Philippines, Civil Registration, Local (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Access the records: Philippines, Civil Registration (Local), 1888-1982 .

Record Description

This collection of records from local civil registry offices throughout the country includes birth, marriage, and death records for 1898 to 1980.

This collection includes the local copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates housed at the Bureau of Records Management in Manila, Philippines. It comprises records of birth, marriage, and death certificates created at local civil registry offices throughout the Philippines. Records are not available for all localities; the coverage varies by city/locality. Additional records will be added to this collection. Browse the collection in FamilySearch to determine current coverage. For local civil registration records for Metropolitan Manila, please see the collection "Philippines, Manila Civil Registration (Local), 1899-1980." Marriage and Death records are for the most part handwritten in English.

The recording of civil events in a person's life, such as birth, marriage and death, required valid evidence, therefore making these records very reliable.

Until 1889, there was no central civil administration to collect, interpret, and preserve the civil registration records. Most vital records from before 1889 come from Catholic parish and diocesan archives.

In 1889, the Spanish government created the Central Office of Statistics (Central Estadística). This subdivision of the Bureau of Civil Administration (Dirección General de Administración Civil) required each parish priest to periodically give the government a detailed list of the births, marriages, and deaths in his area. Although the Catholic clergy had previously maintained such records and even occasionally submitted them to the government, this was the first time that they had been 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 1922, the Civil Records Centralization Act required “all municipal secretaries to submit quarterly reports on all registration matters to the Chief of the Division of Archives.” In 1930, civil registration became mandatory and, in 1932, the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee all civil registration in the Philippines. It was not until 1940 that most registrations began to be recorded.

The records of birth, marriage and death provides important information of events in a person's life; therefore, it became necessary for legal authorities to record and keep these events in their citizens life, in formal books, for the benefit of civil and personal purposes.

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.

"Philippines, Civil Registration (Local), 1888-1981." Images. FamilySearch. accessed 2013. Citing National Census and Statistics Office, Manila.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Province, city and medical facility if birth occurred there
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date of birth
  • Father's name, religion, nationality and race
  • Father's age, birthplace and occupation
  • Mother's maiden name, religion, nationality and race
  • Mother's age and birthplace
  • How many previous deliveries for mother
  • Date and place of marriage for parents
  • Name of priest or informant

These marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name and age
  • Groom's nationality, residence and marital status
  • Name of groom's father and his nationality
  • Maiden name of husband's mother and her nationality
  • Bride’s name and age
  • Brides's nationality, residence and marital status
  • Name of bride's father and his nationality
  • Maiden name of bride's mother and her nationality
  • Names of the witnesses and their residence
  • Names of the persons who gave consent to the marriage
  • Name and title of person who solemnized marriage
  • Beginning in 1945, birthplace of bride and groom are given

These death records usually contain the following information:

  • City and province where death occurred
  • Name of medical institution if death occurred there
  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Age given in years, months, days and hours
  • Date of death
  • Cause of death
  • Birthplace and occupation of deceased
  • Name of surviving spouse, if married
  • In what country did deceased have citizenship
  • Parents' names, including mother's maiden name
  • Name of informant and their relationship to deceased
  • Name of attending physician
  • Burial information

Record Types

Description Earliest Year Latest Year
Civil Registration- Births 1898 1980
Civil Registration - Marriages 1903 1980
Civil Registration - Deaths 1914 1980

How to Use the Records

To search the birth records in this collection, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Approximate date that the child was born
  • Names of parents or child
  • Locality where the child was born

To search the marriage records in this collection, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of bride or groom
  • Approximate year of marriage

To search the death records in this collection, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Name of spouse, if married
  • Estimated birth year

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Province"
⇒Select the appropriate "Municipality/Town"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type"
⇒Select the appropriate "Year Range" which will take you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Using the Information

If you find a record that could be for your ancestor, compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example:

  • 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 residence and names of the parents to locate church records.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Unable to Find your Ancestor?

Keep in mind:

  • 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 one record to another.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Browse the images for records of nearby localities.

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.

Some records are in English and Spanish. Spanish is also used in sections of later records.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Philippines, Civil Registration (Local), 1898-1980" images, FamilySearch ( accessed 2 March 2012), Bulacan > Plaridel > Birth Records > 1981 > image 84 of 1454, Lea Sudario Pangiligan, 5 January 1981; citing Archive Division of the Bureau of Records Management, Birth records, RMAO, Metropolitan Manila.

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