Panama Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Panama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1973 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica de Panamá.

Record Description

This collection of the Catholic Church records for Panama covers the years 1707-1973.

Entries were normally made in chronological order. In larger parishes, these records may be registered separately. In smaller parishes, the confirmations may have been included with the baptisms or even with marriages. In larger parishes, a separate book of confirmations was usually maintained. The records are in relatively fair condition, with the exception of some older records that may be damaged and therefore hard to read or missing some information. Most of the older records are handwritten in narrative style and follow a common text with some variations depending on the style used by the priest. Newer records are handwritten in formatted registers; some are even written in ledger style registers.

Catholic Church records begun to be recorded with the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century; towns were colonized and evangelized at the same time, beginning in 1513. When the records in this collection were created, Panama already had created the first cathedral named Santa Maria Cathedral, now Santa Maria la Antigua. The first diocese of Panama was a suffrage of the Archdiocese of Seville, Spain, until 1548, then became suffrage of the Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, until 1835, when it became suffrage of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe of Bogota, Colombia, and in 1901 suffrage of the Archdiocese of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Finally, in 1925 the Diocese of Panama was elevated to Archdiocese. All records created in church parishes were kept by priest and a copy sent to the diocese and later to the archdiocese.

By order of the Queen of Spain, authorized priests began keeping a record of all the sacramental ordinances performed at the parish level, such as baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials in order to record important events in the life of their parishioners.

Catholic Church parish registers are a reliable source of information for family history research, and the primary source for baptism, marriage, and death records in Panama prior to 1914, when the civil registration was created. Catholic Church parish records after 1914 can be used to complement information found in civil registers.

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

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. Copies of originals are housed in different Catholic diocesan and parish archives throughout Panama.

Catholic Church Archives in Panama. Catholic Church Records. Archdiocese of Panama, Panama City, Panama.

This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections. Index based on data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These baptismal records usually contain the following information:
Panama, CCR, birth.jpg
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's birth date
  • Names of the parents
  • Names of godparents
  • Before 1820, social class of the parents
  • Sometimes the person’s race
These marriage records usually contain the following information:
Panama, CCR, marriage.jpg
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's age, civil status and origin
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Bride's age, civil status and origin
  • Names of bride's parents
  • Sometimes, the legitimacy of betrothed
  • Sometimes, the race of the betrothed
  • Names of the witnesses
  • Name of officiant at wedding
These burial/death records usually contain the following information:
Panama, CCR, death.JPG
  • Date and place of death or burial
  • Name of the deceased person
  • Age and civil status of deceased
  • Sometimes, the name of spouse, if deceased was married
  • Sometimes, the names of parents
  • Place of residence or origin of the deceased person
  • Sometimes, the race of the deceased

How to Use Church Records

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Nombre del provincia" category
⇒ Select the "Nombre de ciudad/pueblo" category
⇒ Select the "Nombre de la parroquia" category
⇒ Select the "Nombre de ciudad/pueblo" category
⇒ Select the "Tipo de registro y años" category which 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.

Known Issues with This Collecton

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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

“Panama, Archidocese of Panama,Church Records,” images, FamilySearch ( accessed 7 June 2012), Panama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1973 > Bocas del Toro > Bocas del Toro > Nuestra Señora del Carmen > Matrimonios 1883-1932 > Image 100 of 530 images, Domingo Alvarez Castro and Sarah Davis, 1863; citing la Parroquia de Bocas del Toro.Matrimonios, Bocas del Toro.