Peru Census

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A census is a count and description of the population, taken by government or ecclesiastical officials. Census records include both government and church censuses (padrones). Censuses were taken by the government for population studies, taxation, and military purposes; and by the churches for taxation in behalf of the parish poor.

Census records are not often used in Peruvian research because other sources, such as church records and civil registration, provide better information. Where church parish records have been destroyed, the census can help you establish your lineage.

In Peru, the original census returns were often destroyed or were only statistical. There are many church censuses in the Archive of the Archbishop of Lima, in other bishop’s archives, and in department historical archives. The General Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias) in Seville, Spain, has duplicate copies of many colonial census records.

Census records can provide important information, such as family relationships and age, where all or portions of other records are missing. Generally, you will find more complete family information in more recent censuses.

Information about census records can be found in:

  • Fuentes principales de registros genealógicos en Perú (Principal Sources of Genealogical Records in Peru). Salt Lake City, Utah: The Genealogical Society, 1977. (FHL book 929.1 G286gs ser. H no.14; fiche 6030519.)
  • Platt, Lyman D. Latin American Census Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Instituto Genealógico e Histórico Latinoamericano, 1987. (FHL book 980 X23p.)