Peru Archives and Libraries

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Archives collect and preserve original documents of churches, governments, and other organizations.

Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and resources for Peru. When one of these institutions is referred to in other Wiki articles about Peru, return to this article to obtain the address.

If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about their collection, hours, services, and fees. Some of that information may also be found on the Internet. Some archives have catalogs, inventories, and guides or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you go to the archives so you can use your time more effectively. In many archives and libraries you will need a letter of recommendation and proper identification (libreto electoral or passport).

For addresses of archives and libraries, you can consult the following:

  • International Directory of Archives/Annuaire international des archives. London: K.G. Saur, 1992. (FHL book 020.5 Ar25 v. 38.)
  • World Guide to Libraries. 10th ed. München: K. G. Saur, 1991. (FHL book 027.025 W893.)
  • Archivum: International Directory of Archives. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1975. (FHL book 020.5 Ar25 Vol. 22–23, 38.)

There are many repositories with genealogical information for Peruvian research:

  • Archives in Spain
  • National government archives and libraries
  • Church archives
  • Departmental archives
  • Municipal archives
  • Other archives and libraries

Although the original records you need may be in an archive or library in Peru or Spain, the Family History Library may have a microfilm copy of them.

Archives in Spain[edit | edit source]

Records of international interest about the European discovery, exploration, and colonization of Peru are in various archives in Spain.

Archivo General de Indias
Avda. de la Constitución 3
41004 Seville, Spain
Telephone: 954-500-530, 954-500-528
Fax: 954-219-485

Archivo General Militar de Segovia

Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia
40071 Segovia, Spain
Telephone: 921-460-758
Fax: 921-460-757

Archivo General de Simancas

Miravete 8
47130 Valladolid, Spain
Tel: 983-590-003, 983-590-750
Fax: 983-590-311

Archivo Central Militar del Servicio Histórico

C/Mártires de Alcalá 9
28071 Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 915-470-300
Fax: 915-594-371

Archivo Histórico Nacional

C/Serrano 115
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 915-618-001, 915-618-005
Fax: 915-631-199

A summary of the records preserved at the Archivo General de Indias is found in:

  • Peña y Cámara, José María de la. Archivo General de Indias de Sevilla: Guía de Visitante (The Seville General Archive of the Indies: Visitor’s Guide). Madrid: Dirección General de Archivos y Bibliotecas, 1958. (FHL book 946 A2s; film 0896895.)

Additional descriptions of the records at the Archivo General de Indias and other Spanish and Latin

American archives that house documents of the[edit | edit source]

Spanish American colonial period, are found in:

  • Documentación y Archivos de la Colonización Española (Documentation and Archives of the Spanish Colonization). Madrid: Ministerio de Cultura, 1980. (FHL book 946 A3d.)

Guides to the many archives in Spain can be obtained from each archive.

National Government Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

The Peruvian government collects records relating to Peruvian history, culture, and people. The National

Archives of Peru (Archivo General de la Nación) is located at:

Archivo General de la Nación
Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Casilla No. 3124
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERU
Telephone: (11)-427-5930
Fax: (11)-428-2829

The National Archives publishes information on its activities and the activities of the Department of Historical Archives in its Revista. It has also published the Catálogo del Archivo General de la Nación (Catalog of the National Archives of Peru). Before you visit or use the records of an archive, you need to study the publications so can use your time more effectively. A guide to the archives and libraries in Peru is:

  • Revista del Archivo General de la Nación. (Journal of the General Archive of the Nation). Lima: Imprenta Gil, 1971–. (FHL book 985 B2r.)

The National Archives has experienced fires, earthquakes, and other catastrophes that have destroyed or damaged much of its collection. In 1881, during the War of the Pacific, Chilean troops occupied the archives and caused considerable damage.

The Archives has not been thoroughly cataloged, and there are still many unclassified items that are not yet sorted or stored in their proper sections. Smaller sections of the Historical Section (Sección Histórica), such as Upper Administration (Gobierno Superior ) and Native Property and Claims (Propiedad y Derecho Indígena) can be accessed through a card catalog.

Rural and urban property titles and the notarial records for Lima and Callao have been indexed. (See Peru Notarial Records for more information.)

