Buenos Aires, Argentina Genealogy
|Argentina Research Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Buenos Aires Province family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
- 1 History
- 2 Federal courts
- 3 Getting started with research in Buenos Aires
- 4 Civil Registration
- 5 Church Records
- 6 Reading the Records
- 7 Research Tools
- 8 Featured Content
- 9 Help Wanted
Pedro de Mendoza founded Santa María del Buen Ayre in 1536. Even though the first contact with the aboriginals was peaceful, it soon became hostile. The city was evacuated in 1541. Juan de Garay re-founded the settlement in 1580 as Santísima Trinidad y Puerto Santa María de los Buenos Aires.
Jesuits unsuccessfully tried to peacefully assimilate the aboriginals into the European culture brought by the Spanish conquistadores. A certain balance was found at the end of the 18th century, when the Salado River became the limit between both civilizations, despite frequentaboriginal attacks on border settlements. The end to this situation came in 1879 with the Conquest of the Desert in which the aboriginals where almost completely exterminated.
After the independence from Spain in 1816, the city and province of Buenos Aires became the focus of an intermittent Argentine Civil War with other provinces. A Federal Pact secured by Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas in 1831 led to the establishment of the Argentine Confederation and to his gaining the sum of public power, which provided a tenuous unity. Ongoing disputes regarding the influence of Buenos Aires, between Federalists and Unitarians, and over the Port of Buenos Aires hat was the prime source of public revenue at the time, fueled periodic hostilities. The province was declared independent on September 11, 1852, as the State of Buenos Aires. Concessions gained in the 1859 Pact of San José de Flores and a victory at the Battle of Pavón led to its reincorporation into the Argentine Republic on December 17, 1861. Intermittent conflicts with the nation did not truly cease until 1880, when the city of Buenos Aires was formally federalized and, thus, administratively separated from the province.
La Plata was founded in 1882 by Governor Dardo Rocha for the purpose of becoming the provincial capital. The equivalent of a billion (1880s) dollars of British investment and pro-development, education and immigration policies pursued at the national level subsequently spurred dramatic economic growth. Driven by European immigration and improved health, the province's population, like Argentina's, nearly doubled to one million by 1895 and doubled again by 1914. This era of accelerated development was cut short by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which caused a sharp drop in commodity prices and led to a halt in the flow of investment funds between nations. The province's population, after 1930, began to grow disproportionately quickly in the suburban areas of Buenos Aires. These suburbs had grown to include 4 million out of the province's total 7 million people in 1960. Much of the area these new suburbs were developed on consisted of wetlands and were prone to flooding.
In April 2013, the northeastern section of Buenos Aires Province, particularly its capital, La Plata, experienced several flash floods that claimed the lives of at least 59 people. Alejandro Armendáriz, of the Radical Civic Union, was elected governor in 1983, when Raúl Alfonsín became president. Alfonsín lost the 1987 midterm elections, leading to the victory of Antonio Cafiero. From that year to 2015, all governors have been Peronists. The high population of the province makes it highly influential in the Argentine politics. With both ruling for two terms, the rivalry of president Carlos Menem and governor Eduardo Duhalde dominated the Argentine politics during the nineties. A similar case took place with president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and governor Daniel Scioli. María Eugenia Vidal, from Republican Proposal, won the 2015 elections, and became the first female governor of the province.
Getting started with research in Buenos Aires
See FamilySearch Tutorials on Latin American Research.
Most of your genealogical research for Argentina will be in two main record types: civil registration and church records. This article will teach you methods for locating and searching these two record groups.
- Civil registration records are government records covering birth, marriage, and death. They are an excellent source of names, dates, places, and relationships.
- Civil authorities began registering births, marriages, and deaths in 1886. Even though the law was passed in 1886 most of the provinces started keeping records at different times. Most had the system going by 1900.
- Every municipal district was to make duplicate copies of their books. In Buenos Aires they kept the original books and send the copies to the Archivo General de Tribunales in the Federal District. In the provinces they were to be send the copies to the provincial or judicial archives of each province.
- According to the law, the public has liberal access to the civil records. The director of the civil archive is required to provide interested parties with a complete copy of any record, including marginal notes, under his jurisdiction.
- The Family History Library has not microfilmed the civil registration records of Argentina. The Library's collection continues to grow as new records are microfilmed and added to the collection from numerous sources. Don't give up if records are not available yet. The FamilySearch Catalog is updated periodically. Check it again every year for the records you need.
