Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Spain, Catholic Church Records, 1500-1930  and Spain, Granada, Pre-Marriage Investigation Index, 1556-1899.

Toledo Skyline Panorama, Spain - Dec 2006.jpg

Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España.

Record Description

This collection of Catholic Church parish records of Spain covers 1500 through 1999. The collection includes records from the dioceses of Avila, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Rodrigo, Gerona, Lugo, Murcia, and Segovia. The Spain, Catholic Church Records collection spans from 1500 to 1930, while the Spain, Granada, Pre-Marriage Investigation Index covers 1556-1899.

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.

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.

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.

Catholic Church parish records are a reliable source for doing genealogical research in Spain.

For a list of records by localities currently published in the Spain, Catholic Church records, 1500-1930 collection, select the Browse.

Citation for This Collection:

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Archbishoprics and Dioceses in Spain. Spain Catholic church records. Catholic parishes in Spain.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most baptism records include:

Spain Catholic Parish Baptism Record.jpg
  • Date and place of the event
  • Name of the person baptized
  • Date of birth or age at the time of baptism
  • Gender
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents’ names, residence, and places of birth
  • Names of paternal and maternal grandparents and sometimes their residences or places of birth
  • Name of godparents
  • Names of the witnesses

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records include:

Spain Gerona Church Records Marriage.jpg
  • Date and place of the event
  • Complete name of the bride and groom
  • Civil statuses of the bride and groom (widowed, single, divorced) at the time of the event
  • Residence or places of birth of the bride and groom
  • Ages of the bride and groom at the time of the marriage
  • Parents’ names and their residence or places of birth
  • Sometimes the parents’ civil status at the time of the event
  • Names of the witnesses

The key genealogical facts found on most burial records include:

Spain Avila Catholic Parish Records Death.jpg
  • Date and place where the person died
  • Name of the deceased
  • Civil status of the deceased (single, married, widowed)
  • Name of the spouse (if the deceased was married or a widow or widower)
  • Residence or place of birth of the deceased
  • Age at the time of death or date of birth
  • Cause of death
  • Sometimes an indication that the person left a testament
  • Sometimes the names of the children left at the time of death

How to Use the Record

To search the collection with the browse you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the Nombre de Provincia
⇒ Select the Nombre de Ciudad o 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.

To search the collection with 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.

The Catholic parish records are an excellent source for genealogical research in Spain. These may also be the only records available for vital information research before civil registration was implemented in 1871.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.