The General Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Archivo General del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) has records relating to the post-independence period. It is located at:

Archivo General del Ministerio de Relaciones
Palacio de Torre Tagle
363 Ucayali
Lima, PERU
Telephone: 51-14-27-6750; 51-14-27-3860

This archive has some filing cabinets with colonial records. For information on the records in the Ministry of Foreign Relations, see:

  • Lohmann Villena, Gillermo. “La Sección manuscritos de la Biblioteca del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores del Perú.” in Handbook of Latin American Studies, 1940 (Cambridge, Mass., 1941: 518–520).

The Historical Archive of the Ministry of Property and Commerce (Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Hacienda y Comercio) became the Division of the Ministry of Property (Sección Ministerio de Hacienda) within the National Archives in 1970, but is still housed separately in the Palacio de Justicia:

Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Hacienda y Comercio
Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-40-7120

This archive has two series of records: one dealing with the colonial period and the other dealing with the republican period. The manuscripts of the colonial series are organized into two main groups: the Miscellaneous Collection (Colección Miscelánea) and the St. Mary Collection (Colección Santamaría), which can be accessed through a card catalog. Additional information on the organization and history of the colonial series can be found in:

  • Schwab, Federico. “El Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Hacienda y Comercio del Perú,” in Revista de historia de América, 21 (1946: 29–44).

The National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) contains nine rooms where material for various subjects are stored. The collection of the Hall of Research (Sala de Investigaciones) is very diverse and can be accessed through two card catalogs, one arranged by subject and the other chronologically. A fire in 1943 destroyed a large part of the manuscript collection, but following the catastrophe the surviving documents were thoroughly cataloged. Following is the address of the National Library:

Biblioteca Nacional
Avenida Abancay s/n, cdra. 4
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-7690, 51-14-28-7696
Fax: 51-14-427-7311

The National Library has several large collections that are of particular interest to family historians. It is one of the main repositories for primary documents relating to the military. It has one of the most thorough collections of imprints dating from the independence and republican periods, and has extensive collections of pamphlets and memorias. Other documents of interest are land grants (encomiendas), judicial records (judiciales), succession rights (mayorazgos), chaplaincy records (capellanías), chieftainship records (cacicazgos), immovable property of Lima (propiedad inmóvil de Lima), dowries (dotes), parish registers (registros parroquiales), town council minutes (actas de cabildo), and books of the orders and decrees (libros de cédulas y proviciones). The National Library also has registers of the notaries (escribanos) of Lima, Arequipa, and Cuzco.

To enter the Hall of Research a researcher is required to present two photographs and a letter of recommendation, attend a class on using the library’s collections, and pay a fee.

Other national level repositories also contain records of genealogical value:

Archivo Histórico Militar del Perú

Centro de Estudios Históricos Militares del Perú
Paseo Colón 150 Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-23-0415
Fax: 51-14-23-0415

Archivo Histórico de la Marina

Museo Naval, Ministerio de Marina
Lima, PERÚ

Archivo General de la Corte Superior de Justicia de Lima
Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-4437

Archivo de la Oficina Nacional de Estadística y Censo - ONEC

Lima, PERÚ

Archivo de la Corte Suprema de la República

Palacio de Justicia
Jirón Manuel Cuadros s/n
Cercado de Lima
Lima 1, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-28-3690

Archivo del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos

Avenida Salavery s/n
Lima, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-14-32-2510

Some helpful guides to the archives of Peru are:

  • Gómez Canedo, Lino. Los archivos de la historia de América: período colonial español(The Archives of the History of America: Colonial Spanish Period). México, D.F.: Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia, 1961. (FHL book 980 A3.)
  • Porras Barrenechea, Raúl. Fuenteshistóricas Peruanas(Historical Sources of Peru). Lima, Peru : Instituto Raúl Porras Barrenechea, 1963. (FHL book 985 H2pb.)
  • Research Guide to Andean History: Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1981. (FHL book 980 H27r.) This includes bibliographical references and an index. Peru is listed on pages 206–334.

