Guatemala, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Guatemala

Access the Records
Guatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977
CID1614809
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
{{{CID6}}}
{{{CID7}}}
{{{CID8}}}
{{{CID9}}}
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Guatemala
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
Title in the Language: Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Guatemala
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


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.

Reading These Records

Example: These records are in spanish. For help reading these records see the following guides:

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?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the person you're looking for
  • Approximate date of the event

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Department
  2. Select City or Town
  3. Select Parish
  4. Select Record Type and Years to view the images.

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.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant
  • Regarding marriage and death records, name changes, shortened names, or nicknames may have been used by your ancestors, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant
  • For marriage and death records, name changes, shortened names, or nicknames may have been used by your ancestors, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent
  • Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area
  • Some of the records in this collection may have been created in a different ecclesiastical jurisdiction than the one where these are currently housed. All the sacramental ordinances were created, registered, and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. The parish jurisdiction may include sub-parishes in other nearby localities. One copy of the records is kept at the parish archive and another copy is sent to the diocesan archive for preservation. Most of the parish records in this collection were acquired at the diocesan archives


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 support@familysearch.org. 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. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 14 June 2016. 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.