1. LOCATION is crucial in location civil or ecclesiastical records.
Be aware of the terminology used such as "ciudad" (city), "municipio" (municipality), "provincia" (province.) Sometimes the capital city of a province and the province carry the same name. For example: the city of Pinar del Rio versus the province of Pinar del Rio. Although Cuba is a small island, you need more information that just the island name to find your ancestor's record. Specificity is very important!
2. There were 6 original provinces in Cuba until 1978. Currently there are 15 provinces with a special municipality (Isla de la Juventud previously known as Isla de Pinos) that does not belong to any province. Find a map of the area you are researching in (with the current province as well as the province in the time period you are researching.)
Civil and Ecclesiastical Records
3. Civil records are often incomplete and very difficult to acquire. The Cuban Civil Registry was not in effect until the 1880's but the differing provinces established this practice at different rates. Use CubaGenWeb's Cuban Addresses and Telephone Numbers for guidance. You will need to click on the current province of interest (on the left menu) and then you will see the civil registries for each municipality within that province. Also visit our Civil Records page
4. For records prior to the 1880's, you need to use Ecclesiastical records. You can acquire Parish records from Cuba by writing directly to the ancestral parish. Records have been centralized in the corresponding province Archdioceses. CubaGenWeb has a directory of parishes and their contact information on their Cuban Addresses and Telephone Numbers page. You can also Google the name of the parish and location to get contact information. Please be aware that not all parishes have a full-time priest or the resources needed to provide services.
5. Visit our database of Church Records (organized by province - see left menu)
7. When you examine the documents take advantage of the fact that Cuban church records are patterned on the Spanish model and often will mention not only the parents but the grandparents as well. Often these records include information as to where each of the ancestors was born, whether and where they were living at the time of the event, and sometimes even their occupation.
1. Colonial censuses were conducted by the Spanish government in 1774, 1791, 1817, 1827, 1841, 1877 and 1887. It is difficult to ascertain where these are now.
2. Censuses were taken under American administration in 1899 and 1907 but they are statistical in nature - no names.
4.Censuses conducted by the Republic of Cuba in 191, 1931, 1943, 1953, 1970, 1981 and 1987 are kept by the national repository (Centro de Informacion Cientifico-tecnica) and unavailable for access. These censuses did include personal information such as age, sex, occupation, illegitimate children, etc.
5. Other records which generated some "census-like" information were "Padrones" and "Matriculas." A Padron was a register or list of taxpayers of a given location. The Catholic church often took "padrones" of its members. A Matricula is a register of anything (and not just people.) Visit our Census/Countings Page for our collection of Padrones and Matriculas.
1. "Diario de la Marina" was a newspaper published in Cuba, founded in 1832. "Diario de la Marina" was Cuba’s longest-running newspaper and the one with the highest circulation. Its roots go back to 1813. To see more information, visit our Newspapers page.
1. There were 3 major conflicts towards Cuban independence: Ten Years War (1868 - 1878), Little War (1879 - 1880) and War of Independence of Cuba (1895 - 1898.)