Puerto Rico, Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1836-2001 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Registro Civil y Demográfico de Puerto Rico

Record Description

This collection contains civil records from 1836 to 2001. More specifically, the birth records include the years 1836 to 1931; the marriage records include the years 1836 to 1951; and the death records include the years 1836 to 2001.

These are images of civil registration records for Puerto Rico. They include indexes and registers of births, marriages, deaths, and stillbirths. The older records are handwritten in narrative style, and the newer ones are handwritten in formatted records. All the records are written in Spanish.

The civil registration in Puerto Rico began to be implemented in early 1885. Before this time, the vital information of a person was registered in the Catholic Church parish records, which at that time had the official authority to justify the civil status of the citizens. At the beginning of the civil registration, the civil registries were maintained by the municipal courts. In 1904, the civil registries were transferred to the office of the municipal secretary. In 1931, the current civil code was approved. This code gave the organization a new name, the Demographic Registry Office of Puerto Rico (Registro Demográfico de Puerto Rico), and transferred the authority to the Health Department. Most records, with the exception of a few earlier records, have been preserved relatively for extracting genealogical information. The whole population of Puerto Rico living since 1885 is registered in these records. Many types of civil records are found in the Demographic Registries; however, this article describes only birth, marriage, and death records.

The Demographic Registry’s basic function and responsibility is to preserve all the vital data of the citizens of Puerto Rico, such as the registration of births, marriages, and deaths. The registry provides certified copies of all documents; makes legal corrections of errors, legal changes, and administrative changes; and recaps all the statistical information for the Health Department.

The civil registration of Puerto Rico is a very reliable source for doing family history. In order to register an event, the person registering the event needs to provide various legal proofs of identification. The registry also allows 10 days to register a birth free of charge. After that, the person needs to pay a fee. This promotes the registration of all citizens in a timely manner.

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 data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Alcaldia Municipal. Puerto Rico civil registration. Archivo General de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Date, time and place of birth
  • Child's name and gender
  • Legitimacy of child
  • Parents' names and age
  • Parents' marital status, occupation, residence and origin
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Date and place of registration

These marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name and age of groom
  • Groom's marital status, occupation, residence and origin
  • Name and age of bride
  • Bride's marital status, occupation, residence and origin
  • Sometimes, names of parents
  • Name of bride's father if giving consent
  • Names of witnesses

These death records usually contain the following information:

  • Name and age of deceased
  • Marital status, residence and origin of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of medical certificate
  • Name of informant and their relationship to deceased
  • Informant's age, marital status, occupation, residence and origin
  • Names of parents and their origin
  • Names of grandparents, if known
  • Date and place of burial

How to Use the Record

To search the collection using the index: Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

To search the collection using the browse: Follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Municipio" category
⇒ Select the "Record Type and Year Range" 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.

The civil registration records in Puerto Rico are an excellent source for genealogical research after 1885. Important genealogical data can be found in these records, such as dates, marital status, places of events, names, and other personal data about individuals and other family members. The data may help to fill in information about even an earlier generation.

Known Issues with This Collection

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 support@familysearch.org. 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 Web Sites

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 also 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

"Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1836-2001."  database and digital images, FamilySearch (https://.familysearch.org: accessed 1 April 2011).  Esperanza Rodriguez,  20 December 1900; citing Civil Registrations, FHL microfilm 1,563,427; Registro Demografico de Puerto rico, SanJuan, Puerto Rico.