Loja, Ecuador Genealogy

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Province of Loja

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

Province of Loja

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Most of your genealogical research for Loja 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.

History

On July 23, 1824, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Republic of Colombia, create the province of Loja attached to the department of Azuay, composed of four cantons.
On May 29, 1861, the government of Ecuador decreed that the province of Loja consist of more cantons. This meant that, in the decades of the sixties of the nineteenth century, the province of Loja covered virtually the entire southern region of Ecuador. Subsequent administrative divisions in the Republican era defined the current constitution of 16 cantons.
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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, marriages, and deaths in 1900.
  • You will need to know the town where your family lived and district and province. This online gazetteer will help with locating the jurisdictions governing the town or origin, and also shows its place on Google Maps: Index of places of Ecuador. Another source, Provincias, Cantones y Parroquias del Ecuador lists every parish with its province and cantón. On this chart, Código Parroquia is the postal code.

Writing for Civil Registration Certificates

Civil registration records are kept at the local civil registration office 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)
(parish), Loja
(postal code)
Ecuador


Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00
  • 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.

Church Records

  • Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for finding genealogical information of birth, death, and marriage in Ecuador prior to 1900, when the civil registration was implemented.
  • Parish registers include baptism, confirmation, marriage and death records.
  • All the records were registered and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. One register was generally kept at the parish archive and another copy sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.

1. Online Digital Records for Church Records

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

A few baptisms, marriages, and burials have been indexed for Ecuador:

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 in the FamilySearch Catalog

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 Ecuador, Loja.
b. Click on "Places within Ecuador, Loja" 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 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)
(parish), Loja
(postal code (Código Parroquia))
Ecuador


Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00
  • 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.

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.
  • The Catholic Church continued keeping records after the creation of the civil registration in 1900. Therefore two types of records are available. If you can find the needed record in the church records, you do not have to search both records. Someday, when both records are available online, then it would be wise to search both.
  • 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.