What is a genealogist to do when his country of ancestry denies him access to its records and when his country of residence lacks diplomatic relations with his country of origin? Such is the predicament of persons of Cuban ancestry living in the United States today, one that is compounded for second, third, and later-generation Cuban-Americans who are further removed from their immigrant ancestors than the exiles from Castro’s Cuba. Fortunately, as Peter Carr points out in his guidebook to Cuban genealogy, the situation is far from hopeless, and a determined researcher can accomplish a substantial amount of Cuban genealogy from within the United States.
Guide to Cuban Genealogical Research touches on virtually every facet of its subject. The author has prepared informative chapters on “getting started,” Spanish surnames, and a history of Cuba, to set the stage for his discussion of Cuban genealogical records. The meat of the book consists of separate chapters devoted to each of these pertinent record categories: notarial, land, census, passenger, slave, newspaper, commercial, military, consular, and cemetery. As the reader will discover, there is a sizable body of published literature devoted to Cuban research and records that may be obtained in the United States or in other Spanish-speaking countries. Although Cuban public records are not available to Americans, it may be possible to acquire Cuban Catholic Church records by writing directly to the parishes. Mr. Carr reports that his success rate at obtaining church records has ranged from 60 to 70%, and he tells you how you can go about requesting them yourself. Still other chapters list Cuban archives, libraries, and genealogical societies; maps and atlases; papeles procedentes de cuba, and listings of streets and barrios in Havana. Complete with a bibliography and subject index, Guide to Cuban Genealogical Research is by all odds the place to start your journey into Cuban family history.