Like most genealogists, my interest in the field of genealogy peaked during my investigation into my Dominican Ancestry. I had started with minimal information given to me by my late grandmother, family members and a few documents my relatives shared with me. After an almost yearlong investigation, I was able to trace my family lineage back seven generations. Doing so has been one of my most significant accomplishments. This journey has allowed me to connect with some incredible people along the way, and to be able to tell my children where they come from is priceless.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when investigating and unwrapping the jewel that is your Dominican Ancestry.
If you can, talk to your relatives.
Your relatives will have important information that can guide you in your investigation. Inform them of your intentions to research your family lineage. Make a note of important dates, names, and events. Ask for pictures and other relevant documents that you can extract information.
Search through databases dedicated to Dominican Genealogy
In my research, I’ve utilized data collected and maintained by Mr. Marcos Heriberto Hernandez Brea, Coordinador de la Base de Datos for Proyecto Genealogico de Raises Quisqueya. I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my findings with Mr. Hernandez Brea and collaborated with this project in the Dominican Republic. You can find more information below, along with links to other helpful resources for Dominican Ancestry.
Take your time.
Websites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org are helpful resources for searching through records from the Dominican Republic. Keep in mind the information you are looking for may not be indexed and readily available using the search engine alone. These websites make their collections accessible to the public to allow researchers to search through thousands of scanned records by locality.
You might not find what you’re looking for, but don’t give up hope.
Some records may not be published online. For researchers in the states, that can make it somewhat challenging to fill in gaps from specific time periods, but don’t lose hope. Records and other collections can still be published and shared with the public. Patience is key. It’s also important to note that the spelling of names, especially those on handwritten documents, may differ from how you spell it. It does not mean the information is not out there, so it’s worth looking up different variations of the name you’re researching.
Persevering your Dominican Family History is a beautiful thing!
I had so many questions I wished I could’ve asked my grandmother when she was alive. My children will surely have some of the same questions about who they are, where their family is from, and why they look the way they do. Answering these questions can instill a strong sense of self in my little ones. How ever you chose to preserve your family history, whether it be a book or elaborate family tree, it should be a piece of your heritage that can be passed down and expanded for generations to come.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” —Marcus Garvey
For genealogy assistance contact me at JasminKateriWrites@gmail.com. Current member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
CUNY DOMINICAN STUDIES INSTITUTE
Archivo General de la Nacion
Proyecto Genealogico de Raises Quisqueya:
Instituto Dominicano de Genealogia, INC.
DATOS Y FUENTES DE GENEALOGÍA DE LA REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA
Spanish Genealogical Word List: