Costa Rica Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Title in the Language of the Record

Registro Civil de Costa Rica

Record Description

These records are in Spanish. This collection of civil birth, marriage, and death records includes the years 1860 to 1975.

The collection is organized by province, then by type of records with the inclusive years. Early records are handwritten in Spanish in narrative form; later records are handwritten in formatted records. The records for Varias Provincias includes indexes. The provinces contained in the collection are Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José and Varias Provincias (various provinces).

The church records alone provided vital information of the people until the civil authorities established Civil Registration as an institution at the end of 1887. In January of 1888, the Central Civil Registration was established in the city of San Jose, implementing civil registration for the nation.

In December of 1949, the Supreme Court of Elections agreed to fuse the civil and the electoral registry into one institution under the name of Civil Registration. The compiled registry was organized into two sections: the civil section and the electoral section, which under the same institution provides the civil authorities with the civil lives events and electoral age of the citizens.

The civil registration could be performed at the Central Office of the Civil Registration Section or at any of the regional offices in the municipalities of the nation. Records created in the regional offices were later sent to the Central Office.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1860-1975.

Record Content

Birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of child
  • Date, place and time birth
  • Gender of child
  • Parents' names and occupation
  • Presenter's name and occupation
  • Relationship of presenter to child

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date, place and time of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Groom's age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Groom's parents' names and their occupation
  • Bride's age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Bride's parents' names and their occupation
  • Names of witnesses

Death records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Age, gender and residence of deceased
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Parents’ names, occupation and residence
  • Place of burial

How to Use the Record

Search the Collection

To search by index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

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 "Province"
⇒Select the "Record Type and Years" that 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.

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.

For Help Reading These Records

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

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

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
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 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

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1860-1975." Database with images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing Registro Civil. Archivo Nacional, San José.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1860-1975.

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 Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1860-1975.


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  • This page was last modified on 22 July 2015, at 15:03.
  • This page has been accessed 13,895 times.