Spain, Municipal Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article contains countrywide information about various collections. See the FamilySearch Historical Records Collections to learn more about each individual locality, and to access the records.

Contents

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Municipales de España

Record Description

The Spanish Municipal Records include 23 collections ranging from 1319 to 1956. It contains civil registration, census, military drafts, and other records microfilmed and digitized at municipal archives in Spain.

Civil registration

Separate registers were maintained for births, marriages, and deaths. Civil registration was established with the provisional law of Civil Registration in 1870. The Municipal Civil Registries are under the responsibility of the municipal judge.

Civil registration records are usually handwritten, though, new records are on a printed form. There are generally two records per page and they follow a chronological order. Before 1870, civil registrations were created with the information from church parish registers.

See also Spain Civil Registration - Vital Records

Census records

Municipal censuses in Spain were created for different purposes, such as for elections, military draft, taxing, municipal administration, and other purposes. These censuses are an administrative register where inhabitants of a municipal area are listed.

The titles of each census differs according to the administrative need of the municipality throughout the centuries, such as the Censo de los pecheros created in the early 1500s, which excluded the nobility; the Averiguaciones de alcabalas created for taxing purposes in the latter part of the 1500s; the well-known Catastro del Marqués de la Ensenada performed between 1749 and 1753; the Censo de Aranda carried out by the Catholic Church parishes; the Censo de Floridablanca created in the latter part of the 1700s to record all the inhabitants; and the Censo de población started in 1857 for statistical purposes. The National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística) has been the organization in charge of the census since 1945. However, the municipal census (padrón municipal) differs from the population census (Censo de población) in that it is an administrative tool used by the municipality to establish proof of address and residence within the municipality boundaries.

At the time of any census, all people living in Spain were to be registered in the census that took place in their municipal area of residence. If a person failed to be registered in the census or submitted false information, the person was subject to legal sanctions. However, some errors, omissions, or duplications can be found in these records. Overall, the information listed in the records is quite reliable for genealogical research.

See also Spain Census.

Military Records

Military service was required for all males turning 21 years of age every year. In order to recruit males, a draft called "Quinta" was issued yearly by the municipal office of each area. The proceedings for each male drafted was created in an individual file containing a vast documentation (See the description of the records section.).

Municipal military draft records were carried out almost every year to fill in the conscript quota since the voluntary service had declined. The process for the draft was long; it included first the preparation of a list of all men in age for the draft, then approval, sorting of men, notifications, exemptions, medical exam, etc.

The military records are reliable records for genealogical research when other vital records cannot be found. However, these documents are not listed in any specific order and are therefore more difficult to search by names or dates.

See also Spain Military Records

Hidalguías

Some municipalities kept records of hidalgos called hidalguías. Hidalguía refers to nobility status of hidalgo or hijodalgo or someone of untitled nobility. The literal translation means “son of something.” Being hidalgo gave a male citizen certain rights and privileges of which the most important was immunity from the payment of taxes. It also required military service. Prior to 1831 only hidalgos could serve as military officers. There are two common types of records found in hidalguías; censuses of hidalgos and genealogical information reports (informaciones genealógicas) or purity of blood reports (limpiezas de sangre). Joining a military or fraternal order or holding local public office required proof of hidalguía which is why these records were kept on file in the local municipality. Often the genealogical information traces the direct line genealogy for several generations. Being a hidalgo was not always synonymous with wealth. In some areas they were ordinary laborers. For this reason even if you don’t believe your family was wealthy it would still be important to check these records.

Record Content

The information in each record varies by year. Some provinces of Spain created more detailed records than others.

Spain Malaga City Civil Registration (09-0082) Birth DGS 4458418 208.jpg

Birth records may contain the following information:

  • Place of registration
  • Name of child
  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents’ names and place of origin
  • Paternal grandparents’ names and place of origin
  • Maternal grandparents’ names and place of origin
  • Place, date, and/or parish of baptism
Spain Jerez de la Frontera City Civil Registration (09-0090) Marriage DGS 4458406 898.jpg

Marriage records usually contain the following:

  • Place and date of registration
  • Name of groom
  • Groom’s place of origin
  • Groom’s age
  • Groom’s marital status
  • Groom’s occupation
  • Name of bride
  • Bride’s place of origin
  • Bride’s age
  • Bride’s marital status
  • Place of their residence
  • Parish name and date of their religious wedding
  • Groom’s parents' names, their place of origin, and occupation of father
  • Bride’s parents' names, their place of origin, and occupation of father
Spain Granada Civil Registration (09-0313) Death DGS 4460270 9.jpg

Death records generally contain:

  • Place and date of death
  • Name of deceased person
  • Deceased's place of origin
  • Deceased's age at time of death
  • Deceased's marital status
  • Deceased's occupation
  • Cause of death
  • If deceased left a will
  • Deceased place of residence
  • Place of burial
  • Parents’ names and their place of origin
  • Father’s occupation
Spain Municipal Census 1897 DGS 4171940 9.jpg

Municipal census records may contain the following:

  • Complete name
  • Gender
  • Place and date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Address
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • Sometimes the education level
  • Sometimes the names of the spouse and children
Spain Municipal Records Military Draft DGS 4541420 528.jpg

Military draft records usually contain:

  • Complete name
  • Birth date or age
  • Place of origin
  • Occupation
  • Parents' names
  • Marital status
  • Medical and physical condition
  • Literacy
  • Religion
  • Body measurements for the uniforms
  • Other notifications, rectifications, licenses, correspondence, etc.

How to Use the Record

Some record sets have indexes; these indexes were created at the end of the year. Copy errors could have been made in the index, so you want to find the actual record to verify the information is correct. Using the index is a helpful way to find the actual record.

See the sections below for tips and uses for searching and finding the record of your ancestor in this collection and using the information in the record.

If you are unable to find a record for your ancestor in this collection, see the corresponding section below.

Search the Collection

Some of the collections are searchable by index while others can only be searched by browsing through the images. Each of the collections listed in the section "FamilySearch Historical Records Collections" will identify whether it is an indexed or browse collection with respective search instructions.

Be advised that you will need to compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Spanish. For help reading the records, see the following wiki article:

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about other people listed in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors, such as:

  • Use the parents' names to locate any children.
  • Search for the parents' marriage. If their age is not given, estimate it and search for their baptismal record.
  • Continue to repeat this process for each ancestor.
  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church records Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records).
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the province. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other provinces.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Use the marital status (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage) to identify previous marriages.
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.

Tips to Keep in Mind

When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct, and check for variant spellings of the names.

For death records, the information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon the knowledge of the informant.

Regarding marriage and death records, name changes, shortened names, or nicknames may have been used by your ancestors, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record.

Military and census records are good supplements to vital records, but it is always best to find the birth, marriage, and death record of your ancestor to know for sure the date and place of each event and the relationships.

Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

A boundary change could have occurred that changed where records were kept. If you are unable to find your ancestor(s) in the civil registers of one province, then try searching in the provinces or even countries neighboring that province.

In the event that your ancestor immigrated to another country, search the immigration/emigration records:

Spain Emigration and Immigration

Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable.

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  • This page was last modified on 10 July 2014, at 21:04.
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