Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records (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

Puerto Rico, Registros da Iglesia Católica

Record Description

This collection includes records of Catholic Church baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials for the years 1645-1969. Indexes were created in several church parishes of Puerto Rico.

These were handwritten in Spanish by the priest in charge of the jurisdiction where the event took place. Most of the records are written in narrative style. Depending on the priest, some records have more information than others.

These records are in Spanish; see the section "For Help Reading These Records" for links to translation help guides.

At the time of the creation of the records in this collection, the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico was divided into several dioceses, including the Diocese of Puerto Rico, which was erected in 1511. The diocese's name was changed in 1924 to the Diocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. In 1960, the diocese was elevated to archdiocese with the name of Archdiocese of San Juan of Puerto Rico. Other dioceses listed in this record’s collection are the Diocese of Ponce (erected in 1924), the Diocese of Arecibo (erected in 1960), and the Diocese of Caguas (erected in 1964). Since the time period of this collection, two more dioceses have been erected: the Diocese of Mayaguez (erected in 1976) and the Diocese of Fajardo-Humacao (erected in 2008).

Catholic Church records of Puerto Rico are a reliable source for genealogical research. For research after the civil registration implementation in 1885, it is suggested to research both civil and church records and to compare the information.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969.

Record Content

Baptismal records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's legitimacy
  • Child's date and place of birth
  • Parents' names, their origin and residence
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Names of godparents
  • Future marriage information may be found in the margin(s)

Confirmation registers may contain the following:

  • Name of confirmed
  • Date of confirmation
  • Place of confirmation
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparent(s)

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age, marital status and origin
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Bride's name, age, marital status and origin
  • Names of bride's parents
  • Names of witnesses

Death/burial records usually contain the following information:

  • Name, age and gender of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Parents' names and their origin and residence
  • Sometimes, name of spouse, if married
  • Sometimes, burial information

How to Use the Record

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 you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Municipality" category
⇒Select the "Parish" category
⇒Select the "Record Type and Years" category which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing 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.

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.

For Help Reading These Records

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

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 and establish a migration pattern. This link describes the Puerto Rico Census.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil records. This link takes you to the online records of Puerto Rico, Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records).
  • The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their area of residence in the municipality. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other municipalities.
  • 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 to identify previous marriages (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage).
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.

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.

Regarding marriage and death records, name changes, shortened names, or nicknames may have been used by your ancestors, 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 your ancestor is now in a neighboring state or region, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records.

Civil records are also a good substitute when baptism, marriage, and death/burial records can’t be found or are unavailable.

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Don't overlook FHL Place Puerto Rico items or FHL Keyword Puerto Rico items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Puerto Rico Archives and Libraries.

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.

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Contributions to This Article

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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 Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969.

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.

"Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Archivos Arquidiócesis, San Juan, Puerto Rico (Archdiocesan Archives of San Juan).

 

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  • This page was last modified on 17 December 2014, at 22:56.
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