Venezuela Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en Venezuela.
This collection of church records covers the years 1577 to 1995 and includes parishes in several dioceses and archdioceses of Venezuela. This collection of baptisms, marriages, and burials were created, registered, and kept in separate registers by the priest in authority of the parish jurisdiction. Regularly two registers were created, the original was kept at the parish archive and a duplicate copy was sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.
The entries were normally created in chronological order. Some confirmations may be found within the baptisms book. The earlier parish records were all handwritten in narrative form, and later records were handwritten in formatted entries. All records were handwritten in Spanish.
The parish registers may be the only records available for genealogical research before civil registration was implemented in 1873. Most of the parish records in this collection were acquired from the diocesan archives. The Archdiocese of Merida registers have been published separated from this collection.
Key genealogical information found in baptism records include:
- Date and place of the event
- Name of person baptized
- Gender and date of birth
- If legitimate or illegitimate
- Parents’ names, their residence or/and place of birth
- Names of godparents
Key genealogical information found in marriage records include:
- Date and place of the event
- Names of the bride and groom
- Sometimes the civil status (widowed, single, divorce) at the time of the event
- Place of birth and residence of the bride and groom
- Parents’ names
- Name of witnesses
Key genealogical information found in death records include:
- Place and date where the person died
- Name of the deceased
- Civil status and name of spouse, if married at time of death
- Place of burial
- Parents’ names
How to Use the Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The place where the event occurred.
- The name and surname of the person.
- The approximate date of the event.
- The name of the parents or spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. 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.
- 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 birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- 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.
Keep in mind:
- The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
- 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.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
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Contributions to This Article
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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.
Examples of Source Citations
- "Delaware Marriage Records," index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org) : accessed 4 March 2011, entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
- “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org) : accessed 21 March 2011, entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.
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.
Venezuela. Catholic Church Parishes. Church records (Registros parroquiales), 1577-1995. Archdioceses and Dioceses Archives throughout Venezuela.
Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.