Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Spain, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985
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Record Description
Record Type: Catholic Church Records
Collection years: 1307-1985
Languages: Spanish Castilian
Title in the Language: Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Catholic Church Records, Spain

What is in This Collection?

This collection of Catholic parish records covers 1307 through 1985. The collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial records from the dioceses of Avila, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Rodrigo, Gerona, Lugo, Murcia, and Segovia.

The Catholic Church parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, death and burial, and other ordinances pertaining to members within the church jurisdiction. Thus, they are a reliable source for doing genealogical research in Spain.

Most of the records were handwritten in narrative style. In later years, the records may be handwritten in formatted registers. Entries were created in chronological order with the exception of a few entries. Early registers may have some ecclesiastical wording written in Latin, but the main language of the records is Spanish. See the section "For Help Reading these Records" for access to translation helps.

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, and a duplicate copy was and is centralized in the corresponding diocesan archive. Most of the parish records in Spain have been preserved relatively well, but some older entries may 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. Confirmations were usually recorded with the baptismal registers but can also be found with deaths and marriages.

Reading These Records

These records are in Spanish or Latin. For help reading these records see the following guides:

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Spain, Catholic Church Records,1307-1985.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptismal records

  • Date and place of baptism, including name of parish
  • Name and gender
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents’ names
  • Names of paternal grandparents and their residence
  • Names of maternal grandparents and their residence
  • Names of godparents
  • Names of witnesses

Marriage records

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name and age
  • Groom's civil status, and residence
  • Groom's birthplace
  • Names of groom's parents and their birthplaces
  • Bride's name and age
  • Bride's civil status and residence
  • Bride's birthplace
  • Names of bride's parents and their birthplaces
  • Names of witnesses

Burial records

  • Date, time, and place of death (keep in mind that records
for women may be filed under their married name)
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Residence and civil status of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Spouse's name, marital status, and his/her place of birth
  • Names of witnesses
  • Burial date and place

Collection Content

These may also be the only records available for vital information research before civil registration was implemented in 1871.

How Do I Search This Collection?

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Province
  2. Select City or Town
  3. Select Parish
  4. Select Record Type and Years to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

  • 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 to find each of the couple's birth records and parents' names
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil records. This link describes the history and content of Spain Civil Registration - Vital Records
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the province. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other provinces
  • 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
  • Use the marital status (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage) to identify previous marriages
  • Witnesses often were relatives of the parents

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • For marriage and death records, name changes, shortened names, or nicknames may have been used by your ancestors, so pay attention to other relationships (parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc.) that can confirm whether you have the right person/record
  • 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
  • Continue to search the indexes and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in the same area or a nearby area

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, Now What?

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"España, registros parroquiales y diocesanos, 1307-1985." Images. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. Paróquias Católicas, Spain (Catholic Church parishes, Spain).

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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