Beginning Peru Research

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Peru Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Country Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

To find church, civil or other records for your ancestor in Peru using the FamilySearch catalog, you will need to know the various levels of jurisdictions (government or religious administrative divisions) in Peru. Five locality levels are normally used. The country of Peru is divided into departments or region (departamentos), provinces (provincias), districts (distritos), and cities, towns, villages, etc. However in the FamilySearch Catalog the records are organizaed by department and province.

District[edit | edit source]

Under the district level you will find civil registration records. In large cities there may be several offices. You must know to which district your town belongs in order to locate the civil registration records. District records will be located in the FamilySearch catalog under the name of the district.

Church[edit | edit source]

Church records are also listed in the catalog under the district. A parish is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction where a Catholic priest serves and keeps records. The parish is usually named for a Saint.

Place Levels (Jurisdictions)[edit | edit source]

Places are usually written from smallest to largest on a family group record:

          Huayre, Junin, Junín, Junín, Peru

          City/town, District, Province, Department, Country

Huayre belongs to the district of Junin, and you will need to know this to find the civil registration records in the FamilySearch Catalog.

When you want to include the parish, which is especially important in large cities, in your locality field you would write it in the following manner:

           El Sagrario, Lima, Lima, Lima, Peru

           Parish, City/town, District, Province, Department, Country

The parish of El Sagrario is located in the city of Lima.

To find your localities, see the following sources:[edit | edit source]

  • Because some place names and boundaries have changed or no longer exist, you may need to use an old gazetteer that describes places as they were known in earlier times, such as: 1877 Diccionario Geográfico Estadístico del Perú, by Mariano F. Paz Soldán. You may view a digitized copy of this book online at [1].
  • Also check the Perú: Dicrectorio nacional de municipalidades provinciales y distritales, 1999 (Peru: National Directory of Provincial and District Municipalities). By Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática, Lima, Perú:Dirección Nacional de Estadística e Informática Departamental, 1999. FHL INTL Book 985 E54p 1999.
  • Google Maps is a great place to figure out distances between towns.

To find your Catholic parish, see the following sources:[edit | edit source]

  • You can learn if your ancestor’s town or city had an established parish by checking a Catholic church directory. It will list the archdiocese officials and the dioceses with their parishes, so you can easily determine all nearby parishes. It may include historical information about each parish, and sometimes it provides addresses for parishes, the diocese headquarters, and the diocese archives where additional records may be kept.

If your ancestor came from a large city that had several parishes, you will need to know what section of the city he or she lived in to determine what parish he or she belonged to. However, in a large city such as Lima, you may find that even if you know the closest parish, sometimes the family went to the cathedral or the parish of a relative in the same city for the baptism of a child. If you do not find the complete family in the home parish, search the surrounding parishes of the city.

If your family lived in a very small village that did not have an established parish, you will need to check a map, church directory, or gazetteer to determine which nearby town had a parish.

Records from FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Once you have identified the name and jurisdiction of the town of your ancestors you will want to check the FamilySearch Catalog and FamilySearch Record Collections for records about your ancestors. For more information about how to search the FamilySearch catalog you will want to read Using the FamilySearch Catalog.

To search the catalog, as well as indexed records and images available online from FamilySearch, you will need to visit To find the record collections for Peru, scroll down the page and click on Caribbean, Central and South America.

Return to the Peru page