Spanish Genealogical Word List

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This list contains Spanish words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Spanish-English dictionary. (See the "Additional Resources" section below.)

Spanish is a Romance language derived from Latin. It is the national language of Spain as well as of most Latin American countries. Spanish is spoken in many parts of the United States, in regions which once were part of Mexico as well as areas where Hispanic immigrants have settled.

Language Characteristics

Spanish words for persons, places, and things (nouns) are classified as masculine or feminine. El (the masculine form of the) is used with masculine words. La (the feminine form of the) is used with feminine words. Masculine words generally end in o, r, l, and ma. Feminine words generally end in a, ión, tad, dad, tud, and umbre. Nouns which end in or are masculine; an a is added to indicate the feminine version.

Most adjectives used to describe nouns are masculine or feminine. Adjectives which end in o are masculine. Feminine adjectives end in a. For example, the married son would be translated as el hijo casado, while the married daughter would be translated as la hija casada.

Variant Forms of Words

In Spanish, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. This word list gives the standard form of each Spanish word. As you read Spanish records, you will need to be aware that some words vary with usage.

Plural forms of Spanish words usually add s to the singular noun as well as to the article and adjective. Thus, el abuelo materno (the maternal grandparent) become los abuelos maternos (the maternal grandparents).

Alphabetical Order

Written Spanish uses three letters in addition to the 26 letters used in the English alphabet. These are ñ and the letter combinations ch and ll, which are considered single letters. The letter w, although not part of the Spanish alphabet, is included since it is found in a few names of foreign origin. The following list shows the letters in alphabetical order:

a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

This word list follows the standard English alphabetical order.

In Spanish indexes of surnames, it is important to note that prefixes (such as De la Torre) may be ignored in alphabetization. Be sure to search under both parts of a name, for example, De la Torre and Torre, de la.

Accent Marks

Vowels in Spanish can carry an accent mark: á, é, í, ó, and ú. Accent marks do not affect alphabetical order.

Spelling

Although Spanish spelling was standardized in the mid-1700s, scribes usually spelled words the way they sounded. Generally, variations between old and modern spellings should not cause too much trouble for the researcher. In Spanish, the following variations are common:

ch  used for  c
e  used for  i
j  used for  g
j  used for  x
j  used for  i
y  used for  i
the addition or removal of an h
the doubling of letters

Examples:

chrisma
excrebir
lejítimo
Méjico
domjngo
yndio
Henrique
religiosso
now written as
now written as
now written as
now written as
now written as
now written as
now written as
now written as
crisma
escribir
legítimo
México
domingo
indio
Enrique
religioso


Additional Resources

This word list includes only the words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Spanish-English dictionary. Several Spanish-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the European collection. The call numbers begin with 463.21.

The following dictionary may be helpful in your research:

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library Catalog under SPANISH LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES. Most bookstores also carry inexpensive Spanish-English dictionaries.

Key Words

To find and use specific types of Spanish records, you will need to know some key words in Spanish. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the Spanish words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Spanish words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined, and other words used in Spanish records to indicate marriage. Variant endings of Spanish words are given in parentheses.

English
archive
baptism
birth
burial
Catholic church
census
child
christening
church records
civil registry
confirmation
day
death
father
husband
index
marriage
military
month
morning
mother
name, given
name, surname
parents
parish
wife
year
Spanish
archivo
bautismo, bauticé, bautizado (a), bautismo, crisma
nacimiento, nació, nacido (a)
entierro, sepultura, entierrado (a), sepultado (a)
Iglesia Católica
censo, padrón
niño (a), hijo (a), párvulo (a), expósito
See baptism
registros parroquiales
Registro Civil
confirmación, crisma
día 
muerte, defunción, fallecimiento, óbito, muerto (a), difunto (a), fallecido (a)
padre
esposo, marido, cónyuge
índice
matrimonio, casamiento, casé, casado (a)
militar, ejército
mes
mañana
madre
nombre de pila, nombre de bautismo
nombre, apellido
padres
parroquia
esposa, marida, mujer, cónyuge
año


Numbers

The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3, etc.) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) versions of each number. In actual usage, days of the month are almost never written in ordinal form. Ordinal numbers end in o or a depending on the gender of the thing described. Ordinal numbers above 31 are rarely seen in genealogical sources.

