July 2, 2016

Researching Your Haitian Ancestry

Recommendations in researching your Haitian ancestry:

  • Document what you know about your family. 
  • Create a family tree on Ancestry.  Make sure you add at least the country of birth if you're not sure what city a person was born.  
  • A generation consists of 20 to 30 years.  So if you are not certain of when your grandparents or great grandparents were born, just minus 20 to 30 years of age from your parent. In the date of birth type in "ABT" followed by space and the year.  I tend to start with a person being 20 years of age.  When you do this it will help search engines provide you with hints on Ancestry.  It may even connect you to a cousin you didn't know was out there that may have the information you seek.
  • Have your DNA tested.  Look for Holiday sales on DNA kits.  I recommend Ancestry because they provide a good breakdown on African DNA and also have the largest database around with over 2 million people who have tested.
  • Join many of the genealogy groups on Facebook.  
  • Speak to your oldest relatives, you'll be surprised of how much they know.
  • Have your eldest relatives DNA tested, test is very simple with them spitting in a tube, just make sure you register the kit online.

I do not speak or read the language but can decipher it.  If you can't read or write the language, don't get intimidated, there are many out there who are willing to assist.  You can start with the two below links:

 Now as for resources, I'm providing a few below.

History of Haiti : All in English and there is a map of the Taino tribes that existed on the island, this map can be found on many articles on this website and many other websites. Great read whether you do or don't know the history.

Association de Genealogie d'Haiti:  A great website to research your ancestors with many resources.  The website contains a database with over 700k names entered that starts in 1793.

FamilySearch Digitized Records:  This collection contains civil records for Port-au-Prince for birth and death records.  The collection covers from 1794 - 2012.

FamilySearch Catalog for Haiti:  The catalog at FamilySearch provides you with the ability to order microfilms to view records.  There are Family History Centers in all parts of the globe.  Simply use the link to find the closet one to you.  You can then order films to be delivered to the location.  As previously explained on Dominican and Puerto Rican posts, call ahead or visit to see if the film is already at the location, it will save you money and time.  Make sure you also visit the website's wiki page on Haitian Genealogy.

The following are listing for different cities/regions of Haiti.  Each has different results so look at what is available.  Also remember that borders and countries do change.  A perfect example is Hincha (DR) or Hinche as known in Haiti.  You can find records in Dominican Republic under La Vega.