Bolivia Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Bolivia

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Bolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996 .
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Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Bolivia

What is in the Collection?

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Bolivia, Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996.

These records are written in Spanish. This Collection will include records from 1566 to 1996.

This collection includes baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burial/deaths from Catholic Church parishes in the country of Bolivia. The text of records is handwritten in Spanish, mostly in narrative form; only in later years the records are handwritten in formatted registers. 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, separate books were kept for each of the ordinances. Confirmations were generally written in the baptismal registers.

A list of the cities and parishes included in this collection is found in the Parishes of Bolivia coverage table.

The influence of the Catholic Church in Bolivia had its beginnings somewhere around the mid 1500s, with the arrival of the Spaniards. All the sacramental ordinances were created, registered, and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. The parish jurisdiction may have included sub-parishes from nearby localities. One copy of the records was kept at the parish archive and another copy was sent to the diocesan archive for preservation. As the population and membership increased, the parish jurisdictions were moved and more parishes were created.

The Catholic Church in Spain found it important for priest in Bolivia and other colonies to record the events of baptisms, marriages, and later of burials. Since then priest assigned to a jurisdiction recorded the ordinances, including some personal information, of his parishioners. This was needed for membership statistics and later became a benefit for the parishioners themselves.

Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for finding genealogical information of birth, death, and marriage prior to 1943, when the civil registration law was enacted in Bolivia.

For a list of localities currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Baptism records usually contain the following information:

  • Date of baptism
  • Place of baptism
  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's birth date
  • Parents’ names
  • Godparents’ names

Confirmation records usually contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Parents' names
  • Legitimacy
  • Godparents

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age and civil status
  • Groom's parents' names
  • Bride's name, age and civil status
  • Bride's parents' names
  • Witnesses’ names
  • Name and age of child prior to marriage

Death or burial records usually contain the following information:

  • Death date and location
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Parents' names of deceased
  • Burial place

How Do I Search the Collection?

To search this collection, it would be helpful to know the following information: To begin your search, it is helpful to know the name and some other identifying information such as the birth place or birth date.

Search the Collection

To search this collection by name:
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 look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

To search the collection by image:
Follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse link" in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Department" category
⇒Select the "City or Town" 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 which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person 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.


  • The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.

For Help Reading These Records

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

Spanish Genealogical Word List

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Don't overlook FHL Place Bolivia items or FHL Keyword Bolivia items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.

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 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.

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.


Citing 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:

"Bolivia registros parroquiales, 1566-1996." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Parroquias Católicas, Bolivia (Catholic Church parishes, Bolivia).

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 Bolivia, Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996.
Image Citation
The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Bolivia, Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996.

Copies of originals are also housed in different diocesan archives throughout Bolivia.