El Salvador Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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El Salvador

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977 .

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Title in the Language of the Records

El Salvador, Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica

What is in the Collection?

These records are in Spanish. . This collection of church records for El Salvador includes the years 1655 to 1977.

This collection of Catholic Church records covers parishes throughout El Salvador. For a complete list of all the parishes contained in this collection, see the Parishes of El Salvador coverage table. The collection has baptism, marriage and burial records. The entries were normally made in chronological order. Some confirmations may be found within the baptism records. Some pre-marriage investigations and marriage dispensation may be found within the marriage records.

Earlier parish records were all handwritten in narrative form; later records were handwritten in formatted entries. All the records are written in Spanish.

In 1563, the Council of Trent formalized record-keeping practices already being followed in much of the Catholic world. Separate record books were to be maintained for baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths or burials, and the format was standardized. However, in smaller areas all records may be recorded on one register. Following this format, the Catholic Church was the primary record keeper until the civil registration started in 1859. A large percentage, if not all, of the population of El Salvador is listed in these records. The entries were normally made in chronological order.

Catholic Church parish registers are a reliable source of information for family history research and the primary source for baptism, marriage, and death records in El Salvador prior to 1859. Catholic Church parish records after 1859 can be used to complement information found in civil registers.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Baptism records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Name of child
  • Birth date of child
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparents

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

 Place and date of marriage

  • Name of bride and groom
  • Groom's age, civil status, origin and residence
  • Groom's parents’ names
  • Bride's age, civil status, origin and residence
  • Bride's parents' names
  • Witnesses’ names, age, civil status, occupation, origin and residence

Death or burial records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name of deceased
  • Deceased's age and gender
  • Sometimes birth date, birth place, and marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Parents' names of deceased
  • Burial date and place (sometimes)

How Do I Search the Collection?

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, an estimated event year, and family relationships.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page::
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search 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 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.

For Help Reading These Records

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

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

  • 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.
  • 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.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
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Don't overlook FHL Place El Salvador items or FHL Keyword El Salvador items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see El Salvador Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

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:

"El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Juayua Sonsonate El Salvador parroquia de Santa Lucia Diocesis de Sonsonate (San Salvador Archdiocese Archives, San Salvador).

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 El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977.

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.