Costa Rica Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Costa Rica Civil Registration, 1860-1975 .

Title in the Language of the Record

Registro Civil de Costa Rica.

Record Description

This collection of civil birth, marriage, and death records includes the years 1860 to 1975.

This collection of civil registration for Costa Rica is organized by province, then municipality (município) and the type of records with the inclusive years. Early records are handwritten in Spanish in narrative form; later records are handwritten in formatted records. The records also include indexes.

For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

The church records alone provided vital information of the people until the civil authorities established Civil Registration as an institution at the end of 1887. In January of 1888, the Central Civil Registration was established in the city of San Jose, implementing civil registration for the nation.

In December of 1949, the Supreme Court of Elections agreed to fuse the civil and the electoral registry into one institution under the name of Civil Registration. The compiled registry was organized into two sections: the civil section and the electoral section, which under the same institution provides the civil authorities with the civil lives events and electoral age of the citizens.

The civil registration could be performed at the Central Office of the Civil Registration Section or at any of the regional offices in the municipalities of the nation. Records created in the regional offices were later sent to the Central Office.

The civil registration in Costa Rica was created to record the events of birth, marriage, death, and other civil events that would determine and prove the existence, civil status, and age of citizens for the electoral section registration.

The civil registration records are a very reliable source for doing genealogical research in Costa Rica after 1888.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Regional Offices of the Civil Registration Section. Costa Rica, Civil Registration. Archivo Nacional, San José, Costa Rica.

Digital copies of originals are also housed in different regional offices throughout Costa Rica.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

'The key genealogical facts found in most birth records are:

  • Name of child
  • Date, place and time birth
  • Gender of child
  • Parents' names and occupation
  • Presenter's name and occupation
  • Relationship of presenter to child

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:

  • Date, place and time of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Groom's age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Groom's parents' names and their occupation
  • Bride's age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Bride's parents' names and their occupation
  • Names of witnesses

The key genealogical facts found in most death records are:

  • Name of deceased
  • Age, gender and residence of deceased
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Parents’ names, occupation and residence
  • Place of burial

How to Use the Record

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the Provincia
⇒ Select the Tipo de registro y años that takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in civil records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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 Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1860-1975", images, FamilySearch( 15 May, 2012) Alajuela > Defunciones 1896, vol. 9 > Image 10 of 354 images, Basilia Barrantes Barquero; citing Deaths, FHL microfilm 1,102,495; Costa Rica. Registro Civil, Archivo Nacional en San José.