La Coruña, Spain Genealogy

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Guide to La Coruña province ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.


Most of your genealogical research for La Coruña will be in two main record types: civil registration and church records. This article will teach you methods for locating and searching these two record groups.

History[edit | edit source]

The Romans came to the region in the 2nd century BC, and the colonisers made the most of the strategic position and soon the city became quite important in maritime trade. After the fall of the Roman Empire, A Coruña still had a commercial port connected to foreign countries. Between the 7th and 8th centuries, the city was no more than a little village of labourers and sailors. As the city began to recover during the Middle Ages the main problem for the inhabitants was the Norman raids and during the 9th century there were several Viking attacks on the city. In 1208, Alfonso IX re-founded the city of Crunia. Some privileges, such as those of disembarking and selling salt without paying taxes, were granted to the city, and it enjoyed a big growth in fishing and mercantile business.

In the late Middle Ages, before the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, a thriving Jewish community created a rich artistic heritage in the city. The most lavishly illuminated Hebrew Bible in medieval Spain was created in A Coruña in 1476. During the 1500's period, the city was a port and centre for the manufacturing of textiles. In 1520, King Carlos I of Spain, met in the courts of A Coruña and embarked from its harbour to be elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as Charles V. From the port of Ferrol in the Province of A Coruña, Philip II left to marry Mary Tudor in 1554, and much later, in 1588, from the same port the Spanish Armada would set sail to the Spanish Netherlands and England. In the following year, during the Anglo-Spanish War, Francis Drake tried to seige A Coruña, but was repelled. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the wars of the Spanish monarchy caused a great increase in taxes and the start of conscription. A Coruña was the site of the Battle of Corunna during the Peninsular War, on 16 January 1809, in which British troops fought against the French to cover the embarkation of British troops after their retreat. Spanish resistance during the Peninsular War, A Coruña was the only Galician city that achieved success against the French troops. French troops left Galicia at the end of May 1809.

During the 19th century, the city was the centre of anti-monarchist sentiment. On 19 August 1815, Juan Díaz Porlier, spoke against Fernando VII in defense of the Spanish Constitution of 1812. He was supported by the bourgeoisie and the educated people, but on 22 August he was betrayed. He was hanged two months later. In all the 19th-century rebellions, A Coruña supported the liberal side. At the beginning of the 20th century, A Coruña had about 45,000 inhabitants. The Great Depression, Spanish Civil War severely affected the economy through the 1930s to the mid-1950s. In the Spanish general elections, 1931, all the political parties knew that the electoral results had important political consequences. Republicans and socialists constituted a block, made up of ORGA, independent republicans, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the Radical Socialist Republican Party. In the elections, the republican parties obtained 34 of the 39 council seats.

The population of La Coruña is roughly 246,056 people.[1]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

  • Spanish civil registration records (government birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates) began in 1871.
  • Births, marriages, and deaths were recorded by the local Juzgado de la Paz, or Oficinia del Registro Civil. The records are still housed in their local municpal archives. In addition, Spain does have a national index or central repository for civil registration.
  • Some municipios (towns/cities) may have civil registration records beginning as early as 1837. Some of them have been microfilmed and/or digitized by FamilySearch.
  • Larger cities may have multiple civil registration districts, and smaller towns may have their own civil registration office, or belong to an office of a nearby town. To determine the political jurisdiction for the town where your ancestors came from, please see the Spain Gazetteers article.


Here are several different approaches to obtaining these certificates:

1. Online Digitized Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

The following records are available online from FamilySearch Historical Records:

2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Icon-warning.png

There might be microfilmed records available but not included in the online collections. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Spain, La Coruña.
b. Click on "Places within Spain, La Coruña" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
d. Click on the "Civil Registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Ordering Certificates From the Ministerio de Justica[edit | edit source]

  • Researchers can solicit the Ministerio de Justicia online for copies of certificates.
  • For detailed information on how to order these records online, please see the article Order Spain Vital Records Online. It will take you through the process step by step, and includes translation of terms you will find in that process.

4. Writing to the Civil Registry of a Municipality[edit | edit source]

  • Juzgado de la Paz or Oficina del Registro Civil should be contacted if a certificate copy request to the Ministerio de Justicia fails.
  • Use the following address, filling in the parentheses with the specific information for your town :
Oficina del Registro Civil
(Street address: This link will give you addresses for all the civil registries in La Coruña.)
(postal code) (City)
La Coruña, Spain
  • Full name and the sex of the person sought.
  • Names of the parents, if known.
  • Approximate date and place of the event.
  • Your relationship to the person.
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, etc.).
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record.
  • Check or cash for the search fee (usually about $10.00).

Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • Catholicism's roots extend deep into Spain's history. Parish and diocesan records created by the Catholic Church in Spain have long been considered some of the richest genealogical records in the world. Ever since the Council of Trent, Catholic parish records have been consistently recorded, usually providing three generations in a single baptismal entry.
  • The vast majority of Spaniards are Catholic, and so almost every Spaniard can be found in the records of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the primary record keeper of births, marriages, and deaths, until civil registration started in 1869.
  • Some church records have been lost or have deteriorated due natural disasters such as fire, flood, and earthquakes. Civil and political strife has also caused record loss, including during time of the Spanish Civil War.
  • The Catholic Church has created several different records. The most used in genealogical research include: baptisms (bautizos, bautismos), marriages (matrimonios), and burials (entierros, defunciones, fallecimientos). Other records include: confirmations (confimaciones) and pre-marriage investigations (expedientes matrimoniales, información matrimonial).
  • Tip: If you are researching after 1869, when Civil Registration started in Spain, both church and civil records should be searched since there may be information in one record that does not appear in the other.

1. Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

Currently, there are no online church records for this area. You should check back from time to time to see if they have become available.

2. Microfilmed Records From the Family History Library[edit | edit source]

Icon-warning.png

There might be microfilmed records available but not included in the online collections. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Spain, La Coruña.
b. Click on "Places within Spain, La Coruña" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
d. Click on "Church Records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing to a Catholic Priest for Church Records[edit | edit source]

Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting or visiting local parish or diocese archives in Spain. Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. This method is not always reliable. Officials might or might not respond.

Write a brief request in Spanish to the proper church using this address as guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

Reverendo Padre
Parroquia de (name of parish)
(street address) Search The Church in Spain by province (Selecciona la provincia) or parish (Nombre de la parroquia).
(postal code), (city), La Coruña
Spain


When requesting information, send the following:

  • Money for the search fee, usually $10.00
  • Full name and the sex of the ancestor sought
  • Names of the ancestor’s parents, if known
  • Approximate date and place of the event
  • Your relationship to the ancestor
  • Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
  • Request for a photocopy of the complete original record


Write your request in Spanish whenever possible. For writing your letter in Spanish, use the translated questions and phrases in this Spanish Letter-writing Guide.]

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

  • You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use this Spanish Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document. Reading handwriting skills are taught in the BYU Spanish Script Tutorial.
  • Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:




Tips for finding your ancestor in the records[edit | edit source]

Effective use of church records includes the following strategies.

  • Search for the birth record of the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Then, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all family members.
  • Then repeat the process for both the father and the mother.
  • If earlier generations are not in the record, search neighboring parishes.
  • Wikipedia Collaborators, "La Coruña," In Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Coru%C3%B1a. Visited 12 October 2017.