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

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Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Diócesis Católica de Ávila, España.

Collection Time Period

This collection of Catholic Church parish records of the Diocese of Avila, Spain, covers the years from 1502 to 1978.

Record Description

This collection contains digital copies of records of baptisms, marriages, and burials of the parish of the Diocese of Avila in Spain and includes an index of records of several parishes in the diocese. Additional indexed data will be added as they become available. Some of the parish records from Avila have been preserved well, but others 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 and are separated from other registers by years. Confirmations were usually recorded with the baptismal registers, but can also be found with deaths and marriages. Generally, entries were created in chronological order. Early registers may have some ecclesiastical documents written in Latin. The text of the records is in Spanish.

Citation for This Collection

The citation below refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

The records are housed in different parish archives throughout the Province of Avila, Spain.

Spain. Catholic Church parish archives in the Diocese of Avila. Parish records, 1502-1975. Avila Catholic Diocesan Historical Archive, Avila, Spain.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Record Content

Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church baptismal records include:

Spain Avila Catholic Parish Records Christening.jpg

  • Date and place of the event
  • Name of person baptized
  • When and where the child was born or age at time of baptism
  • If legitimate or illegitimate
  • Parents' names, residence, and/or place of birth
  • Names of maternal/paternal grandparents and names of godparents

Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church marriage records include:

Spain Catholic Parish Marriage Record.jpg

  • Date and place of the event
  • Complete maiden name of the bride and name of groom
  • Civil statuses (widowed, single, divorced) at the time of the event
  • Place and date of birth of the couple (natural of)
  • Occupation
  • Parents' names, residence, and/or place of birth (natural of)
  • Sometimes, the parent’s civil status
  • Names of witnesses

Important genealogical information found in Catholic Church death records include:

Spain Avila Catholic Parish Records Death.jpg

  • Date and place where the person died
  • Name of the deceased, age or birth date, and place of birth
  • Cause of death (illness, accident, senility, etc.)
  • Residence of the deceased
  • Sometimes will mention the deceased parents' names and their origin
  • Testament information (Testaments will include the name of the children, deceased civil status (widowed, single, divorce), and name and place of birth of the spouse)

How to Use the Records

The Catholic parish records are an excellent source for genealogical research in Spain. These may also be the only records available for Spanish research before civil registration was implemented in 1871. Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The name and surname of the person
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The name of the parents or spouse

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example:

  • 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 of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.

Record History

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; however, the older records were centralized in the diocesan archive, as it is done currently. Catholic parish records cover 95 to 100% of a city’s population. This collection only includes the parish records that were centralized into the diocesan archive.

Why the Record Was Created

Spanish Catholic parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, deaths, burials, and other ordinances.

Record Reliability

Catholic Church parish records are a reliable source for doing Spanish genealogical research.

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Contributions to This Article

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.

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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from the 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 do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched in found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Spain, Diocese of Avila, Catholic Church Records, 1502-1975" index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 23 November 2011). entry for Teresa Morales, died 25 July 1857; citing Church Records, FHL microfilm 1,180,910; Avila Catholic Diocesan Historical Archive, Avila, Spain.