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Puerto Rico Genealogy: Search Library Collections

A research guide to online and print resources for genealogy related to individuals from Puerto Rico.
Guide by Diane Dias De Fazio.

Your research on genealogía puertorriqueña (Puerto Rican genealogy) may take you to different Divisions and Research Libraries of The New York Public Library, and to collections farther afield. This page offers catalog links and selected resources. Click the images on this page to learn more about NYPL Research Libraries and Divisions that hold materials on Puerto Rico.

Search the NYPL Catalogs

Shared Collection Catalog:

The New York Public Library’s Shared Collection Catalog—now in beta—provides researchers with access to materials from NYPL, Columbia University, and Princeton University.

Digital Collections—

Search hundreds of thousands of pictures, maps, and historic texts from The New York Public Library. Below are a sampling of Puerto Rico-related digital collection items:


The New York Public Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division includes "nearly 10,000 archival and manuscript collections comprising over 50,000 linear feet of material".  Search by names, title, and/or keywords.


The New York Public Library offers access to over 800 databases, many of which are available to researchers from home with a valid NYPL Library card. Databases that offer research content on Puerto Rico, its people, and history include:

Puerto Rico in the Map Division Collections

Colton's map of Puerto Rico, 1863

Mapa topografico de la isla de Puerto Rico; Contornos de Ponce [inset with title of full page map]; Mapa de los contornos de San Juan de Puerto Rico [inset] ; Plano de San Juan de Puerto Rico [inset]., Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library.

The Library's Map Division holds thousands of maps and other cartographic materials, some of which can be found by searching the online Library catalog (see results from the Map Division), but not all materials in the Map Division are listed in the online catalog. As Map Librarian Nancy Kandoian explains in "Maps in the Gap: Discovering The Map Division’s Dictionary Catalog, Now Online":

While most of the atlases, books, and periodicals in the Map Division collections are described in and discoverable via the online Research Catalog, most of the separate maps acquired by the library up to 1970 are not. Those maps were described for the division’s card catalog, ... which was maintained up to 1970.  After that time, the card catalog was "frozen." No more records were added, the cards were photographed, and the card images were compiled and published in a 10-volume Dictionary Catalog of the Map Division by G.K. Hall & Co. in 1971.  

A thorough search of the Map Division’s holdings must include a consultation of this catalog.  It is available in the Map Division (Room 117 of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), in the General Research Division (Room 315), in many large research libraries throughout the world and, now, in digital form, thanks to modern technology and behind-the-scenes human efforts.

Images of pages of each volume of the Dictionary Catalog are hosted online by the HathiTrust Digital Library

Tip: Searching the Dictionary Catalog? Puerto Rico is in Volume 8. More cartographic material may be found if you search by city.

Interior color photo of Rose Main Reading Room

Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest,
and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room,
The New York Public Library.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building,
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
General Research Division, Third Floor, Room 315.

Interior color photo of Milstein Division

The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of
United States History, Local History and Genealogy

The New York Public Library.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building,
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
First Floor, Room 121.

Interior of Map Division

The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division,
The New York Public Library.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building,
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
First Floor, Room 117.

exterior photo of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture,
The New York Public Library.
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
(135th St and Malcolm X Blvd).

Selected items from NYPL collections

From Library collections, genealogists can learn about historical lives and events in Puerto Rico. Please note: unless otherwise noted, these titles and their content are in Spanish:

Histories and memoirs:

Periodicals, Magazines, and Journals on Puerto Rico Genealogy:

Searching Other Library and Archival Collections