Searching for old Dominican public records is not simple.
Prior to 1945 Dominican registry offices were not centrally managed, each registry office had its own unique way of working, and proper care to maintain the well-being of Dominican birth ledgers was not always a priority. Most small towns would only keep one original birth ledger, marriage ledger etc, and nowadays many of these ledgers no longer exist, destroyed by natural disasters, fire, flooding, carelessness and inadequate storage conditions, consequently countless old records have been lost forever.
Many of the surviving ledgers are in such poor shape that their contents are no longer legible. Whilst efforts have often been made over the years to restore old Dominican birth ledgers etc, and the restoration department in the Central Registry Office in Santo Domingo is kept busy with the huge backlog of ledgers awaiting restoration, some registry offices which we have visited, still have files full of old loose dog-eared records or photocopies in disorganized bundles, see below:
A manual search for an old Dominican birth record
The old Dominican public records we are most asked for are:
Old Dominican birth records
Most enquiries we receive regarding old Dominican birth records relate to the period from 1910 to 1935, and most of these enquiries involve the town of San Pedro de Macorís and surrounding areas such as Ramón Santana and San José de los Llanos, in the south east of the Dominican Republic.
San Pedro at the time was a bustling and thriving community, attracting migrants from around the entire Caribbean who came here to work in the booming sugar industry.
Many old birth records from these towns are still intact, but few old birth ledgers have been scanned and computerized, so there is no easy method for searching. This means that for us to undertake a search for an old Dominican birth record, you should give us as much information as possible, such as:
date of birth
place of birth
names of mother and father
To add to the problem, long ago many births were registered years after the births actually took place, so if we are looking for a birth, say, from 1920, it doesn’t suffice to check in the 1920 ledger – assuming it still exists - because the birth may have been declared in 1927, and therefore would be in the same ledger as 1927 births.
Fortunately the cathedral in San Pedro de Macorís over the years has preserved its baptism records so we have often been able to locate baptism records etc at the cathedral, for people for whom the civil registry offices have no birth records.
These original birth records are not so old - from 1965
In conclusion, there’s not much chance we’ll find the birth of your grandmother from 1919, even if the record exists, if you can’t tell us in which town she was born.
It’s also entirely possible that the birth (or marriage, death etc) that you’d like us to search for, was never ever declared to the authorities. Perhaps the birth was only ever registered in the local church when baptism took place. Or perhaps it was never ever declared at all.
If you would like a quotation from us to search for an old Dominican birth record, please complete the fom on this page or write to us at the email address listed below.