Bob Corbett
June 1999

I got this article in the mail just yesterday and since there have been many requests sent to me over the past few years about doing genealogy in Haiti, I thought I'd take the time to type it up for the list. Hope this turns out to be useful to some of you. I'm an amateur genealogist myself, having worked on a family history for the past 40 years. I still haven't connected with my Corbett line in Ireland and only pick up my Corbett's when they arrived in Boston in 1864. I've had much better luck with my mother's English line and have much of that back into the 1400s.

Even though this article is 14 years old it might be some help to you. The part about the pre-Haitian records being available through LDS is quite a useful bit of information.

"Genealogical Research In Haiti" by Mr. Wilfrid Bertrand, Directeur Archives Nationales rue Borgella, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. THE GENEALOGICAL HELPER, Vol. 39, no. 1. Jan-Feb., 1985. p. 5.

"The idea of doing genealogical research is hot yet widespread in Haiti. Some individuals have done research on their own, but there exists no organized genealogical group, nor is there a genealogical library.

"Under the auspices of the Haitian National Institute of Culture and Arts (INAHCA), presided by Her Excellency, Madame Michele B. Duvalier, wife of Haiti's president, a program has been undertaken to discover and to bring to Haitian an appreciation of their national heritage. INAHCA directs the National Library, the National Pantheon and Museum, the National Archives, the National School of Fine Arts, and is currently directing an archeological "dig" in Haiti, excavating a site which has been inhabited continuously for more than two thousand years.

"Under the sponsorship of the National Archives' director, Mr. Wilfried Bertrand, an introductory course in genealogical methods was presented to two weekly classes in July and August, 1984. Fifty people came to the classes in response to newspaper and radio announcements. Some of them came through simple curiosity, not really knowing the meaning of "genealogy." A few had collected family documents, but needed to learn how to organize them. By the end of the six-week term, most of the participants had gathered sufficient information to compile ancestry charts and family group sheets. Many of the class participants were surprised at the amount of information to be had simply by inquiring among their extended family members. One woman was able to complete a four-generation record of her family by such an inquiry.

"Vital records help by the National Archives date back to Haiti's revolt against France in 1804. There are many gaps in the registers, due to the lack of adequate protection against dust , humidity and insects. A serious effort is being made to restore, classify and preserve, then to make available the vital records held in the archives. At the present time, it is difficult and quite time-consuming to obtain copies of archive records.

"When Haiti gained its independence from France, the archives kept by the French were transferred to Paris to be held in the national archives. Haitian records prior to independence have been microfilmed in France by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available for library study in the LDS church branch genealogical system.

"Alternative sources to the National Archives in Haiti are the records maintained in the parish churches, not all of which find heir way to the Port-au-Prince depository. Inquiries made to parishes have produced vital records, on the basis of which official certificates have been obtained form the National Archives.

"Inquiries to the National Archives may be addressed to:

Mr. Wilfrid Bertrand, Directeur
Archives Natioanles
Rue Borgella
Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Art, Music, & Dance Book Reviews Film History Library Literature
Mailing List Miscellaneous Topics Notes on Books People to People Voodoo


Bob Corbett