Latin American

Naming Conventions:

Individuals use both maternal and paternal surnames. The paternal surname traditionally comes first.

When a woman marries she keeps her full name. She may add her husband’s paternal surname,

  • Look for a name following de, de la or del.
  • Example Mary Jones Smith de Brian:
    • Jones is her mother’s surname,
    • Smith is her father’s surname,
    • Brian is her husband’s paternal surname.

Women traditionally kept their maiden names when they married. Children took on both the father’s and mother’s surnames, in that order.

  • This allows a researcher to be able to predict what the parent’s surnames are.
  • Hint: Search by the paternal surname first (the first surname).
Civil Records

The Mexican Civil Registration Office (Registro Civil) keeps vital records of births, marriages and deaths since July, 1859.

Prior to the restoration of the Mexican republic in 1867 compliance was slow. Therefore, check both civil registration and parish records for these years.

These records can be found through the Family History Library or Family History Centers.

Churh Records

Catholic Records

  • Need to know Parish and Diocese.
  • These records have not been widely microfilmed. In order to obtain these records, you will need to write or visit the parish or diocese.
Misc.

Boundaries frequently shifted in Mexico. Read about Mexican territorial boundaries here.

You can read about changes to Catholic parishes and dioceses here.

Hint: Look at the original records. In many cases, not all of the information is indexed.

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