Mexico Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This article contains information about records in multiple collections.
See the section FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for a list of published collections and to access the records.

Title in the Language of the Records

México, Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica

Record Description

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.

It is important to note that individual dioceses started documenting life events only after they were established. Each diocese began at different times, here is a list of the years some dioceses were started:

  • 1527 - Diocese of Tlaxcala
  • 1530 - Archdiocese of Mexico
  • 1535 - Diocese of Oaxaca
  • 1536 - Diocese of Michoacan
  • 1539 - Diocese of Chiapas
  • 1546 - Archdiocese of Mexico
  • 1548 - Diocese of Guadalajara
  • 1561 - Diocese of Yucatan
  • 1620 - Diocese of Durango
  • 1777 - Diocese of 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 Tabasco
  • 1881 - Diocese of Tampico
  • 1891 - Archdiocese of Oaxaca
  • 1891 - Archdiocese of Durango
  • 1891 - Diocese of Chihuahua
  • 1899 - Diocese of Aguascaliente
  • 1903 - Diocese of Puebla
  • 1906 - Diocese of Yucatan

Record Content

Mexico Chihuahua Church Records Baptisn.jpg
The key genealogical facts found in most baptismal records include the following:
  • Name of the child
  • Place and date of baptism
  • Age
  • Family's place of residence
  • Name of parents
  • Legitimacy
  • Godparents
  • Grandparents
Mexico Tlaxcala ccr confirmation.jpg
The key genealogical facts found in most confirmation registers include the following:
  • Name of the individual
  • Godparents
  • Parents' names
  • Name of the parish
Mexico Aguascalientes Roman Catholic Parish Registers Marriage.jpg

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records include the following:

  • Groom's name
  • Groom's age, marital status, residence
  • Bride's name
  • Bride's age, marital status, residence
  • Parents' names
  • Parents' birthplace
Mexico Baja California Catholic Church Records Death.jpg
The key genealogical facts found in most death and burial records include the following:
  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and place of burial or death
  • Age, place of residence, marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Name of survivors

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name
  • Parish of residence
Search the Collection

To search the collection using the browse you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select each category until you are taken to the images you want.

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.

To search the collection using the index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about other people listed in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors, such as:

  • Use the parents' names to locate any children.
  • Search for the parents' marriage. If their age is not given, estimate it and search for their baptismal record.
  • Continue to repeat this process for each ancestor.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Check for an index. Some records have indexes at the end of the volume.
  • If earlier generations are not in the record, search neighboring parishes.
  • If the event you are looking for is after 1859, try searching the civil registration.

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