Puerto Rico Link List: Resources Beyond the Registro Civil & US Census

Aguadilla, 1899

Here’s a revised list of references I compiled for The Vault: Introduction to Puerto Rican Genealogy, &The Vault: Case Study: Puerto Rican Genealogy for Who Is Nicka Smith Patreon, 30 Nov 2023 & 28 Mar 2024). I’m sharing them so you can visit & search for your ancestors, whether enslaved, enslaver or free. May you have success finding your ancestors!


FamilySearch: Largest digital collection of records on Puerto Rico –
Indexed Historical Records for Puerto Rico- 9 collections

Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969
Limited to what was microfilmed in the 1980s. Is NOT comprehensive

Puerto Rico Slave Records, 1863-1879 / Enslavement Records, 1863-1879
Most open access; can be problems attaching to FamilyTree

Puerto Rico Records of Foreign Residents, 1815-1845

Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1805-2001
Formerly enslaved not identified; few kept ‘Liberto’ as surname https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1682798

Puerto Rico, San Juan, Cemetery Records, 1888-1988 https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/4376727

Transcriptions of Notary Documents

Carlos Encarnacion Navarro, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña AGPR, Fondo de Protocolos Notariales, Caja 1289, Serie Aguadilla, Pueblo Aguadilla, Escribano Lcdo. Manuel Garcia, 1854.

—, Fondo de Protocolos Notariales- Pueblo Aguadilla, Caja 1337, Serie Cedulas Testamentarias Escribano: Otros Funcionarios 1824-1855. Also published in “Cedulas Testamentarias y Protocolos asociados del pueblo de Aguadilla”, Hereditas, 8:1, (2007) 78-104.

—-, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña AGPR, Fondo de Protocolos Notariales, Caja 1345, Serie Aguadilla Pueblo Aguada. 1820-1829.

—-, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña AGPR, Fondo de Protocolos Notariales, Serie Aguada, Pueblo Moca, Caja 1443. Escríbanos – otros funcionarios 1799 – 1834

—-, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña AGPR, Caja 1444. Fondo de Protocolos Notariales, Serie- Aguadilla, Pueblo Moca, 1848-1852, AGPR

—- , Crónicas y Genealogías del Siglo XIX. Impresora Oriental Inc.. Vol 1 & 2.

Two sites to help locate record sets

Note: Additional parish records are available via the Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Genealogía. The digitization project means that images need to be consulted on the island. They do publish volumes of parish records for different municipalities, along with some census records. 

Genealogia Nuestra 
Ana Bayala’s website offers a pathway to many FamilySearch Caribbean record sets for several locations.


Hijos de Coamo 
The Hijos de Coamo website has helpful links to FS records for Puerto Rico 
Church Records Index – has chart for archives not filmed


Censo de Riqueza – ‘wealth census’ hacienda production, some lists of enslaved; recently updated

West Indies Digitized Church Books- use drop down menu

Archivos Historicos 

RG 186: NARA guide for largest collection currently at the AGPR (Archivo General de Puerto Rico) & FS Microfilm

Puerto Rican Records Guide, NARA, NYC

CENTRO Library & Archives
2180 3rd Ave, 1st Floor, Rm. 120 New York, NY 10035  https://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/library


Public/Private initiative for digital collections some from the Archivo General de PR
Main Page for Digital Collections:

Coleccion Haydee E Reichard De Cancio, PhD: Archivo Historico de Aguadilla
Includes a variety of primary and secondary documents on the history of Aguadilla & NWPR, and documents date from the 18th century to the present. 

Coleccion Walter A. Cardona: Cajas from the AGPR
Documents from the Archivo General de Puerto Rico, viewable PDF of various Cajas that contain locations and topics; 4 specifically concerned with enslavement: Cajas 62, 70, 71, 78

Archivo Historico Municipal Junqueno [Juncos]
Public works, Dept. Hacienda (Aerial Photography, Maps, Register of Property values 1905-1951), Municipality of Juncos, Judiciary (documents currently unavailable in the AGPR for research), Spanish Governors series, and Provincial Council (1812-1898). Each group is made up of a series and subseries organized to be accessible within the system.
Obras Públicas, Departamento Hacienda (Fotografía Aérea, Mapas Catastrales, Registro de Tasación Propiedad 1905-1951), Municipio de Juncos, Judicial (fuera de consulta física en el Archivo General), Gobernadores Españoles y Diputación Provincial.   Cada fondo comprende de unas series y subseries debidamente organizadas las cuales pueden ser accesadas a través de este sistema.

