Spain, Catastro de Ensenada (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Spain, Catastro de Ensenada, 1749-1756 .
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Record Description
Record Type: Census
Collection years: 1749-1756
Languages: Spanish Castilian
Title in the Language: España, Catastro de Ensenada
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Portal de Archivos Españoles

Record Description

These are census records of the Spanish regions of Andalucía, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, and Murcia. The cadastre registers have been well-preserved. The cadastre generally includes information about the land, the income, the ownership, the assets, the head of household, and the heirs.

These records are written in Spanish; see the section "For Help Reading these Records" for access to translation helps.

This cadastre was created when the country was preparing for a profound fiscal reform. The reform was aimed at improving the state of the Castilian treasury, simplifying the system of contributions, and making the system fairer. The idea was to replace income from the provinces by a single tax, which was intended to be universal and proportional to the wealth of the taxpayers. It was thus necessary to investigate the wealth of the subjects. The cadastre became the official register of the quantity, value, and ownership of real estate used in apportioning taxes.

The cadastre was divided into sections called: Memoriales (Memorials), Respuestas Generales (General Answers), Respuestas Particulares (Personal Answers),Libro de lo Real (Book of Real Estate), Libro de lo Personal o de Cabezas de Casa (Book of Personal Information or Heads of Household), Estados o Resúmenes (Quantitative Summaries). This cadastre is in the form of a register and includes the quantity, value, and ownership of real estate used in apportioning taxes. The Cadastre of the Marquis of Ensenada includes a description of the properties and the population—both the secular and ecclesiastical—throughout the 22 provinces of the Old Crown of Castile, which occupied 70% of the territory of modern-day Spain.

This cadastre is known in Spanish as the “Catastro del Marqués de la Ensenada” and was conducted between 1750 and 1754 by Zenón de Somodevilla y Bengoechea, I Marquis of Esenada. He had been called by King Philip V of Spain as the Secretary of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer (or Minister of Finance) of the Crown of Castile.

Because the cadastre was made for tax purposes, you can learn interesting facts about the towns such as its principal industry, quantity and types of buildings, and how much land was under cultivation by examining the Respuestas generales. The Cadastre of the Marquis of Ensenada was taken by assigned persons; it is a reliable source for research in Spain.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Spain, Catastro de Ensenada, 1749-1756.

Record Content

The books of Real Estate and Personal or Heads of Household may include the following information:

  • Names of property owners
  • Places where properties are located and in some cases the names of neighbors
  • A notation on the title page if there is an index of the people included in the cadastre
  • Sons and daughters that worked on the property
  • Type, measurement, value, and quality of the properties
  • Number of workers
  • Number of heirs

Memoriales de legos o seglares and Personal de legos o seglares may include the following:

  • Names of the head of household as well as the
  • Name of spouse
  • Name(s) of child/children
  • Other people living in the home (could be relatives and servants)

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.

See the sections below for tips and uses for searching and finding the record of your ancestor in this collection and using the information in the record.

If you are unable to find a record for your ancestor in this collection, see the corresponding section below.

Searching the Collection

To search by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse through images" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Province"
⇒Select the "Locality"
⇒Select the "Volume and Section" 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.

When searching:
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. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

Using the 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 residence and names of the parents to locate church records Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records).
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Use the marital status (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage) to identify previous marriages.

Tips to Keep in Mind

Use these records to find the birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial records of your ancestors. Once you find those records compare them to the census to know if you have the right person(s).

If no other vital sources are available, some genealogical information could be found in the books of Memorials (Memoriales) and Personals or Heads of Household (Personales o Cabezas de Casa). These include some vital information of some of the inhabitants for each of the land properties in the census. If Catholic Church records are available, it is suggested that you research those records first.

Generally the ages of the adults are given and often those of children are also included.

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 records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area.

Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Spain, Catastro de Ensenada, 1749-1756." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing Provincial Archives of Albacete, Alicante, Ávila, Badajoz, Cáceres, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Jaén, La Rioja, León, Madrid, Murcia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Toledo, Valladolid, Spain.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Spain, Catastro de Ensenada, 1749-1756.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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