You have probably already done a lot of genealogy research. I’m sure you have tried many ways to find the information you need to find someone in Mexico, from searching the Internet to speaking to friends and family. You may have been searching online for hours and hours. You may have talked to relatives or friends of the person you are searching for, but you just have not gotten the information you need and are not able to find this person living in Mexico.
Let’s start with the fundamentals of what information you should be searching for.
Your first goal should be to have the complete name of the person you are looking for. Let’s use the name Juan Carlos Garcia Gonzalez as an example.
If you have a friend who has a name like Juan Carlos, that is his name. In English we might separate out two names. Someone with a name such as Billy Bob may also be called Bob or Billy. However, in Mexico Juan Carlos is this person’s name. It’s not correct to call him Juan or to him Carlos. His name is Juan Carlos. Be aware of this because having the complete and full name is very important in your search and will help you to more quickly locate this person.
The complete name is not only their first name(s) but also both of their last names. In Spanish a person has two last names. The first last name in Spanish is the name of the father (for example: Garcia). Gonzalez is the second last name and this is the equivalent of our mother’s maiden name. By putting the two together and you have a complete name. Doing Mexico family genealogy can often be easier because the two last names minimize the chance of accidentally researching someone else’s family lineage.
You can also discover this information by talking to every relative this person has. You can ask questions such as where did this person come from. Ask how they ended up in the United States. Ask where they went to school or where they vacationed as they were growing up. Asking different questions can help trigger memories and details that will help you to find the information and the person you are looking for.
A great way to get information is to get a person to tell you stories using questions like, “So how did you and my father meet?” or “What did he/she like to do during the weekends?” Engaging the people that you talk to in your family and circle of friends in stories is a great way to jog their memory. Sometimes with story telling they remember something they may have otherwise forgotten.
Story telling is an incredible tool to get people to tell you the information you want. It will also give you an idea of who this person was and what they were doing and may lead you to other ideas.
Here is a key. Talk to every relative you have. There is always someone in every family who knows a little bit about everyone. And it does not matter if they are your third cousin or they are four times removed. They could be an ex-husband, an ex-uncle. It does not matter. You would be amazed at how much information other people in the family have about your side of the family. You may think that your immediate family should know everything about the family, but that is not always true. I urge you to go talk to every possible relative.
Maybe they talked to someone from another group, such as a priest or business owner. Go after as many leads as you can. You are going to have to interview many people to gather all the facts.
The second key piece of information that you need to have is the city and the state of where they are or where they were living.
Finding out where they did live can be helpful if you do not know where they are living right now. If someone has lived in Guadalajara and they came to the United States for, say, ten years, there is a very good possibility they may be going back to Guadalajara at some point. Also finding where they did live is very helpful because their family and friends may still be there.
Why do you need to know the city and state? If you tried to go to an Internet search engine site, maybe one that specialized in genealogy research and put in only a person’s name without the city and state you are not going to get any information. Why? Even in the United States you have to tell the site where this person is living. If you do not have that basic information, you are not going to get an answer. It is almost impossible to find a person if you do not have the city and the state where they are living.
These two key pieces of information will go far in helping with your search. In the next article, we will organize all the information you have collected.