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Contents

Why Use Gazetteers?

A gazetteer is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers list or describe towns and villages, parishes and ayuntamientos (municipalities), states, populations, rivers and mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published. Within a specific geographical area, the place-names are listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary.

You can use a gazetteer to locate the places where your family lived and to determine the civil and church jurisdictions over those places. For example, if you were to look for Nalió, the gazetteer would mention that it is a community in the ayuntamiento of Grado, found in the province of Oviedo. Since Nalió is part of the ayuntamiento of Grado civil registration Spain Civil Registration records for Nalió would be found in the records of Grado.

There are many places in Spain with similar or identical place-names. You will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town where your ancestor lived, the province the town was or is in, and the jurisdictions where records about the person were kept.

Gazetteer Contents

Gazetteers may also provide additional information about towns, such as:

  • The different religious denominations.
  • The schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Major manufacturers, canals, docks, and railroad stations.
  • Some gazetteers contain historical information and biographical information on some individuals (usually high ranking individuals).

Gazetteers

Pascual Madoz, Diccionario geográfico-estadístico-histórico de España y sus posesiones de ultramar (Madrid: P. Madoz, 1848-1850). FHL INTL 946 E5m.

This gazetteer is also available online through the Biblioteca Virtual Andalucía:

Please note that the text is in Spanish.

Other Resources

There are many other gazetteers besides that of Pascual Madoz you can find them by using online catalogs such as the Family History Library Catalog or WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/

To find additional gazetteers for Spain in the Family History Library Catalog follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Family History Library Catalog
  2. Click on: Place Search
  3. Enter: Spain in the first box, and leave the second box empty.
  4. Click on: Spain
  5. Click on: Spain - Gazetteers

Note: The entries that have been microfilmed can be ordered and sent to your local FamilySearch Center.

To find a FamilySearch center near your home use this link: FamilySearch Centers

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