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Chile; Researching a family´s history

Completing a family tree can be a challenging but rewarding experience, especially when researching a family from a different country. Recently, I had the opportunity to help a friend complete their family tree for a family from Chile, using information and country history to guide our research.

First, we collected as much information as possible from family members, including names, birthdates, and locations. We then used online genealogy databases and archives to search for birth, marriage, and death records, as well as immigration and naturalization documents.

Next, we delved into the history of Chile to better understand the context of our research. We learned about the country's pre-Columbian civilizations, such as the Mapuche, and its later periods of Spanish and then independent rule. We also researched the 1973 military coup and its impact on the country.


With this knowledge, we were able to identify key historical events and movements that may have affected our family's history. For example, we learned that many Chileans migrated to other countries during and after the military dictatorship, including the United States and Europe.

Using this information, we were able to track down additional family members and fill in missing pieces of the family tree. We also gained a greater appreciation for the rich cultural heritage and complex history of Chile.

Overall, completing a family tree for a family from Chile required both careful research and an understanding of the country's history and culture. By combining these elements, we were able to uncover a wealth of information and provide a deeper understanding of our friend's family history.


A look into Chile´s history, a short version...

1600´s Chile


In the 1600s, the majority of immigrants who moved to Chile came from Spain. The primary attraction for immigrants moving to Chile was the opportunity to acquire land and wealth.

Spanish conquistadors and settlers came to the region in search of gold and silver, as well as other natural resources. They brought with them European culture, customs, and religion, which had a significant impact on Chilean society and culture.

Many of these early Spanish immigrants also intermarried with the indigenous peoples of Chile, leading to the emergence of a new mestizo culture. This blend of European and indigenous cultures is still evident in Chilean society today.

Religious motivations also played a role in attracting immigrants to Chile in the 1600s. The Spanish crown was committed to spreading Catholicism throughout the Americas, and many Spanish settlers came to Chile as missionaries, seeking to convert the indigenous population to Christianity.

In the 1600s, the fertile land and mild climate of Chile also made it attractive to other European immigrants, who saw the potential for agriculture and other industries. Many of these early immigrants were farmers, who established vineyards and orchards in central Chile, contributing to the development of the country's agricultural sector.


In addition to these factors, Chile's strategic location on the Pacific coast also made it an attractive destination for European traders and merchants. The port of Valparaiso became an important hub for maritime trade, connecting Chile to other countries in the region and beyond.


Pros ancestors considered for immigrating to Chile

  • Opportunity to acquire land and wealth, particularly for Spanish conquistadors and settlers who were searching for gold and silver.

  • Fertile land and mild climate that made agriculture and other industries viable.

  • Religious motivations for Spanish settlers who were seeking to convert the indigenous population to Christianity.

Cons ancestors had to keep in mind in choosing Chile to immigrate too

  • Harsh living conditions and disease outbreaks that took a heavy toll on early settlers.

  • Resistance and conflicts with indigenous populations who were displaced from their land.

  • Lack of basic infrastructure, such as roads and buildings, that made settlement and economic development difficult.


Ancestors in 1800´s Chile


In the mid-19th century (1800´s), Chile experienced a period of rapid economic growth and modernization, which attracted immigrants from Europe, particularly Germany, Italy, and Spain.


Many of these immigrants were skilled workers, such as engineers and architects, who contributed to the country's infrastructure and development.

During the early 20th century (1900´s), Chile continued to attract immigrants from Europe, as well as from other countries in South America.

This included large numbers of immigrants from Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, who came to Chile in search of work and better opportunities.


Pros and cons for Chilean immigrants varied over the centuries, depending on the political, social, and economic conditions prevailing in Chile and the country of origin of the immigrants.


Pros people considered for immigrating to Chile

  • Growing economic opportunities in mining, agriculture, and manufacturing industries.

  • Establishment of democratic institutions and freedom of speech that encouraged political participation and debate.

  • Cultural and artistic flourishing, including the rise of literature, music, and painting.

Immigration cons to Chile

  • Social and economic inequalities that favored the wealthy elite and marginalized the working class and indigenous populations.

  • Political instability, including civil wars and dictatorships, that threatened individual liberties and civil rights.

  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, that caused widespread damage and loss of life.

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