Lima, Peru Genealogy

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Region of Lima

Guide to Region of Lima family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Region of Lima

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Most of your genealogical research for Lima will be in two main record types: civil registration and church records. This article will teach you methods for locating and searching these two record groups.

Civil Registration

  • Civil registration records are government records covering birth, marriage, and death. They are an excellent source of names, dates, places, and relationships.
  • Civil authorities began registering births in 1886, marriages in 1886, and deaths in 1857 in most of the municipalities of Peru. In the Lima municipal archives, there are death registers for 1857–1867, and birth, marriage, and death registers of Peruvians born abroad for 1886–1911. By 1895, the archives included almost all individuals who lived in Peru.
  • Records of naturalization, adoption, and legitimization of children, are included in the early birth records. From 1936 to the present, these records are included as a part of the personal civil registers which also include records of declaration of mental competence, declarations of deaths not otherwise registered, marriage annulments, and divorces.
  • Civil registration records are one of the most important sources for genealogical research in Peru because civil registration covers the entire population and generally provides more information than church records. Due to political situations, civil registration for some municipalities may have begun after 1886. Civil registration records may also be the only source of information about non-Catholic people.
  • You will need to know the town where your family lived and district and province. Place names in the FamilySearch Catalog are listed under the modern names and the names of departments and provinces as they existed in 1922. All Peruvian places are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog by the name they are listed under in: Diccionario geográfico del Perú(Geographical Dictionary of Peru) will help you.

1. Online Digital Records for Civil Registration

For many localities, digital copies of civil registration can be searched online:

"Nascimientos" are births. "Matrimonios" are marriages. "Defunciones" are deaths.

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

If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is 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 Peru, Lima.
b. Click on "Places within Peru, Lima" 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 the icons shown below 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 Civil Registration Certificates

Civil registration records are kept at the local civil registration office (Oficina del Registro Civil) in each municipality. You must determine the town where your ancestor lived before you can find the records. A civil registration district may include several towns or a small section of a large city. In addition to the town, you need to know an approximate year in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.
Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper office using this address as a guide replacing the information in parentheses:

Oficino del Registro Civil
(street name, number)
(city), Lima
(postal code)
Peru


Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish.

Writing to the Supreme Court of Justice

Peru also has duplicates of civil registration records in the Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Superior de Justicia) in Lima. If your request to the municipality is unsuccessful, write for duplicate records that may have been sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic (Corte Superior de Justicia de la República).

Archivo de la Corte Suprema de la República

Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-3690



Church Records

Although civil registration records are an important source for genealogical research in Peru, many births, marriages, and deaths were never recorded by civil authorities; therefore, you must use church records to supplement this genealogical source.

The vast majority of Peruvians were Catholic and were registered in entries for baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials in the local church records. Often two and sometimes three generations are indicated in the registers, with personal information on the family. Church records are the main source prior to 1886, when civil registration began for births and marriages. After this date one should search in both church and civil records, since there may be information in one record that does not appear in the other. For instance, the church records may only list the godparents, while the civil records may list the grandparents.

1. Online Digital Records for Church Records

For some localities, digital copies of Catholic church records can be searched online:

Some baptisms, marriages, and burials have been indexed for Peru:

Bautismos are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. Información matrimonial are documents collected in preparation for a marriage. Matrimônios' are marriages. Defunciones are deaths. Entierros are burials'". Índice is the index.

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

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 Peru, Lima.
b. Click on "Places within Peru, Lima" 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.
f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
FHL icons.png
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 the Archive of the Archbishopric of Lima (Archivo Arzobispal de Lima) for Church Records

The Catholic Church has gathered the early church records from the dioceses into a centralized archive in Peru. Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting this centralized archive. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.

Write a brief request in Spanish to the Archivo Arzobispal de Lima using this address:

Archivo Arzobispal de Lima
Calle Luis Espejo 1064
Urb. Santa Catalina
Lima 21, PERÚ

Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish.

Writing to the Supreme Court of Justice

Peru also has duplicates of civil registration records in the Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Superior de Justicia) in Lima. If your request to the municipality is unsuccessful, write for duplicate records that may have been sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic (Corte Superior de Justicia de la República).

Archivo de la Corte Suprema de la República

Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-3690



4. Writing to a Catholic Priest for Church Records

Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting local parish or diocese archives in Peru. More recent Catholic parish records are kept at the local parish. The diocese keeps the records of parishes that no longer exist. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.

Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper church using this address as a guide replacing the information in parentheses:

Reverendo Padre
Parroquia de (name of parish)
(postal code), (city), Lima
Peru

Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish.

Writing to the Supreme Court of Justice

Peru also has duplicates of civil registration records in the Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Superior de Justicia) in Lima. If your request to the municipality is unsuccessful, write for duplicate records that may have been sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic (Corte Superior de Justicia de la República).

Archivo de la Corte Suprema de la República

Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-3690



Reading the Records

  • Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

Search Strategy

  • 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.
  • 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.

Tips for finding your ancestor in the records

  • Births were usually reported within a few days of the birth by the father of the child, a neighbor, or the midwife. A search for a birth record should begin with the known date of birth and then searching forward in time, day by day, until the record is found. It might be found within a few days of the actual birth date, but in some instances, it might be weeks or months later. Birth, marriage, and death records are often indexed by given name or surname.
  • The Catholic Church continued keeping records after the creation of the civil registration in 1859. Therefore two types of records are available for the marriages. Be sure to search both records. With the separation of church and state in Mexico, formalized by the 1917 constitution, civil authorities determined that for couples to be legally married they had to be married by the state. Because of the close affinity of the Catholic Church and the state authorities, this rule was not always followed, and church weddings were accepted by the state. Normally, however, couples were married by civil authorities prior to a church wedding. On rare occasions they were married civilly after a church wedding.
  • Some municipios are small and therefore only have one civil registration office, but there are other larger municipios that have several sub civil registration offices that report to the main municipio office.
  • Death records can be particularly helpful for people who may not have had a civil birth or marriage record but died during the period when civil registration had begun.