Sunday, March 27, 2011

Searching Maternal Side of Family? Conversation on Facebook

It's Sunday afternoon, but I just posted a response on Facebook to the following question:

I am researching my husbands family - His great grandfather is as far as I can go back right now - his name is Luis Origel Gonzalez from Penjamo, Guanjuato, Mexico. My husbands grandfather is Luis T Origel Torres and I have the names of his sisters and brothers, but not any marriage information, etc from those siblings. Part of my problem is knowing how to search with the maternal name included. I know that there is a Luis Navarro Origel that was a mayor of Penjamo during the Cristero Rebellion (1926) and am trying to find if he is related to my Luis Origel Gonzalez (born 1875)

As you may know, when a woman marries in Mexico it's customary that only the surname of her father will be part of her married name. So if Elena Gomez Gonzales marries Jose Martinez Ochoa, then Elena's name will be Elena Martinez Gomez.

So how can you work backwards to find out more about Elena? The rules of genealogy still apply. You start with the most immediate family. Then you search out information on extended family members, distant cousins, that ex-husband. If they are still living, then you want to contact them if possible.

If you would rather not contact people, then you can try to obtain legal documents, such as marriage and birth certificates and church records. Death records are also a great resource; however, you usually have to know the date when the person passed away and that could be challenging.

Marriage records are an excellent source of genealogy information. You usually have parents of both the bride and groom listed. With that information, you can search for siblings of the bride who are still living.

Once you move past 100 years (meaning 1911), then you have moved past many of the restrictions on personal information due to privacy laws. At this point, visiting your local Family History Center is a good idea. You can search their library, get help with ordering records and probably find more information about the maternal side of your Mexican family.

However, do not underestimate the value of reaching out to any and all family members still living. I've told the story several times of meeting my fifth cousin in France because it impacted me so much. We resolved so many questions we had about our family with that one trip. My fifth cousin is very old, and I may never see him before he passes away. So do as much as you can to gather family information from living relatives.

If you feel stuck and don't know how to move forward to find relatives still living in Mexico, then it may be time to have a company such as Find Relatives In Mexico provide professional service to put you in contact with your relatives there.


Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru
Find Relatives In Mexico

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