Aguascalientes Church Records
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In 1563, the Council of Trent, which was a gathering of the Roman Catholic Church to examine and condemn their doctrines, formalized record keeping practices that were already being followed in much of the Catholic world. Separate record books were to be maintained for baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. The Catholic Church, which was established in Mexico in 1527, was the primary record keeper for Mexico until civil registration started. Different dioceses usually followed the same standard of writing, so the information found in records are mostly consistent.
The vast majority of Mexicans were Catholic and registered in the records of the local parish or diocese, known as registros parroquiales (parish registers). These records include entries for baptisms, confirmations, marriage information documents, marriages, deaths, and burials. Often, two or sometimes even three generations are indicated in the registers. The records were kept at the parish and a copy was sent to the diocesan archive for preservation.
Church records are crucial in Mexico since civil authorities did not begin registering vital statistics until after 1859. For civil vital records of births, deaths, and marriages after 1859, see the Mexico Civil Registration Records wiki article.
Some church records have been lost or have deteriorated due to natural effects such as humidity, insects and more dramatic events such as fires, floods, and earthquakes. Civil and political strife have also caused the destruction of parish books. Some records were destroyed or damaged because of poor storage. However, many records that are considered lost or destroyed have simply been misplaced or misidentified.
The most commonly used records include:
Often two and sometimes three generations are indicated in the registers, with personal information on the family given.
In addition, records may include church censuses, account books, and other church-related records (See Other Ecclesiastical Records article). Church records are crucial, since civil authorities did not begin registering vital statistics until after 1859. For civil vital records of births, deaths, and marriages after 1859, see the Civil Registration section.
After 1859, one should search in both church and civil records, since there may be information in one that does not appear in the other. For instance, the church records may only list the godparents, while the civil records may list the grandparents.
For additional information on Catholic Church records in Mexico click here.
It is important to know the name of the town and the parish church where your ancestors might have attended. Most small towns only have one parish church, while larger cities might have several. If you're searching for an ancestor who lived in a large city, begin your parish search with the church that was closest to their ancestral home. If you do not know that location and the records haven't been indexed yet, you will need to search parish by parish for the records of your ancestors.
Available on FamilySearch
You can search for ancestors by name in FamilySearch collections by clicking here.
To find a family history center near you, click here.
There are also books at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, click here. You could check for a copy of them in a public library near you.
For other types of searches we recommend that you read the instructions to find information in the catalogue of the Family History Library by clicking here.
All the collections on FamilySearch.org for Mexico, click here.