Cuban genealogy collection added to University library

By Nicolas Saravia/Staff Writer

Hispanics in the community are now able to look up their ancestries at the library through the newly acquired Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Genealogy collection.

The collection is made up of over 5,000 volumes and 900 unpublished letters containing genealogy information from Cuba, as well as other Latin American countries and Europe.

The acquisition also contains manuscripts and periodicals, as well as civil and sacramental documents from the 17th and 18th centuries.

A law graduate of the University of Havana, Hurtado de Mendoza left Cuba in 1960. He was a former liaison officer for the Organization of American States for 20 years.

“Hundreds of people sought his help and sent him what they knew of their family heritage and those genealogies enriched his huge collection,” said Mariela Fernandez, president of the Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami.

According to Althea Silvera, head of special collections at the Green Library, Hurtado de Mendoza liked the idea of open access for researchers and all interested in the compilation and genealogy.

“He told me that it was his intention to donate the collection to the Special Collections at FIU upon his death,” Silvera said. “Enrique became ill before we could finalize the donation. His illness made it necessary to modify these plans.”

The change of plans led the University to acquire the collection through a combination of purchases and donations.

The collection is in the process of being digitized, and will be available through the online library system.

The Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami has been organizing and digitizing more than 200 boxes containing the compilation.

The Hurtado de Mendoza collection has information on 2,400 surnames that been identified and organized alphabetically in 13,000 batch files.

“These are unique publications [that are] difficult to locate,” Silvera said. “The value lies in that as a collector, with a specific focus, Dr. Hurtado was able to bring together a collection that would be difficult for many libraries today.”

The acquisition contains books of reference for Cuban history, such as Historia de Familias Cubanas and Diccionario Heráldico y Genealógico by the Carraffa brothers, which dates back to the 1920s.

Information found in the collection goes back to medieval times, with facts from the House of Lara, a noble family from the Kingdom of Castile, present-day Spain.  It also contains content on the papal military orders of Alcantara, Calatrava and Malta.

“This is by far the most complete and sought-after Cuban and Hispanic genealogy collection,” said Lourdes del Pino, vice president of the Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami.

1 Comment on "Cuban genealogy collection added to University library"

  1. Ellen Fernandez-Sacco | April 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Reply

    This is wonderful news. Am looking forward to searching the digitized collections!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.