Puerto Rico, Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Puerto Rico

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001 .

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Title in the Language of the Records

Registro Civil y Demográfico de Puerto Rico

What is in the Collection?

This collection contains civil records from 1805 to 2001 from the 78 municipalities (municipios) in Puerto Rico.

The older records are handwritten in narrative style, and the newer ones are handwritten in formatted records.

These records are written in Spanish.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Puerto Rico, Civil Registration,1805-2001.

Collection Content

The civil registration records in Puerto Rico are an excellent source for genealogical research after 1885. Important genealogical data can be found in these records; see below. The data may even help to find information about an earlier generation.

Birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Date, time and place of birth
  • Child's name and gender
  • Legitimacy of child
  • Parents' names and age
  • Parents' marital status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Date and place of registration

Marriage records may contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name and age of groom
  • Groom's marital status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Name and age of bride
  • Bride's marital status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Names of parents
  • Name of person giving consent (usually bride's father)
  • Names of witnesses

Death records may contain the following information:

  • Name and age of deceased (keep in mind that death records for women may be filed under their married name)
  • Marital status, residence, and origin of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of medical certificate
  • Name of informant and their relationship to deceased
  • Informant's age, marital status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Names of parents and their origin
  • Names of grandparents, if known
  • Date and place of burial

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.

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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

To search by image:
To browse the collection, you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Municipality" category
⇒ Select the “Record Type and Year Range" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the images, and compare the information with what you already know about your ancestor to determine which one is your ancestor. 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

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

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 Puerto Rico Census.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church records Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical 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 municipality. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other municipalities.
  • 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 to identify previous marriages (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage).
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.

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 your ancestor is now in a neighboring state or region, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records.

Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable.

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Don't overlook FHL Place Puerto Rico items or FHL Keyword Puerto Rico items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Puerto Rico Archives and Libraries.

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 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 Web Sites

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:

"Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Oficinas del ciudad, Puerto Rico [city offices, Puerto Rico].

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 Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001.

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 Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001.