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Panama Oeste, Panama Genealogy

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

Province of Panama Oeste

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History[edit | edit source]

When Panama was colonized, the indigenous peoples fled into the forest and nearby islands. It is believed that infectious disease was the primary cause of the population decline of American natives. Panama was under Spanish rule for almost 300 years from 1538 to 1821, and became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, along with all other Spanish possessions in South America.
Spanish authorities had little control over much of the territory of Panama and because of incomplete Spanish control, the Panama route was vulnerable to attack from pirates
For 80 years following their independence from Spain, Panama was a department of Colombia, after voluntarily joining at the end of 1821. The people of the isthmus made several attempts to secede and came close to success in 1831, then again during the Thousand Days' War of 1899–1902, understood among indigenous Panamanians as a struggle for land rights and control, led to the separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903 and its establishment as a nation.
From 1903 to 1968, Panama was a constitutional democracy dominated by a commercially oriented oligarchy. During the 1950s, the Panamanian military began to challenge the oligarchy's political hegemony. The early 1960s saw also the beginning of sustained pressure in Panama for renegotiations.
The United States government said Operation Just Cause, which began on December 20, 1989, was "necessary to safeguard the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama, defend democracy and human rights, combat drug trafficking, and secure the neutrality of the Panama Canal. On December 29,1989 the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution calling the intervention in Panama a flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States.

How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in Panamá Oeste[edit | edit source]

Most of your genealogical research for Panama 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.

Background Information[edit | edit source]

Panamá Oeste ("West Panama" in English) is the newest province in Panama. It was created from the five districts of Panamá Province west of the Panama Canal on 1 January 2014.The capital is La Chorrera.

1. Writing for Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1914. Civil registration in Panama officially began on April 15, 1914. At that time, the mayors of districts and villages recorded daily the births, marriages, and deaths occurring within their jurisdiction. In 1974, Civil Registry offices were created within each provincial capital.

Ordering Certificates fro Panama[edit | edit source]

However, birth, marriage, and death certificates can be requested from overseas by sending a written request and payment ($9) to cover postage and handling.

Send request to:

Tribunal Electoral de Panama, Registro Civil
Apartado 0816-01504
Panama, Republica de Panama

Telephone: (507) 504-6253

The following information should be included (as much as possible):

  • Birth record - Complete name, date of birth, place of birth, name of parents and national ID (cedula)
  • Marriage record - Complete name of the bride and groom, date of marriage, place, and the national IDs of the bride and groom
  • Death record - Complete name of the deceased, place of death and general information about the person's birth

Ordering Certificates from the U.S. Department of State[edit | edit source]

2. Church Records Online[edit | edit source]

3. Microfilm Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

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, these microfilms 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 Panamá, Panamá.
b. Click on "Places within Panama, Panamá" 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 these icons 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.

4. Writing for Church Records[edit | edit source]

The population of Panama is predominantly Christian: 86% are Catholics and 10% are Protestants. There are about 1% Jews and Muslims.

Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting a local parish in Panama. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use this address as a guide for addressing your request, replacing the information in parentheses with specifics:

Reverendo Padre
Parroquia de (name of parish, town name if you don't know the exact name)
(postal code), (city)

When requesting information, send the following:

  • 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

Episcopal/Anglican Church[edit | edit source]

Other Protestant Churches[edit | edit source]

How to Write the Letter[edit | edit source]

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

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

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • 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.