Philippines, Civil Registration, Spanish Period (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Title in the Language of the Record

Filipinas, Registro Civil, período Español

Record Description

These records include births, marriages, and deaths that were recorded in register books in cities or municipalities where they occurred in the years 1753-1911.

Civil Registration was introduced in the Philippines by the colonists in 1889 and was based on the Civil Code of Spain. A central statistical office was created at about the same time, requiring pastors to submit to the Central Statistics Office in Manila a detailed account of the events of marriages and deaths that had occurred in their parishes during the previous year.

The text of these records was written in Spanish; see the section "For Help Reading these Records" below.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911.

Record Content

The information found in each record varies by year. The recording of civil events in a person's life, such as birth, marriage and death, require valid evidence making these records very reliable.

Birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Date of registration
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Name of the child
  • Names of parents
  • Names of witnesses

Marriage records usually contain the following:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of bride and groom
  • Place of birth and residence of both
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Occupation of groom
  • Names and place of birth of their parents
  • Names of witnesses

Death records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age at time of death
  • Place of origin and/or residence
  • Spouse’s name if married
  • Parents' names

How to Use the Record

When searching: 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, 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.

Some record sets have indexes; these indexes were created at the end of the year. Copy errors could have been made in the index, so you want to find the actual record to verify the information is correct. Using the index is a helpful way to find the actual record.

See the sections below for tips and uses for searching and finding the record of your ancestor in this collection and using the information in the record.

If you are unable to find a record for your ancestor in this collection, see the corresponding section below.

Search The Collection

To search by image:
To search the collection image by image:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Province"
⇒Select the appropriate “Municipality”
⇒Select the appropriate “Record Type”
⇒Select the appropriate “Year Range” which will take you to the images.

Look at the image and compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

For Help Reading These Records

Some records may be in Spanish. For help reading the records see the following guides:

Using the Information

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Use the marital status/marriage number (how many times a person was married) to identify previous marriages.
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.
  • If you know your ancestor’s religion, also check the church archives of that region. Divorce records may be found in other countries where a person may have gone to get a divorce, such as the United States.

Tips to Keep in Mind

When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant.

For marriage and death records, your ancestors may have used shortened names or nicknames, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record.

Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area.

Unable to Find your Ancestor?

A boundary change could have occurred and the record of you ancestor is now in a neighboring province, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records Philippines Emigration and Immigration.

Until 1889 there was no central civil administration to collect, interpret, and preserve the civil registration records. Most vital records from before 1889 are in Catholic parish and diocesan archives. Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable.

General Information About These Records

In 1889, the Spanish government created the Central Office of Statistics. This office required each parish priest to periodically give the government a list of the births, marriages, and deaths in his area. The Catholic clergy had previously maintained records about births, marriages and deaths, and sent copies to the government. After 1889, clergy were required to regularly submit detailed reports. This system continued until the end of the Spanish administration in 1898.

After the Philippine Revolution of 1898, the church and state became separate. Within the first few years, officials responsible for civil registration were appointed in each municipality. In 1930, civil registration became mandatory.

In 1932 the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee civil registration. Many civil records were destroyed during World War II.

Divorce is not legal in the Philippines, but some records of annulment and legal separation are kept in the National Census and Statistics Office and in the local Domestic Relations Court of First Instance.

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Citation for This Collection

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 Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911.

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Philippines, Civil Registration (National), 1945-1981." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing National Census and Statistics Office, Manila, Philippines.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 27 August 2014, at 20:58.
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