Argentina Archives and Libraries

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Archives and Libraries

Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for Argentina. When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this Wiki, there will be a link to this article to obtain the address. Although, the original records you need may be in an archive or library in Argentina, the Family History Library may have a microfilm copy of them. The library has copies of some records from several Argentine archives, libraries and other record repositories.

If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about their collection, hours, services, and fees.

Some archives have catalogs, inventories, guides or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you go to the archives so you can use your time more effectively. In some archives you will need a letter of recommendation.

Archives in Spain and Italy

Records of international interest about the era of European discovery, exploration, and colonization of Argentina are found in:

  • The Archivo General de Indias in Seville
  • The Archivo General Militar in Segovia, Spain
  • The Archivio Centrale dello Stato in Rome, Italy.

The Mailing addresses of these archives are:

  • Archivo General de Indias
    Avda. De la Constitución
    41004 Sevilla, Spain
    Telephone: 422-5158
    Fax: 421-9485
  • Archivo General Militar de Segovia Alcázar
    40071 Segovia, Spain
    Telephone: 43-65-11
    Fax: 44-31-49

Archivo Central Militar del Servicio Historico Militar

  • Archivo Central Militar del Servicio Histórico Militar
    C/Mártires de Alcalá 9
    28015 Madrid, Spain
    Telephone: 247-0300
    Fax: 559-4371
  • Archivo Histórico Nacional
    C/Serrano 115
    28006 Madrid, Spain
    Telephone: 563-5923, 261-8003-5
    Fax: 563-1199

A summary of the records preserved at the Archivo General de Indias is found in:

  • Peña y Cámara, José María de la. Archivo General de Indias de Sevilla: Guía de Visitante (General Archive of the Indies of Seville: Visitor’s Guide). Madrid, Spain: Dirección General de Archivos y Bibliotecas, 1958. (Family History Library book 946 A2s; film 0896895.)

An additional description of the records at the Archivo General de Indias, as well as other Spanish and Latin American archives which house documents of the Spanish American colonial period, is found in:

  • Documentación y Archivos de la Colonización Española(Documentation and Archives of the Spanish Colonization).  Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Cultura, 1980. (Family History Library book 946 A3d.)

The following is a general guide to the Italian State Archives.

  • Guida Gerale degli Archivi di Stato Italiani / Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici. (General Guide to the State Archives of Italy). Two Volumes. Roma, Italy: Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1981–1983. (Family History Library book 945 A3gg .)

There are other guides to the many archives in Spain and Italy which can be obtained from each archive.

Archives in Argentina

In Argentina there are many types of genealogical repositories:

  • National government archives and libraries.
  • Provincial archives and libraries.
  • Municipal archives and local civil offices
  • Church archives and parish offices.
  • Other libraries: public, academic, research.
  • Historical and genealogical societies.

For addresses of archives and libraries you can consult the following:

  • International Directory of Archives/Annuaire International des archives. London, England: K.G. Saur, 1992. (Family History Library book 020.5 Ar 25 v. 38.) World Guide to Libraries. Tenth Edition. München, Germany: K. G. Saur, 1991 (Family History Library book 027.025 W893.)

National Government Archives and Libraries

The Argentine government collects records relating to Argentine history, culture, and people, including the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. These are archived by time periods such as colonial and national periods, and then subdivide by type of records or the office which created the record and collections. Records of genealogical value at national archives include:

  • Protocols of Scribes (Protocolos de Escribanos). Includes wills, powers, titles of land, etc., since the 16th century. Includes a lot of genealogical material, sometimes five generations in one document.
  • Probate Courts (Juicios sucesorios).
  • Census (Censos y Padrones). Censuses which are made periodically from the beginning of the cities. Includes genealogical information and relations of the inhabitants.
  • Data and Titles of Lands (Datos y planos de Geodesia y títulos de tierras).
  • Church records.
  • Civil records.
  • Court records.
  • Military records.
  • Emigration lists.
  • Land records.
  • Colonial records.
  • Others.

The National Archive and it’s branches are open to the public. Microfilm copies of some of the records at the National Archives are available at the Family History Library, other major archives and libraries, and at branches of the National Archives. You may request photocopies of the records by using forms obtained from these institutions. The address of the National Archives of Argentina is:

The National Archive is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To access the archives you need a letter of introduction. A passport or other identity document is required to enter the building. Helpful guides to the collections of the National Archives and the provincial archives are:

  • Boletín Interamericano de Archivos. Volume Vlll Cordoba, Spain: Centro Interamericano de Formación de Archives, 1981. (Family History Library book 980 B2b.) Catálogo de nombres y materias: fichero genreal, 1544–1880 (Catalog of the Names and Materials: General Fiche, 1544–1880).
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina: Archivo General de la Nación, 1989. (Family History Library films 1614816–1614819.) Personal name and subject index to court and government records housed in the Argentine National Archives.
  • Indice del Archivo del Gobierno de Buenos Aires. Corespondiente al año de 1810. (Index to the holdings of the Government Archives of Buenos Aires for the year 1810). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Impreta de La Tribuna, 1860. (Family History Library book 982 A3i; film 0496677 item 2.)

