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 .
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Title in the Language of the Records
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Registro Civil y Demográfico de Puerto Rico

Collection Time Period
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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.

Record Description
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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.

Record Content
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The key genealogical facts found in most birth records are:

Puerto Rico Civil Records (09-0298 09-0303) Birth DGS 4493073 67.jpg
  • Date and place of the event
  • Name of the principal
  • Child’s gender
  • Child’s date of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents' names, residence, and/or places of origin
  • Names of witnesses

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:

Puerto Rico Civil Records (09-0298 09-0303) Marriage page 1 DGS 4493073 391.jpg


  • Date and place of the event
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Their civil statuses (widowed, single, divorce) at the time of the event
  • Place of origin and residence of the bride and groom
  • Names of parents
Puerto Rico Civil Records (09-0298 09-0303) Marriage page 2 DGS 4493073 392.jpg

The key genealogical facts found in most death records are:

  • Place and date of the event
    Puerto Rico Civil Records (09-0298 09-0303) Death DGS 4493073 481-2.jpg
  • Place and date of death
  • Name of the principal (deceased)
  • Civil status of principal at time of death
  • Civil status and name of spouse, if married at time of death
  • Parents' names
  • Sometimes included place of burial

How to Use the Record
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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.

Record History[edit | edit source]

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.

Why This Collection Was Created?
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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.

Record Reliability[edit | edit source]

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.

Related Web Sites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

Contributions to This Article[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from the record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find th record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do 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 in found in the Wiki Article: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection[edit | edit source]

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

Sources of This Collection
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"Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1836-2001," index and images, FamilySearch; from the Demographic Registry in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "Puerto Rico civil registration." Registro Demográfico de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.