Puerto Rico 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: Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969 .

Collection Time Period

This collection of Catholic Church records covers the years 1645-1969.

Record Description

This collection of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and indexes were created in several church parishes of Puerto Rico. These were handwritten in Spanish by the priest in charge of the jurisdiction where the event took place. Most of the records are written in narrative style. Depending on the priest, some records have more information than others.

The records in this collection were created in different Catholic Church jurisdictions throughout Puerto Rico. At the time of the creation of the records in this collection, the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico was divided into several dioceses, including the Dioceses of Puerto Rico, which was erected in 1511. The diocese's name was changed in 1924 to the Diocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. In 1960, the diocese was elevated to archdiocese with the name of Archdiocese of San Juan of Puerto Rico. Other dioceses listed in this record’s collection are the Diocese of Ponce (erected in 1924), the Diocese of Arecibo (erected in 1960), and the Diocese of Caguas (erected in 1964). Since the time period of this collection, two more dioceses have been erected: the Diocese of Mayaguez (erected in 1976) and the Diocese of Fajardo-Humacao (erected in 2008). 

Most of the citizens in the earlier time of Puerto Rico professed the Roman Catholic religion. In later years, other religions have been organized in the island. At present, statistics indicate about 75 percent of the population may be Catholic; the rest of the population belong to other religions. 

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records. 

Catholic parishes in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Roman Catholic church records. Archivo General, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Information about creataing source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found on most baptism records include:

  • Place of event
  • Date of event
  • Name of child
  • Parents' names
  • Grandparents' names
  • Godparents' names

The key genealogical facts found on most marriage records include:

  • Place and date of the event
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Personal information of bride and groom
  • Parents of bride and groom
  • Place of residence

The key genealogical facts found on most death or burial records include:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name of deceased person
  • Sometimes the parents or spouse names of deceased person
  • Cause of death
  • Burial place

How to Use the Record

The Catholic Church records are of great importance in the research of ancestors in Puerto Rico. Records include the vital information of the principal person and may include vital information of parents and grandparents, or even other relatives, which may help to identify other branches of the family.

Why the Record Was Created

Priests in their jurisdiction created registers to keep a record of the events in their members’ lives, such as baptisms and confirmations, marriages, and death or burials. Priests also kept registers for other ecclesiastical records related to their administration.

Record Reliability

The Catholic Church records of Puerto Rico are a reliable source for genealogical research. For research after the civil registration implementation in 1885, it is suggested to research both civil and church records and to compare the information.

Known Issues with This Collection

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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 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.

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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 also 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.

Citations Example for Records Found in This Collection

  • “Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969,” index and images, 'FamilySearch' (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 13 March 2012), San Francisco de Asis> baptisimos 1858-1861>Nicholas Davila, 1858, image 25 of 222. Archivo Histórico de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.