El Salvador Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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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 .

Title in the Language of the Records

El Salvador, Registros de la Iglesia Católica

Record Description

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.

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.

For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Arquidiócesis de San Salvador. Archivo del Palacio Arzobispal.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

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/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 to Use the Record

Search the Collection

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

Look at the images one by one 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.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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.

Unable to find Your Ancestor?

  • 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.

For Help Reading These Records

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

Spanish Genealogical Word List

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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 FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: El Salvador Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.