Since we live in Florida we are dealing with a number of people from Miami who moved from Cuba. Are you aware of some specific research aids about Cuban records other than what we have available through the Family History Library catalog?
Admittedly there are challenges when doing Cuban research, owing to political differences and the US restriction on travel to Cuba at this time. I think it is for this reason few records have been microfilmed by the Family History Library. By checking the online FHL Catalog, www.FamilySearch.org the "topics" for Cuba include a broad spectrum of items, but not much content compared to some 80 other countries of the world. For instance, under the topic of "civil registration" we would hope to see microfilm of records back to 1885, but that is not the case. I would find this frustrating, since even the so-called "Eastern block" countries in Europe have better representation in the FHL collection.
Fortunately, ol' Myrt Googled for "Cuban family history" and stumbled across this important event occurring in 2 days in the Miami area:
The UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI'S CUBAN FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY PROJECT will honor Francisco Saralegui Arrizubieta in its first Basque-Cuban ethnic program, on Wednesday, March 22 at 7 PM at Casa Bacardi, 1531 Brescia Avenue on the University of Miami campus. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so reservations are recommended. To reserve space, or for more information, please call 305-284-CUBA (2822) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
"Francisco Saralegui Arrizubieta was the grandfather of popular television host Cristina Saralegui, who is a UM alumna. The Cuban Family History and Genealogy Project was launched at UM’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) with the mission to undertake and support programs that document, preserve and promote Cuba’s ethnic – Spanish, African, Jewish, Chinese and others – cultural roots." For more info see: http://www.miami.edu/UMH/CDA/UMH_Main/1,1770,2593-1;45223-3,00.html
This event is an outstanding example of living descendants taking the time to preserve their heritage by documenting the lives of their forefathers, even if it is a matter of writing down oral histories. This takes on increasing importance when we recognize the challenge of limited access to Cuban civil and church records of births, marriages and deaths -- normal record groups used by genealogists to trace their pedigrees.
I spoke by phone this morning briefly with the Cuban Family History and Genealogy Project's director, Jorge Pinon to found out more about the project. He appears personable and open. I believe this project will greatly support the Cuban family history researchers you are meeting through your local Family History Center in Miami, Terry.
FOR FURTHER READING
1. LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH OUTLINE GO to: www.FamilySearch.org; click Search, then Research Helps, then "C" then scroll down to CUBA, where you will find:
-- Cuba - Latin America Research Outline
This is where I discoved:
-- Civil Registration began in Cuba in 1885.
-- Cuba's National Library is:
Biblioteca Nacional "José Martí"
Pl. de la Revolución José Martí
Apdo. Oficial 3
-- Cuba's National Archives is:
Archivo Nacional de Cuba
Compostela esq. San Isidro
La Habana 1
2. SOMOS PRIMOS - I recommend subscribing to this free e-newsletter, which is published in English, but advises how to make progress with Latino/Hispanic family history. Mimi Lozano is the editor, and she will probably have more ideas for Cuban ancestral research. See: www.somosprimpos.com
3. WORLDGenWeb's CubaGenWeb: www.cubagenweb.org/
4. CUBAN HERITAGE COLLECTION - University of Miami's Otto Richter Library is described at www.library.miami.edu/umcuban/cuban.html
A few items have been digitized: http://digital.library.miami.edu/chcdigital/chcdigital.shtml
5. CUBAN GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
6. CUBAN GENEALOGY CLUB OF MIAMI
7. CUBAN MAILING LISTS are best summarized at http://www.cubagenweb.org/lists.htm
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.