Spain Military Records

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Military Files

The General Military Archive of Segovia holds more than 62,000 files containing personal files from the 15th to the 20th centuries with the majority being from the 18th and 19th century. Within the personal files you will find information about the soldier such as their service record and their baptism record.

The military records in Spain can be a good source to look for your male ancestors. Many men in Spain served in military units such as the army, the militia, the navy, and others. Often these records contain genealogical information that can help you to build your family tree. The men of Spain often had to receive an exemption from military service or prove that they had already served before they could leave the county. They needed to receive special permission to do so.

The records of those that served in the Americas are found in the General Archive of Simancas. These records include the following places:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Cuba
  • Chile
  • Philippines
  • Guatemala
  • Nueva España (originally Mexico and Central America except Panama)
  • Viceroyalty of Peru (originally included most of Spanish South America)

Indias (Florida, Puerto Rico y Venezuela)

Military ranks

  • Soldado - private
  • Cabo – corporal
  • Alferez – sergeant
  • Sub-teniente – second lieutenant
  • Teniente – Lieutenant
  • Capitan – Captain
  • Comandante – Major
  • Teniente Coronel – Lieutenant Colonel
  • Coronel – Colonel
  • Comandante General – Major General
  • Teniente General – Lieutenant General
  • General – General


There were three ways to advance in rank:

  • Por elección (by vote)
  • Por gracia general (by general order)
  • Por antiguedad (By length of service)

Empleo – A position of command or responsibility. A person could have the Rank of a captain but serve in the empleo of a lieutenant.

Types of records

Service records

  • Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Names of parents
  • List of assignments and/or ranks with dates in chronological order.
  • In the bottom part of the page you can find information about the military campaigns in which he served with his military unit.

Personal files

You can find the following types of records:

  • Petition to be able to marry
  • Petition for a promotion. You may find documents demonstrating the man’s worthiness to receive the Rank desired.
  • Petition for a pension.
  • Petition to have a son attend a military academy.

Personal files are divided into sections such as:

Academic Files – Files related to petitions regarding education
Marriage Files – Files related to marriage petitions
Pension Files – Files related to pension petitions

Marriage files

Marriage files generally contain great genealogical value. Normally you can expect to find baptism certificates of the bride and groom as well as the marriage certificates of their parents.


In 1773 under the reign of Charles III the quinta was established. Each male of the age for military service had to register in his municipality. One in every five men was selected by lot to do military service. These lists can serve as a census of a city or town of all the men of age to do military service in the year created.

Religious Military Orders

To learn more about religious military orders we recommend that you read the following article:

Religious Military Orders


Cadenas y Vicent, Vicente de. Archivos Militares y Civiles Donde se Conservan Fondos de Carácter Castrense Relacionados con Expedientes Personales de Militares. Madrid: Hidalguía, 1963. FHL INTL Book 946 M2c.

Ryskamp, George. Tracing Your Hispanic Heritage. Riverside, CA: George R. Ryskamp, 1948. FHL INTL Book 946 D27r.

Internet sites

General Military Archive of Segovia

General Archive of Simancas

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

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