Mexico Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Title in the Language of the Records

Record Description

In 1563 the Council of Trent 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,and the format was standard. The Catholic Church, which was established in Mexico in 1527, was the primary record keeper for Mexico until civil registration started.

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, marriage information documents, marriages, deaths, and burials. Often two or sometimes three generations are indicated in the registers. The records are usually kept by local parishes. The diocese archives keep records pertaining to their priests and matters of church administration.

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 Mexico Civil Registration Records wiki page.

Some church records have been lost or have deteriorated due to natural effects such as humidity and 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 of misidentified.

It is important to note that individual dioceses were established at different times, therefore records for each diocese vary in range of dates. Here is a list of the years each diocese was established:

  • 1527 - Diocese of Tlaxcala
  • 1530 - Archdiocese of Mexico
  • 1535 - Diocese of Oaxaca
  • 1536 - Diocese of Michoacan
  • 1539 - Diocese of Chiapas (San Cristobal de las Casas)
  • 1546 - Archdiocese of Mexico
  • 1548 - Diocese of Guadalajara
  • 1561 - Diocese of Yucatan
  • 1620 - Diocese of Guadiana (Durango)
  • 1777 - Diocese of Linares (Monterrey)

  • 1779 - Diocese of Sonora
  • 1845 - Diocese of Campeche
  • 1854 - Diocese of San Luis Potosi
  • 1862 - Diocese of Chilapa
  • 1862 - Diocese of Queretaro
  • 1863 - Archdiocese of Guadalajara
  • 1863 - Archdiocese of Michoacan
  • 1870 - Diocese of Veracruz
  • 1870 - Diocese of Tamaulipas
  • 1874 - Diocese of Lower California (La Paz)

  • 1874 - Diocese of Tabasco
  • 1881 - Diocese of Tampico
  • 1891 - Archdiocese of Oaxaca
  • 1891 - Archdiocese of Durango
  • 1891 - Archdiocese of Linares (Monterrey)
  • 1891 - Diocese of Chihuahua
  • 1899 - Diocese of Aguascaliente
  • 1903 - Diocese of Puebla
  • 1906 - Diocese of Yucatan

Record Content

How to Use the Record

In most cases, Mexican Catholic parish registers are the only records before 1859 that identify individuals, parents, and spouses. After this date, civil authorities began registering vital statistics (nacimientos, matrimonies, y defunciones) that by law include people of all religions. The information in civil sources confirms and supplements the information in church records. Be sure to search both the parish and civil records after 1860.

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the Nombre del estado ⇒ Select the Nombre de ciudad/pueblo ⇒ Select the Nombre de parroquia ⇒ Select the Tipo de Registro y Años which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

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