Mexico Catholic Church Marriage Information Records
Marriage information records are also known as pre-marriage investigations. 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. The marriage information (información matrimonial) document 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.
Content of the Record
The marriage information document 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 marriage information documents 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.
This marriage information document is sometimes three or four pages long. 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.
Locating Marriage Information Records
Marriage information records in Mexico are found in the parish archive.