Numbers such as 16, 22, and 31 are compound numbers joined by y (and). In modern Spanish, these numbers can also be written as a single word, for example:

16
22
31
diez y seis
veinte y dos
treinta y uno
or
or
or
dieciseis
veintidos
treintiuno
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
101
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
   Cardinal
un, uno, una
dos
tres
cuatro
cinco
seis
siete
ocho
nueve
diez
once
doce
trece
catorce
quince
diez y seis, dieciseis
diez y siete, diecisiete
diez y ocho, dieciocho
diez y nueve, diecinueve
veinte
veinte y uno, veintiuno
veinte y dos, veintidos
veinte y tres, veintitres
veinte y cuatro, veinticuatro
veinte y cinco, veinticinco
veinte y seis, veintiseis
veinte y siete, veintisiete
veinte y ocho, veintiocho
veinte y nueve, veintinueve
treinta
treinta y uno
cuarenta
cincuenta
sesenta
setenta
ochenta
noventa
ciento
ciento uno
doscientos
trescientos
cuatrocientos
quinientos
seiscientos
setecientos
ochocientos
novecientos
mil
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th
21st
22nd
23rd
24th
25th
26th
27th
28th
29th
30th
31st
40th
50th
60th
70th
80th
90th
100th
101st
200th
300th
400th
500th
600th
700th
800th
900th
1000th
Ordinal
primero (a)
segundo
tercero
cuarto
quinto
sexto
séptimo
octavo
nono, noveno
décimo
undécimo, décimoprimero
duodécimo, décimosegundo
décimotercero
décimocuarto
décimoquinto
décimosexto
décimo séptimo
décimoctavo
décimonono
vigésimo
vigésimo primero
vigésimo segundo
vigésimo tercero
vigésimo cuarto
vigésimo quinto
vigésimo sexto
vigésimo séptimo
vigésimo octavo
vigésimo nono
trigésimo
trigésimo primero
cuadragésimo
quincuagésimo
sexagésimo
septuagésimo
octogésimo
nonagésimo
centésimo
centésimo primero
ducentésimo
tricentésimo
cuadringéntesimo
quingentésimo
sexcentésimo
septingentésimo
octingentésimo
noningentésimo
milésimo

Dates and Time

In Spanish records, dates are usually written out. Although English uses ordinal numbers, such as the tenth of July or July 10th, in Spanish the cardinal numbers are almost always used for the days of the month; for example, el diez de julio (the ten of July). The one exception is the first of the month, for which the ordinal number primero (1ero) is almost always used instead of the cardinal number uno, for example:

A los veinte y tres días de marzo del año de nuestro Señor de mil ochocientos y treinta y seis. [On the twenty-three day of the month of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred thirty six.] To understand Spanish dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding "Numbers" section.

Months

English
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Spanish
enero
febrero
marzo
abril
mayo
junio
julio
agosto
septiembre
octubre
noviembre
diciembre
Abbreviations
enro, eno, 1ero
febo
mzo
abl



ago, agto
septe, 7bre
ote, otue, octue, 8bre
novbre, 9bre
dice, 10bre

Days of the Week

English
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Spanish
domingo
lunes
martes
miércoles
jueves
viernes
sábado

Racial Terminology

In colonial Latin America, racial classification was often recorded in the Catholic parish registers and government documents, often with no degree of accuracy. The meaning of some of these terms may vary in some Spanish-speaking countries.

