Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Finding Ponce grandparents

From: Harlem123
The only info I have on my grandparents is the story told me that my grandfather was once chief of police of the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. I have written & called, [receiving] no help from Ponce Archivos Historical, or city hall for that matter. Is there any other archive on the island? -- Thanks Harlem

For my readers who don't know where Ponce is, here is a brief description:

PONCE (PON-sai)- "With a population of 194,636, Ponce is Puerto Rico's third largest city. Ponce is known as "La Perla del Sur" (pearl of the south) and "La Ciudad de los Leones" (city of lions). Ponce was founded in 1692 by Juan Ponce de León's great-grandson - Loíza Ponce de León." For further details, see: http://welcome.topuertorico.org/city/ponce.shtml

Now for some suggestions for finding your Grandfather SOTO:

1. Realize that most archives and libraries will not do research for you.

2. Most people do not know anything more than the names and perhaps birthplaces of their grandparents, and think this is a brick wall. Yet it is possible to use original documents (usually found on microfilm) to prove family relationships starting with your birth record which lists your parents, and working back in time to your parents' birth records, which lists THEIR parents, etc.

3. For the locality of Ponce, Puerto Rico, there are microfilms of Catholic Church (1753-1948), Civil Registration (1839-1996) and Census records (1816-1901) for you to work through personally. This is assuming that your Grandfather SOTO lived in Ponce, and didn't just work there.

4. You will educate yourself about how to do genealogical research using published how-to guides, online newsletters & mailing lists.

5. You'll use a genealogy management program (some are available in Spanish) to record your ancestors' names, dates and places.

6. You will share your finding with your family & members of the genealogical community, in paper, CD or internet format. You will be sure to protect the privacy of the living individuals in your database.

Follow the best advice of the specialists at the Family History Library who know how to do research in Puerto Rico. The most recent version is located on the web at:http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/frameset_rg.asp?Dest=G1&Aid=&Gid=&Lid=&Sid=&Did=&Juris1=&Event=&Year=&Gloss=&Sub=&Tab=&Entry=&Guide=Latin_America.ASP

PRINT out every page, and work through it religiously. This is what Ol' Myrt does when she turns to an area where she has never done ancestral research.

When searching for the place "Ponce" in "Puerto Rico" (without the quote marks), Ol' Myrt came across the following matching locations in the catalog:

-- Puerto Rico, Ponce (This means the country, then county/province)

-- Puerto Rico, Ponce, Ponce (This means the country, then county/province, then town)

-- Puerto Rico, Ponce, Playa de Ponce

When looking at the TOWN of Ponce, I found:

-- Registros parroquiales, 1753-1948 Iglesia Católica. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Ponce, Ponce). This is a phenominal collection of 16 microfilm, which has the christenings, marriages & burials for the local Catholic church. To use the microfilm, look in the "front" section of each volume to see if the priest created a quasi index for the volume. This is a method where one letter of the alphabet is allotted one or two pages, and the name for the individual is listed in chronological order, so on the "S" page, you will find all the surnames (family names) beginning with the letter "S" are thrown together. Be sure to read the entire section for SOTO.

The catalog further explains the breakdown of records on each microfilm:

Note - Location [Film]
Indice de bautismos, 1850-1899 - FHL INTL Film [ 820693 Items 1-4 ] Indice de bautismos, 1899-1907 - FHL INTL Film [ 820693 Item 6 ] Indice de bautismos, 1906-1914 - FHL INTL Film [ 820693 Item 5 ] Indice de bautismos, 1914-1948 - FHL INTL Film [ 820693 Items 7-11 ] Bautismos, 1836-1885 (certificados, 1881-1898, de bautismos, matrimonios, y defunciones--para información matrimonial; faltan años, en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820708 Items 3-5 ] Bautismos, 1753,1838-1900 (años faltan; en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820694 Item 1 ] Bautismos, 1850-1859 - FHL INTL Film [ 820694 Items 2-8 ] Bautismos, 1860-1869 - FHL INTL Film [ 820695 ] Bautismos, 1865-1928 (años faltan; en orden cronológico) - VAULT INTL Film [ 820696 ] Bautismos, 1880-1887,1910,1928 (en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820697 ] Bautismos, 1872-1921 (años faltan; en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820698 ] Bautismos, 1893-1915 (años faltan; en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820699 ] Bautismos, 1905-1912 - FHL INTL Film [ 820700 ] Bautismos, 1912-1920 - FHL INTL Film [ 820701 ] Bautismos, 1920-1921 - FHL INTL Film [ 820702 Items 1-2 ] Confirmaciones, 1880-1938 (faltan años) - FHL INTL Film [ 820702 Items 3-4 ] Matrimonios, 1836-1898 (Certificados, 1881-1898, de bautismos, matrimonios, y defunciones--para información matrimonial; faltan años; en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820708 Items 3-5 ] Matrimonios, 1850-1884 - FHL INTL Film [ 820702 Items 5-7 ] Matrimonios, 1884-1921 - FHL INTL Film [ 820703 Items 1-6 ] Defunciones, 1835-1898 (Certificados, 1881-1898, de bautismos, matrimonios, y defunciones--para información matrionial; faltan años; en desorden cronológico) - FHL INTL Film [ 820708 Items 3-5 ] Defunciones, 1854-1857 - FHL INTL Film [ 820703 Items 7-8 ] Defunciones, 1857-1866 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820704 Items 1-7 ] Defunciones, 1860-1862 - FHL INTL Film [ 820708 Item 2 ] Defunciones, 1866-1868 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820704 Item 9 ] Defunciones, 1868 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820705 Item 1 ] Defunciones, 1870-1871 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820704 Item 8 ] Defunciones, 1871-1876 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820705 Items 2-6 ] Defunciones, 1876-1880 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820705 Items 8-9 ] Defunciones, 1880-1881 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820705 Item 7 ] Defunciones, 1881-1882 - VAULT INTL Film [ 820705 Item 10 ] Defunciones 1882-1892 - FHL INTL Film [ 820706 ] Defunciones, 1892-1920 - FHL INTL Film [ 820707 ] Defunciones, 1920-1923, 1937-1940 - FHL INTL Film [ 820708 Item 1 ]:
© 2002 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


-- Defunciones, índice de nichos 1843-1918 (sin orden cronológico) FHL INTL Film 1666986 Items 1-6

-- Nacimientos y defunciones 1839-1882 (sin orden cronológico) FHL INTL Film 1667068 Items 3-4

The films mentioned are available in the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City and are not viewable on the internet. Alternatively, you may order and view them at a local LDS Family History Center, which is typically housed in the same building as the local LDS Church. There are exceptions, in that a few public libraries have a Family History Library affiliation. Patrons do not have to be LDS to use these facilities. To locate one near you, go to: http://www.FamilySearch.org and fill in the information on the main screen to search for specific addresses in the State of New York where you reside. I think your closest bet will be in the Bronx.

Since there are over 3 million rolls of microfilm in the FHL collection (from over 80 countries throughout the world) you'll most likely have to order the microfilm you wish to view. The cost to order covers the postage, and includes options for short term, long term and indefinite loan of the microfilm to the FHC near you.

You'll want to order the microfilm where you expect to find your Grandfather SOTO. Perhaps looking for your father/mother's birth record, where your Grandfather SOTO would appear as the father. When you get so far back in time that there were no civil registration records kept, switch over to the church records.

A. It just might be that a here-to-fore unknown distant cousin has already been doing genealogy research on your family. Find pedigrees at:

-- www.FamilySearch.org
-- www.RootsWeb.com

B. Search the Message Boards at RootsWeb/Ancestry for each of your known ancestors by name. http://boards.rootsweb.com/Default.aspx

Be sure to spell the name in a variety of creative ways. Spelling typically isn't consistent. I have an ancestor who purchased property on the Patuxent River in Maryland in the 1670s. His name was spelled 3 different ways in the document, and he signed it with a 4th spelling. I just looked, and found there is a SOTO surname message board: http://boards.rootsweb.com/surnames.soto/mb.ashx

-- Hispanic Genealogical Society of New York -
http://www.hispanicgenealogy.com NOTE: Next members meeting is scheduled for March 3, 2007, at La Casa del la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc. located at 1230 Fifth Avenue, (corner of 104th Street) Suite 458, NYC, New York.

-- Puerto Rican/Hispanic Genealogical Society (very active in NY!) http://www.rootsweb.com/~prhgs/

-- Puerto Rican Roots http://www.prroots.com/

-- Somos Primos (an online e-zine of news!) http://www.somosprimos.com/

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy

Snail Mail Address:
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved

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