Mexico, Puebla, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Mexico, Puebla, Catholic Church Records, 1545-1970 .
Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Paroquiales del Estado de Puebla, México
Separate books were kept for baptism, confirmation, marriage banns, marriage, and burial or death records. However, in smaller areas, all records may be recorded on one register. The entries were normally made in chronological order. In smaller parishes, most of the marriage banns (informaciones matrimoniales) were included in the marriage entry. In larger parishes, these records may be registered separately. In smaller parishes, the confirmations may have been included with the baptisms or even with marriages. In larger parishes, a separate book of confirmations was usually maintained.
The records are in relatively fair condition, with the exception of some older records that may be damaged, and therefore hard to read or missing some information. Most of the older records are handwritten in narrative style and follow a common text with some variations depending on the style used by the priest. Newer records are handwritten in formatted registers; some are even written in ledger style registers.
After the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, Catholic priests began going from one place to another baptizing most of the population. By order of the Queen of Spain, priests began keeping a record of all the sacramental ordinances performed. The registers hold records of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials and other ecclesiastical documents. Most often, the different types of ordinances are recorded separate volumes. The records are written in narrative style, and in more recent years, are handwritten in formatted records. The registers were created and kept by the priest. Later, as the church grew in numbers, the registers were kept at the parish, and a copy was sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.
Catholic priests established parishes starting in 1521. In 1527, the Roman Catholic Church established dioceses in Tlaxcala and Mexico City. It was only in the late 19th century that other religious groups began establishing congregations in Mexico.
Parishes were local congregations that may have included smaller villages within their boundaries. A large city may contain several parishes. The parishes had jurisdiction over both vice parishes (vice parroquias) and chapelries (feligresias). Multiple parishes (parroquias) were under the jurisdiction of a diocese. The highest level of local government in the Catholic Church is the archdiocese (arquidiócesis), which is made up of several dioceses.
In 1995, the Catholic Church in Mexico had 14 archdioceses; 58 dioceses; 5,345 parishes; and 1,611 chapelries (sub-parishes). Together they hold a great number of records. For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
This collection of parish records for the State of Puebla includes the years 1545 to 1970.
Authorized Catholic priests created separate parish registers to record the church sacraments of baptism (bautismo), confirmation (confirmación), marriage (casamiento o matrimonio), and burial (defunción o entierro) at the parish level.
Catholic Church parish registers are a reliable source of information for family history research, and the primary source for baptism, marriage, and death records in Mexico prior to 1859. Catholic Church parish records after 1859 can be used to complement information found in civil registers.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Archbishoprics and Dioceses in Puebla. Mexico, Puebla, Catholic church records. Archivo de la Arquidiócesis de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.
Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
The key genealogical facts found in most baptism records are:
- Date of baptism
- Place of the event and usually the parish saint name
- Name of the person being baptized
- Names of the parents
- Age of the person being baptized or the person’s birth date
- Before 1820, social class of the parents
- Sometimes the person’s race
The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:
- Date of marriage
- Place of the event and usually the parish saint name
- Names of the betrothed
- Names of the parents
- Names of the witnesses
- Ages and marital statuses of the betrothed
- Places of origin and residence of the betrothed and sometimes that of the parents
- Legitimacy of the betrothed
- Sometimes the race of the betrothed
The key genealogical facts found in most burial or death records are:
- Date of death or burial
- Place of burial or death
- Name of the deceased person
- Sometimes the names of the parents or the spouse, if the deceased was married
- Age of the deceased person at time of death
- Place of residence or origin of the deceased person
- Sometimes the race of the deceased
How to Use the Records
In most cases, Mexican Catholic parish registers are the only records before 1859 that identify individuals, parents, and spouses. After this date, civil authorities began registering vital statistics (nacimientos, matrimonies, y defunciones) that by law include people of all religions. The information in civil sources confirms and supplements the information in church records. Be sure to search both the parish and civil records after 1860.
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The place where the event occurred
- The name and surname of the person
- The approximate date of the event
- The name of the parents or spouse
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.
- 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.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the 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 marriage number 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.
Keep in mind:
- The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
Known Issues with This Collection
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- Mexico, Puebla, Catholic Church Records, 1545-1970
- Mexico Catholic Church
- Cyndi's List - Mexico Catholic Church Record Links
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Citation Examples for a Record Found in This Collection
“Mexico, Puebla, Catholic Church Records, 1545-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 22 June 2012), Los Reyes > Santo Reyes > Bautismos 1892-1921 > Image 111 of 379; entry for Jose Emeterio Gregorio baptized on 13 March 1896; citing Parroquia de los Santos Reyes, Puebla, Mexico.