Spain, Diocese of Ávila, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Parroquiales de la Diócesis Católica de Ávila, España.
Collection Time Period
This collection of Catholic Church parish records of the Diocese of Avila, Spain, covers the years from 1502 to 1978.
This collection contains digital copies of records of baptisms, marriages, and burials of the parish of the Diocese of Avila in Spain and includes an index of records of several parishes in the diocese. Additional indexed data will be added as they become available. Some of the parish records from Avila have been preserved well, but others 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 and are separated from other registers by years. Confirmations were usually recorded with the baptismal registers, but can also be found with deaths and marriages. Generally, entries were created in chronological order. Early registers may have some ecclesiastical documents written in Latin. The text of the records is in Spanish.
Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church baptismal records include:
- Date and place of the event
- Name of person baptized
- When and where the child was born or age at time of baptism
- If legitimate or illegitimate
- Parents' names, residence, and/or place of birth
- Names of maternal/paternal grandparents and names of godparents
Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church marriage records include:
- Date and place of the event
- Complete maiden name of the bride and name of groom
- Civil statuses (widowed, single, divorced) at the time of the event
- Place and date of birth of the couple (natural of)
- Parents' names, residence, and/or place of birth (natural of)
- Sometimes, the parent’s civil status
- Names of witnesses
Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church death records include:
- Date and place where the person died
- Name of the deceased, age or birth date, and place of birth
- Cause of death (illness, accident, senility, etc.)
- Residence of the deceased
- Sometimes will mention the deceased parents' names and their origin
- Testament information (Testaments will include the name of the children, deceased civil status (widowed, single, divorce), and name and place of birth of the spouse)
How to Use the Records
The Catholic parish records are an excellent source for genealogical research in Spain. These may also be the only records available for Spanish research before civil registration was implemented in 1871. 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 records 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.
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; however, the older records were centralized in the diocesan archive, as it is done currently. Catholic parish records cover 95 to 100% of a city’s population. This collection only includes the parish records that were centralized into the diocesan archive.
Why the Record Was Created
Spanish Catholic parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, deaths, burials, and other ordinances.
Catholic Church parish records are a reliable source for doing Spanish genealogical research.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from the 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 do 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 in found in the Wiki Article: Help: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in this Collection
- “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
- “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.
Sources of Information for This Collection
Spain. Diocese of Avila, Spain. Various Catholic Church parish archives, Province of Avila, Spain. Catholic Church parish records, 1502-1975. Avila Diocesan Historical Archive, Avila, Spain.
Original recordss are housed in different parish archives throughout the Province of Avila, Spain.
Detailed instructions for adding citations are also listed in the wiki article: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
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