Central America, Colonial Census Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Contents

Title in the Language of the Record

Censos Coloniales de Centro América

Record Description

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This collection includes records from 1607 to 1902.

This is a collection of various censuses of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. The earlier censuses are handwritten in Spanish in narrative style; later censuses are written on formatted ledger-style forms.

According to the “Instituto Nacional de Identificación” (National Institute of Identification), the only relevant statistical activity in the colonial period was the population censuses carried out in the province of Guatemala by the Catholic Church ecclesiastical authorities, which began in the early 1500s. Some of these colonial censuses are actually membership records. These records are housed at the Archivo Histórico Arquidiocesano (Historical Archive of the Archdiocese of Guatemala) and have great importance in the historical reconstruction of the social, economic, and cultural process of Guatemala and the Central American region of the colonial period. Some of these earlier records are quite damaged and therefore, some information is missing.

The census was regularly taken by authorized citizens. They collected the information given to them from a member of the household, who may not have known the exact data. It is recommended to use the census information with caution as there may be some mistakes. However, the information gathered will help to find other information not found in vital records. The authorities’ mission for the census was that the statistics gathered would effectively contribute to the development and democracy of Guatemala.

It wasn’t until the beginning of Guatemala’s independence in 1821 that civil authorities began keeping statistical records of the country’s population.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Central America, Colonial Records.

Record Content

Census records usually contain the following information:

  • House number, street, square and parish where family lived
  • Head of household
  • Names of person living in household
  • Marital or civil status
  • Age at time of census
  • Religion
  • Profession or occupation
  • Origin
  • Number of adult males and females
  • Number of male and female children
  • Literacy
  • Properties
  • Designation for white, Indian, native, or mixed race

The census is divided by municipalities or cantons.

How to Use the Record

Search the Collection

To browse this collection by image:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Country"
⇒ Select the "Province"
⇒ Select the "City or Town"
⇒ Select the "Record Type and Years," which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

Use this collection of records to find clues about the data needed to further research an ancestor in the vital records, such as civil registration or church records.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Spanish. For help reading the records, see the following resources:

Other Searches

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Don't overlook FHL Place Central America items or FHL Keyword Central America items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Guatemala Colonial Census

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information (often called citing your sources). This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"Central America, Colonial Records." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Central American General Archives, Guatemala City.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Central America, Colonial Records.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 July 2014, at 19:00.
  • This page has been accessed 14,035 times.