Spain, Municipal Records - FamilySearch Historical Records
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|This article contains information about records in multiple collections. See the section Related FamilySearch Historical Records Collections for a list of published collections.|
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|Title in the Language:||Registros Municipales de España|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 What Do I Do Next?
- 4 Known Issues
- 5 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
The Spanish Municipal Records include 23 collections ranging from 1319 to 1956. It contains civil registration, census, military drafts, and other records microfilmed and digitized at municipal archives in Spain.
Separate registers were maintained for births, marriages, and deaths. Civil registration was established with the provisional law of Civil Registration in 1870. The Municipal Civil Registries are under the responsibility of the municipal judge.
Civil registration records are usually handwritten, though, new records are on a printed form. There are generally two records per page and they follow a chronological order. Before 1870, civil registrations were created with the information from church parish registers.
Municipal censuses in Spain were created for different purposes, such as for elections, military draft, taxing, municipal administration, and other purposes. These censuses are an administrative register where inhabitants of a municipal area are listed.
The titles of each census differs according to the administrative need of the municipality throughout the centuries, such as the Censo de los pecheros created in the early 1500s, which excluded the nobility; the Averiguaciones de alcabalas created for taxing purposes in the latter part of the 1500s; the well-known Catastro del Marqués de la Ensenada performed between 1749 and 1753; the Censo de Aranda carried out by the Catholic Church parishes; the Censo de Floridablanca created in the latter part of the 1700s to record all the inhabitants; and the Censo de población started in 1857 for statistical purposes. The National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística) has been the organization in charge of the census since 1945. However, the municipal census (padrón municipal) differs from the population census (Censo de población) in that it is an administrative tool used by the municipality to establish proof of address and residence within the municipality boundaries.
At the time of any census, all people living in Spain were to be registered in the census that took place in their municipal area of residence. If a person failed to be registered in the census or submitted false information, the person was subject to legal sanctions. However, some errors, omissions, or duplications can be found in these records. Overall, the information listed in the records is quite reliable for genealogical research. See also Spain Census.
Military service was required for all males turning 21 years of age every year. In order to recruit males, a draft called "Quinta" was issued yearly by the municipal office of each area. The proceedings for each male drafted was created in an individual file containing a vast documentation (See the description of the records section.).
Municipal military draft records were carried out almost every year to fill in the conscript quota since the voluntary service had declined. The process for the draft was long; it included first the preparation of a list of all men in age for the draft, then approval, sorting of men, notifications, exemptions, medical exam, etc.
The military records are reliable records for genealogical research when other vital records cannot be found. However, these documents are not listed in any specific order and are therefore more difficult to search by names or dates. See also Spain Military Records
Some municipalities kept records of hidalgos called hidalguías. Hidalguía refers to nobility status of hidalgo or hijodalgo or someone of untitled nobility. The literal translation means “son of something.” Being hidalgo gave a male citizen certain rights and privileges of which the most important was immunity from the payment of taxes. It also required military service. Prior to 1831 only hidalgos could serve as military officers. There are two common types of records found in hidalguías; censuses of hidalgos and genealogical information reports (informaciones genealógicas) or purity of blood reports (limpiezas de sangre). Joining a military or fraternal order or holding local public office required proof of hidalguía which is why these records were kept on file in the local municipality. Often the genealogical information traces the direct line genealogy for several generations. Being a hidalgo was not always synonymous with wealth. In some areas they were ordinary laborers. For this reason even if you don’t believe your family was wealthy it would still be important to check these records.
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.
For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
Reading These Records
These records are in Spanish. For help reading these records see:
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The information in each record varies by year. Some provinces created more detailed records than others.
- Place of registration
- Name of child
- Date, time, and place of birth
- Legitimacy of child
- Parents’ names and place of birth
- Grandparents’ names and places of birth
- Date and place of baptism
- Place and date of registration
- Names of bride and groom
- Places of birth of bride and groom
- Ages of bride and groom
- Previous marital statuses of bride and groom
- Residence of bride and groom
- Groom’s occupation
- Parish name and date of their religious wedding
- Parents' names, their places birth, and occupations of fathers
- Name of deceased
- Place and date of death
- Deceased's residence and place of birth
- Deceased's age at death
- Deceased's marital status and occupation
- Cause of death
- If deceased left a will
- Place of burial
- Parents’ names and their places of birth
- Father’s occupation
- Complete name
- Place and date of birth
- Marital Status
- Sometimes the education level
- Sometimes the names of the spouse and children
- Complete name
- Birth date or age
- Place of origin
- Parents' names
- Marital status
- Medical and physical condition
- Body measurements for the uniforms
- Other notifications, rectifications, licenses, correspondence, etc.
What Do I Do Next?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about other people listed in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors, such as:
- Use the parents' names to locate any children.
- Search for the parents' marriage. If their age is not given, estimate it and search for their baptismal record.
- Continue to repeat this process for each ancestor.
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church records Spain, Catholic Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of a marriage officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the province. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other provinces.
- Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Use the marital status (whether a divorce or death dissolved a marriage) to identify previous marriages.
- Witnesses often were relatives of the parents.
Military and census records are good supplements to vital records, but it is always best to find the birth, marriage, and death record of your ancestor to know for sure the date and place of each event and the relationships.
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?
A boundary change could have occurred that changed where records were kept. If you are unable to find your ancestor(s) in the civil registers of one province, then try searching in the provinces or even countries neighboring that province.
In the event that your ancestor immigrated to another country, search the immigration/emigration records. See Spain Emigration and Immigration for more information.
Church records are also a good substitute when birth, marriage, and death records can’t be found or are unavailable. For more information on these records see Spain Baptisms, Spain Church Records, and Spain, Catholic Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records.
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Spain.
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