Spain Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Spain, Catholic Church Records, 1500-1930  and Spain, Granada, Pre-Marriage Investigation Index, 1556-1899.
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CID1865748
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Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica en España.

Collection Time Period

This collection of Catholic Church parish records of Spain covers 1500 through 1984. The collection includes records from the dioceses of Avila, Ciudad Real, Ciudad Rodrigo, Gerona, Lugo, Murcia, and Segovia.

Record Description

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.

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

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.

Record History

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.

Why the Record Was Created

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.

Record Reliability

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

Related Websites

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.

Related Wiki Articles

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.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record Found in This Collection

"Spain, Catholic Church Records, 1500-1930." index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 3 June 2011).  entry for Manuel Alonso Hernandez, died 20 February 1796;  citing Church Records, FHL microfilm 1,180,910; Catholic Church Diocesan Archive of Avila, Spain.

Citation for This Collection:

The citation below refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records. Digital images of originals housed at various church archives throughout Spain.

"Spain Catholic Church Records," index and images, FamilySearch.org, 2009; from the Catholic Church Diocesan Archive of Avila, Spain. "Registros parroquiales." Archivo Diocesano de Avila. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Collections.