Costa Rica, Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Costa Rica

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Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1823-1975
This article describes a collection of records at
Costa Rica
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Flag of the Republic of Costa Rica
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Location of Costa Rica
Record Description
Record Type: Civil Registration
Collection years: 1823-1975
Language: Spanish
Title in the Language: Registro Civil de Costa Rica
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Tribunal supremo de elecciones (Supreme Electoral Court), Costa Rica

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection of civil birth, marriage, and death records includes the years 1823 to 1975. The collection is organized by province, then by type of records with the inclusive years. Early records are handwritten in Spanish in narrative form; later records are handwritten in formatted records. The records for Varias Provincias includes indexes. The provinces contained in the collection are:

  • Alajuela
  • Cartago
  • Guanacaste
  • Heredia
  • Limón
  • Puntarenas
  • San José
  • Varias Provincias (various provinces)

Please note that many of the province locations are incorrect in the index due to a number mapping error (as of this edit, May 2016).

Church records alone provided vital information of the people until the civil authorities established Civil Registration as an institution at the end of 1887. In January of 1888, the Central Civil Registration was established in the city of San Jose, implementing civil registration for the nation.

In December of 1949, the Supreme Court of Elections agreed to fuse the civil and the electoral registry into one institution under the name of Civil Registration. The compiled registry was organized into two sections: the civil section and the electoral section, which under the same institution provides the civil authorities with the civil lives events and electoral age of the citizens.

The civil registration could be performed at the Central Office of the Civil Registration Section or at any of the regional offices in the municipalities of the nation. Records created in the regional offices were later sent to the Central Office.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

Reading These Records[edit | edit source]

These records are written in Spanish. For help reading them see:

If you speak Spanish, the following free online lesson may be helpful to learn how to use the information in these records:

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1823-1975.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Birth records

  • Name of child
  • Date, place and time of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Parents’ names and occupation
  • Presenter’s name and occupation
  • Relationship of presenter to child

Marriage records

  • Date, place and time of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Groom’s age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Groom’s parents’ names and their occupation
  • Bride’s age, occupation, civil status, origin and residence
  • Bride’s parents’ names and their occupation
  • Names of witnesses
  • Parish of baptism

Death records

  • Name of deceased
  • Age, gender and residence of deceased
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Parents’ names, occupation and residence
  • Place of burial

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Click on images for a larger view.

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Ancestor's given name and surname
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Family relationships

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select Province
  2. Select Record Type and Years to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • If available, check the image for additional information
  • Analyze the entry to see if it provides additional clues to find other records of the person or their family

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, one or the other collection may be more helpful
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names. Transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record; also, it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name. Click here for a list of Spanish name abbreviations
  • Here are some tips and techniques that will help you Improve your Search Results for Hispanic Ancestors in

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Costa Rica.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.