Madrid, Spain Genealogy
|Spain Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Madrid province ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 History
- 2 Civil Registration
- 3 Catholic Church Records
- 4 Reading the Records
Most of your genealogical research for Madrid 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.
The surrender of Toledo Madrid was conquered by Christians in 1085, and it was integrated into the kingdom of Castile as a property of the Crown. Christians replaced Muslims and Jews in the occupation of the centre of the city. Muslims and Jews then settled in the suburbs. The city began thriving and was given the title of Villa. The government of the town was vested to the neighbouring of Madrid since 1346, when king Alfonso XI of Castile implemented the regiment, for which only the local oligarchy was able to take sides in city decisions.
In 1309, the Courts of Castile were joined in Madrid for the first time under Ferdinand IV of Castile, and later in 1329, 1339, 1391, 1393, 1419 and twice in 1435. Since the unification of the kingdoms of Spain under a common Crown, the Courts were convened in Madrid more often.
During the revolt of the Comuneros, Madrid joined the revolt against Emperor Charles V of Germany and I of Spain, but after defeat at the Battle of Villalar, Madrid was occupied by the royal troops. However, Charles I was generous to the town and gave it the titles of Crowned and Imperial. When Francis I of France was captured at the battle of Pavia, he was imprisoned in Madrid.
The number of urban inhabitants grew from 4,060 in the year 1530 to 37,500 in the year 1594. The poor population of the court was composed of ex-soldiers, foreigners, rogues and Ruanes, that were dissatisfied with the lack of food and high prices. In June 1561, Philip II of Spain moved his court from Valladolid to Madrid, installing it in the old castle. Thanks to this, the city of Madrid became the political centre of the monarchy, being the capital of Spain except for a short period between 1601 and 1606 during Philip III of Spain's government, in which the Court returned to Valladolid. This fact was decisive for the evolution of the city and influenced its fate. The death of Charles II of Spain resulted in the War of the Spanish succession. The city supported the claim of Philip of Anjou as Philip V. While the city was occupied in 1706 by a Portuguese army, who proclaimed king the Archduke Charles of Austria under the name of Charles III, and again in 1710, remained loyal to Philip V. The most important Bourbon was King Charles III of Spain, who was known as "the best mayor of Madrid". Charles III took upon himself the feat of transforming Madrid into a capital worthy of this category. His beginnings were not entirely peaceful, as in 1766 he had to overcome the Esquilache Riots, a traditionalist revolt instigated by the nobility and clergy against his reformist intentions.
On 27 October 1807, Charles IV and Napoleon I signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which allowed the passage of French troops through Spanish territory to join the Spanish troops and invade Portugal, which had refused to obey the order of international blockade against England. As this was happening, there was the Mutiny of Aranjuez, on 17 March 1808, by which the crown prince, Ferdinand VII, replaced his father as king. Both kings were removed from the city. It In the absence of the two kings, the situation became more and more tense in the capital. Immediately, the crowd launched an assault on the floats. The fight lasted hours and spread throughout Madrid. The Peninsular War against Napoleon, despite the last absolutist claims during the reign of Ferdinand VII, gave birth to a new country with liberalism. Madrid was frequently altered by revolutionary outbreaks and pronouncements, such as Vicálvaro in 1854. During the first third of the 20th century the population nearly doubled, reaching more than 850,000 inhabitants. The Spanish Constitution of 1931 was the first legislated on the state capital, setting it explicitly in Madrid.
Madrid was one of the most heavily affected cities of Spain in the Civil War from 1936–1939. The city was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936. Its western suburbs were the scene of an all-out battle in November 1936 and it was during the Civil War that Madrid became the first European city to be bombed by aeroplanes. After the death of Franco and the start of the democratic regime, the 1978 constitution confirmed Madrid as the capital of Spain. In 1979, the first municipal elections brought Madrid's first democratically elected mayor since the Second Republic.
The population of Madrid is roughly 1,141,991 people.
- Spanish civil registration records (government birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates) began in 1871.
- Births, marriages, and deaths were recorded by the local Juzgado de la Paz, or Oficinia del Registro Civil. The records are still housed in their local municpal archives. In addition, Spain does have a national index or central repository for civil registration.
- Some municipios (towns/cities) may have civil registration records beginning as early as 1837. Some of them have been microfilmed and/or digitized by FamilySearch.
