July 17, 2013

Finding and Using Books to Find Your Ancestors
Last Names of Nuevo Leon

A key to breaking down the brick walls that you may have in your Mexican Genealogy research is Finding and Using Books to Find Your Ancestors. In the past I know I mentioned that one of my misconceptions was that I thought that there was no way that I would ever find my ancestors in any books. I also thought that there were no books about them nor any of them had ever written a book.

Let me tell you I was completely wrong. I did find my ancestors in books, I also found books written about them, and also books written by them. In this post, I will provide you with websites where you can find your ancestors and also provide you with additional ideas of how you can find physical books about them.

How Can I Expand My Family Tree Using Books

Some of the books that you will come across will be ancestor-descendant family trees and will contain genealogical data that will take you months to process or enter into your own family tree.

Below you will find the resources that I use to find books about my ancestors.

Online Repositories for Finding and Using Books to Find Your Ancestors

Google Books

Google Books – Google Books is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned and converted to text using optical character recognition.

In addition, these eBooks are stored in Google’s digital database and their collection includes rare Genealogy books from Mexico. If you search for an ancestors name and it comes up you will be allowed to read the full page where the name appears.

In some cases, you will be allowed to download the eBook if it is no longer under copyright.

FamilySearch Books

FamilySearch Books – They contain over 60,000 family history books that have been digitized from major U.S. genealogical libraries.

Some books can only be viewed from within a FamilySearch library or center, but I have come across many books that can be downloaded. This resource has helped me grow my Genealogical eBook library exponentially.

The Internet Archive

Archive.org – The Internet Archive is a nonprofit online digital library with the stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” It provides the permanent storage of and free public access to nearly three million public domain books.

A book written by one of my ancestors in the 1600’s is available for download for free. I have also found other great books about ancestors and also Mexican history to give some context to their lives.

Look At The Citations

Another great way to Finding and Using Books to Find Your Ancestors is to look at the citations of other researchers. For example, I have found many books just by looking at the citations of Raul Longoria’s Genealogy Database (we have many common ancestors). I found his website by just searching Google. Once you get the name of a book you like, you can search for its title using the above-mentioned resources or search for it in a library.

Books at Public Libraries and Universities

Searching or browsed your public or local University Library’s Genealogical Collection is a great way to finding and using books to find your ancestors. Believe it or not, almost all libraries will have a section dedicated to Genealogy. If you ever come across a book that you can not find online the next best thing is to see if your local library or University has a copy.

For example, my local library has thousands of books about genealogy. Many of those books focus on local genealogy and also about Mexico. I have found some great books where my ancestors appear, but let me just warn you these books are for reference only and you can not check them out. You will actually have to read it there.

My favorite place of all is my local university (UTPA) since they have a special collection that focuses on South Texas and Northeastern Mexico. They practically have all the rare books that you will ever come across for this area. The books within their collection have provided me with a wealth of information about my ancestors. So far they have over 80 books where at least one of my ancestor’s names appears.

Finding Books in A Library Near You

If you ever come across a book that you definitely need to check out you can use the following resource to see if your local library or university has a copy of it.


WorldCat.org – WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. It is maintained by each individual library.

When you search for a title of a book this search engine will search all the libraries in its database and provide you with the nearest library that has the book available in their collection.

To be clear, there are many more ways to Finding and Using Books to Find Your Ancestors than the ones I have mentioned here, explore and have fun. I chose these ones since they are the ones that I use and I highly recommend them. These resources and ideas will also provide you with a solid foundation to start searching for books where your ancestors may be written about.

Here is a Book Where Many of My Ancestors Are Mentioned

Sagrada Mitra de Guadalajara Antiguo Obispado de la Nueva Galicia

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About the author 

Moises Garza

I have doing my family genealogy since 1998. I am also the creator of this blog Mexican Genealogy, and my personal blog We Are Cousins. To always be up to date with both of these sites follow me on facebook. To contact me or book me for a presentation, buy my books, and or learn more about me visit my personal website at www.moisesgarza.com.

Books to Help You Grow Your Family Tree

Villarreal Last Names of Nuevo leon

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  1. Everything I have read and some that I have previously already researched has been very informative.
    But more interesting.

    Thank you

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