Philippines, Civil Registration, Spanish Period (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Philippines

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Philippines Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Philippines
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Record Description
Record Type: Civil Registration
Collection years: 1706-1911
Languages: Spanish
Title in the Languages: Filipinas, Registro Civil, período Español
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Statistics Office of the Philippines


What is in This Collection?

These records include marriages, and deaths that were recorded in register books in cities or municipalities where they occurred in the years 1706-1911. Only death records are available for the years before 1815.

Civil Registration was introduced in the Philippines by the colonists in 1889 and was based on the Civil Code of Spain. A central statistical office was created at about the same time, requiring pastors to submit to the Central Statistics Office in Manila a detailed account of the events of marriages and deaths that had occurred in their parishes during the previous year.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Reading These Records

These records are written in Spanish; also see the section For Help Reading These Records for translation helps.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Philippines Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information is often found in these records:

Marriage records Death records
Date and place of marriage Name of deceased
Names of bride and groom Date and place of death
Places of birth of bride and groom Cause of death
Residences of bride and groom Age at death
Ages of bride and groom Residence or place of birth
Occupation of groom Duration of illness
Bride’s marital status Name of spouse
Names of parents Name of parents
Places of birth of parents
Name of witnesses

Collection Content

This collection contains civil birth, marriage, and death records from the Spanish Period of the Philippines. Prior to about 1815 there are only death records.

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before using this collection it is helpful to know:

  • Your ancestor's given name and surname
  • Identifying information such as residence

View The Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Province
  2. Select Municipality
  3. Select Record Type
  4. Select Year Range to view the images.

For Help Reading These Records

For help reading these Spanish records see the following guides:

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.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors
  • Cite the record entry for future reference. Save or print a copy of the image if possible. The image citation is available by clicking on the information tab at the bottom left of the screen where you’ve found your ancestor
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the age listed in the record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in the Philippines Census
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate property records
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage

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

  • New information is constantly being indexed, microfilmed or updated. Periodically check back and see if your ancestor’s records have been added
  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names. Transcription errors could occur in any record; also, it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name. See Abbreviations Found in Genealogy Records for examples of common abbreviations. Note that some women reverted to their maiden name when their husband died, and therefore could be buried under their maiden name
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches Alternatively, try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth
  • Search the records of nearby localities. While it was uncommon for an individual in this period to move more than about 20 miles from their place of birth, smaller relocations were not uncommon
  • A boundary change could have occurred and the record of you ancestor is now in a neighboring province, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records Philippines Emigration and Immigration
  • Until 1889 there was no central civil administration to collect, interpret, and preserve the civil registration records. Most vital records from before 1889 are in Catholic parish and diocesan archives. Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable

General Information About These Records

In 1889, the Spanish government created the Central Office of Statistics. This office required each parish priest to periodically give the government a list of the births, marriages, and deaths in his area. The Catholic clergy had previously maintained records about births, marriages and deaths, and sent copies to the government. After 1889, clergy were required to regularly submit detailed reports. This system continued until the end of the Spanish administration in 1898.

After the Philippine Revolution of 1898, the church and state became separate. Within the first few years, officials responsible for civil registration were appointed in each municipality. In 1930, civil registration became mandatory.

In 1932 the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee civil registration. Many civil records were destroyed during World War II.

Divorce is not legal in the Philippines, but some records of annulment and legal separation are kept in the National Census and Statistics Office and in the local Domestic Relations Court of First Instance.


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

"Philippines, Civil Registration (National),1706-1911." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing National Census and Statistics Office, Manila, Philippines.

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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