Puerto Rico Colonial Records

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Spanish Colonization (1493-1898)[edit | edit source]

Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus landed at Puerto Rico on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493, and he originally named the place San Juan Bautista. In 1508, Juan Ponce de León founded the first Spanish settlement in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico became recognized as an overseas province of Spain in 1809 in an effort to keep other European nations out. In 1898, following the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States along with Guam and the Philippines. This went into effect in 1899.[1]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001 1805-2001 Civil Registration Civil records from 1805 to 2001 from the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico
Extranjeros (Foreigners in Puerto Rico), ca 1807-1880 ca. 1807-1880 Records of foreigners in Puerto Rico Spanish and French Foreigners in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969 1645-1969 Baptisms, confirmations, parish censuses, marriages, deaths, and indexes
Puerto Rico Records of Foreign Residents, 1815-1845 -images only 1815-1845 Requests by foreigners for permission to reside in Puerto Rico, some correspondence, lists of foreigners residing in Puerto Rico, and a few copies of final naturalization papers Spanish Foreigners in Puerto Rico
Matrimonios, 1811-1874 - images only 1811-1874 Marriage Spanish
Pasaportes, 1795-1889 - images, and a few indexed 1795-1811 Nineteenth-century Puerto Rican emigration records, including passports; documents in the "Gobernadores Españoles" collection of the Puerto Rico General Archive. Spanish Puerto Rican emigration records
Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 at Ancestry.com - index and images 1872 Slave registers Spanish Enslaved people in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Records of Foreign Residents, 1815-1845 at Ancestry.com - images 1815-1845 Naturalization records Spanish Foreigners living in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Records of Foreigners, 1815-1845 Ancestry.com - images 1815-1845 Naturalization records Spanish Foreigners living in Puerto Rico

United States (1898-present)[edit | edit source]

Ceded to the United States following the Spanish-American War, in 1898, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001 1805-2001 Civil Registration Civil records from 1805 to 2001 from the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969 1645-1969 Baptisms, confirmations, parish censuses, marriages, deaths, and indexes
Puerto Rico, Civil Registrations, 1885-2001 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1885-2001 Births, marriages and deaths Spanish Puerto Ricans
Puerto Rico, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1901-1962 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1901-1962 Immigration records Spanish People who immigrated or traveled to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Social and Population Schedules, 1935-1936 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1935-1936 Census Spanish Residents of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Special Censuses, Agricultural Schedules, 1935 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1935 Census Spanish Puerto Rican farmers
U.S. Federal Censuses - links to all major databases 1900-1940 Census Spanish and English Residents of Puerto Rico
U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1938-1949 Muster rolls English Puerto Ricans, who served in the Navy during WWII
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1942 Draft registration cards English Puerto Rican men between 18 and 65
U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1806-1916 Military records English Members of the U.S. military
U.S., Applications for Seaman's Protection Certificates, 1916-1940 at Ancestry.com ($) - index and images 1916-1940 Passports English Seamen
United States, Officer Down Memorials, 1791-2014 at Ancestry.com ($) - index 1791-2014 Police records English Police officers who were killed in the line of duty

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Puerto Rico," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico, accessed 11 March 2020.