Friday, May 6, 2011

Mexico Family Genealogy Resources: If You Offer It, They May Come

I received an interesting email from a genealogical society. I had posted some tips on their Facebook page. The woman explained that they don't have much need for Hispanic genealogy information. The writer commented that in 20 years they had never had anyone ask for such information. That got me reflecting on comments I've heard over the years from genealogists.

I remember an email from a woman living in Los Angeles who wanted to start her Mexico family genealogy. Her challenge was that the places she had visited had little or no reference materials to help her. She was shocked and frustrated that in a city with so many Hispanics that she could not find the help she wanted. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common complaint.

On the other hand, I had a genealogy society in Southern California ask me to recommend Hispanic genealogy resources. Someone had come in looking to do Mexico family genealogy, and the members realized that they didn't have much in the way of reference materials. I applaud this society for reaching out and wanting to be better prepared for the next person.

If libraries and genealogy societies in heavily populated Hispanic areas don't have resources available to help someone with their Hispanic family genealogy, should they expect Hispanics to show up? Maybe this is a chicken and egg situation. Do people show up because there are resources or should societies wait until they get a request?

Back to the email I got. The woman from the genealogy society mentioned that there is a significant Puerto Rican population nearby. We recently helped a woman of Puerto Rican descent locate relatives living in Mexico. Over the years, many people who were originally born outside of Mexico (think Russia) have come to us for help to locate family members in Mexico. We've helped people from as far away as Australia! The bottom line is that we're a mobile society. Anyone who is originally from outside of Mexico could still have Mexican ancestors that they want to find.

Adding that 1 out of 6 people in the U.S. are Hispanic and two-thirds are of Mexican origin, the interest in Mexico family genealogy can only increase. Maybe a good starting point for genealogy societies is to offer occasional advice about Hispanic genealogy. It doesn't have to cost. Tips can be made in a newsletter, blog or Facebook page. If genealogy societies want new, younger members, they need look no further than at Hispanic communities that are starving for genealogical help and resources. It may simply be a matter of letting Hispanics know that they are welcome.


Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru
Find Relatives In Mexico

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