Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     What can genealogists do if their ancestral country denies them access to its records, especially since their country of residence lacks diplomatic relations with their nation of origin? Such a predicament has plagued persons of Cuban ancestry who live in the United States for a long time. To help determined genealogists to accomplish a substantial amount of genealogical research from within the U. S., Peter E. Carr compiled GUIDE TO CUBAN GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH: RECORDS AND SOURCES. Although originally published in 1991, Carr’s manual is still pertinent because full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U. S. have not yet been established.

     Since many Americans of Cuban descent are now several generations removed from their exiled immigrant ancestor, Carr prepares an informative chapter on how to begin family research. To set the stage for his data on genealogical resources, he discusses Spanish surnames and supplies a chronological timeline of Cuba’s history.

     The major part of Carr’s work consists of separate chapters that deal with the main genealogical resources, including church, cemetery, civil registration, land, military, notarial, census, passenger, slave, commercial, official, consular, and U. S. Department of State records. In addition, he provides information about newspapers, directories, maps and atlases, the papeles procedentes de Cuba, genealogical societies and social clubs, the streets and districts of La Habana, and miscellaneous records.

     Because Cuba is a predominantly Catholic country, the nation’s religious records are maintained by the different parish churches scattered throughout the island. The author stresses that until the commencement of civil registration, anyone who wanted to be legally married in Cuba was required to have the ceremony performed in the Catholic Church. He also points out that while Americans cannot obtain most governmental records because they require payment, church documents may be requested since the matter of compensation is up to the individual and is not absolutely necessary.

     Genealogists will be pleasantly surprised by the sizable body of published Cuban literature available in the U. S. or in other Spanish-speaking nations. Although many of these materials are secondary in nature, their value should not be underestimated, particularly since access to so many documents is still withheld.

     Although Carr’s manual is not comprehensive, he gathers a wide-range of data into one volume that will be invaluable to Cuban-Americans wishing to trace their family tree. With the loosening of American diplomatic sanctions against the small island, more people will find help with their pedigree in GUIDE TO CUBAN GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH: RECORDS AND SOURCES.

     The 103-page book has soft covers, an acknowledgements page, an introduction, and a topical index. A map of Cuba appears on the front cover and on the title page.

     To the book’s price of $16.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order number 9379) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website ).

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