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Puerto Rico: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as municipal historical research for Puerto Rico.


Railroad map of Porto Rico [sic]. United States Department of Commerce [S.I.] 1924. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Puerto Rico is a large Caribbean Island of nearly 3,500 square miles. The Arawak Indians settled in Puerto Rico around 1000 CE. They developed Taino culture and lived in small villages and were ruled by a chief. After centuries of Spanish rule, Puerto Rico become a territory of the United States in 1898 and has been largely self-governing since the mid-20th century. It has a population of 3.4 million and a vibrant and a culture with a mix of Spanish, United States, and Afro- Caribbean influences.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Puerto Rico local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the Island of Enchantment.

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.