Catholic Church ecclesiastical guides can be lifesavers in research, however, sometimes we don't have access to repositories that have these guides/directories in their collections. Historical guides/directories are the best type to use, but we sometimes have to compromise and improvise.
Las Conferencias Episcopales
When I teach classes about online resources for Central and South American countries I always spend a lot of time on the conferencias episcopales websites. Each country has one, whether we know it or not, and quite often they provide stellar genealogical information. Often times you will find Catholic Church ecclesiastical maps, which show the diocesan and archdiocesan boundaries within a country. My favorite is when the site also lists (with address and other contact information ) the parishes that reside in each dioceses. Some sites, like Costa Rica, will link you to a diocesan/archdiocesan website. In the case of Costa Rica the archdiocesan website for San Jose I found inventories, guides, and other documentation for the diocesan archive.
So how do you find them?
You can find the conferencia espiscopales websites in a couple different ways:
- Go to http://www.google.com
- Search for: conferencia episcopal de [country name].
- Go to: http://www.riial.org/map.htm and click on the country of your choice.
This all depends what you are using the site for...I generally use the sites for determining ecclesiastical boundaries, finding parish contact information, and finding diocesan websites (if they exist) for contact information. Typically I search for the option on the site for "Jurisdicciones" or "Dioceses" then drill down through the site's layers to find the information I need.
I hope you find the conferencia episcopales sites as useful as I have!