Guatemala, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977 .
This article describes a collection of records at
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Flag of the Republic of Guatemala
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Location of Guatemala
Record Description
Record Type: Catholic Church Records
Collection years: 1581-1977
Language: Spanish Genealogical Word List
Title in the Language: Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Guatemala

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Guatemala.

What is in the Collection?

This collection of baptism, marriage and burial records from parishes throughout Guatemala covers the years of 1581 to 1977. For a complete list of all the parishes contained in the collection, see the Parishes in Guatemala coverage table.

Separate books were kept for the sacramental ordinances of baptism, marriage, and burial. The entries were normally made in chronological order. Some confirmations may be found within the baptisms. The earlier parish records were all handwritten in narrative form, and later records were handwritten in formatted entries. These records are written in Spanish.

The evangelization of Guatemalans by Catholic Church priests began in the 16th century. The records of baptisms, marriages, and burials they created help us become acquainted with the inhabitants and identify the importance of their families in the development of society. The history of cities in Guatemala is interwoven with the Catholic Church parish records. Most of the inhabitants of Guatemala were Roman Catholics; therefore, these records may well cover about 95% to 100% of the population.

Catholic Church parish registers were created by priests authorized to record the church ordinances of baptism, confirmation, marriage, death, and burial, and other ordinances performed for the members within the jurisdiction of the parish.

Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for birth, marriage, and death records in Guatemala prior to the implementation of civil registration in 1877.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977.

Collection Contents

Baptismal records generally contain the following information:

  • Place of the event
  • Date of the event
  • Name of the child
  • Age or date of birth of the child
  • Gender and legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Sometimes the names of the grandparents
  • Names of the godparents

Marriage records generally contain the following information:

  • Place of the event
  • Date of the event
  • Names of the betrothed
  • Age, marital status, and sometime the race of the betrothed
  • Birthplace or place of residence
  • Gender and legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Witnesses’ names

How Do I Search the Collection?

To search using the 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 search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:

⇒Select "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select "Department" category
⇒Select "City or Town" category
⇒Select "Parish" category
⇒Select "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.

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.

Parish registers are the best records to identify individuals, parents, and spouses before 1877. After this date, civil authorities began registering vital events, and civil records become equally important. The information in civil records confirms and supplements the information in church records. For instance, the parish registers may list the godparents while the civil records may list the grandparents. The parish registers may be the only records available for genealogical research before civil registration was implemented in 1877. In order to find information in these church records, it is necessary to know the name of the ancestor and an approximate year of the birth.

For Help Reading These Records

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

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Don't overlook FHL Place Guatemala items or FHL Keyword Guatemala 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 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:

"Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977." Database with Images. FamilySearch. Website: accessed 2016. Parroquias Católicas, Guatemala (Catholic Church parishes, Guatemala).

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 Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977.

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 Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977.