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 .
Collection Time Period
This collection of Catholic Church records covers the years 1645-1969.
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.
Why This Collection Was Created
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.
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 key genealogical facts found on most baptism records include:
- Place of event
- Date of event
- Name of child
- Parent's names
- Grandparent's names
- Godparent's names
The key genealogical facts found on most marriage records include:
- Place and Date of the event
- Names of bride and groom
- Personal information of bride and groom
- Parents of bride and groom
- Place of residence
The key genealogical facts found on most death or burial records include:
- Date and place of death
- Name of deceased person
- Sometimes the parents or spouse names of deceased person
- Cause of death
- Burial place
How to Use the Record
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.
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Sources of This Collection
"Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969," database, FamilySearch, 2010; from the Archdiocese of San Juan Historical Archive, San Juan, Puerto Rico. "Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records." Archivo Histórico de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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