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

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Access the records: Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911 .

Title in the Language of the Record

Filipinas, Período de Registro Civil español

Record Description

This collection will include records from 1706 to 1911.

This is a collection of births, marriages, and deaths recorded in register books in cities or municipalities where they occurred in the years 1753-1911. The 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.

In 1901, the Philippines passed a law that established local civil registry offices. These offices were to record the events of birth, marriage, and death. While the Spanish rule ended in 1898, some of the books were continued up through 1911. Then in 1922, municipal secretaries or local civil registrars were required to send a copy of their registers each quarter to the "chief of the Division of Archives" in Manila. In 1932, the Bureau of Census and Statistics was created to oversee all civil registration.

In 1945, the bureau required local registrars to send in certificates for the births, marriages, and deaths. These certificates contained more information than the previous register copies had.

In 1974, the bureau changed its name to the National Census and Statistics Office and as of 2006, is now called the National Statistics Office. The text of these records was written in Spanish.

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 (Spanish Period), 1706-1911." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Records Management and Archive Office, Ermita, Manila.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Date of registration
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Name of the child
  • Names of parents
  • Names of witnesses

These marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of bride and groom
  • Place of birth and residence of both
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Occupation of groom
  • Names and place of birth of their parents
  • Names of witnesses

These death records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age at time of death
  • Place of origin and/or residence
  • Spouse’s name if married
  • Parents' names

How to Use the Record

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

  • Name of the child or parents
  • Approximate birth year of child

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

  • Name of ancestor
  • Names of parents
  • Approximate year of birth for bride and groom.

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

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Place of birth

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

  • Death records list the age of the deceased. Use this age to estimate the date of birth, and then search for the birth record.
  • Marriage records give the age and residence of the couple, as well as the names of their parents. Use the age to estimate when the bride and groom were born, and then search for their birth records.
  • Birth records will usually include information that identifies a person and provides clues for further searching. Use the age, nationality, and birthplace of the parents to search for their birth records.
  • Birth certificates issued after 1958 list the parents’ marriage date and place. Use this information to find the parents’ marriage record.
  • Use the parents’ occupation to distinguish between families with similar names.
  • The records also list the number of children born to a mother, and beginning in 1945, birth certificates tell how many of the children were still living. Use this information to ensure that you have identified all members of a family.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Spanish. For help with reading the records, see the following wiki article:

Unable to Find your Ancestor?

  • If the individual has a common name, use the parents’ names to help you find the correct birth record.
  • Use the name of the surviving spouse (included on post-1945 records) to search for a marriage record.
  • The birth and marriage records may also include information about the ancestor’s parents. You can use this information to help extend the lineage.

General Information About These Records

Starting in 1945, death certificates give the birthplace. After 1958 they list the birth date of the individual and give the parents' names, permitting a precise search for the individual’s birth record.

Civil registration is the best source for locating the date and place of an ancestor’s birth, marriage, or death. Use place information to search for other records with genealogical content.

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

"Philippines, Spanish Period Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911" digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 7 June 2012), Abra > Bangued > Índice de defunciones > 1891 > image 2 of 2, Juan Tugadi, 18 Enero 1891 ; citing National Stataistics Office, Abra, Philippines.