Have you been struggling to find information about your Cuban ancestors? There is a resource that might help you. The Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection of Cuban Genealogy has been described as the “Cuban equivalent” of Ancestry.com (by FIU News).
The Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection is a unique research collection that is located at the Green Library at Florida International University Special Collections and University Archives. It contains thousands of books, handwritten and typed letters, photos, and other primary documents that are connected to Cuba and Cuban genealogy.
Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza collected this genealogy information for over four decades. It contains rare 17th and 18th century books, and publications and periodicals that are out of print. Many of these resources cannot be found in U.S. Libraries.
The collection also includes thousands of unpublished family genealogies and manuscripts, hundreds of sacramental and civil documents, an unpublished Archive of the Indies records, and old photographs of Cuban families. There is a chance that what you are seeking could be somewhere within this collection.
The collection can be searched for free through the Florida International University (FIU) website. Use the directory to search by family name if you browse through the material in the collection by family name. Or, you can use the search option to search all the metadata for the items. It is also possible to use the Browse By Name as Subject feature to browse all the family names associated with this collection.
It is also possible to view the collection at the Green Library at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus (which is located in Southwest Miami-Dade County). The physical collection can be examined on weekdays between 9 in the morning and 5 in the evening. It is on the library’s fourth floor.
How did this collection start? According to FIU News, Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza was a lawyer who worked as a diplomat for the Organization of American States, in both Washington D.C., and Geneva Switzerland. He spent decades of his life searching for succession rights to a title of nobility. Eventually, he found the proof he needed. Sometime after that, he lost his claim to a distant relative who had a better one.
When Hurtado de Mendoza was 90, he was living in Miami. He directed his family to deliver his collection of Cuban genealogy information to Florida International University in 2012. Organizing and scanning the mostly handwritten documents took more than three years. One man’s work could now help other genealogists to find out more about their Cuban ancestors.
Image by Wayne Feiden on Flickr.
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