Philippines, Civil Registration, Spanish Period (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Philippines

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Philippines Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Philippines
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Record Description
Record Type: Civil Registration
Collection years: 1706-1911
Languages: Spanish
Title in the Languages: Filipinas, Registro Civil, período Español
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Statistics Office of the Philippines


What is in the Collection?

These records include marriages, and deaths that were recorded in register books in cities or municipalities where they occurred in the years 1706-1911. Only death records are available for the years before 1815.

Civil Registration was introduced in the Philippines by the colonists in 1889 and was based on the Civil Code of Spain. A central statistical office was created at about the same time, requiring pastors to submit to the Central Statistics Office in Manila a detailed account of the events of marriages and deaths that had occurred in their parishes during the previous year.

These records are written in Spanish.

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

Collection Content

This collection contains civil birth, marriage, and death records from the Spanish Period of the Philippines. Prior to about 1815 there are only death records.

Sample Images

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

The following lists indicate what information is generally given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not contain all of the listed information, as record-keeping practices tended to vary by year.

Marriage Records may contain:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Places of birth of bride and groom
  • Residences of bride and groom
  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Occupation of groom
  • Names of parents
  • Places of birth of parents
  • Names of witnesses

Death Records may contain:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age at death
  • Residence or place of birth
  • Name of spouse
  • Names of parents, esp. if infant

How Do I Search the Collection?

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.

Some record sets have indexes; these indexes were created at the end of the year. Copy errors could have been made in the index, so you want to find the actual record to verify the information is correct. Using the index is a helpful way to find the actual record.

See the sections below for tips and uses for searching and finding the record of your ancestor in this collection and using the information in the record.

If you are unable to find a record for your ancestor in this collection, see the corresponding section below.

To search by image:
To search the collection image by image:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Province"
⇒Select the appropriate “Municipality”
⇒Select the appropriate “Record Type”
⇒Select the appropriate “Year Range” which will take you to the images.

Look at the image and compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. 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.

For Help Reading These Records

Some records may be in Spanish. For help reading the records see the following guides:

What Do I Do Next?

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Use the marital status/marriage number (how many times a person was married) to identify previous marriages.
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.
  • If you know your ancestor’s religion, also check the church archives of that region. Divorce records may be found in other countries where a person may have gone to get a divorce, such as the United States.

Tips to Keep in Mind

When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant.

For marriage and death records, your ancestors may have used shortened names or nicknames, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record.

Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area.

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

A boundary change could have occurred and the record of you ancestor is now in a neighboring province, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records Philippines Emigration and Immigration.

Until 1889 there was no central civil administration to collect, interpret, and preserve the civil registration records. Most vital records from before 1889 are in Catholic parish and diocesan archives. Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable.

General Information About These Records

In 1889, the Spanish government created the Central Office of Statistics. This office required each parish priest to periodically give the government a list of the births, marriages, and deaths in his area. The Catholic clergy had previously maintained records about births, marriages and deaths, and sent copies to the government. After 1889, clergy were required to regularly submit detailed reports. This system continued until the end of the Spanish administration in 1898.

After the Philippine Revolution of 1898, the church and state became separate. Within the first few years, officials responsible for civil registration were appointed in each municipality. In 1930, civil registration became mandatory.

In 1932 the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee civil registration. Many civil records were destroyed during World War II.

Divorce is not legal in the Philippines, but some records of annulment and legal separation are kept in the National Census and Statistics Office and in the local Domestic Relations Court of First Instance.

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:

"Philippines, Civil Registration (National),1706-1911." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing National Census and Statistics Office, Manila, Philippines.

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 Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911.