Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Spain, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Spain
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Record Description
Record Type: Catholic Church Records
Collection years: 1307-1985
Languages: Spanish Castilian
Title in the Languages: Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Catholic Church Records, Spain



What is in the Collection?

This collection of Catholic parish records covers 1307 through 1985. The collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial records from the dioceses of Avila, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Rodrigo, Gerona, Lugo, Murcia, and Segovia.

The records are written in Spanish or Latin. see the section "For Help Reading These Records" for links to translation help guides.

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.

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.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Spain, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985.

Collection Content

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
  • Legitimacy
  • 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 birthplaces
  • Bride's name and age
  • Bride's civil status and residence
  • Bride's birthplace
  • Names of bride's parents and their birthplaces
  • 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 Do I Search the Collection?

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.

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.

Searching the Collection

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
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.

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. This link describes the history and content of 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.

For 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, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Paróquias Católicas, Spain [Catholic Church parishes, 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, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985.


How You Can Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki

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