Quiché Department, Guatemala Genealogy
Quiché, Guatemala, is a department in the north of the country. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as 'El Quiche'. Most of the people are in the southern part of the department, and most of the villages and towns are in the highlands of the department.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was an insurgency in the northern part of Guatemala, including this department. Since many of the insurgents were from Guatemala, they knew of record sources such as Government facilities and churches. So to keep the Government forces and policing agencies from finding out who they were, they burned various records in various places.
The end result is they burned many original vital records at their sources. Some had been filmed and many of those films are now available through the Family History Library, others were taken to other departments, in the case of Quiche some of the church records were taken to Quetzaltenango at times before the insurgents destroyed the rest. Some records that were saved were also those that are now in the National Archives in Guatemala City.
Civil Registration and Church Records
Most of the research you will do will be in these two records.
- 1877-1994 - Guatemala, Quiché, Civil Registration, 1877-1994
- 1877-1994 - Guatemala, Quiché, Civil Registration, 1877-1994. Additional towns.
- 1581-1977 - Quiché, Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977
Additional online records may be listed in the Family History Library Catalog for places within Guatemala, Quiché.
Reading the Records
- You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use this Spanish Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document. Handwriting skills are taught in BYU Spanish Script Tutorial.
- Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
Building a Family Record with a Search Strategy
Many articles on strategy are available on the Wiki, but here is a simple set of steps to guide you
- Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth/baptism/christening record, then search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
- Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents, and even the names of their parents.
- You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
- Search the death registers for all known family members.
- Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
- If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.