Church Archives[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church has gathered the early church records from the dioceses into a centralized archive. Six of Lima's seven parishes store their pre-1900 records in the Archive of the Archbishopric of Lima (Archivo Arzobispal de Lima). The address for this archive is incorrectly listed in the FamilySearch research guide for Peru, as the Archives relocated in 2006.  The current address is: 

Archivo Arzobispal de Lima
Calle Luis Espejo 1064
Urb. Santa Catalina
Lima 21, PERÚ
Tel: 471-4738

The Archive of the Archbishop of Lima has documentation since 1543 on visitations (visitas), holy works (obras pias), tithing (diezmos), property, and divorce. Few guides, indexes, or inventories have been published, but in the archive there are several that can be used on site. For information about the archive, see:

  • Vargas Ugarte,Rubén, S.J. “El Archivo Arzobispal de Lima,” in Handbook of Latin American Studies, 1936. (Cambridge, Mass.: 1937), 443–48.

Only a few of the records of the Archive of the Archbishop of Lima have been indexed, and most of the indexes remain unpublished. Parish records, particularly baptisms, are the most likely to be indexed. Additionally, there are eight volumes of indexes of marriage documents (expedientes matrimoniales).

More recent Catholic parish records are kept at the local parish. The diocese keeps the records of parishes that no longer exist. You may write to local parishes and church archives for information. To obtain 20th century documents, you must visit the parish offices and pay a fee.

See Peru Church Directories, Peru Church History, and Peru Church Records for more information.

Department Archives[edit | edit source]

In Peru, a department is a governmental jurisdiction, similar to a county. Each department has its own historical archive separate from those of the national government. They serve as repositories for records pertaining to their particular area. Records of genealogical value at department archives include notarial records; birth, marriage, and death records; census records; some church records; and so forth.

Department archives are located in the department city capitals and are open to the public, with proper identification (libreto electoral or passport) and letters of recommendation. Addresses of the department archives are:

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Arequipa
Calle Quesada No. 102
Arequipa, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-54-22-1908
Archivo Departamental de Ayacucho
Av. Independencia s/n
Centro Cultural Simón Bolívar
2056 Ayacucho, PERÚ
Archivo Histórico Departmental de Cajamarca
Jr. Belén s/n, Conjunto Monumental Belén
Apartado 188
3320 Cajamarca, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departmental de Cuzco

Av. Tullumayo 440 or Avenida de Cultura 760
Cuzco, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Huánuco

Jr. 2 de Mayo No. 680
Apartado 278
Huánuco, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Junín

Av. Sebastián Lorente 1810
Huancayo, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-64-23-3679

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Lambayeque

Av. Victor Raul Hay de la Torre 272 Ub.
Chiclayo/Villareal, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-74-28-2390

Archivo Histórico Departamental de la Libertad

Miquel Estete No 540
Trujillo, La Libertad, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Moquequa

Tarapaca No. 320
Mariscal Nieto s/n
Moquequa, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Piura

Jr. Huancavelica 867
Piura, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-74-71-5255

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Puno

Museo Municipal Dreyer
Conde de Lemos 289
Apartado 640
Puno, PERÚ

Archivo Histórico Departamental de Tacna

Av. Boloqnesi No. 1737
Tacna, PERÚ
Telephone: 51-54-71-5255

Municipal Archives[edit | edit source]

All records created by local governments in Peru, including birth, death, and marriage records, are kept in municipal offices. These offices are comparable to county courthouses and town halls in the United States. Copies of the municipal records are available to the public. For more information about these offices and their records, see Peru Civil Registration.

These archives also house the Libros de Cabildos (minute books), which contain information about local administration, founding of towns, commercial life, markets, sanitation, administration of justice, and social relations. The municipal records of the town of Huamanga are housed in the National Library.

You can get information about the records kept at a particular municipality by writing to the municipal office. See the Family History Library’s Spanish Letter-Writing Guide (36245) for instructions on how to write for genealogical information.

Other Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Other types of repositories may also contain important genealogical records. Contact these libraries and ask about their collection, hours, services, and fees. Proper identification (libreto electoral or passport) and a letter of recommendation may be required. These repositories include:

  • Historical and genealogical societies.
  • Public and academic libraries.
  • Public archives, private archives, business archives, and museums.
  • University archives and libraries.

The oldest continuing university in the Americas is the Major National University of San Marcos (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos):

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
S/n Ciudad Universitaria
Lima, PERÚ
Telephone: 619-7000 ext. 7390

Inventories, Registers, Catalogs[edit | edit source]

Some archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you visit or use the records of an archive so that you can use your time more effectively. These types of records are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under: