Difference between revisions of "Mérida, Venezuela Genealogy"

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(Added "Others and Miscellaneous" to the List Thingy)
m (Text replacement - ":'''"Bautismos"''' are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. '''"Matrimonios"''' are marriages. ''' "Óbitos"''' are deaths. '''"Índice"''' is the index. " to "'''Bautismos''' are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. '''Información matrimonial''' are documents collected in preparation for a marriage. '''Matrimônios'''' are marriages. '''Defunciones''' are deaths. '''Entierros''' are burials'". Índice''' is the index.")
 
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[[Venezuela|Venezuela]] [[Mérida|Mérida]]
+
''[[South America]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Venezuela Genealogy|Venezuela]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] Mérida<br>
 +
{{Venezuela-sidebar}}
 +
Guide to '''Mérida ancestry, family history and genealogy:''' birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records. 
  
{| width="100%" cellspacing="10" cellpadding="5" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
+
'''Most of your genealogical research for Mérida will be in two main record types: civil registration and church records. This article will teach you methods for locating and searching these two record groups.'''
|-
+
<br>
| valign="top" style="padding-bottom: 0pt; margin: 0pt; padding-left: 0pt; padding-right: 0pt; padding-top: 0pt" | <div style="width: 74%; float: right">
+
==Knowing Your Locality==
[Description of the state]
+
*You will need to know the '''town where your family lived''' and district and province.  [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/VE/ '''Directory of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Venezuela'''] will explain for each town and city its geographical jurisdictions.
 +
*For extremely small locations, you may need to use [https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009863158 '''Nomenclador de centros poblados, total nacional: XII censo general de población y vivienda'''].<br>
 +
*Google Maps and Wikipedia might also help.
 +
==Civil Registration==
 +
*Civil registration records are government records covering birth, marriage, and death. They are an excellent source of names, dates, places, and relationships. <br>
 +
*Civil authorities began registering births, marriages, and deaths in 1873.
 +
=== 1. Online Digital Records for Civil Registration ===
 +
For many localities, digital copies of civil registration can be searched online:
 +
*'''1873-2003''' - {{RecordSearch|1823609|Venezuela Civil Registration, 1873-2003}} — at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch Historical Records],  free, '''index''', not complete for all localities. Also available at [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60207 '''Ancestry.com'''], which can be searched for free at [[Family History Centers|'''Family History Centers''']]. Frequently, the Ancestry search engine is more powerful.
 +
*'''1873-2003''' - [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=M8JY-5Z3%3A159737401%3Fcc%3D1823609 Venezuela, Mérida, Civil Registration, 1873-2003] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch Historical Records] — free, '''browseable images only''', not complete for all localities.
 +
:'''"Nascimientos"''' are births. '''"Matrimonios"''' are marriages. ''' "Defunciones"''' are deaths.
  
== General Information  ==
+
=== 2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records Searched at a Family History Center ===
 +
If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to find them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be viewed at [https://familysearch.org/locations/ Family History Centers] around the world. To find a microfilm:
  
<br>Mérida is located in the western region of the country, bordering the north are the states Trujilo and Zulia, on the south by the states of Barinas and Tachira, on the east by the state of Barinas and west by the states of Zulia and Tachira.  
+
:::a. Click on this link to see a list of [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=215465&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Venezuela%2C%20M%C3%A9rida%22 '''records for Venezuela, Mérida'''].
 +
:::b. Click on '''"Places within Venezuela, Mérida"''' and a list of towns and cities will open.
 +
:::c. Click on the '''town or city''' you wish to search.
 +
:::d. Click on '''"Civil Registration"''' topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
 +
:::e. Choose the correct '''event and time period''' for your ancestor. 
 +
:::f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
 +
:::[[File:FHL icons.png|100px]] <br>The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm. Clicking on the microfilm reel will lead to information on how to rent the film. Family History Center staff will assist you in ordering the film.
  
<br>
+
=== 3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates===
  
The Merida Province belonged to the Viceroyalty of New Granada from its origin to 1777, when it became part of the Captaincy General of Venezuela, along with the Province of Maracaibo. Upon dissolution of the Gran Colombia and Venezuela formed an independent republic in the year 1830, the Province of Mérida was formed by the corners of Mérida, Mucuchíes, Ejido, Bailadores, La Grita, San Cristobal and San Antonio del Táchira.  
+
Civil registration records are kept at the local civil registration office in each municipality. You must determine the town where your ancestor lived before you can find the records. A civil registration district may include several towns or a small section of a large city. In addition to the town, you need to know an approximate year in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.'''''This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.'''''
 +
<br>
  
<br>  
+
Use this address as a guide,  replacing the information in parentheses:<br>
  
By act of Congress of Venezuela in March 14, 1856, the Province of Tachira arises, comprising the counties of San Cristobal, La Grita, San Antonio and Lobatera, belonging to the province of Merida.  
+
:'''Oficino del Registro Civil'''
 +
:'''(street name, number)'''
 +
:'''(city or town), Mérida'''
 +
:'''([http://ven.postcodequery.com/MWpr.html postal code])'''
 +
:'''Venezuela'''<br>
 +
<br>
 +
*[http://ven.postcodequery.com/MWpr.html '''Find the Venezuela postal code here.''']
  
<br>
+
'''Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this [https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/a/aa/LWGSpanish.pdf Spanish Letter-writing Guide] to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish. Send the following when requesting information:'''
  
By the Constitution of 1891, the old Merida and Trujillo and Tachira states formed the Great State of Los Andes, Merida whose capital was the law of the Constituent Assembly held in Timotes. This union lasted until 1899, when he dissolved the state of Mérida Andes and was limited to the terms he had before as an independent state. The Constitution of August 5, 1909, among the twenty states of Mérida figure, then there was no political and administrative change in Mérida.<br><br>  
+
*Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
 +
*Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
 +
*Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
 +
*Approximate date and place of the event
 +
*Your relationship to the ancestor
 +
*Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
 +
*Request for a photocopy of the complete original record <br>
  
== Si usted entiende español  ==
 
  
Le invitamos a buscar información en español en la página de [https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/es/M%C3%A9rida Mérida] en el wiki de FamilySearch español. También le invitamos a compartir información útil allí:&nbsp; [https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/es/M%C3%A9rida https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/es/Mérida]<br>  
+
<br>
  
== Research Tools  ==
+
== Church Records==
 +
*Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for finding genealogical information of birth, death, and marriage in Ecuador prior to 1873, when the civil registration was implemented.
 +
*Parish registers include baptism, confirmation, marriage and death records.
 +
*All the records were registered and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. One register was generally kept at the parish archive and another copy sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.
  
*[[Parishes of Venezuela]]
+
=== 1. Online Digital Records for Church Records ===
*[http://net.lib.byu.edu/fslab/researchoutlines/LatinAmerica/Venezuela.pdf BYU Research Outline for Venezuela]
+
For some localities, digital copies of Catholic church records can be searched online:
*Listing of all [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/list#page=1&countryId=1927137 records collections for Venezuela] available on FamilySearch.org
+
*'''1577-1995''' - {{RecordSearch|1951777|Venezuela, Catholic Church Records, 1577-1995}} — free, '''index''', not complete for all localities.
 +
*'''1577-1995''' - [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=MQ6C-5Z9%3A376112601%3Fcc%3D1951777 Mérida, Venezuela, Catholic Church Records, 1577-1995] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch Historical Records] — free, '''browseable images only''', not complete for all localities. Records will eventually be indexed online.<br>
 +
*'''1654-2013''' - {{RecordSearch|1417520|Venezuela, Archdiocese of Mérida, Catholic Church Records, 1654-2013}} — free, '''index''', not complete for all localities.
 +
*'''1654-2013''' - {{RecordSearch|1417520|Venezuela, Archdiocese of Mérida, Catholic Church Records, 1654-2013|access=browse}} — free, '''browseable images only''', not complete for all localities. Records will eventually be indexed online.
 +
'''Bautismos''' are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. '''Información matrimonial''' are documents collected in preparation for a marriage. '''Matrimônios'''' are marriages. '''Defunciones''' are deaths.  '''Entierros''' are burials'". Índice''' is the index.
 +
=== 2.  Microfilm Copies of Church Records Searched at a Family History Center ===
 +
If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to try to find them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be viewed at [https://familysearch.org/locations/ Family History Centers] around the world. To find a microfilm:
  
'''A wiki article describing this collection is found at:'''  
+
:::a. Click on this link to see a list of [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=215465&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Venezuela%2C%20M%C3%A9rida%22 '''records for Venezuela, Mérida'''].
 +
:::b. Click on '''"Places within Venezuela, Mérida"''' and a list of towns and cities will open.
 +
:::c. Click on the '''town or city''' you wish to search.
 +
:::d. Click on '''"Church Records"''' topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
 +
:::e. Choose the correct '''event and time period''' for your ancestor.
 +
:::f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
 +
:::[[File:FHL icons.png|100px]]  <br>Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.  Clicking on the microfilm reel will lead to information on how to rent the film. Family History Center staff will assist you in ordering the film.
  
*[[Venezuela Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
+
===3. Writing to a Catholic Priest for Church Records ===
*[[Venezuela, Archdiocese of Mérida, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
+
Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting local parish or diocese archives in Peru. More recent Catholic parish records are kept at the local parish. The diocese keeps the records of parishes that no longer exist.  Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. '''''This method is not always reliable.  Officials might or might not respond.'''''
*[[Venezuela Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
*[[Venezuela Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
  
== Featured Content  ==
+
Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper church using this address as a guide replacing the information in parentheses:<br>
  
''See FamilySearch Tutorials on [https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/results.html?q=*&fq=place%3A%22Latin%20America%22 Latin American Research.]''  
+
:'''Reverendo Padre'''
 +
:'''Parroquia de (name of parish) '''
 +
:'''(parish), Mérida'''
 +
:'''([http://ven.postcodequery.com/MWpr.html postal code])'''
 +
:'''Venezuela'''<br>
 +
<br>
 +
*[http://ven.postcodequery.com/MWpr.html '''Find the Venezuela postal code here.''']
  
== Did you know?  ==
+
'''Send the following when requesting information:'''<br>
  
*Venezuela is officially called: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
+
*Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
*Venezuela is divided into 23 states and 1 capital district. Each state is further divided into more than 300 municipios . To learn more [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela#Subdivisions click here]. To find address and other contact information visit: http://www.gobiernoenlinea.ve/directorioestado/Registros Civiles de Venezuela Knowing about a country's political divisions will help in determining where records such as '''civil registration '''and '''census''' are located.
+
*Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
 +
*Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
 +
*Approximate date and place of the event
 +
*Your relationship to the ancestor
 +
*Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
 +
*Request for a photocopy of the complete original record <br>
  
== Help Wanted  ==
+
'''Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this [https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/a/aa/LWGSpanish.pdf Spanish Letter-writing Guide] to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish. '''
 +
<br>
  
In order to make this wiki a better research tool, we need your help! Many tasks need to be done. You can help by:
+
==Reading the Records==
  
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="0" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" style="background-color: white; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; color: black; font-size: 100%"
+
*You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use the [[Spanish Genealogical Word List|'''Spanish Genealogical Word List''']] to translate the important points in the document.  Handwriting skills are taught in the [https://script.byu.edu/Pages/Spanish/en/welcome.aspx '''BYU Spanish Script Tutorial'''].
|- style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif"
 
| style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif" | <br>
 
| style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif" |
 
*[[Help:Editing a Page|Expand an article or]]&nbsp;[[Special:Shortpages|short page]]  
 
*[[How to Create an Article on FamilySearch Wiki|Create a new article]]
 
*[[Categorization|Categorize articles]]
 
  
| style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif" |
+
*Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
*[[Create an external link|Add external links to articles]]
 
*[[Create an internal link|Add internal links to articles]]
 
*Other...
 
  
|}
+
:*[https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/reading-spanish-handwritten-records-lesson-1-the-spanish-alphabet/217 '''Reading Spanish Handwritten Records, Lesson 1'''] — Spanish alphabet
</div> <!--All text below this is included in a column on the left side of the screen.--> <div style="width: 24%; float: left">
+
:*[https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/reading-spanish-handwritten-records-lesson-2-words-and-dates/218 '''Reading Spanish Handwritten Records, Lesson 2'''] — Names, dates, and key genealogical words
{| border="0" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" style="background: rgb(255,255,240)"
+
:*[https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/reading-spanish-handwritten-records-lesson-3-reading-spanish-records/220 '''Reading Spanish Handwritten Records, Lesson 3'''] — Read Spanish records: birth, baptism, marriage, and death records
|-
 
| align="center" style="font-family: verdana; background: rgb(238,238,238)" | '''News'''
 
|-
 
| align="left" style="background: rgb(249,243,253)" | <!--add "News" below-->
 
<br>
 
  
|-
+
==Search Strategy==
| align="center" style="font-family: verdana; background: rgb(238,238,238)" | '''Topics'''
+
*Search for the relative or ancestor you have selected to work on. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his '''brothers and sisters'''.
|-
+
*Next, search for the '''marriage of his parents.''' The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
| align="left" style="background: rgb(249,243,253)" |
+
*You can '''estimate the ages''' of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
*[[Mérida Archives and Libraries|Archives and Libraries]]
+
*Search the death registers for all known family members.
*[[Mérida Biography|Biography]]
+
*Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
*[[Mérida Cemeteries|Cemeteries]]
+
*If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.
*[[Mérida Census|Census]]
 
*[[Mérida Church Directories|Church Directories]]
 
*[[Mérida Church History|Church History]]
 
*[[Mérida Church Records|Church Records]]
 
*[[Mérida Civil Registration|Civil Registration]]
 
*[[Mérida Directories|Directories]]
 
*[[Mérida Emigration and Immigration|Emigration and Immigration]]
 
*[[Mérida Gazetteers|Gazetteers]]
 
*[[Mérida Genealogy|Genealogy]]
 
*[[Mérida Historical Geography|Historical Geography]]
 
*[[Mérida History|History]]
 
*[[Mérida Land and Property|Land and Property]]
 
*[[Mérida Language and Languages|Language and Languages]]
 
*[[Mérida Maps|Maps]]
 
*[[Mérida Military Records|Military Records]]
 
*[[Mérida Names, Personal|Names, Personal]]
 
*[[Mérida Native Races|Native Races]]
 
*[[Mérida Newspapers|Newspapers]]
 
*[[Mérida Notarial Records|Notarial Records]]
 
*[[Mérida Periodicals|Periodicals]]
 
*[[Mérida Probate Records|Probate Records]]
 
*[[Mérida Public Records|Public Records]]
 
*[[Mérida Social Life and Customs|Social Life and Customs]]
 
*[[Mérida Societies|Societies]]
 
*[[Mérida Others and Miscellaneous|Others and Miscellaneous]]
 
  
|-
+
=== Tips for finding your ancestor in the records ===
| align="center" style="font-family: verdana; background: rgb(238,238,238)" | '''(Title)'''
+
*Births were usually reported within a few days of the birth by the father of the child, a neighbor, or the midwife. A search for a birth record should begin with the known date of birth and then searching forward in time, day by day, until the record is found.  It might be found within a few days of the actual birth date, but in some instances, it might be weeks or months later. <br>
|-
 
| align="left" style="background: rgb(249,243,253)" |
 
*(your bullet)
 
  
|}
+
*The Catholic Church continued keeping records after the creation of the civil registration in 1900. Therefore two types of records are available.  If you can find the needed record in the church records, you do not have to search both records. Someday, when both records are available online, then it would be wise to search both.<br>
  
{{Forum badge
+
*Death records can be particularly helpful for people who may not have had a civil birth or marriage record but died during the period when civil registration had begun. <br>
| layout = vertical
+
 
| forum link = http://forums.familysearch.org/en/forumdisplay.php?f=11
+
 
| forum name = Latin America Research forum
+
[[Category:Provinces of Venezuela]]
}}
 
</div>
 
__NOTOC__
 
  
|}
 
<div id="refHTML"></div>
 
 
{{H-langs|en=Main Page|es=Mérida}}  
 
{{H-langs|en=Main Page|es=Mérida}}  
  
[[Category:Venezuela]]
+
[[Category:Mérida State, Venezuela]]

Latest revision as of 18:18, 4 January 2017

South America Gotoarrow.png Venezuela Gotoarrow.png Mérida

Venezuela Wiki Topics
Flag of Venezuela.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Venezuela Background
Local Research Resources


Guide to Mérida ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Most of your genealogical research for Mérida will be in two main record types: civil registration and church records. This article will teach you methods for locating and searching these two record groups.

Knowing Your Locality

Civil Registration

  • Civil registration records are government records covering birth, marriage, and death. They are an excellent source of names, dates, places, and relationships.
  • Civil authorities began registering births, marriages, and deaths in 1873.

1. Online Digital Records for Civil Registration

For many localities, digital copies of civil registration can be searched online:

"Nascimientos" are births. "Matrimonios" are marriages. "Defunciones" are deaths.

2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records Searched at a Family History Center

If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to find them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be viewed at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Venezuela, Mérida.
b. Click on "Places within Venezuela, Mérida" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
d. Click on "Civil Registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
FHL icons.png
The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm. Clicking on the microfilm reel will lead to information on how to rent the film. Family History Center staff will assist you in ordering the film.

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates

Civil registration records are kept at the local civil registration office in each municipality. You must determine the town where your ancestor lived before you can find the records. A civil registration district may include several towns or a small section of a large city. In addition to the town, you need to know an approximate year in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.

Use this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

Oficino del Registro Civil
(street name, number)
(city or town), Mérida
(postal code)
Venezuela


Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish. Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record



Church Records

  • Catholic Church parish registers are the primary source for finding genealogical information of birth, death, and marriage in Ecuador prior to 1873, when the civil registration was implemented.
  • Parish registers include baptism, confirmation, marriage and death records.
  • All the records were registered and kept by the priest in authority of his parish jurisdiction. One register was generally kept at the parish archive and another copy sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.

1. Online Digital Records for Church Records

For some localities, digital copies of Catholic church records can be searched online:

Bautismos are infant baptisms, which are used for birth information. Información matrimonial are documents collected in preparation for a marriage. Matrimônios' are marriages. Defunciones are deaths. Entierros are burials'". Índice is the index.

2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records Searched at a Family History Center

If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to try to find them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be viewed at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Venezuela, Mérida.
b. Click on "Places within Venezuela, Mérida" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
d. Click on "Church Records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
FHL icons.png
Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm. Clicking on the microfilm reel will lead to information on how to rent the film. Family History Center staff will assist you in ordering the film.

3. Writing to a Catholic Priest for Church Records

Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting local parish or diocese archives in Peru. More recent Catholic parish records are kept at the local parish. The diocese keeps the records of parishes that no longer exist. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.

Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper church using this address as a guide replacing the information in parentheses:

Reverendo Padre
Parroquia de (name of parish)
(parish), Mérida
(postal code)
Venezuela


Send the following when requesting information:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00, and an international reply coupon (IRC)
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. Use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide to assist you in writing your letter in Spanish.

Reading the Records

  • Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you have selected to work on. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.

Tips for finding your ancestor in the records

  • Births were usually reported within a few days of the birth by the father of the child, a neighbor, or the midwife. A search for a birth record should begin with the known date of birth and then searching forward in time, day by day, until the record is found. It might be found within a few days of the actual birth date, but in some instances, it might be weeks or months later.
  • The Catholic Church continued keeping records after the creation of the civil registration in 1900. Therefore two types of records are available. If you can find the needed record in the church records, you do not have to search both records. Someday, when both records are available online, then it would be wise to search both.
  • Death records can be particularly helpful for people who may not have had a civil birth or marriage record but died during the period when civil registration had begun.