Your Guide to Researching
Filipino Ancestors

Wikipedia's Philippines entry gives you good background infoarmation. Note that for some sub-topics on a page there is a link to a "main article" covering that sub topic. The Main Article will often supplement, but not necessarily include, inforamation on subtopics. So get in the habit of clicking the "main article" links within the separate topics.

Especially important to your research will be the subtopic Administrative Decisions and it's related main article: Administrative Divisions of the Philippines.

The main article Provinces of the Philippines (there are 80) also provides links to information about each province. See also the accompanying map

Outline of this page

* Basic Guides * Family History Library *
* Maps * General websites *
* Websites of Libraries, Archives and Societies * Records *
* Share Research * More Links *

Basic Guides

  • Santiago. The Art of Ancestor Hunting in the Philipines. 1990. (out of print) (find in a library)
  • Vance. Tracing Your Philipine Ancestors 1980. (out of print) (find in a library) this was published in 1980 so will not have web information and changes may now be in effect -- but a good, essential guide.
  • Family History Library. Philippine Research Guide. You will want to bookmark or print this guide out. It will give you an overview of the records available, with special emphasis on what is available from the Family History Library.
  • FamilySearch Resarch Wiki Philippines Portal will take you to a number of pages about Philippine research.

What Records are Available through the Family History Library ?

For a more general guide to using the Family History Library, see this site's Guide to Using the Family History Library and

Use the catalog at the FHL to find out what has been filmed covering the Philippines ; Click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the province you are researching and once you select a province, also click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the township, district or city. You will want to check for resources in all three jurisdictions.

FamilySearchLabs Record Search currently (June 2009) has one Philippine collection available online (an index to selected marriage records; while no images are yet posted, the index gives a substantial amount of information)

On the home page, you can limit your search in the "Search for Your Ancestors" section to search only the Philippines by using the pull down in the "country or region" box to select that location. Remember: this search searches the IGI, Ancestral File etc. It does not search all the materials that have been filmed, although you may find some births and marriages extracted from filmed records in the IGI part of the hits.


For a more general guide to using maps, see this site's Guide to Maps and Places for the Genealogists

General Websites

Visit the Philippines section of the World GenWeb -- warning! it plays music! A more serious problem is that it appears not to have been updated since 2001, so there will be a lot of dead links.

World Vital Records (a subscription database) has a page that gives a brief overview of some country data and advertises a Philippine search engine that "currently searches 90 websites related to doing genealogy in Philippines. " I don't know what websites they are searching, but a browse of the Philippine databases at WVR brings up only one. I would want to know more about the content value of the 90 websites before I paid a subscription for that search.

Visit the websites of these libraries. archives and societies.

Find Source Records in addition to those filmed and available through the Family History Library

Census Records

Church Records: A majority of the people in the Philippines are Catholic in faith.

Emigration, Immigration and Migration



Vital Records: you will check for both church records and civil registration (1899 forward). The Family History Library has filmed a great portion of these records. See also

Work with Other Researchers

Back to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom

This page last updated October 17, 2010