 18, 2016

Researching Panamanian Ancestry

Panama has a rich history with connections to many in the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.  No matter which island you are from, you will discover cousins from Panama.  Personally I'd like to see an increase in people from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America to have their DNA tested. I recommend AncestryDNA since they have the best breakdown on African DNA.

If budget is an issue then test the oldest family members first.  I have seen people mentioning in genealogy groups on Facebook that funeral homes are now keeping DNA kits on hand to test family members to preserve family lines.  These same DNA kits can be used to assess potential medical issues that you may have inherited.  I for example inherited high cholesterol issues. I kind of figured that was the case when I saw that my great grandmother died from hardening of the arteries, which is associated to high cholesterol. 

So lets begin with that Family Search has billions of records for many countries across the globe. Their mission is to digitized all of their records and eventually have them all indexed and free to the public.  So what does that have to do with Panama?  PLENTY!

It turns out that Familysearch.org has a project that needs indexing.  There are two additional projects that in the process of arbitration; it is where records are interpreted different from one to the other and the arbitrator needs to step in to see which is correct.  You can read about the arbitration process on their website.

Below is what is currently available to indexed. With your assistance, it easier for you and everyone else to research ancestors quickly. Just imagine just typing in a family member's name and up comes all their records.  So click on the below link to access available project...

As for what is available online, there are three databases you can search.  They are as follows and each is a clickable link.  The databases contain records for many different regions throughout the country.

There is also Panama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1973 which currently has 240,799 images.  When you click on the image number, it will lead to many regions being available to view. 

PARES:  My favorite archive and loaded with lots of information.  If you don't speak Spanish or not strong in the language, use Google Translate.  This archive is Spain's archive going back to Middle Ages.  It has extensive information for Panama with many images.  I have blogged about their archives in the past.  Look for my blog post on how to use the website. 

Familysearch.org has many records available for the country.  Visit their catalog and see what films are available to view at one of their Family Search Centers.  In the catalog you have the following: