El Salvador Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in El Salvador, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Find My Past

History[edit | edit source]

The majority of the population in El Salvador is Christian. Roman Catholics (47%) and Protestants (33%) are the two major religious groups in the country, with the Catholic Church the largest denomination. Catholicism began in the nation in the sixteenth century with the invasion of Pedro de Alvarado.

Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional is a large pentecostal denomination started in El Salvador. It claims that its main church in San Salvador has 120,000 attending. The Assemblies of God claim 285,226 members (2007). [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] claims 120,317 people in 164 congregations. The Anglican Church in El Salvador (a diocese of the province of the Anglican Church in Central America) claims 6,000 members in 18 congregations. The Baptist Association of El Salvador claims 4,427 members and the Salvadorean Lutheran Synod about 15,000 in 68 congregations.[1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name

How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of El Salvador.
b. Click on Places within El Salvador and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See the Spanish Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Anglican Diocese of El Salvador
47 Avenida Sur, 723 Col Flor Blanca, Apt Postal (01), San Salvador, 274, El Salvador
Telephone: +503 2 223 2252
E-mail: anglican.es@gmail.com

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Four of the five dioceses of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Región Central de America were founded by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Anglicanism was also introduced by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel when the United Kingdom administered two colonies in Central America, British Honduras and Miskitia. In later years, immigrants brought the Anglican Church with them. This first period is often called the time of the chaplaincies.[3]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Protestant mission in El Salvador was the Bible Society Mission to Central America, which arrived in the country in 1896. They preached the gospel and distributed literature, but did not establish churches. In 1910, the local leaders related to the mission called on the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now the American Baptist Churches in the USA) to send missionaries. This is how the Baptist Mission was inaugurated in San Salvador in 1911. In the two decades following the arrival of the first Baptist missionaries, churches were set up in various cities, regional associations were formed, and two Baptist colleges were founded. In 1928 there were 19 churches, 14 church buildings and 10 ordained pastors. In this context the Baptist Association of El Salvador officially came into being in 1934.[4]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

See online records above under Online Resources and Websites.

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Catholicism began in the nation in the sixteenth century with the invasion of Pedro de Alvarado. San Salvador was made an archdiocese on February 11, 1913 with Monsignor Antonio Adolfo Perez as first Archbishop. Prior to that date it had been under the jurisdiction of Guatemala.[5]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1948, President Arwell L. Pierce of the Mexican Mission assigned the first missionaries to preach in El Salvador. In February 1951, a conference was held in San Salvador with a Church Apostle, Elder Albert E. Bowen, in attendance. One month later, the first 12 converts were baptized at Apulo Beach at Lake Ilopango. In 1965, there were 4,200 members in El Salvador.

By 1989, the Church in El Salvador was able to use local missionaries to sustain its missionary force. In 1986, membership was 15,100, and in 1990, membership was 38,000. Membership doubled in the next eight years. Total Church Membership in 2019: 127,573. Congregations: 163.[6]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Synod of El Salvador
Calle Antigua a Montserrat, parallel to the Bolulevard Los Próceres Final Colonia Luz, San Salvador. El Salvador, Central America

Telephones: (503) 2248-3461 (503) 2248-3461 (503) 2248-3451 and (503) 2273-1305
Mail: sinodo@sls.org.sv

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Lutheran Church of El Salvador began as a North America Mission in the 1950’s.[7]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

...the Pentecostal movement has grown to about 40% of the population. It is most visible in two megachurches, Tabernáculo Biblico Bautista and Misión Cristiana Elim, that have memberships of over 80,000 each, as well as in thousands of small make-shift churches, and the rapidly growing Catholic Charismatic Movement.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in El Salvador", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_El_Salvador, accessed 4 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in El Salvador", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_El_Salvador, accessed 4 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Anglican Church in Central America", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Church_in_Central_America, accessed 4 March 2020.
  4. World Council of Churches, "Baptist Association of El Salvador", https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/baptist-association-of-el-salvador, accessed 4 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in El Salvador", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_El_Salvador, accessed 4 March 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: El Salvador, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/el-salvador, accessed 4 March 2020.
  7. "Lutheran Church of El Salvador", in "Global Ministries", https://www.globalministries.org/lac_partners_sinodo_luterano_salavadoreno, accessed 4 March 2020.
  8. "Pentecostalism in El Salvador", in "Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions", https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-08956-0_498-1, accessed 4 March 2020.