Spain, Province of Granada, Catholic Pre-Marriage Investigation Files Index, 1556-1899

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Title in the Language of the Records

España, Provincia de Granada, Expedientes de informaciones matrimoniales, 1556-1899

Record Description

Pre-marriage investigation files are also known as informaciones matrimoniales. Catholic couples wanting to get married in the Catholic Church had to go through an investigation process to prove that the couple was in good standing in the Church, and that they did not have any canonical impediments.

Record Content

The pre-marriage investigation file can consist of several parts. It includes an introduction that states the intent of marriage and sometimes the date of the banns, which were opportunities for anyone to come forward and give any reasons why the couple should not be married. The marriage banns were announced on three separate occasions.

The file also includes personal information on the bride and groom such as:

  • their names, ages, marital status, and place of residence
  • parents’ names, and sometimes birthplace and grandparents’ names.
  • If this was a second marriage for one of them, the document gives the name of the deceased spouse and the length of time the spouse had been deceased.
  • If one was from another parish, the documents from that person’s home parish showing good standing are enclosed. These documents can include baptismal records and indicate when the banns were published in another parish.

The pre-marriage investigation file may also show a dispensation (that is, exemption from restriction of marriage) for the fourth degree of consanguinity (blood relationship) or affinity (related through marriage) , indicating the that bride and groom were related. If this was the case, genealogical graphs and interesting biographical information about the families involved is included, sometimes giving you a line of ascent up to the common progenitors.

Following this information, two to four witnesses who testified of the good standing of the bride and groom are listed. Information may include the witnesses’ personal information and how long they knew the bride or groom. The witnesses may have been related to the bride or groom.

The pre-marriage investigation file is sometimes three or four pages long, but some may be longer. Generally a note at the end of the document lists the date of marriage if the couple were married or a note indicating they did not marry.

How to Use the Record

If you find your ancestor in the Pre-Marriage Investigation Files Index you should order and view the microfilm from which the indexed information was extracted. The film number appears on the expanded indexed results. Please see the section below on Finding for the original record to help you locate the file on the microfilm.

Search the Collection

You can search the collection from the Search page of To go directly to search this specific collection Click here.

For Help Reading These Records

There are several tools that can help you to read the records. If you are having difficulty reading the handwriting you may want to try one of these resources:

Reading Spanish Handwriting online classes:

Lesson 1 - The Spanish Alphabet

Lesson 2 - Words and Dates

Lesson 3 - Reading Spanish Records

The site has online tutorials, word lists, abbreviations, and many samples of handwriting.

If you don't speak Spanish, you may want to try one of the following resources:

Google Translate is a website where you can type the words in Spanish on the left side of the screen and on the right side of the screen you can see the English translation. It is a machine translation so it may not be perfect but you can get the general idea of the meaning of phrases and sentences as well as individual words.

Spanish Genealogical Word List

Using the Information

The genealogical information found in the original pre-marriage investigation files can help you to extend your family tree and find new ancestors. It is very important that you read carefully through the entire file to discover what clues might be found in the file.

Tips to Keep in Mind

The most important tip for using these records is to make sure you always view the original pre-marriage investigation file. The original file has a wealth of information that does not appear in the index.

If you have trouble locating the original file on the microfilm, please read carefully the instructions on Finding the original record on this page.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

If you are not finding your ancestor and believe he or she should be in the index, try a variety of search paramaters. Try searching using only surnames.

If your ancestor does not appear in the index, they may have married in a different province. Try searching the records of nearby provinces.

Finding the Original Record

If you find an indexed record in the collection, it is very important that you view the entire original marriage information file. Finding the file on microfilm can be a bit of a challenge. We have a few easy steps for you to follow to help you locate the record faster.

Let’s say you have found this record of your ancestor, Blas Jose Morales Fernandez who married Ana Josefa Puerta Molina on 6 September 1851. See the link below for the indexed record.

According to the record the file can be found on image 19. The images on the films do not have number. The numbers refer to the individual packets as they are located on the film. Therefore, image 19 for Blas can be found in the 19th file on the microfilm.

So what happens if your ancestor is found in image 251? If you don’t feel like counting each packet, or if you are counting and lose track, we’ve developed these steps to help you figure out where you are in the microfilm. Once you’ve found your record, follow these steps to locate the original marriage information file in the microfilm.

  1. Go to and click on Search > Records.
  2. Click on Film Number and enter your film number in the corresponding field.
  3. Click on Search.
  4. To determine which image number you are at in a film, in the results page enter the name of the groom for the record you are viewing and click again on Search.
  5. Find the record for the couple you are viewing.
  6. Click on the name of the groom and note the image number.

Use this information to determine where you are in the microfilm.

Known Issues with This Collection

Related Wiki Articles

Spain Catholic Church Records

Spain Marriages

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.

Citation for This Collection:

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in 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. : accessed 2014. Citing Diocesan Archives, Granada, Spain.