Bolivia Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Bolivia, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Records for, MyHeritage, and FndMyPast can be searched free-of-charge at a Family History Center near you.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Bolivia is a constitutionally secular state that guarantees the freedom of religion and the independence of government from religion. According to the 2001 census conducted by the National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia, 78% of the population is Roman Catholic, followed by 19% that are Protestant, as well as a small number of Bolivians that are Orthodox, and 3% non-religious.

Bolivia has an active Protestant minority of various groups, especially Evangelical Methodists. Other denominations represented in Bolivia include Mennonites and Anglicanism. Since the early 1950s there are Mennonites in Bolivia, mainly in Santa Cruz Department. In the 1980s, Seventh-day Adventists and various Pentecostal denominations gained increasing adherents. [1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name

How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Bolivia.
b. Click on Places within Bolivia and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See the Spanish Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Bishop of Bolivia
Inglesia Anglicana Episcopal de Bolivia
Casilla 848
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Telephone: +591 4440 1168

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

British immigrants brought Anglicanism to South America during the nineteenth century. The South American Missionary Society continues to work among indigenous peoples. In 1974, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave over his metropolitical authority for the dioceses of the Southern Cone and, in 1981, the new Province was formed. It includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. The Province changed its name to 'The Anglican Church of South America' in September of 2014.[3]

Eastern Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1997, Fr. Aghathon Amba Boula heard of and began to visit a few Copts who were living in Bolivia. He continued to serve them for four years until they requested a permanent priest. Fr. Youssef Amba Boula arrived December 14, 2000. However, only one Copt remained in Bolivia. The other families returned to Egypt or immigrated to the U.S.A. Boula started to communicate regularly with many Bolivians. They learned about the Coptic Church, embraced it and were baptized. By 2002, the Church was growing rapidly in numbers and services. Youssef looked for land to build a Church. The media recognized the rapid growth of the church and invited Youssef for interviews in newspaper and on TV. Activities continuously increased for the congregation. In 2004, Youssef began construction of the new church as it currently stands today. Within nine months, the structure of the building was complete. On February 13, 2006, Pope Shenouda III, accompanied by bishops and priests, visited Bolivia to consecrate Santa Maria y San Marcos Church. As of 2012, the congregation had approximately 450 Bolivians attending Church services regularly. The Coptic Church is well known among Bolivians and in the media. The newspapers speak highly about the Church and its activities. On Sunday 13 February 2006, the Pope consecrated Saint Mary and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. [4]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in Bolivia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. Catholicism was introduced in the 1530s and the first diocese was established in 1552. Evangelization among the Indians bore much fruit from the mid-18th to early 19th century, resuming again in 1840. The country declared independence from Spain in 1825.

Today, Bolivia is a predominantly Catholic country. Although the Church was disestablished as the state religion in early 2009, relations between Church and state are guided by a concordat signed with the Holy See in 1951. There are about seven million Catholics out of a total population of nine million. [5]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Total Church Membership: 207,534. Congregations: 257 [6]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church grew out of the work of the World Mission Prayer League from the USA, among Aymara Indians. By using vernacular languages in its evangelism programmes the church grew rapidly, especially in the early years, as the Aymara and Quechua were able to share the gospel in their own language. In 1972, the American missionaries left the country, as the local people claimed greater participation in the decision-making bodies of the church. The Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church was constituted that same year. The church is composed entirely of indigenous people. It is the largest Amerindian Lutheran church on the continent. Its members are scattered mostly in the highlands and in La Paz, and belong to the poor sectors of society. [7]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Methodist Sunday school was founded in Bolivia in 1891 by a lay preacher. Methodist mission work from the USA began in 1906 when the Bolivian constitution was changed to permit freedom of worship. In 1969 the Evangelical Methodist Church became autonomous and elected its first national bishop. [8]

Mennonite Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Mennonites in Bolivia are mostly Russian Mennonites descended from Friesian, Flemish and North German people who came to South America from 1927 onwards. In 2012, there were about 170,000 Mennonites living in Bolivia. In 1995, there were a total of 25 Mennonite colonies in Bolivia with a total population of 28,567. The most populous ones were Riva Palacios (5,488), Swift Current (2,602), Nueva Esperanza (2,455), Valle Esperanza (2,214) and Santa Rita (1,748). In 2002, there were 40 Mennonite colonies with a population of about 38,000 people. An outreach of Conservative Mennonites can be found at La Estrella, with others in progress.[9]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Bolivia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion_in_Bolivia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  3. The Anglican Church of South America,, 10 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Coptic Orthodox Church in South America", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Bolivia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 10 March 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Bolivia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  7. "Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church", World Council of Churches,, accessed 10 March 2020.
  8. "Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia", World Council of Churches,, accessed 10 March 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Mennonites in Bolivia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 10 March 2020.