- Larger cities may have multiple civil registration districts, and smaller towns may have their own civil registration office, or belong to an office of a nearby town. To determine the political jurisdiction for the town where your ancestors came from, please see the Spain Gazetteers article.
Here are several different approaches to obtaining these certificates:
1. Online Digitized Civil Registration
The following records are available online from FamilySearch Historical Records:
Currently, there are no online FamilySearch Historical civil registration records for this area. You should check back from time to time to see if they have become available.
2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records in the FamilySearch Catalog
Currently, the Family History Library does not have civil registration microfilms for this area. You should check back from time to time to see if they become available. In the meantime. it is possible to write for the records.
3. Ordering Certificates From the Ministerio de Justica
- Researchers can solicit the Ministerio de Justicia online for copies of certificates.
- For detailed information on how to order these records online, please see the article Order Spain Vital Records Online. It will take you through the process step by step, and includes translation of terms you will find in that process.
4. Writing to the Civil Registry of a Municipality
- Juzgado de la Paz or Oficina del Registro Civil should be contacted if a certificate copy request to the Ministerio de Justicia fails.
- Use the following address, filling in the parentheses with the specific information for your town :
- Find the Spain postal code here.
- Write a brief request to the proper office. Send the following:
- Full name and the sex of the person sought.
- Names of the parents, if known.
- Approximate date and place of the event.
- Your relationship to the person.
- Reason for the request (family history, medical, etc.).
- Request for a photocopy of the complete original record.
- Check or cash for the search fee (usually about $10.00).
Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.
Catholic Church Records
- Catholicism's roots extend deep into Spain's history. Parish and diocesan records created by the Catholic Church in Spain have long been considered some of the richest genealogical records in the world. Ever since the Council of Trent, Catholic parish records have been consistently recorded, usually providing three generations in a single baptismal entry.
- The vast majority of Spaniards are Catholic, and so almost every Spaniard can be found in the records of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the primary record keeper of births, marriages, and deaths, until civil registration started in 1869.
- Some church records have been lost or have deteriorated due natural disasters such as fire, flood, and earthquakes. Civil and political strife has also caused record loss, including during time of the Spanish Civil War.
- The Catholic Church has created several different records. The most used in genealogical research include: baptisms (bautizos, bautismos), marriages (matrimonios), and burials (entierros, defunciones, fallecimientos). Other records include: confirmations (confimaciones) and pre-marriage investigations (expedientes matrimoniales, información matrimonial).
- Tip: If you are researching after 1869, when Civil Registration started in Spain, both church and civil records should be searched since there may be information in one record that does not appear in the other.
1. Online Church Records
The following records are available online from FamilySearch Historical Records:
- 1538-1985 - Spain, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985, free, browseable images, incomplete.
- Archivo Histórico Diocesano de Madrid. Some images of indexes of Catholic parish records from the diocese of Madrid are available on the website of the Archivo Histórico Diocesano de Madrid. Click here to access them. Click on Parroquias de Madrid y su partido to see more information. Click on Parroquias de Madrid to see a list of parishes. Click on Pueblos to see a list of towns in Madrid. Choose the parish or town of interest. After you've chosen a parish, scroll down the page to see what parish records are available.
2. Microfilmed Records From the Family History Library
There might be microfilmed records available but not included in the online collections. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you. To find a microfilm:
- a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Spain, Madrid.
- b. Click on "Places within Spain, Madrid" 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 these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. . 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.
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 Spain. 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 guide, replacing the information in parentheses:
- Reverendo Padre
- Parroquia de (name of parish)
- (street address) Search The Church in Spain by province (Selecciona la provincia) or parish (Nombre de la parroquia).
- (postal code), (city), Madrid
When requesting information, send the following:
- Money for the search fee, usually $10.00
- 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. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.]
Reading the Records
- You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use this Spanish Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document. Reading handwriting skills are taught in the BYU Spanish Script Tutorial.
- Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
- Detailed instructions for reading Spanish records, examples of common documents, and practice exercises for developing skills in translating them can be found in the Spanish Records Extraction Manual.
- The Spanish Documents Script Tutorial also provides lessons and examples.
Tips for finding your ancestor in the records
Effective use of church records includes the following strategies.
- Search for the birth record of the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
- Then, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record 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 family members.
- Then repeat the process for both the father and the mother.
- If earlier generations are not in the record, search neighboring parishes.