Insular Chile Genealogy

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Guide to Insular Chile ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Research Help[edit | edit source]

Desventuradas Islands[edit | edit source]

Easter Island[edit | edit source]

General Information[edit | edit source]

Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) is the southeast corner of the triangle of Polynesian islands but administered by Chile. The island lies 2500 miles west of the South American coast, and 2000 miles east of Tahiti in the other direction. It is 66 square miles in area. It is not tropical and has no rivers.

It has large deposits of lapilli tuff, from which the early inhabitants made over 800 giant statues (called Moai) that look out to the sea.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one branch on Easter Island.

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Easter island.png

Historical background[edit | edit source]

400 -600 A.D. Inhabitants arrive from the Marquesas Islands or Mangareva, French Polynesia. (Some theories say they came from Uru, which is on the borders of Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.) (A 2008 theory says they came from Tonga.)
1722 Dutch Explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, names it for Easter, the day he arrived.
1770 Spanish explorer Don Felipe Gonzales, claims it for Spain, but this was never made official.
1755 The island is deforested and the clans are at war with one another. The bird man cult (tanganta manu) is pracitced.
1774 British James Cook and French Admiral Bouganville spend a few hours.
1800s Whalers introduce diseases.
1805 American ship kidnaps 22 islanders.
1860's Peruvian slave traders kidnap 1,407 islanders (one third of the island’s population).
1860's Peru sends 100 of the captives back, but only 10 survive, and they bring smallpox to Easter Island.
1866 French missionaries set up hospitals and missions. The bird men cult ceases to be practiced.
1868 Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Dutrou-Du Bornier sets himself up as governor
1871 French missionaries leave. Two hundred Easter Islanders leave for Tahiti and 150 to Gambier. 1877 DuBornier makes the island into a sheep ranch. The 150 Easter Islanders who are left murder him.
1888 Chilean Captain, Policarpo Hurtado, takes possession of Easter Island in the name of Chile “forever.”
1870-1920 Various shipwrecks leave passengers on the island.
1914 Starving islanders revolt and request to go to Tahiti. Revolt did not succeed.
1934-1935 French ethnologist, Alfred Metraux, gathers information and writes Ethnology of Easter Island, published by the Bishop Museum Press.
1952 Chilean Navy takes over the island. Keeps natives suppressed.
1955 Thor Hyerdahl, a Norwegian professor, brings his expedition to study the island.
1964 Another revolt. Elections ordered. Easter Islander named Rapu wins the election. Suppression ends. Only those with Rapa Nui ancestry can own land on the island.
1967 Americans build tracking station and airfield. Commercial flights begin.
2000 There is a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the island.

Resources available[edit | edit source]

Very few resources are available through the Library. The one genealogy book is:
Genealogy of the Kings of Rapa Nui, by William DeWitt Alexander is on film FHL US/CAN Film 1026225, item 2.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in 1864. The first Catholic church was built in 1878. [1]

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 Easter Island.
b. Click on Places within Easter Island 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 Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Juan Fernández Islands[edit | edit source]

Salas y Gómez Island[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Easter Island", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 9 April 2020.