Archivo Historico de Caguas

Ponce: for in person visits
Archivo Historico y Municipal de Ponce / Historic and Municipal Archive of Ponce
See history of collection & Contact info on Wiki:
Is not online, however is extensive collection to consider visiting. 
Over 1 million items indexed in more than 300,000 files; records begin in 1812
Letters, maps, brochures, photos, newspaper clippings, newspapers, microfilms, cancelled municipal payroll checks, municipal employee files, books. Also registry of slaves, architectural plans, films, and sound tracks.

IREL, Archives nationales d’outre-mer: Saint Domingue, 1666-1809. http://anom.archivesnationales.culture.gouv.fr/caomec2/recherche.php?territoire=SAINT-DOMINGUE

Registros parroquiales : Parroquia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios de Azua, 1848-1939.

Registros parroquiales : parroquia San Bartolomé de Neyba (o Neiba), Bahoruco, 1820-1930

Archives to come:

Archivo Histórico de Cayey

Archivo Historico de Mayaguez
Currently being digitized


La Coleccion Puertorriquena: UPR-RP Special Collections
Wide collection of documents from Special Collections of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Nonfiction, fiction, handbooks, statutes for organizations, research projects, 19th– 20th c and contemporary research.  

LOC- Library of Congress: Chronicling America: La Gaceta de Puerto Rico 1836-1902
Also check the other PR newspapers on there: El Mundo (1919-1990), El Impartial (1918-197-)l, La correspondencia(1890-1943), La democracia (1890-1948).

La Gaceta de Puerto Rico- 1808 – 1828, La Coleccion Puertorriquena
Earliest issues of La Gaceta not on LOC site

Rare nineteenth century newspapers- PR & some Caribbean islands

  • Patria
  • St. Thomas Tidende
  • St. Croix Avis
  • El Pueblo
  • La Región
  • Pluma Roja
  • La Unión
  • La Linterna
  • El Regional
  • La Bruja
  • La Hora

Contemporary Newspapers

Articles, Encyclopedia & Revistas

OpCit Revista del Centro de Investigaciones Historicos, 1985-2018. UPR. 25 Back Issues, valuable for local history & microhistory of parishes & municipalities. https://revistas.upr.edu/index.php/opcit/issue/archive

CONUCO: Indice de Puerto Rico ver. 2.2 : Search engine
Search for articles across various Puerto Rican publications. Don’t forget to check out their Enlaces (Links) section 

EncyclopediaPR- ICP initiative

Revista Clio, Academia Dominicana, 1993-2023

Word List & Paleography 

The Sociedad Genealogia Puertorriquena periodically offers a Curso de Paleografia for its members

Just getting started with Spanish? 
Spanish Genealogical Word List
[Downloadable PDF on right side of page]

Paleography: how to decipher handwriting in old documents

Paleografia: Paleography in Ten Lessons

Introduction to Spanish Paleography, BYU

Spanish Paleography and Historical Resources, U Colorado- site is extensive, video lesson series, worth exploring

Spanish Paleography Learning and Teaching Tool, Dominican Studies Institute, CUNY

.Military & Local Govt Documents

Dr. Daniel Ramon, Ayuntamiento de Bayamon 1813-1916. 1027pp. 
Document collection to be read online. Caja 414: 1821 uprising on p.185, 19pp


Go to site to see document

Centro Geografico del Ejercito
731 military documents from the Archivo Cartografico y Estudios Geograficos. The ADNPR organized the documents and prepared digital files from a set of 67 DVDs as PDFs to facilitate access. 

Archivo General Militar de Madrid
Converted to PDFs and available on the ADNPR are 2357 documents dating from 1596-1983 from the Archivo General Militar de Madrid. These are Capitania General de Puerto Rico (91 cajas) Servicio Historico Militar (1 box) Ministerio de Ultramar (1 box) 12th Batallion of Artillery of the Plaza of San Juan (9 boxes). 

Mapoteca del Archivo General de Puerto Rico – Search window

Urban Development: Archival Collections & History
4 Volumes: Anibal Sepulveda Rivera’s Puerto Rico Urbano. Illustrated and available for viewing online. 

