Puerto Rico Church Records

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Puerto Rico
Church Records

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Puerto Rico, go to the Religious Records page.


Church Records

Church records (parish registers, church books) are an important source for genealogical research in Puerto Rico. Catholic Church records of Puerto Rico are a reliable source for genealogical research especially before 1885. They recorded details of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. For research after the civil registration implementation in 1885, it is suggested to research both civil and church records and to compare the information.

History

  • The Roman Catholic Church was brought by Spanish colonists and gradually became the dominant religion in Puerto Rico. The first dioceses in the Americas, including that of Puerto Rico, were authorized by Pope Julius II in 1511. All municipalities in Puerto Rico have at least one Catholic church, most of which are located at the town center, or plaza. Source:Wikipedia
  • Protestantism in Puerto Rico officially was introduced in 1872 when the first Protestant church in the Anglican tradition was established on the island. United States Protestant denominations agreed to divide the island in order to facilitate missionary penetration. Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists and Disciples of Christ started the missionary work. Source:Wikipedia

Content

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptismal Records

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's legitimacy
  • Child's date and place of birth
  • Parents' names, their origin and residence
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Names of godparents
  • Future marriage information may be found in the margin(s)

Confirmation Registers

  • Name of confirmed
  • Date of confirmation
  • Place of confirmation
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparent(s)

Marriage Records

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age, marital status and origin
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Bride's name, age, marital status and origin
  • Names of bride's parents
  • Names of witnesses

Death/burial Records

  • Name, age and gender of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Parents' names and their origin and residence
  • Sometimes, name of spouse, if married
  • Sometimes, burial information

Sample Images

Baptism Record 1922 Baptismal Record
Confirmation Record 1829 Confirmation Register
Marriage Record 1916 Marriage Record
Burial Record 1896 Burial Record

Where to Find Records

Online Records

1. Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969

FamilySearch has Catholic Church records from the Archdiocese of San Juan Historical Archive available online in its collection Puerto Rico Roman Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969. They include records from the municipalities of:

  • Aguadilla
  • Bayamón
  • Carolina
  • Cataño
  • Cayey
  • Dorado
  • Guaynabo
  • Loíza
  • Luquillo
  • Rincón
  • Río Grande
  • Río Piedras
  • San Francisco
  • San Juan
  • Santurce
  • Toa Alta
  • Toa Baja
  • Trujillo Alto
  • Trujillo Bajo
  • Vieques

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Puerto Rico Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

2. Additional Digitized Records in the FamilySearch System

Several additional church records have been microfilmed. They are gradually being digitized. Check now to see if those you need are online. If you find only microfilms available, you can search them at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then, check back frequently as you wait for the digitized version to become available.
To find records:

a. Click on the records of Puerto Rico.
b. Click on Places within Puerto Rico and a list of municipalities will appear.
c. Click on your municipality. You might also have to click on a "Places within [the municipality]'" before "Church recordsa" will show up.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. Bautismos are christenings/baptisms. Matrimonios are marriages. Defunciones are deaths. Confirmaciones are confirmations.
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.

Writing for Records

For help with organizing what to say in a letter requesting records, see Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy.

Catholic Church

Church records prior to 1872, will always be Catholic.

Anglican (Episcopal)Church

Assembly of God

Baptist Churches

Disciples of Christ

Methodist Churches

Presbyterian Church