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Hispanic Origins in the United States: A Guide to Local History and Genealogy Sources

Compiled by subject specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide provides topical bibliographies for print and online resources on researching the genealogy of Hispanic families in the U.S., along with key national, state and local histories.


Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Spanish Colonial History mural by Daniel Sayre Groesbeck at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Santa Barbara, California. 2012. Prints and Photographs Division. Library of Congress.

This bibliography is meant to help with research on two main topics: histories of families of Hispanic origin and histories of places in the United States settled by people of Hispanic origin. These topics go far beyond the United States—from Latin America and Spain to places as far as Corsica and Sweden. The subject headings are broad, and the titles listed here can easily serve as sources for other topics as well.

The first page lists handbooks for genealogical research in the United States and in some Latin American countries. The next page deals with personal and place names. Another page lists books on Hispanic history of the United States. Check additional pages that list materials on specific American states, most of them former Mexican or Spanish territories.

We have listed materials on Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Spain. Many of these international materials are relevant to emigration or immigration. "Emigration from Spain," makes up its own section because it involves both the beginnings of the Spanish movement across the Atlantic and the reasons for its continuation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also helps to trace emigration routes--relatively few people emigrated directly from Spain to the United States, but hundreds of thousands traveled from Spain to Spanish colonies in the Americas, and from there to territories that now lie within U.S. borders. We also consider the emigration of Spanish Jews and the unique circumstances that shaped it.

We have listed catalogs and archives outside the Library of Congress that have local histories, censuses, and land records. Look for various Hispanic genealogy periodicals and publications, materials on Latin American countries not covered in the previous sections, lists, useful websites and online databases, as well as services subscribed to by the Library. Finally, the Miscellaneous page lists any materials that do not fit into the other categories.

Please note: These titles are meant to be a helpful starting point, but the Library of Congress has thousands of additional works on this topic, which can be found in the library catalog by searching the subject headings listed here. Questions can be directed to Local History and Genealogy reference librarians using our Ask a Librarian service.

About the Hispanic Reading Room

The Hispanic Reading Room is the primary access point for research related to the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal; the indigenous cultures of those areas; and peoples throughout the world historically influenced by Luso-Hispanic heritage, including Latinos in the U.S. and peoples of Portuguese or Spanish heritage in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.