Coleccion CARIMAR
Collection of city plans and documents from CARIMAR (1508-2004): Adjuntas, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Aguada, Anasco & Arecibo used for research into architecture and urban development. 

dLOC Digital Library of the Caribbean : 143 Collections & Partners
[interfaces in English, Spanish & French]
Archivo Historico de Vieques
Photographs, newspapers, video, mixed material

Puerto Rico, Title Sets
13 item list, mixed material, newspapers, photographs

Caribbean Islands on dLOC

Moravian Archives: Archiving Antigua
A digital record of Pre and Post Emancipation Antigua 1760-1948

Barbados Archive Department
Newspapers, photographs & mixed materials

Cuba: Archives & Manuscripts
Mixed material, photographs, maps

Archive Nationales d’Haïti
Photographs, serials, mixed material

Jeremie Papers: archives of 30 Notaries from Jeremie, Haiti

Jamaica: CIRN Gay Freedom Movement Archives
Caribbean LGBTIQ++ communities

Curacao- FamilySearch – most may need to visit FS Center to access

Curacao National Archives [Use Google Translate in toolbar]

Curacao – Registers for enslaved – begins 1838 [also on FS]

Rigsarkivet National Archives- Danish West Indies- Sources of History
Five million scanned items, 15,000 images & 130,000 transcribed records

US Virgin Islands: 
National Archives at NYC- RG 21 District Courts of the US

Other Sites

Tracing African Roots: Exploring Ethnic Origins of the Afro-Diaspora
“Puerto Rican Results” — Fonte Felipe’s detailed analysis of AncestryDNA’s African results in PR  https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/puerto-rican-results

Antepasados Esclavos
Sylvia Zavala Trias’ website, now on Rootsweb, has additional resources to consult for enslaved ancestors in Ponce. Has lists of enslaved, ancestors, émigrés to Ponce, notaries, bibliography, maps, census, ethnic origin of enslaved, enslavers and wards of Ponce. From 2002 but still valuable.

Danish West Indies- historical overview

Archivos e investigacion la importancia de la investigacion en los archivos y centros de investigacion
Free book of 6 essays on archival research and digitization. 

Private Photograph Collection
Archivo Historico y Fotografico de Puerto Rico on Flickr
“The collection of Puerto Rico is principally that of, Jose Luis Rodriguez of Cheshire, Ct., originally from Guanica. That collection has taken over 35 years to build and covers all types of collectibles from Puerto Rico. He is married to Aida for 39 years and is a full time antiques dealer specializing in paper antiques, postcards, photos and historical ephemera.”

Other Collections

Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies: Digital Collections, Columbia U

Library of Congress:  Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives 1831-1929 [also check ISSUU]

Issuu.com: La Coleccion Puertoriquena, UPR Rio Piedras  
Magazines & books from UPR-RP’s Special Collection

Lyman Platt, Puerto Rican Research Guide, 1990. Old guide but still handy! files.lib.byu.edu/family-history-library/research-outlines/LatinAmerica/PuertoRico.pdf


Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia
Lots of resources available with membership, are on-line on Facebook; meet monthly on Zoom. There are presently more members in the US than on the island, and there are opportunities if you’re interested in volunteering.  They also publish a journal, Hereditas: Revista de Genealogia Puertorriquena; two issues per year with membership; individual subscription available. 

Genealogy Groups on FaceBook– there are general groups with 10-20k membership to smaller with under 1k. I moderate two, Sociedad Ancestros Mocanos (NWPR) and Historia y genealogia de la esclavitud en Puerto Rico/Slavery & Genealogy of PR

PR en Breve

Centro de la Genealogía Cubana 

Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami


Association de Généalogie d’Haïti

Suggested Reading: Books, Articles, Blogposts

Coleccion de Genealogia e Historia Tomo III: La aportacion de las famlias africanas a la familia Puertorriquena., Tomo III. Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia, 2012.

Angel Lopez Cantos, Miguel Enriquez.  Ediciones Puerto, 3rd Ed, 2017, (1994). 

Luis Diaz-Soler, Historia de la esclavitud negra en Puerto Rico. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Third Edition, 2008.

Mario Rodriguez-Leon OP, Los registros parroquiales y la microhistoria demográfica en Puerto Rico. Centro de Estudios Avanzados, 1986

Fernando Pico, History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of its People. Princeton, Markus Weiner Publishers, 2006

Guillermo A. Baralt, Slave Revolts in Puerto Rico: Conspiracies and Uprisings, 1795-1873. Translated from Spanish by Christine Ayorinde. Marcus Weiner Publishers, (1982) 2007

Benjamin Nistal Moret, Esclavos Profugos y Cimarrones. Editorial UPR, 1984.

