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Updated History, fixed both broken letter guide links in Civil and Church per Danielle.
'''Most of your genealogical research for Vizcaya 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 ==
“Vizcaya” is the denomination in Biscay (Spanish, recommended by the Royal Spanish Academy. It : ''Vizcaya'') is also the Spanish denomination used in the Spanish version a province of the Constitution Spain and was included in the Spanish version of the Statute of Autonomy newly created Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.History.Biscay has been inhabited since the Middle Paleolithic, as attested by the archaeological remains and cave paintings found in its many caves.The title to the lordship was inherited by Iñigo López(Spanish: ''País Vasco''s descendants until, by inheritance, ) in 1370 it passed to John I of Castile. It became one of 1979 along with the titles of the king of Castile. Since then it remained connected to the crown, first to that provinces of Castile Álava and then, from Charles I, to that of Spain, as ruler of the Crown of CastileGipuzkoa. It was conditioned lies on the lord swearing to defend and maintain the Biscayan laws which affirmed that the possessors south shore of the sovereignty of the lordship were the Biscayans and that, at least in theory, they could refute the lord. In the modern ages commerce on took great importance, specially for the Port of Bilbao, to which the kings granted privileges in 1511 for trade with the ports of the Spanish Empire. Bilbao was already the main Castilian harbour, from where wool was shipped to Flanders, and other goods were imported.The coastal towns had a sizable fleet of their own, mostly dedicated to fishing and trade. Along with other Basque towns of Gipuzkoa and Labourd, they were largely responsible for the partial extinction of North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Biscay. After the Napoleonic wars, Biscay, along with the other Basque provinces, were threatened to have their self-rule cut by the now Liberal Spanish Cortes. Together with opposing factions that supported different parties for the throne, this desire to maintain foral rights contributed to the successive Carlist Wars. The Biscayan government and other Basque provinces supported Carlos V, who represented an autocratic monarch who would preserve tradition. During the Second Spanish Republic, the Basque Nationalist Party governed the province. When provincial capital is the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Biscay supported the Republican side against Francisco Franco's army and fascist ideology. Soon after, the Republic acknowledged a statute of autonomy for the Basque Country. Due to fascist control of large parts city of it, the first short-lived Basque Autonomous Community had power only over Biscay and a few nearby villages.As the fascist army advanced westward from Navarre, defenses were planned and erected around Bilbao, called the Iron Belt. But the engineer in charge, José Goicoechea, defected to the fascists, causing the unfinished defenses to be of little value.Under the dictatorship of Franco, Biscay and Gipuzkoa were declared "traitor provinces" because of their opposition and stripped of any sort of self-rule. Only after Franco's death in 1975 was democracy restored in Spain. The 1978 constitution accepted the particular Basque laws and in 1979 the Statute of Guernica was approved whereupon Biscay, Araba and Gipuzkoa formed the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country with its own parliament. During this recent democratic period, Basque Nationalist Party candidates have consistently won elections in Biscay.  The population of Vizcaya (Biscay) province is roughly 1,159,639 peopledivided into 111 municipalities.<ref>Wikipedia collaboratorscontributors, "Biscay," ''Wikipedia: , The Free Encyclopedia'', (Accessed October 17accessed September 21, 20172020).</ref>
===Place Names===
When conducting research in Vizcaya, you will find on many websites that the town names are written in Basque, not in Spanish. There is a tool that will help you convert the town names and give you a link to the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the Catholic Church parish records. [[Vizcaya_Town_Names|Click here]] to visit the tool.
*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.<br>
*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|'''Spain Gazetteers''']] article. <br>
'''Here are several different approaches to obtaining these certificates:''' <br>
:*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.]'''<br>
== Catholic Church Records ==
:'''([ '''postal code''']), (city), Vizcaya'''
*[ '''Find the Spain postal code here.''']
*Reason for the request (family history, medical, and so on)
*Request for a photocopy of the complete original record
<br>'''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==
:*{{LearningCenter2|206|'''Reading Spanish Handwritten Records, Lesson 2'''}}
:*{{LearningCenter2|207|'''Reading Spanish Handwritten Records, Lesson 3'''}}
*Detailed instructions for reading Spanish records, examples of common documents, and practice exercises for developing skills in translating them can be found in the [[Spanish Records Extraction Manual|'''Spanish Records Extraction Manual.''']]
*[ '''The Spanish Documents Script Tutorial'''] also provides lessons and examples.<br>
 ==== Tips for finding your ancestor in the records ====
Effective use of church records includes the following strategies.
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