August 12, 2015

Viewing Dominican Church Records Online

As the popularity of genealogy of those who descend from Dominicans increases, it becomes harder for many who live in other regions beside Dominican Republic to research. Yet I'm here to tell you that it isn't impossible. Today thanks to the LDS aka Mormon religion, they have made it possible for us to review records. Originally you were only able to view actual church records by visiting a local Family History Library(FHL).  If you're familiar with the website then skim through this to find what you seek.  This post is more for those who are not aware of Family Search and what you can find on their website; actual documents.  The website address is

The LDS provides you with the ability to go through their catalog, order the film and visit the location you want to view these films. However I need to advise you that you should add one more step to this process. Remember that there have been many before you that have ordered these films and they may already be available  So the steps I recommend is as follows and I will explain how to use the search function on the familysearch website.

  1. Search for records. 
  2. Document the film numbers
  3. VISIT your local FHL to see if they are there (click here to find nearest location)
  4. If not available at the FHL, place order to request films

Now to use the catalog is actually very easy. Click here to arrive to the website.  Hover over the word "Search" and on the drop down menu you should see "Catalog", click on it.  You should arrive at the following image:

Note that Place is the default search option (below "Search by").  For Church records you must search by provinces.  There are a total of 32 provinces and the National District.  Here is where knowing a little about the country becomes handy.  To get a list of provinces, click here, there is even a map below the list to visually provide you an idea where the province is located in the country.  This will come handy so you know where to look for ancestors. I can personally tell you that I've found family who were living in Moca or Santiago registering a birth in the capital; Santo Domingo.  Also pay attention to information on names of regions as they have changed over time. A perfect example is Santo Domingo once being called Cuidad Trujillo.  Note also that if someone tells you your family is from "El Cibao", that isn't a province but a large region. Google it to see what it covers. Half of my Dominican family is from "El Cibao". :)

In my example notice I selected "Dominican Republic, La Vega, La Vega" that appeared in the drop down.  Click on Search.  Notice in the below image how it says "No results found" (see red), ignore it and look above it where it says to look in another region. If you look at the province link I provided, you'll realize that the capital of the province is actually called Concepcion de La Vega.  Notice right below it "Part of Dominican Republic, La Vega".  Both links will lead you to different paths.  If you click on "Part of Dominican Republic, La Vega", it will provide you links to towns within the provide which will lead you to records.  However click on the area circled in blue.

If you've been reading up on history like I suggested in prior posts, you'll know that there are no church records prior to 1805 available to view in this region.  This means that 13 church books are missing for baptisms as it starts off with Book 14.

You should see an image similar to the below. The red arrow will lead you to a film number. Before ordering it, read what I said above.  The blue arrow speaks to the civil records, I'll walk you through that on a separate post.  Now red area that I circled is what we are going to look at.  Please note that these are images that are currently available online for you to view.

When you click on it, it will open and show you two index items. This won't be always the case, some provinces have more than these two and others can have just one.  Either way, click on the one that says "Registros parroquiales, 1805-1923".  On the next screen click where the red arrow is pointing (the word here).

The next screen will tell you "Browse through 239,382 images", click on those words.  You should now be taken to another screen with the list of all the provinces.  Select the one you want to search in.  It should lead to a list of towns or one town. Click on any one of them.  Next it will provide the Church's name, click on that.  What you should now see is a list of types of records and years for it. So you should see Bautismos, Defunciones, and Matrimonios.  At times you may also see Confirmaciones.  To view a baptism record, click on the very first link.  We are just doing this so you understand how to get there and what you will see.  Below I will explain the arrows/circle with numbers.

 We are almost done so if this is too much to take in, just come back and do this little by little. :)

  1. This tells you how many images are in this folder. You are defaulted to #1. You can remove it and jump forward to any number in the image.
  2. This feature allows you to increase, decrease or do a full screen.
  3. This allows you to print the image on the screen, allows to to download the image as a jpeg to save to your computer.  There are additional tools available for your use.
  4. This shows you the citation of the record on the screen. This is great to document your tree, if you're going to blog about your ancestry and you want to use the cited feature. 
So now you should be able to play with the church records and seek your ancestors.  Last but not least, I provide the links to the church records below just in case you felt that it was just too much and you just want to jump in.  As always, disable popup blockers on my blog so that you can get access to the records as all links always open in a new window.  I hope this tutorial has helped anyone who needed assistance. Now go look for those ancestors! :)

List will lead you to the church records for the Province: