Huge Cuban Genealogy Data Collection Now Available Online


Florida International University Libraries has unveiled an online resource to help families of the Cuban diaspora research their roots—and already several have hit pay dirt.

An extensive set of family trees, civil records and sacramental documents is now available on the Internet. It references thousands of Hispanic surnames and gives everyone from the Abadias to the Zúñigas the opportunity to search for their ancestors. The material comes from the Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection of Cuban Genealogy, a treasure trove that also features hard copies of more than 3,500 17th- and 18th-century books, long out-of-print publications and periodicals that few, if any, other U.S. libraries hold. The online offerings can be accessed by going to FIU’s Digital Library of the Caribbean and searching by last name.

“The breadth and depth of the collection is outstanding,” said Lourdes Del Pino, who helped prepare materials for placing online. “All Cubans, and I mean all Cubans, no matter where you were from, your station in life, every Cuban will find something about their family, I have no doubt.”

The collection was amassed over more than four decades by Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza. Trained as a lawyer, he worked as a diplomat for the Organization of American States, both in Washington, D.C., and Geneva Switzerland. Nearing 90, Hurtado de Mendoza lives in Miami and directed his family to deliver the collection to FIU in 2012.

FIU Special Collections department head Althea Silvera describes Hurtado de Mendoza’s personal quest as driven by “this need to find out where you come from . . . that somewhere, somehow there is something in your background.”

Read the full article at

Search the collection.

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

National Archives and JFK Library Mark 50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis in October To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Washington, DC: The Cuban Missile Crisis—13 days in October 1962—when the world teetered on the edge of thermonuclear war, is the subject of a new exhibition, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” opening in October at the National Archives Building in downtown Washington.

The exhibition, coming on the 50th anniversary of that historic time, opens October 12, 2012, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building and will run through February 2, 2013. Admission is free. It then travels to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, where it opens April 12 and runs through November 11, 2013.

“To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” was created by curators at the Kennedy Library and designers from the National Archives, and features items from their respective collections. It is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T with special recognition to the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family.

Early in the Fall of 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered a secret deployment of a nuclear strike force in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States—with missiles that could reach most major U.S. cities in less than five minutes. President Kennedy emphatically stated that the missiles would not be tolerated, and insisted on their removal. Khrushchev refused. The standoff nearly caused a nuclear exchange and is remembered in this country as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“To the Brink” is a look back at the crisis from the 50-year mark. The exhibit shows Kennedy and his advisers in the throes of deliberation during 13 agonizing days in October 1962, as the United States and the then-Soviet Union stood on the brink of nuclear war. The peaceful resolution of the crisis with the Soviets is considered to be one of Kennedy’s greatest achievements.

Featuring clandestine real-time White House recordings from Kennedy’s meetings in October 1962, the exhibit allows visitors to listen in on the government’s high level meetings as the President and his advisers worked furiously to avert a nuclear catastrophe. Original documents, artifacts, and photographs from the National Archives and its Kennedy Library complement the tapes in a dramatic presentation that engages the visitor into this milestone 20th-century event.

The White House Recordings
The President mobilized a group of advisers to help him navigate the crisis and sort through the ever-changing intelligence reports he was receiving. With the President guiding the discussions, they argued heatedly—and passionately—over the best course of action. Unbeknownst to almost all the participants, Kennedy had recorded those White House meetings.

The tapes comprise a valuable historical resource and a real-time glimpse back into the highest level of deliberations. They are the raw stuff of history and capture not only the options under consideration, but also the tension, anxiety, drama, and, at times, fatigue, that permeated the talks.

“To the Brink” offers visitors the chance to:

  • Watch clips from Kennedy’s October 22, 1962, address to the nation, informing the American people of the Soviet arms buildup in Cuba.
  • See JFK’s doodles from October 1962. Kennedy had a habit of jotting down words, notes, and doodles during meetings. These papers are now official records and are preserved as part of the President’s papers.
  • Hear Kennedy and his advisers discuss and debate the crisis in “real time” as they view evidence of Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba and deliberate on how best to respond.
  • Examine satellite photographs of missile sites under construction, images that were shown to Kennedy on October 16, 1962.
  • Review CIA-prepared Personality Studies of Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro.
  • See the map of Cuba used and annotated by the President when he was first briefed by the CIA on the missiles. The President’s annotations mark the locations where the Soviets were believed to have placed nuclear weapons.
  • Read secret correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
  • See the original chairs used by Kennedy and Khrushchev during the 1961 Summit meeting in Vienna, Austria—the only occasion where the two leaders formally met face-to-face; they were photographed seated on these chairs at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna.

Follow the Cuban Missile Crisis in real time as the JFK Library tweets the 13 days: @JFKLibrary, hashtag #13Days.

The Archives Shop will feature an exhibition catalog and related products in conjunction with “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” All Archives Shop proceeds support the National Archives Experience and educational programming at the National Archives.

The Fall issue of Prologue Magazine, the Archives’ flagship publication, will feature an article by Martin J. Sherwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, titled, “One Step from Nuclear War, the Cuban Missile Crisis at 50: In Search of Historical Perspective.” Prologue is available in the Archives Shop.

The National Archives is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Fall/winter hours are 10 AM-5 PM (September 4 through March 14). The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is located in Boston.

Florida International University library Acquires Cuban Genealogy Collection

This interesting article comes from Tampa Bay Online:

By SHARON TATE MOODY | Special correspondent
Published: June 03, 2012

Much to the excitement of the Cuban-American community, the Florida International University library has acquired the Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza collection. Even more thrilling is that the university is digitizing the collection and will make it available through the library’s website.

Mendoza, a law graduate of the University of Havana, left Cuba in 1960. For 20 years, he was a liaison officer for the Organization of American States. “Hundreds of people sought his help and sent him what they knew of their family heritage, and those genealogies enriched his huge collection,” says Mariela Fernandez, president of the Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami.

That group’s vice president, Lourdes del Pino, describes the collection as “by far the most complete and sought-after Cuban and Hispanic genealogy collection.”

Click here to read the full article.

New Research Materials Could Help Hispanic Families Trace Their Roots

“Florida International University has acquired new research materials that could help Hispanic families trace their roots.” Here’s a peek at an article from the Miami Herald:

FIU acquires new genealogy research collection

The Associated Press

MIAMI — Florida International University has acquired new research materials that could help Hispanic families trace their roots.

The university has obtained a collection of thousands of books, letters and other primary documents relating to Cuba and genealogy. There are genealogy books from North, Central and South America, as well as Spain, Italy, France and other European countries.

Click here to read the full article.


More details are available from FIU. Here is an excerpt from their announcement:

Soon, anyone tracing his or her Cuban or Spanish roots will have access to unique research materials, many available for the first time ever and only at Florida International University.

FIU Libraries has acquired a collection of thousands of books, handwritten and typed letters, photos and other primary documents relating to Cuba and Cuban genealogy, collected over four decades by Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza.

Hurtado loved books so much that he amassed a collection of over 5,000 volumes, many of them relating to the genealogy of his native Cuba.

“This is an extraordinary addition to our collection,” said Laura Probst, FIU Dean of Libraries. “We are proud to be the custodians of this rich collection of the family and cultural history of Cuba and its diaspora. Our long-term vision is to create a public Center for Cuban Genealogy, but need support from the community to make this a reality.”

Click here to read the full announcement.