So many of the books we come across focus on tracing one’s ancestry to Europe. And why not? For hundreds of years Europeans represented the majority of immigrants into North America. Ellis Island alone saw 12 million enter this country from 1892 and 1954. Of course, not everyone is descended from European immigrants, or at least not Europeans alone. Immigrants have come to the U.S. from just about every country in the world. Not all in mass migrations or by the millions; yet, here they are. One country from which many millions have immigrated to the U.S. lies not across oceans, nor even from another continent, but rather it shares a common border, Mexico.
Fortunately, Mexican American genealogists aren’t without help. There are experts and authors to help family historians trace their Mexican ancestry. Mexican-American Genealogical Research: Following the Paper Trail to Mexico, by John Schmal & Donna Morales, was written to help descendents find records of their ancestors from governmental sources and through the Family History Library.
According to the authors, “Mexico probably has the most detailed records in the world, stretching back more than 400 years.” This is a great boon for researchers focused on Mexican research. This book focuses on helping genealogists find and access this wealth or records.
The authors declares the most important piece of information to obtain is the location name from were one’s ancestors in Mexico came from. Authors Donna Morales and John Schmall collaborated to help the reader discover these ancestral home towns by covering such records as Naturalization papers, alien registration forms, border-crossing documents, death certificates, obituaries, and mortuary documents. As the authors state, “In this respect, the search for Mexican roots is exactly the same as that of every other ethnic group that came to America.” Through samples and explanations, the book also details the information one may find among Mexican church and civil records. There is even a discussion over the problems associated with racial classifications found in documents prior to the 1822 independence.
Table of Contents
Table of Illustrations
Chapter 1 — Following the Paper Trail
Chapter 2 — Finding Vital Records
Chapter 3 — Other Sources of Vital Information
Chapter 4 — Naturalization Records
Chapter 5 — Alien Registration Records
Chapter 6 — Crossing the Border
Chapter 7 — Best Records in the World
Chapter 8 — Passengers to the Indies
Chapter 9 — The Indians of Mexico
Chapter 10 — In the Service of Their Country
Chapter 11 — Getting Prepared
Mexican-American Genealogical Research: Following the Paper Trail to Mexico is available from Family Root Publishing; Item #: HBS2139, Price: $20.58.