Guarocuya Batista-Kunhardt, “Beyond Paper Genocide: Taino Recognition in Puerto Rico.”  Brown Political Review, 17 February 2022

Anthony Stevens-Acevedo,  The Santo Domingo Slave Revolt of 1521 and the Slave Laws of 1522: Black Slavery and Black Resistance in the Early Colonial Americas. CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Monograph, 2019. https://academicworks.cuny.edu/dsi_pubs/23/

Schroeder, Hannes, Martin Sikora, Shyam Gopalakrishnan, Lara M. Cassidy, Pierpaolo Maisano Delser, Marcela Sandoval Velasco, Joshua G. Schraiber, et al. “Origins and Genetic Legacies of the Caribbean Taino.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115, no. 10 (2018): 2341–46. https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1716839115

Harcourt Fuller & Jada Benn Torres (2018) “Investigating the “Taíno” ancestry of the Jamaican Maroons: a new genetic (DNA), historical, and multidisciplinary analysis and case study of the Accompong Town Maroons.”, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes, 43:1, 47-78, 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323231208_Investigating_the_Taino_ancestry_of_the_Jamaican_Maroons_a_new_genetic_DNA_historical_and_multidisciplinary_analysis_and_case_study_of_the_Accompong_Town_Maroons

Katherine Howlett Hayes,  Slavery before race : Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651–1821. NYU Press, 2013.

Jesse Cromwell, The Smuggler’s World: Illicit Trade and Atlantic Communities in Eighteenth Century Venezuela. UNC Press, 2018.

Diana Sosa Cardenas, Los pardos: Caracas en las Postrimeras de la Colonia. Universidad Colonia Andres Bello, Caracas, Venezuela,  2010. Download available: https://www.academia.edu/19885328/Los_Pardos_Caracas_en_las_postrimerías_de_la_Colonia

Erin Woodruff Stone. Indian Harvest: The Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade and Diaspora from Española to the Circum-Caribbean, 1492-1542. PhD Dissertation, Vanderbilt University, May 2014. https://ir.vanderbilt.edu/bitstream/handle/1803/10737/StoneE.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

David M Stark, Slave Families and the Hato Economy of Puerto Rico. University Press of Florida, 2015.

Joel A. Blanco & Marisol Ramos, “Puerto Rico’s Archival Traditions in a Colonial Context” in Decolonizing the Caribbean Record: An Archives Reader, edited by Jeannette A. Bastian, Stanley H Griffin, and John A Aarons, 55-78. Series on Archives, Archivists, and Society, Number Eight. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, 2018. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/libr_pubs

Pablo F. Gómez, “7. Transatlantic Meanings: African Rituals and Material Culture in the Early Modern Spanish Caribbean.” Materialities of ritual in the Black Atlantic, edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders. Indiana UP 2015, 125-142

Jorge L. Chinea, Race and Labor in the Hispanic Caribbean: The West Indian Immigrant Worker Experience in Puerto Rico, 1800–1850. University Press of Florida, 2005. Available for reading on the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/racelaborinhispa0000chin  

Milagros Denis-Rosario, “The Silence of the Black Militia: Socio-Historical Analysis of the British Attack to Puerto Rico of 1797.” Memorias. Revista Digital de Historia y Arqueología desde el Caribe, núm. 14, Junio, 2011, pp. 48-74. http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=85518646003

Ruben Maldonado Jimenez, La Resistencia antiesclavista de la mujer en Puerto Rico, 1806-1873. 3ra ed. 2022. Available on Amazon

Daniel Morales-Armstrong, “Overseen and Overlooked: Spanish and British Silencing of Labor Resistance in Post-Emancipation Puerto Rico.”, Slavery & Abolition, 44:2, 394-410, https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2023.2165064

Karen Y. Morrison, “Creating an Alternative Kinship: Slavery, Freedom and Nineteenth- Century Hijos Naturales.” Journal of Social History, Fall 2007, 55-80.

Mariano Negron Portillo & Raul Mayo Santana, La esclavitud menor: La esclavitud en los municipios del interior de Puerto Rico en el siglo XIX. Centro de Investigaciones Sociales, UPR-Rio Piedras, 2007.

David M. Stark “Rescued from Their Invisibility: The Afro-Puerto Ricans of Seventeenth-and Eighteenth- Century San Mateo de Cangrejos, Puerto Rico.” The Americas, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Apr., 2007), pp. 551-586.

