Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969 .
Title in the Language of the Record
Puerto Rico Registros da Iglesia Católica
This collection of Catholic Church records covers the years 1645-1969.
This collection of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and 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.
The records in this collection were created in different Catholic Church jurisdictions throughout Puerto Rico. 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 Dioceses 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).
Most of the citizens in the earlier time of Puerto Rico professed the Roman Catholic religion. In later years, other religions have been organized in the island. At present, statistics indicate about 75 percent of the population may be Catholic; the rest of the population belong to other religions.
Priests in their jurisdiction created registers to keep a record of the events in their members’ lives, such as baptisms and confirmations, marriages, and death or burials. Priests also kept registers for other ecclesiastical records related to their administration.
The 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.
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
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.
- Catholic parishes in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Roman Catholic church records. Archivo General, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
These 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)
These 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
These 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
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Nombre de Municipio" category
⇒ Select the "Nombre de Parroquia" category
⇒ Select the "Tipo de Registro y Años" category which takes you to the images.
Look at the images one by one 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.
The Catholic Church records are of great importance in the research of ancestors in Puerto Rico. Records include the vital information of the principal person and may include vital information of parents and grandparents, or even other relatives, which may help to identify other branches of the family.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
- Puerto Rico GenWeb
- Puerto Rico Birth, Death, Marriage Certificates
- Vital records in Puerto Rico
- BYU Research Outline for Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rican Hispanic Genealogical Society
- PRROOTS.com – Hispanic Genealogical Society
- Puerto Rican Ancestors in Spanish and American Military Records
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
“Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969,” index and images, 'FamilySearch' (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 13 March 2012), San Francisco de Asis> baptisimos 1858-1861>Nicholas Davila, 1858, image 25 of 222. Archivo Histórico de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.