Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España.
This collection of Catholic parish records covers 1500 through 1930. The collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial 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. See the section "For Help Reading these Records" for access to translation helps.
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.
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.
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
- Name and Gender
- Date, Time, and Place of Birth
- 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, Marital Status, and his/her Place of Birth
- Names of Witnesses
- Burial Date and Place
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.
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.
Search the Collection
To search by index:
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.
To search by image:
To browse the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select "Province" category
⇒Select "City or Town" category
⇒Select "Parish" category
⇒Select "Record Type and Years" category
which takes you to the images.
Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. 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, 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 or Latin. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:
- Spanish Genealogical Word List
- Latin Genealogical Word List
- Reading Spanish handwritten records
- Script tutorial for Spanish
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.
- Use the marital status/marriage number (how many times a person was married) 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.
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?
Maybe your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search immigration/emigration records.
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to email@example.com. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
- Spanish Genealogy
- Hispanic Genealogy Blog is written in English.
- Blog de Genealogía Hispaña Blog is written in Spanish.
- Genealogía Española-España GenWeb Website is in Spanish.
Related Wiki Articles
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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, Spain.