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Any Suggestions For Researching A Common Name..?

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By magicalme - Posted on 16 January 2014

Hello, I have been trying to find my great great grandfather for some time now with no success. He has a more common name than some of my other ancestors whom I have already discovered. I am looking for Juan Perez. What suggestions would anyone have on trying to find him? I have tried looking via his wife, no results. I have tried his children, no results. I have tried the surrounding areas of his children's baptism records, nothing. The time frame of his birth is around 1856.

Thank you,


On the "plus" side is that he was born about 1856. That's far back enough that there ARE some records available. I assume you know a little bit about him/his family.

The most important thing is where was he born (or your best guess). If he was born in Mexico, then try Family Try seacch using each Mexican State. i.e. Juan Perez (Peres) Jalisco, Mexico using a larger year span like 1836 - 1876. Keep repeating until you use all Mexican States.
You should be alert that many Mexican individuals have 2 or more first,middle names/ Saint's name and 2 surnames (father and mother). Family Search,org let's you include his wife and parents in the search. Use whatever info you have; if all you have is a wife's or mother.s first name, then use that in your search.

I've encountered several name variations of the same individual. l.e. Juan Perez/Juan Peres/ Jose Juan Perez/ often the individual uses his mother's maiden name. If you know it, then also look for that i.e. if Garcia is mother's surname, also try Juan Perez Garcia or EVEN Juan Garcia.

The easier way is to interview his relatives. If they don't know much, then ask if they know where Juan was married, etc.

Welcome to Genealogy 101.

Jose Carlos de Leon

Hello Jose,

I will try going state by state. I have done the rest many times over.
Hopefully I can get a hit by trying this way.

Thank you very much,


Kristine, although the folks at have done an outstanding job with respect to making records available, you can't always rely on using the search engine to find your records. For example, my great grandmother and all her siblings were baptized in the late 1800's and early 1900's in the city of Durango. Only the half baptized in the 1900's could be found when I tried to locate them simply by searching the indexed names.

It wasn't until I went page by page through all the baptisms for a 15 year period that I was able to find all but one record. With several churches to select from, I was lucky that I knew which one they attended.

If you can locate marriage records for the children, the record or the Informacion Matrimonial will sometimes state where the parents were originally from.

If you haven't already done it, look to see if there is a civil record for his marriage or the birth of the children as well. Once again he will have stated where he was from originally. Bad news... these are not indexed. Good news... you may find an index in the actual book that will help narrow your search.

Good luck

Raul Munoz

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