Guatemala Department, Guatemala Genealogy
|Guatemala Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Department of Guatemala family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
Guatemala (Department) is the home of the national capital, Guatemala City. The capital was moved to the Valle de la Ermita after earthquakes partially destroyed its previous location in what is now known as "Antigua Guatemala"
Historically, Guatemala was the capital of Central America, then known as Capitanía General de Guatemala or General Capitancy of Guatemala and part of the Virreinato de la Nueva España (Viceroyalty of New Spain or Mexico). This is where many of the records of the nation are held, many going back to the 1500's, soon after the Spanish colonization and include some from other Central American countries.
Civil Registration and Church Records
Most of the research you will do will be in these records.
- 1877-1994 - Guatemala, Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877-1994
- 1877-1994 - Guatemala, Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877-1994. Additional towns.
- 1581-1977 - Guatemala, Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977
Additional online records may be listed in the Family History Library Catalog for places within Guatemala, Guatemala.
In addition, this census record might help you.
- 1877 - Ciudad de Guatemala, Census, 1877 Record Collection Guatemala, Ciudad de Guatemala, Census, 1877, index and images.
A wiki article describing this collection found at:
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.
Building a Family Record with a Search Strategy
Many articles on strategy are available on the Wiki, but here is a simple set of steps to guide you
- Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth/baptism/christening record, then 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, and even the names of their parents.
- You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
- Search the death registers for all known family members.
- Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
- If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.