Guatemala, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Guatemala.

Record Description

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. All the 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.

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 Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977" Index and Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These 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

These marraige 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 to Use the Records

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 browse the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the Browse link in the initial search page
⇒Select the Departamento category
⇒Select the Ciudad o Pueblo category
⇒Select the Parroquia category
⇒Select the Tipo de registro y años category 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.

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.

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

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

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.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977." database and digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 14 March 2012), Manuel Roeriguez Cama, 10 September 1902; citing Church Records, digital folder 4,455,419; Digital originals housed at various Catholic Church parish archives throughout Guatemala.