Branches of National Archives of Argentina

Branches of the National Archives collect records of different types within the area they serve. These branches are located in or near Buenos Aires. For addresses of these archives see the above quoted books. The following are a few of the addresses to some of these libraries:

  • Biblioteca Nacional
    México 564
    1097 Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Telephone: 34-91-580-78-00
    The National Library has a collection of published genealogies, manuscripts, histories, directories, maps, and newspapers.
  • Dirección General de Estadística e Investigaciones
    Biblioteca, C 8, 732
    1900 La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Centro de Estudios Migratorios
    Independencia 20 esq. Av. L.M. Huergo
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Opened Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Biblioteca de la Academia Nacional de la Historia Balcarce 139
    Capital Federal, Argentina 
    Telephone: 4343-4416 or 4331-4633

Provincial Archives

In Argentina each province has their own provincial archive and branches separate from those of the national government. Many records of genealogical value are kept by these archives. They serve as repositories for records pertaining to their particular area. The provincial archive of Cordoba has one of the largest collections of the colonial period. This archive is one of the most complete.

Records of genealogical value at provincial archives include:

  • Notarial records.
  • Colonial records.
  • Land records.
  • Administrative records.
  • Military.
  • Census.
  • Historical records.
  • Some church records.
  • Others.

The provincial archives of Argentina are open to the public. However limited access is offered in some of their archives and a letter of recommendation may be required. Addresses for each of the Provincial archives is found in Appendix A.

Municipal Archives and Local Civil Offices

The provinces are divided into departments which are divided into municipalities. Each municipality has a civil registry office, one or two notaries, civil and criminal courts, and a municipal government to administer all other matters. Every municipality has jurisdiction over their own archives, separate from the province archives. These offices are comparable to county courthouses in the United States.

In Argentina, civil records created by the local government, including birth, death, and marriage records, are kept in local municipal offices. These records are available to the public. For more information about these offices and their records, see Argentina Civil Registration.

You can get information and copies of the records kept at the local civil offices by writing. For help in compiling a letter in Spanish, see the Letter Writing Guide: Spanish (36245).

Church Archives

The dominant religion in Argentina is Catholicism. The Archdiocese of Buenos Aires was the first diocese of the Catholic church in Argentina. Church records of baptisms, marriages, and burial are usually kept by the local parish. The Diocese archives keep records pertaining to their priests and matters of church administration. It is possible to write to the local parish and request brief searches of their records. See Argentina Church Records.

There many Protestant churches in Argentina. These churches usually function independent and keep their only records. There is not usually a central repository for church records in Argentina.

Other Libraries

There are many public, private, and specialized libraries in Argentina. Some of the sources you will want to use are also available in these libraries in Argentina as well as in libraries in the United States and other countries. Contact these libraries and ask about their collection, hours, services, and fees. Always remember that there are many libraries that cover Latin American History and it would be wise to check your local university or public library first to see what their collection has.

A listing of some of these libraries can be found in:

  • World Guide to Libraries. Tenth Edition. München, Germany: KG Saur, 1991. (Family History Library book 027.025 W893.)

Two libraries that have extensive collections of manuscripts and published sources include:

  • Biblioteca Nacional
    Mexico 564
    1097 Buenos Aires Argentina
    Telephone: (34) 91-580-78-00
  • Universidad de Buenos Aires
    Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana, Biblioteca
    C 25 de Mayo 217 piso 2do
    1002 Buenos Aires Argentina

The Bancroft library has a large collection of Latin American records:

Historical and Genealogical Societies

In Argentina there are some organized historical and genealogical societies. Some societies maintain libraries and/or archives that collect valuable records. For more information, including addresses of some societies see Argentina Societies.

Inventories, Registers, Catalogs

Most archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. The National Archive has numerous, both published and manuscript catalogues, plus a card index. If possible, study these guides before you visit or use the records of an archive so that you can use your time more effectively.

Some of these guides are available at the Family History Library, at your public or university library, or through interlibrary loan.

The Family History Library has copies of some of the published inventories, and other guides, catalogs, directories, and inventories of these and other libraries. These types of records are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under: