Davao Oriental Province, Philippines Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Philippines Wiki Topics
Philippines flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Philippines Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources
Philippines
Province of Davao Oriental

Guide to Province of Davao Oriental family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Province of Davao Oriental

{{{link}}}Ask the Community Button New Version.jpg


History

When the Spaniards led by Portuguese Explorer Ferdinand Magellan came to the Philippines in 1521, the Southeastern part of Mindanao was then known as Calaghan Island. It is a name derived from the vernacular word “calag” which means spirit or soul. Thus Calaghan is interpreted as “island of spirited men”. So when the Spanish government created the territory of Caraga Province in 1609, they referred to it as “region de gente animosa” or “region of spirited men”.

The Caraga Province covered a long stretch of coastal area from Cape Surigao to Cape San Agustin originally inhabited by indigenous people invariably called “Calaghans” or “Caragan” that included the Mandaya, Mansaka, Manubo, Mamanua, Mangguangan and Tagacaulo. Their Muslim counterparts were similarly called “Calagan” until today.

Davao Oriental was then a part of Caraga Province and the “Encomienda de Bislig” through which a distinguished lawyer, Don Jose Uyanguren, upon the order of Spanish Governor General Narciso Claveria, organized settlements in the now City of Mati and Municipalities of Baganga and Gov. Generoso. The settlements continued to grow as far as Davao City. So in 1849, Governor Claveria decreed the partition of Caraga Province into Surigao Province in the north and Nueva Vergara in the south with the town of Caraga as provincial capital.

When the Amercians came, Nueva Vergara including its adjoining areas became popularly known as Davao, a district of the Moro Province, later the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. In 1898, Davao became a district of the Moro province created as part of Mindanao by the Americans. In 1916, Jones Law converted the Moro province into department of Mindanao and Sulu.

On July 1, 1967, under Republic Act 4867, Davao was divided into three provinces: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental.

Today, Davao Oriental proudly keeps its Hispanic heritage including the Catholic religion. Many municipalities and barangays have retained their Spanish names like Tarragona, Montserrat and San Isidro. Its native dialect still carries many Spanish words. And the oldest Catholic Church in Mindanao still stands in the town of Caraga, the old capital of Nueva Vergara. * article from the government of Davao Oriental

Research Methods

The vast majority of your family research will be in civil registration and church records. This article explains different methods for obtaining these records.

Civil Registration (Registros Civiles)

  • The recording births, marriages and deaths, provides important information of events in a person's life and required valid evidence, making these records very important.
  • Most vital records from before 1889 come from Catholic parish and diocesan archives.
  • In 1889, the Spanish government created the Central Office of Statistics, which required each parish priest to give the government a detailed list of the births, marriages, and deaths in his area.
  • After the Philippine Revolution of 1898, the church and state became separate. Within the first few years, officials responsible for civil registration were appointed in each municipality.
  • In 1930, civil registration became mandatory and, in 1932, the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee all civil registration in the Philippines. It was not until 1940 that most registrations began to be recorded.
  • Contents:
    • Births: Child’s name, birth date and place; parents’ names, residence, and occupation; witnesses’ ages, relationships, residences.
    • Marriages: Bride and groom names, ages, residences, occupations, marriage date and place; sometimes ages and/or birth dates and places; parents' names; residences, occupations; witnesses and officer who performed ceremony; former spouses.
    • Death registers: Name of deceased, age, death date and place, occupation, name of surviving spouse, informant’s name and residence, cause of death, sometimes birth date and place, parents’ names, children’s names.
    • Fetal deaths: Record of all stillbirths, includes information similar to birth and death data shown above.
  • Population coverage: Before 1922, 20%; after 1922, 90%.

1. Online Civil Registration Records

Your search should start with several online collections of civil registration records:


2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records Searched at a Family History Center

You can also search microfilmed copies of available civil registration records. If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to try 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 Philippines, Davao Oriental.
b. Click on "Places within Philippines, Davao Oriental" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
d. Click on "Civil Registration" 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. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm 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 microfilm.

3.Writing for Records

  • Civil registry documents that can be obtained from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Click here for detailed instructions for requesting certificates by mail. Click here to order records online.
  • A copy of the records have been retained in local civil registry offices. Because many records were lost or damaged in the war, checking both the national office and local office might help find a surviving record. To write to them, address your letter to:

City Civil Registry
(postal code--find it here) (City)
Davao Oriental, Philippines


For other religions, Google the denomination and the location. Many churches maintain websites.

Write, call, or personally visit the parish or church. Ask for permission to study their records or make arrangements for them to search for you. It is usual to pay for their help in the form of a donation to the church. When you write, send the following:

  • Full name and the gender 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).


English is the official language of the Philippines. This Letter Writing Guide will help you with organizing your letter and phrasing your requests.

Church Records

Church records are very important for family research. Civil authorities did not consistently register vital events in the Philippines until the nineteenth century. Church records, on the other hand, were well kept from 1569 (in accordance with the directives of the Council of Trent), with some records dating even earlier. They are generally an excellent source—and many times the only source—of names, dates, and places of births, marriages, and deaths. Key records are baptisms/christenings, marriages, and deaths/burials.

Generally registers exist for the following denominations:

  • Roman Catholic (Iglesia Católica) 1579-
  • Philippine Independent (Aglipayan) 1902-
  • Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo) 1914-
  • Presbyterian 1899-
  • Baptist 1900-
  • Methodist 1900-
  • Protestant Episcopal 1901-
  • United Brethren 1901-
  • Disciples of Christ 1901-
  • Congregational 1902-

Other religious groups in the Philippines:

  • Islam (Muslim immigrants and converts 11th-15th centuries, also called Moros)
  • Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian (Some Chinese immigrants arrived in the 16th-19th centuries, but many more arrived in the 20th century)
  • Hindu (East Indian immigrants arrived in the 20th century)
  • Jews (Arrived in the 20th century)

Contents:

  • Baptismal records: Baptism dates; children’s names; parents’ residence and names (sometimes mother's maiden name is given); witnesses’ and godparents’ names, and sometimes their residence and relationship to infants; sometimes grandparents’ names.
  • Marriage records: Candidates’ names; marriage and/or proclamation dates; often birth places, residence, witnesses, former spouses and parents’ names.
  • Death/burial records: Name of deceased; burial date; often age and cause of death; residence; spouse’s name, especially for women; parents’ names for deceased children.

1. Online Church Records

These very limited collections include some church records:


These Ancestry.com collections are much larger:


A similar collection at MyHeritage should also be checked. This collection shows even larger statistics. Also, frequently, the search engines at these partner sites bring up slightly different results. Your ancestor may show up on one but not the other:


Ancestry.com, findmypast, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. .

2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records Searched at a Family History Center

You can also search microfilmed copies of available church records. If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to try 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 Philippines, Davao Oriental.
b. Click on "Places within Philippines, Davao Oriental" 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. "Bautismos" are baptisms. Matrimônios and "Casamentos" are marriages. "Óbitos" and Defunciones are deaths. "Índice" is the index.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm 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 microfilm.

3. Writing to Request Records

Unless you know your ancestor was of another religion, begin by searching Catholic records. Davao Oriental Province is in the Diocese of Mati. Write or telephone to inquire whether the diocese holds the parish records:

Bishop of Mati
Diocese of Mati
St. John of the Cross, Clergy House Compound
Madang, Miti, 8200 Davao Oriental Philippines

Telephone: (087)388.3707; 811.4190
Fax: 811.4190

Or write directly or call the parish. Click here for addresses for parishes in Davao Oriental.


For other religions, Google the denomination and the location. Many churches maintain websites.

Write, call, or personally visit the parish or church. Ask for permission to study their records or make arrangements for them to search for you. It is usual to pay for their help in the form of a donation to the church. When you write, send the following:

  • Full name and the gender 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).


English is the official language of the Philippines. This Letter Writing Guide will help you with organizing your letter and phrasing your requests.

Reading the Records

  • Many records are written in Spanish. 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:




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.

Cemeteries

Websites