Chile Census

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A census is a count and description of the population. Censuses have been taken by the government of Chile and by some ecclesiastical officials.

Census records are not used as often in Chilean research as in research in other countries because other sources, such as church records and civil registration, provide better information.

Civil census records (padrones) date from 1579 and ecclesiastical censuses (matrículas and padrones) date from 1641. National censuses were taken in Chile in 1813, 1831, 1835, 1843, 1854, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1907, 1920, and 1930. Censuses of various cities or ethnic groups were taken between 1641–1812.

Some census records that were filmed in the National Archive in Santiago and the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, are available at the Family History Library:

  • Padrones, 1777–1816 (Census, 1777–1816).  Santiago, Chile: Archivo Nacional de Chile, 1985. (FHL film 1410431-32, 1398481 item 1 .)
  • Padrones, 1777–1778 (Census, 1777–1778).
  • Sevilla, Spain: Archivo General de Indias, 19–.  (FHL film 1162403-5 .) This census was taken by the Diocese of Santiago in Chile.

Census records, where available, can provide:

  • family relationships, age, year of birth, description of property, religion, place of birth, and occupation.

Census records are especially valuable because they list a large portion of the population. They can provide information where all or portions of other records are missing. Generally, you will find more complete family information in more recent censuses. Use the information with caution, however, since the information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or a neighbor. Additionally, some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.