CIVIL REGISTRATION (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO)
In the early stages of family history research, the two groups of records which may yield the most information in Trinidad
and in Tobago are the civil registration records and the various church registers.
It will be necessary, therefore, to visit the Civil Registry, which is part of the Registrar General’s Department, located on
South Quay, and apply for any birth, marriage and death certificates that you do not have.
The Civil Registry in Port-of-Spain, holds the TRINIDAD civil records of births, marriages and deaths from 1848. The
following records are taken from a 1965 report by the Government Archivist, at the time, Enos Sewlal.
On 27 December, 1856, an Act was passed by the Tobago Legislature, which provided for the registration of baptisms,
marriages and burials.
the Registrar General’s Department in Port of Spain:
It is not known whether all the above Tobago records survive.
When trying to obtain copies of some older records, even if full, accurate information is provided
from another documentary source, there may, nevertheless, be ‘no trace’.
Clearly, even for the Government search clerks, there is no list of those years and areas
where the registers are permanently lost.
Consequently, money can be wasted in these vain attempts to obtain certificates.
Civil Registry Standard Searches
Births, Deaths and Marriages, Adoption and Muslim Divorce Records: Search
Cost: TT$12.50 per entry
Births, Deaths and Marriages, Adoption and Muslim Divorce Certificates: Copies
Cost: TT$12.50 per entry
The Registrar General will a) search and b) provide a certificate (one name) for TT$25.00.
TT$12.50 (Search) and TT$12.50 (Certificate)
If you do not have sufficient information, eg dates, names, or localities, it is worth remembering that the TT$12.50 is only for a
3-year search and if you wish to pay for a longer search, this must be made clear, at the outset. For example, a 6-year search
will cost TT$25.00; 9-year search TT$37.50. If the 3-year search is successful, then you pay an additional TT$12. 50 for the
certificate, for which you will need to wait a further 5 days.
There are Civil Registry Indexes but, surprisingly,
they can only be consulted by the Government search clerks.
To date, they have NOT been made available for use by members of the public.
Searches and copy certificates can ordered and obtained at the above locations of the Registrar General Department.
Application Form completed - obtainable at above locations
Time-frame for delivery:
Registration House - 5 working days
San Fernando and Arima - 10 working days
Tobago - 3 working days
It should be noted that the procedures for obtaining birth, marriage & death certificates
are very bureaucratic and time consuming.