Guatemala, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Access the Records
Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Flag of Guatemala.svg.png
Flag of the Republic of Guatemala
LOC Guatemala in Central America and the Caribbean.png
Location of Guatemala
Record Description
Record Type: Catholic Church Records
Collection years: 1581-1977
Language: Spanish Genealogical Word List
Title in the Language: Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Guatemala
FamilySearch Resources

What is in This Collection?

This collection of baptism, marriage and burial records from parishes throughout Guatemala covers the years of 1581 to 1977. For a complete list of all the parishes contained in the collection, see the Parishes in Guatemala coverage table.

Separate books were kept for the sacramental ordinances of baptism, marriage, and burial. The entries were normally made in chronological order. Some confirmations may be found within the baptisms. The earlier parish records were all handwritten in narrative form, and later records were handwritten in formatted entries. These records are written in Spanish.

The evangelization of Guatemalans by Catholic Church priests began in the 16th century. The records of baptisms, marriages, and burials they created help us become acquainted with the inhabitants and identify the importance of their families in the development of society. The history of cities in Guatemala is interwoven with the Catholic Church parish records. Most of the inhabitants of Guatemala were Roman Catholics; therefore, these records may well cover about 95% to 100% of the population.

Catholic Church parish registers were created by priests authorized to record the church ordinances of baptism, confirmation, marriage, death, and burial, and other ordinances performed for the members within the jurisdiction of the parish.

Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for birth, marriage, and death records in Guatemala prior to the implementation of civil registration in 1877.

These records are written inSpanish Genealogical Word List; also see the section For Help Reading These Records for translation helps.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Baptismal records generally contain the following information:

  • Place of the event
  • Date of the event
  • Name of the child
  • Age or date of birth of the child
  • Gender and legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Sometimes the names of the grandparents
  • Names of the godparents

Marriage records generally contain the following information:

  • Place of the event
  • Date of the event
  • Names of the betrothed
  • Age, marital status, and sometime the race of the betrothed
  • Birthplace or place of residence
  • Gender and legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Witnesses’ names

Burial records generally contain the following information:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Burial date (often the same day as the death)
  • Age at time of death
  • Names of parents or spouse
  • Residence of the deceased
  • Cause of death

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • As with any index, transcription errors could have occurred and not all information may be transcribed. It is recommended you verify the information with the original record.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Department" category
⇒Select "City or Town" category
⇒Select "Parish" category
⇒Select "Record Type and Years" category which takes you to the images.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor's given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence, age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

Parish registers are the best records to identify individuals, parents, and spouses before 1877. After this date, civil authorities began registering vital events, and civil records become equally important. The information in civil records confirms and supplements the information in church records. For instance, the parish registers may list the godparents while the civil records may list the grandparents. The parish registers may be the only records available for genealogical research before civil registration was implemented in 1877. In order to find information in these church records, it is necessary to know the name of the ancestor and an approximate year of the birth.

For Help Reading These Records

For help reading these Spanish records, see the following resources:

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Parroquias Católicas, Guatemala (Catholic Church parishes, Guatemala).

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

Top of Page

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.