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Frequently Asked Questions
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1. How Do I Get Started Researching My Puerto Rican or Hispanic Roots?
a.  Although researching your roots in Puerto Rico or elsewhere in Latin America or Spain does present some unique challenges we suggest that all beginners click on to the Roostweb beginners guide
b.  Join the Puerto Rican / Hispanic Genealogical Society (PRHGS).  Annual dues are just $20 and your membership includes a Genealogy Toolkit, Surname Directory and a subscription to El Coqui de Ayer (our bimonthly newsletter) that are specifically oriented toward the Puerto Rican and Hispanic researcher.
You may find that genealogy can be a solitary task.  Many researchers report that they are the only member of their family interested in discovering their ancestral roots.  There is no reason to conduct your research on your own.  You have the opportunity to join an organization with members who share your interest.  Many of our members have been able to trace their family line further back after communicating with another PRHGS member.  Members may have information not only for their own direct ancestors but for others with the same surname and are often willing to share the information with others in hopes that 
someday someone will do the same for them and help them to go further back in time. 
c.  Consider visiting you local Family History Center (FHC) of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Mormon Church.  The LDS Church has microfilmed many records of genealogical importance the worldover.  You can rent the microfilms for a nominal fee, which covers handling and shipping costs to the local FHC.   Films are loaned for a period of one month and can be renewed, if needed.  Rental of these microfilms is open to all visitors.  You do not have to be a member of the LDS Church to use the FHC.   The advantage of using microfilmed records (civil and church) is that you will see the record as it was written.  Often the certificates that you will order from the agencies or parishes will only provide you with minimal information while the records, as written, contain additional information that can allow you more success in your research.
2. How do I get a birth, marriage, death or other vital record certificate?
a.  The PRHGS Genealogy Tool Kit,  included in your membership, has the names and addresses of the various government agencies and church authorities in Puerto Rico that can supply you with these documents.  Most importantly it has the procedures you need to follow to obtain these documents including application forms and model letters (in Spanish) that can facilitate your request. 
3. How do I find my birth father/mother/sibling/relative/lost love etc.?
a.  This type of research is quite different from genealogical research and for that reason we suggest that you contact one of the various organizations that specializes in locating living people. Many such organizations and bulletin boards can be found on the Internet.  You may find that these organizations charge a fee for this serviceThe following link will take you to a web site where you can you can access more than 30 different websites to help adoptees start their search.
4. I am too busy with work/school etc. to do my own genealogical research. Can you do this for me? I am willing to pay.
a.   No. We are a non-profit, all-volunteer member organization .We cannot do research for others.  Professional genealogists often advertise in the various genealogy magazines (e.g., Heritage Quest, Everton's Genealogical Helper, etc.) along with their countries of expertise.  You may also want to visit the National Genealogical Society website.   They may be able to recommend a certified genealogist to assist you.  Please be aware that while it is not necessary to use a certified genealogist, you can feel more comfortable knowing that this person has had to prove their capabilities in the form of  an examination and has met standards recognized by genealogical experts.
5. My father or other relative served in the military. How can I get his service records?
a. Military service records are available from different sources depending on the type of record and the time period.  For more information, visit the PRHGS Military Records page.
 
6. I would like to obtain land/deed records for Puerto Rico.  How do I go about finding them.

a.   Land records are available through the Registros de la Propiedad in Puerto Rico.  A number of different offices exist, with each office responsible for several municipalities.  The January /February 1999 issue of El Coqui de Ayer, the PRHGS bimonthly newsletter, explains how, where and how much it costs to obtain land records for Puerto Rico.  Back issues are still available for $2.50 each (postage included).  You can send a check or money order with a note telling us which issue you want us to send you to the following address:

Puerto Rican/Hispanic Genealogical Society
El Coqui de Ayer
P.O. Box 260118
Bellerose, NY 11426-0118

 
7. MY NAME IS GARCIA. PLEASE TELL ME EVERYTHING ABOUT MY NAME AND WHERE MY ANCESTORS CAME FROM. MY GRANDFATHER'S  NICKNAME WAS PITO, HE WALKED  WITH A LIMP AND WORKED IN A BODEGA .  CAN YOU HELP ME!!!
a. This type of query will not produce any kind of response In order to get a a  helpful response  to your query you must avoid general, overly broad  statements.  Be specific.  Include your full name as well as that of the ancestor(s) you are looking for.  In addition you must at minimum include the town in Puerto Rico or other country where  they lived and an approximate time period when they resided there. Also please do not use all capitals in your query.  Makes it look like you are shouting at the reader. Physical characteristics of a long-dead  ancestor are not helpful  as he or she unlikely to be spotted on the street. For further hints read: How to post a query.

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Copyright © 1996 - 1999 Puerto Rican Hispanic Genealogical Society
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 Última modificación el: 11 de julio de 1999 | Last Update: July 11, 1999
Please tell us what you think!  Our e-mail address is prhgs@yahoo.com
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