May 18, 2017

Cuban Digitized Church Records and 1919 Census

While Cuba goes through their changes, including the ability to freely travel to the island, one of the struggles for many is finding resources when researching Cuban ancestry.

Fortunately, the internet has made it possible for many to locate many genealogical records on their ancestors via online databases.While it is easy to find records for Puerto Rico since it is a part of the United States, 50 years of closing our borders has impacted many of our distance cousins that live on this island.

So today, I will share what can be found.  Unknown to many, Vanderbilt University maintains a collection of church records which are available to view online. The university offers degrees in Latin Studies and maintains many maps, manuscripts, and books on Cuba and other Latin countries.  Vanderbilt's church collection for Cuba contains records from the 1500's to the 1800's for the following churches.  After clicking on the links below, simply scroll down to arrive to the church books.  If you are of African descent, you will be surprised to discover your ancestors are also in the books, include ancestors that were enslaved.  The first church is in Matanzas and the remaining are all in Havana (scroll down the page until you arrive to your church):

Some of the books have been transcribed.  You can find them by clicking here.

Vanderbilt University contains some collections that will assist you in your genealogical research.  The following collections are military records which include "pardos" meaning brown complexion. The collections will each open in a new window:

1919 Census

Vanderbilt has a digitized copy of the 1919 Census for Cuba (click on it to open in a new browser).  This book contains many names and is in a book format.  You will find a detailed list of people who were census personnel and enumerators for districts.  You will have to page through to get through the book to get to the names.  Hopefully you can spend time reading it to understand how people lived during that era.  The book also contains some images from around Cuba.

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