Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Contents

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España.

Record Description

This collection of Catholic parish records covers 1500 through 1930. The collection includes records from the dioceses of Avila, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Rodrigo, Gerona, Lugo, Murcia, and Segovia. The Spain, Granada, Pre-Marriage Investigation Index covers 1556-1899.

Most of the records were handwritten in narrative style. In later years, the records may be handwritten in formatted registers. Entries were created in chronological order with the exception of a few entries. Early registers may have some ecclesiastical wording written in Latin, but the main language of the records is Spanish.

Parish priests performed the baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, and other holy sacraments in their assigned parish or parishes. All the original parish records were kept in the parish archive, and a duplicate copy was and is centralized in the corresponding diocesan archive. Most of the parish records in Spain have been preserved relatively well, but some older entries may have some damage.

Usually separate registers were maintained for baptisms, marriages, and deaths. However, in localities with a small population, the records of baptisms, marriages, and burials were recorded in the same register. Confirmations were usually recorded with the baptismal registers but can also be found with deaths and marriages.

For a list of records by localities currently published in the Spain, Catholic Church records, 1500-1930 collection, select the Browselink from the collection landing page.

Record Content

The Catholic Church parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, death and burial, and other ordinances pertaining to members within the church jurisdiction. Thus, they are a reliable source for doing genealogical research in Spain.

The Catholic parish records are an excellent source for genealogical research in Spain. These may also be the only records available for vital information research before civil registration was implemented in 1871.

Baptismal records usually contain the following information:
  • Date and place of baptism, including name of parish
  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's date, time and place of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Names of paternal grandparents and their residence
  • Names of maternal grandparents and their residence
  • Names of godparents
  • Names of witnesses
Marriage records usually contain the following information:
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name and age
  • Groom's civil status and residence
  • Groom's birthplace
  • Names of groom's parents and their birthplace
  • Bride's name and age
  • Bride's civil status and residence
  • Bride's birthplace
  • Names of bride's parents and their birthplace
  • Names of witnesses
Burial records usually contain the following information:
  • Date, time and place of death (keep in mind that records for women may be filed under their married name)
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Residence and civil status of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Spouse's name, if married and his/her place of birth
  • Names of witnesses
  • Burial information

How to Use the Record

To begin your search you should know the following:

  • The person’s name.
  • The approximate location of an event.
  • An approximate time frame of an event.

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Search the Collection

To search the collection using the index:

  • Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches.
  • 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

Using the Information

  • 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 birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land 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 county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use the marital status/marriage number (how many times a person was married) to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.
  • 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 and the record of you ancestor is now in a neighboring state or region, or your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search the records of nearby areas or immigration/emigration records.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Spanish or Latin. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

Known Issues with This Collection

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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

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When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection:

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Spain, Granada Catholic Pre-Marriage Investigation Files Index, 1556-1899." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Archivo Diocesano de Granada.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 14 April 2014, at 18:47.
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