Classification
Albarazado
Albino
Allí te estás
Barcino
Barnocino
Calpamulato
Cambujo
Cambur
Castizo
Chamizo
Chino
Cholo
Cimarrón
Coyote
Cuarteado
Cuarterón
Cuarterón de Chino
Cuarterón de Mestize
Cuarterón de Mulato
Cuatrero
Español
Español Criollo
Indio
Jíbaro
Ladino
Lobo
Mestizo
Moreno
Morisco
Mulato
Negro
Negro fino
No te entiende
No me toques
Ochavado
Pardo
Prieto
Quartarón
Quinterón
Requinterón
Salta atrás
Tente en el aire
Torna atrás
Tresalvo
Zambaigo
Zambo
Zambo de Indio
Racial Composition
Cambujo and Mulato
Spanish and Morisco
Chamizo and Mestizo
Albarazado and Mulato
Albarazado and Mestizo
Zambaigo and Lobo
Indian (¾) and Negro (¼)
Negro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼)
In Puerto Rico: Mestizo and Spanish. In Guatemala: Spanish and Indian (1/128)
Coyote and Indian
In Peru: Mulato and Indian
In Peru: Mestizo and Indian
In Mexico and Guatemala: Negro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼)
Spanish (½), Indian (3/8), and Negro (1/8)
Spanish (½), Indian (¼), and Negro (¼)
Spanish (¾) and Negro (¼)
In Peru: Spanish and Chino
In Peru: Spanish and Mestizo
In Peru: Spanish and Mulato
Indian (¾) and Spanish (¼)
Spanish
Colonial-born Spaniard
Indian
Lobo and Indian
Spanish (¾) and Indian (¼)
Indian (¾) and Negro (¼)
Spanish (½) and Indian (½)
Spanish (½), Indian (¼), and Negro (¼)
Spanish and Mulato. In Spain: a baptized Moor
Spanish (½) and Negro (½). In Chile and Colombia: can also be Indian and Negro
African Black
Negro (¾) and Spanish (¼)
Tente en el aire and Mulato
Mixture of Spanish, Indian, and Negro
Spanish (7/8) and Negro (1/8)
Indian (½), Spanish (¼), and Negro (¼)
Negro (7/8) and Spanish (1/8)
See Cuarterón
In Peru: Spanish and Cuarterón
In Peru: Spanish and Quinterón
Spanish and Albino
Calpamulato and Cambujo
No te entiende and Indian
Spanish (¾) and Negro (¼)
Spanish and Chino
In Peru: Negro and Mulato. In Venezuela: Indian (½) and Negro (½)
In Peru: Negro (½) and Indian (½)

General Word List

This general word list includes words commonly seen in genealogical sources. Numbers, months, and days of the week are listed both here and in separate sections prior to this list. Racial terminology is listed separately.

In this list, optional versions of Spanish words or variable endings (such as adjectives and some plural or feminine endings) are given in parentheses. Parentheses in the English column clarify the definition.

A

Spanish
a
Aa.M. = abuela materna
Aa.P. = abuela paterna
abogado
abril
absceso
abuela
abuelo
abuelos
acre
acta
acuerdo
administración
adoptado (a)
adulterio
adúltero (a)
agosto
agricultor
ahí
ahogamiento
albacea
albañil
alcalde
aldea
alemán (a)
alfarero
algodón
algún (o, a)
alma
alquiler, renta
alto (a)
altura
allá
allí
amanuense
amarillo (a)
ambos (as)
amigo (a)
amo
amonestaciones
anciano (a)
aniversario
antepasado (a)
anterior
antes
antiguo (a)
anual
anuario
año
aparecer
apellido
apéndice
apodo
apostólico (a)
aprendiz
aproximado (a)
aquel (la)
aquí
árbol
árbol genealógico
archivo
arrendamiento
arzobispo
ascendiente
asilo
asma
aún
auto de fé
ayer
ayuntamiento
azúcar
azul
English
to, in, into, on
maternal grandmother
paternal grandmother
lawyer
April
abscess
grandmother
grandfather
grandparents
acre
document, record
agreement
administration
adopted
adultery
adulterer
August
farmer
there
drowning
executor of estate
stonemason
mayor
village
German
potter
cotton
some, someone
soul, inhabitant
rent
high, tall
height
there
there
scribe, clerk
yellow
both
friend
master, owner
marriage banns
elderly
anniversary
ancestor
former, previous
before
old, ancient
annual
yearbook
year
to appear
surname
appendix
nickname
apostolic
apprentice
approximate
that
here
tree
genealogical tree
archive
rent
archbishop
ancestor
asylum, shelter
asthma
still
sentence given by the Inquisition
yesterday
city hall, town government
sugar
blue

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z