Spain, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Spain, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Cantabria, Spain
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Location of Cantabria, Spain
Record Description
Record Type: Catholic Church Records
Collection years: 1538-1985
Languages: Spanish Castilian
Title in the Language: Registros Católicos de la Diócesis de Santander, España
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Roman Catholic Diocese of Santander

What is in the Collection?

This collection includes digital copies of records of baptisms, marriages, and burials of the parishes of the Diocese of Santander in Spain from 1538-1985 . Some records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection.

These records are written in Spanish., but some may be in Latin; see the section "For Help Reading These Records" for links to translation help guides.

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 these records have been preserved relatively well, but some older entries may have some damage.

The Diocese of Santander contained the most important documents in the province. During the war of 1936, a large part of the records were destroyed. What was left of the records was transported to the Papelera de Arangueren to be preserved on paper.

Additional indexed records will be published as they become available.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Spain, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985.

Collection Contents

Baptism records may include the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Name and gender
  • Legitimacy to parents (whether biological or adopted)
  • Date of birth or age
  • Parents’ names, their residence and origin
  • Names of paternal grandparents, their residence and origin
  • Names of maternal grandparents, their residence and origin
  • Names of godparents’, their residence and origin
  • Names of witnesses

Confirmation records usually include the following:

  • Name and gender
  • Age or birth date
  • Parents' names
  • Date and place of confirmation
  • Names of godparents

Marriage records usually include:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name and age
  • Groom's marital status and origin
  • Names of groom's parents, their residence and origin
  • Bride's name and age
  • Bride's marital status and origin
  • Names of bride's parents, their residence and origin
  • Names of witnesses’ and their origin

Burial records usually include:

  • Name, gender, and age of deceased (keep in mind that the records of women may be filed under their married name)
  • Date, time and place of death
  • Marital status, residence, and origin of deceased
  • Name of the spouse if married
  • Names of parents if a minor
  • Cause of death
  • Burial date and place

The information in each record may vary by year.

Sample Images

How Do I Search the Collection?

Some record sets have indexes; these indexes were created at the end of the year. Copy errors, altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors (if the information was scanned) 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 quick and 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

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
To search the collection, you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Province" category
⇒Select the "City or Town" category
⇒Select the "Parish" category
⇒Select the "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.

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 or Latin. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

What Do I Do Next?

  • 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 to find each of the couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil records Spain Civil Registration - Vital 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 province. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other provinces.
  • 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 (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage) to identify previous marriages.
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

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.

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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, Now What?

Maybe your ancestor immigrated to another country. Search immigration/emigration records Spain Emigration and Immigration.

Civil registration records (birth, marriage, and death records) are also a good substitute for when a church record cannot be found Spain Civil Registration - Vital Records.\

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, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Diocesan Archives, Santander, 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, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985.

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.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.