Books featuring historical context w/ lists of emigres to Puerto Rico:
Raquel Rosario Rivera, La Real Cedula de Gracias de 1815 y sus primeros efectos en Puerto Rico. San Juan, P.R., 1995.

——– La emigrantes llegados a Puerto Rico procedentes de Venezuela entre 1810-1848. San Juan, PR, 2005.

——  La presencia haitiana en Puerto Rico 1791-1850. San Juan, PR, 2015

—–  La presencia dominicana en Puerto Rico 1791-1850. San Juan, PR, 2015.

Haydee Reichard de Cancio, Haciendas agricolas del triangulo noroeste de Puerto Rico. Jose A Amador Acosta, Ed. 2023. 

Ileana M. Rodriguez-Silva, Silencing Race: Disentangling Blackness, Colonialism and National Identities in Puerto Rico. Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.

—-  “Libertos and Libertas in the Construction of the Free Worker in Postemancipation Puerto Rico.” Pamela Scully & Diana Paton, eds. Gender and Slave Emancipation in the Atlantic World. Duke University Press, 2005, 199-222.

US Census + Drift to whiteness
Jennifer L Hochschild, “Racial Reeorganization and the United States 1850-1930: Mulattoes, Half-Breeds, Mixed Parentage, Hindoos and the Mexican Race.” Studies in American Political Development. 2008, 22:1. 59-86. https://scholar.harvard.edu/jlhochschild/publications/racial-reorganization-and-united-states-census-1850-1930-mulattoes-half-br

Mara Loveman & Jeronimo O Muniz, “How Puerto Rico Became White: Boundary Dynamics and Intercensus Racial Reclassification.” American Sociological Review, 7 (Dec) 2007, 915-939.

Selected Blog Posts & Articles: Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Latino Genealogy and Beyond.com 

 “Ubiles: AfroIndigenous Families of Northeast Puerto Rico.” 3 June 2023. https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/ubiles-afroindigenous-families-of-northeast-puerto-rico/

A Woman of Endurance, a novel by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa.” 31 May 2023.

People & Property: Enslaved Ancestors sold by Rafael del Valle to Jose Genaro del Valle, Barrio Malezas, Aguadilla, 1854.” 8 Jan 2023

“African Ancestors in Moca, Puerto Rico, 1852-1859.” https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/african-ancestors-in-moca/

“Finding Juan Jose Carrillo: An African Ancestor.” 1 Jun 2022 https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/finding-juan-jose-carrillo-an-african-ancestor

Stories in a Box: Caja 1289, Slavery and the Hernandez family. 13 Feb 2018. https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com › blog › stories-box-caja-1289-slavery-hernandez-family

“Gaining Freedom: gleaning narratives from Caja 1444, Moca, Puerto Rico, 1848 – 1854.” 2018.  https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/gaining-freedom-gleaning-narratives-caja-1444-moca-puerto-rico-1848-1854/

“Can Genealogy Be Racist? Identity, Roots & the Question of Proof.”  22 Mar 2018. https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/can-genealogy-be-racist

“African Ancestors in San German: Juan Tomas Gandulla and his Family.” 2 Apr 2019. https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/african-ancestors-in-san-german-the-story-of-one-family


“Coartacion: Between Slavery and freedom in Anasco and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.” AAHGS Journal, 40, 71-84. https://www.academia.edu/104184389/Coartación_From_Enslavement_to_Freedom_in_Añasco_and_Mayagüez_Puerto_Rico

“Bound to History: Leoncia Lassalle’s Slave Narrative from Moca, Puerto Rico, 1945.” Genealogy 2020, 4(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4030093

“El Registro de Esclavos: An archive you need to know.” Hidden in Plain Sight, AAHGS Conference, Oct 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJRGOk3YEkY

“Reconstructing District 3’s Missing 1872 Registro Central de Esclavos for Northwest Puerto Rico.” Part I  Hereditas: Journal of the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia., 19:2 (2019) 68-90.

“Reconstructing District 3’s Missing 1872 Registro Central de Esclavos for Northwest Puerto Rico.” Part II  Hereditas: Journal of the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia., 21:2 (2020): 105-132. 

“Reconstructing District 3’s Missing 1872 Registro Central de Esclavos for Northwest Puerto Rico.” Part III Hereditas: Journal of the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia. 23:2, (2022) 112-155.

“Reconstructing District 3’s Missing 1872 Registro Central de Esclavos for Northwest Puerto Rico.” Part IV Hereditas: Journal of the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Genealogia, 24:2, (2023), 49-99.