Locating Civil Registration Records
Civil registration records are kept at the local municipal district civil registration office (Dirección del Registro Civil). Therefore, you must determine the municipal district where your ancestor lived before you can find the records. The original book stays in the municipal office and duplicate copies are sent to the provincial or judicial archives of the province or the General Archive of the Tribunal in the federal district. Therefore, duplicates may also be available at the provincial level. If a letter to the town/city fails, write to the provincial office.
Your ancestor may have lived in a village that belonged civilly to a larger nearby town. In large cities, there may be many civil registration districts. You may need to use gazetteers and other geographic references to identify the place your ancestor lived and the civil registration office that served it. See Diccionario geográfico estadístico nacional argentino (1885). Although this gazetteer is in Spanish, the province is listed immediately after the name of the town.
Civil officials will generally answer correspondence in Spanish. Use the following address:
Dirección del Registro Civil
Oficina de Inscripciones y Rectificaciones
(postal code) (City), (Province), Argentina
Provincial Archives and Tribunal Archives
These archives maintain the duplicates sent to them by the municipal districts. You may write to these archives and request searches of the records. The public has access to these records. For the province of Buenos Aires, you will need to write to the following address:
Registro Provincial de las Personas
Calle 1 y 60
Buenos Aires 1900 CP
After deciding who has jurisdiction over the records for the time period you need, write a brief request to the proper office. Send the following:
- Full name and the sex of the person sought.
- Names of the parents, if known.
- Approximate date and place of the event.
- Your relationship to the person.
- Reason for the request (family history, medical, etc.).
- Request for a photocopy of the complete original record.
- Check or cash for the search fee (usually about $10.00).
Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.
The vast majority of Argentines were Catholic and were registered in the records of the local parish or diocese which are called registros parroquiales (parish registers). These records include entries for baptisms, marriage information, marriages, deaths, and burials. Often two and sometimes three generations are indicated in the records. In addition, church records may include church censuses, account books, confirmations, and other church-related records.
Church records are crucial for genealogical research, since civil authorities did not begin registering vital statistics until after 1886. After this date one should search in both church and civil records as there may be information in one that does not appear in the other. For instance the church records may only list the godparents whereas the civil records may list the grandparents.
1. Online Digital Records for Church Records
For some localities, digital copies of Catholic church records can be searched online:
- 1635-1981 - Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981 at FamilySearch — index and images
Bautismos are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. Información matrimonial are documents collected in preparation for a marriage. Matrimônios' are marriages. Defunciones are deaths. Entierros are burials'". Índice is the index.
- 1635-1981 - Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981 at FamilySearch Historical Records, browsable images, incomplete.
- 1645-1930 - Argentina Baptisms, 1645-1930 at FamilySearch Historical Records, index, incomplete.
- 1722-1911 - Argentina Marriages, 1722-1911 at FamilySearch Historical Records, index, incomplete.
2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog
If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to find them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you.
To find a microfilm:
- a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Argentina, Province of Buenos Aires.
- b. Click on "Places within Argentina, Buenos Aires" and a list of towns and cities will open.
- c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
- d. Click on "Church Records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
- f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. . 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 microfilm.
3. Writing to a Catholic Priest for Church Records
Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting local parish or diocese archives in Argentina. Argentina has no single repository of church records. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.
Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper church using this address as guide replacing the information in parentheses:
- Reverendo Padre
- Parroquia de (name of parish)
- (postal code), (city), Buenos Aires
When requesting information, send the following:
- Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
- Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
- Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
- Approximate date and place of the event
- Your relationship to the ancestor
- Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
- Request for a photocopy of the complete original record
Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.]
Reading the Records
- You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use this Spanish Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document. Handwriting skills are taught in BYU Spanish Script Tutorial.
- Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
- Detailed instructions for reading Spanish records, examples of common documents, and practice exercises for developing skills in translating them can be found in the Spanish Records Extraction Manual.
- The Spanish Documents Script Tutorial also provides lessons and examples.
Tips for finding your ancestor in the records
Effective use of church records includes the following strategies.
- Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
- Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
- You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
- Then repeat the process for both the father and the mother.
- If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.
- Search the death registers for all known family members.
- How to read old handwriting tutorials
- BYU Research Outline for Argentina
- IGI Batch Numbers
- Useful websites
- Listing of all records collections for Argentina available on FamilySearch.org
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Argentina, Buenos Aires 1855 Census (FamilySearch Historial Records)
- Argentina, Bueno Aires Province Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Argentina, Capital Federal, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Argentina Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records
- Argentina Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Argentina 1869 Census (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Argentina, 1895 Census Population Schedules (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Argentina Census
- 1869 - Argentina, National Census, 1869 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1895 - Argentina, National Census, 1895 at FamilySearch — index and images
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