Colombia, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600-2012 .
Title in the Language of the Record
Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Colombia
This collection includes baptism, confirmation, marriage, child recognition, and death records for parishes throughout Columbia from 1600 to 2010.
The records are in Spanish; see the section "For Help Reading these Records" for access to translation helps.
For a complete list of all the parishes included in this collection, see the Parishes in Colombia coverage table.
These records were created by priests. The earlier records from this collection are all handwritten in a narrative format. Some later records are handwritten on printed forms, which may vary slightly from one priest to another. Generally, these records were written in chronological order. In smaller parishes, one book was used for all the ordinances (such as baptism, marriage, and death). In larger cities, records of the different types of sacred ordinances were kept in separate books. Confirmations were generally written in the baptismal registers. Some of the older records are damaged, but most of the genealogical information can be extracted.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Baptismal records usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of baptism
- Name and gender
- Father's name
- Father's marital status
- Father's age and place of baptism
- Names of father's parents
- Legitimacy of child
- Mother's name
- Mother's marital status
- Mother's age and place of baptism
- Names of mother's parents
- Names of witnesses and their identification information
Marriage records usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of marriage
- Name, age, and origin of groom
- Name, age, and origin of bride
- Groom's parents' names
- Bride's parents' names
- Names of witnesses
Death records usually contain the following information:
- Deceased’s name, gender, and age (keep in mind that death records for women may be filed under their married name)
- Date and place of burial
- Cause of death
- Marital status of deceased
- Name of spouse if married
- Parents’ names
- Residence of deceased
Child recognition records usually contain the following information:
- Date of legal recognition
- Name of the father
- Father’s parents
- Father’s place of baptism
- Father’s marital status and spouse’s name
- Father’s age
- Father’s identification number and place of issue
- Name of the child being recognized
- Child’s place and date of baptism
- Mother’s name
- Mother’s parents
- Mother’s place of baptism
- Mother’s marital status and spouse’s name, if married
- Mother’s age
How to Use the Records
Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for finding genealogical information of birth, death, and marriage in Colombia prior to 1935, when civil registration was implemented.
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.
For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant.
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.
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 browse the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "Department"
⇒Select the "City or Town"
⇒Select the "Parish"
⇒Select the "Record Type and Years" which takes you to the images
Search the collection by index or 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 entries or images and compare the information about the individuals listed 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 wiki articles:
- Spanish Genealogical Word List
- Colombia Language and Languages
- Reading Spanish handwritten records
- Script tutorial for Spanish
Using the Information
In addition to the suggestions below, watch these free videos about using the information in baptism and other records in your research (Videos are in Spanish):
- Registros bautismales de Antioquia, Colombia
- Uso de las Partidas bautismales
- Registros o Partidas
- 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 Colombia Census.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil records Colombia Civil Registration.
- 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 the 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 to identify previous marriages (whether a divorce or death dissolved a previous 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.
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.
Some of the records in this collection may have been created in a different ecclesiastical jurisdiction than the one where these are currently housed. All the sacramental ordinances were created, registered, and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. The parish jurisdiction may include sub-parishes in other nearby localities. One copy of the records is kept at the parish archive and another copy is sent to the diocesan archive for preservation. Most of the parish records in this collection were acquired at the diocesan archives.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
A boundary change could have occurred and the record of your ancestor is now in a neighboring state, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records Colombia Emigration and Immigration.
Below is a video (in Spanish) about emigration and immigration within and to Colombia: El Transporte en Colombia y las Migraciones
Known Issues with This Collection
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 email@example.com. 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.
- Genealogías de Colombia Website is in Spanish.
- Locality Analysis for Colombia
- Arquidiócesis de Barranquilla
- Colombia GenForum
- Hispanic Genealogy Blog is written in English.
- Blog de Genealogía Hispaña Blog is written in Spanish.
- Genealogía Española-España GenWeb Website is in Spanish.
Related Wiki Articles
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Citation for This Collection:
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600-2010." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Catholic Church Diocesan Archives, Country-wide, Colombia
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