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.


There is a Tobago Sub Office located in Scarborough and also various other Sub Offices elsewhere in the country.


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.



1848 - date

(volumes: 1855, 1860 &

1867 are missing)



1848 - date

1848 - date

Marriage Notices,

Banns Notices,

Marriages in Extremis,

1924 - date

1924 - date

1865 - date

Indian Immigration Marriages & Divorces,

Special Marriage Licences

1882 - 1918

1884 - date


On 27 December, 1856, an Act was passed by the Tobago Legislature, which provided for the registration of baptisms,

marriages and burials.


When Tobago became a Ward of Trinidad, the following TOBAGO records of births, deaths and marriages were sent to

the Registrar General’s Department in Port of Spain:



1882 - 1889

Births, Deaths and Marriages

1868 - 1876


1882 - 1897


1840 - 1845, 1882 - 1889


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)


Civil Registry Longer Searches


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.


Documents Required:

Application Form completed - obtainable at above locations

Take ID


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.



Microfilming, Scanning & Digitisation/Indexing of Historic Family Heritage Documents (Trinidad & Tobago)


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