Philippines Archives and Libraries
This section describes repositories other than the Family History Library that can help you in your research. The Family History Library has copies of many but not all of the records at these archives.
Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. When you need the address of a library or archive, return to this section.
Before you visit, contact the archive or library. Ask about their collection, hours, services, and fees. Send a well-worded letter of introduction and intent. This will increase your chances to use the records.
Libraries in the Philippines
The National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO). The National Census and Statistics Office has the major civil records after 1932 and is currently responsible for all civil registration. Unfortunately, most documents from 1932 to 1945 were destroyed in World War II. Prior to 1974 the office was known as the Bureau of Census and Statistics.
Most vital records should be available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. The microfilmed records include birth
certificates, death certificates, marriage contracts, and notarial records.
Employees of the Philippine National Census and Statistics Office will answer questions. Send family history inquiries to:
Office of the Civil Registrar General
National Statistics Office
EDSA Corner, Times Street
West Triangle, Quezon City 1104
Tanggapan Sa Pamamahala Ng Mga Kasulatan At Sinupan (Records Management and Archives Office). The Archive Division of the Records Management and Archives Office (Bureau of Records Management) at http://www.pnm.my/motw/philippines/3national_archives.htm has approximately 11,000,000 documents from the Spanish colonization period (1552–1898) and a few records from the American occupation period (1898–1946). Unfortunately, thousands of documents have been lost due to careless handling, deliberate destruction, and natural deterioration caused by termites, mold, and moisture.
The Family History Library has filmed the most important genealogical records from this collection, including:
- Cemetery records (cementerios).
- Inheritance records and inventories of personalestates (bienes de difuntos).
- Marriage records (matrimonios).
- Census records (vecindarios, estadísticas,
padrones de chinos).
- Military records (quintas, guardia civil, hojas de servicio).
- Immigration and naturalization records(naturalización de Españoles, radicación de estrangeros).
- Notarial records (protocolos).
For more information on these records, see the section of this outline for each record type.
The Archive Division of the Records Management and Archives Office is in the Philippine National Library Building. Send inquiries to:
Archive Division of the R.M. & A.O.
Philippine National Library
T. M. Kalaw Street
Ermita, Manila 2801
Metropolitan Manila, Philippines
The Philippine National Library has a valuable 45,000-volume Filipiniana collection of biographies, local histories, bibliographies, and gazetteers. It also has collections of rare books and manuscripts, newspapers and brochures, and microforms. The atlases, maps, gazetteers, and manuscripts of the rare books collection are listed in:
Medina, Isagani R., Editor. Filipiniana Materialsin the National Library. Quezon City, Philippines: Published jointly by the National Library and the University of the Philippines Press, 1971.
The Filipiniana collection at the University of the Philippines Library is also helpful. See:
Filipiniana 1968: A Classified Catalog of Filipinian Books and Pamphlets in the University of the Philippines Library as of January 1, 1968. Diliman, Rizal, Philippines: the University of the Philippines, 1968.
The following libraries shelve Filipiniana collections:
- The Ayala Museum Library has over 3,500 rare books and manuscripts:
Ayala Museum Library and Iconographic Archives
Metropolitan Manila, Philippines
- The Jorge B. Vargas Filipinian Collectionhouses Vargas's personal collection of rarebooks, documents, and manuscripts:
Jorge B. Vargas Filipiniana Foundation
241 Shaw Boulevard
Metropolitan Manila, Philippines
- The Fr. Luis G. Merino Library has rare holdings from 1700 on, Philippine history, architecture, cultural arts, and the restoration of the historic walled City of Intramuros.
The Fr. Luis G. Merino Library
5/F Palacio del Gobernador Building
Gen. Luna Street, Intramuros
Manila, Metropolitan Manila, Philippines
The following collection includes mostly documents from the American occupation period, with some records from the Spanish colonization period, and a few modern records:
U.S. Embassy, American Historical Collection Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila
Telephone: (632) 924-4601, ext. 2668
Fax: (632) 924-4428
Many important libraries are listed in:
Dayrit, Marina. Directory of Libraries in the Philippines. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines: The University of the Philippines Library, 1973.
Besides the libraries listed above, each province has a library that stores valuable local histories. Some municipalities and cities have libraries that collect local family histories and other important genealogical records. Also, each municipality has a local civil registrar office that keeps valuable family history information. The local civil registrar logs all civil registration events (see the “Civil Registration” section of this outline).
Church Archives. See the “Church Records” section of this outline.
The U.S. Library of Congress. The U.S. Library of Congress has a large Filipiniana collection. It has the most comprehensive foreign bibliography on the Philippines (about 18,000 entries) in the Orientalia Division of its:
Southeast Asia Subject Catalog. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, G.K. Hall, 1972. Six Volumes. Volume 4: The Philippines.
Library of Congress
1st–2nd Streets, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20504
The Newberry Library. Chicago's Newberry Library has the most valuable foreign collection of documents from the Spanish colonization period. You can contact the library at:
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-3394
The above collection is described in:
Newberry Library. Chicago, Illinois, USA. Dictionary Catalog of the Edward E. Ayer Collection of Americana and American Indians in the Newberry Library. Volume 6, pp. 5,895–99,964. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: G. K. Hall, 1961.
Welsh, Doris V. Catalog of Printed Materials Relating to the Philippine Islands, 1519–1900, in the Newberry Library. Chicago, Illinois, USA: Newberry Library, 1959.
Lietz, Paul S., Editor. Calendar of Philippine Documents in the Ayer Collection of the Newberry Library. Chicago, Illinois, USA: Newberry Library, 1956. (FHL book 959.9 A3c; film 0795964 item 4.)
Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
Computers with modems can be useful tools for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In a way, computer networks themselves serve as a library. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial online services help family history researchers:
- Locate other researchers.
- Post queries.
- Send and receive e-mail.
- Search large databases.
- Search computer libraries.
- Join in computer chat sessions.
You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from the Philippines in many sources at local, provincial, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most information is available at no cost.
Some information and guides are available on the Internet for research in the Philippines. Sites that include information about libraries and museums, maps, and naming customs are found in various sections of this outline.
General sites that act as indexes to many interesting Philippines genealogical sites on the Internet include:
- Philippines Genealogy Web Project.
- Family History Library home page.