Philippines, Court Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Access the Records
Philippines Court Records, 1838-1936
This article describes a collection of records at
Philippines flag.png
Flag of the Republic of the Philippines
Philippines on the Globe.png
Record Description
Record Type: Court
Collection years: 1838-1936
Languages: Spanish
Title in the Languages: Filipinas, Registros de la Corte
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Records Management and Archives Office

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The records include court records from various provinces of the Philippines mostly dating from the Spanish Period (from 1838-1936). These records contain land records, guardianship records, wills, powers of attorney and other legal documents. Original records are located in the Record Management and Archives Office, National Library, Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

There are many records, but few are indexed. Court names have changed over the years, and the records use many difficult legal terms and abbreviations. Search court records only after you have searched more helpful records.

Philippine citizens are required to declare changes in civil status to their local civil registrar. The registrar writes down all changes in books. The law requiring the reporting of changes to the registrar has not been regularly kept or enforced.

Although the earliest court records and local civil registrar logs and registers date from 1900, most are dated after World War II.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

Reading These Records[edit | edit source]

These records are in Spanish. For help reading them see:

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Philippines Court Records, 1838-1936.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name of testator
  • Place of birth
  • Current residence
  • Spouse's name
  • Parents’ names
  • Marriage date and place of testators
  • Names of children/heirs and their vital information
  • Executor’s name
  • Witnesses’ names
  • Burial request


  • Name(s) of child/children
  • Name and residence of parents/orphanage(s)
  • Date and place parents died/divorced or date child/children was/were abandoned or found
  • Name(s) of person(s) made legal guardian or specifications regarding full-/part-custody of child/children
  • Date and place the guardianship was made legal
  • Name of judge, clerk, or mediator
  • Names of witnesses


  • Name of owner (this could be an individual or a government body/department)
  • Name(s) of buyer(s)
  • Names of witnesses
  • Date land was sold

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select Court Jurisdiction
  2. Select Book Number and Years to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

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?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names
  • Use the name, locality, and age along with the place of birth to find the individual/family in census records Philippines Census
  • Use the residence and name to locate civil (see “Related Wiki Articles” section below) and land records Philippines Land and Property
  • Use the birthplaces to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • Use the marital status to determine if an individual was divorced (look for divorce record; see section "Unable to Find Your Ancestor" for more info), widow(er) (look for death record), or married (look for marriage record)
  • For land records, witnesses could've been relatives, neighbors, or friends of the buyer

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • Because divorce is not legal in the Philippines, there are no divorce records. Look for records in nearby countries where divorce is legal

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Philippines.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

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:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.