Spain Civil Registration - Vital Records

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Europe Gotoarrow.png Spain Gotoarrow.png Civil Registration - Vital Records

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Spanish civil registration records (births, marriages, and deaths) began in 1871. Spain does have a national index or central repository for civil registration (Ministerio de Justicia). Researchers can solicit the Ministerio de Justicia online for copies of certificates. Requests must have: name of deceased, date when event ocurred (birth, marriage, or death), and where the event occured. Parent's names will also be required when asking for a birth certificate. For more information on how to order these records online, please see the article Order Spain Vital Records Online.

If you understand Spanish, you may want to view this short video that explains how to order a birth certificate online from the Ministry of Justice in Spain. The process is virtually the same to order a marriage or death certificate.

Births, marriages, and deaths were recorded by the local Juzgado de la Paz, or Oficinia del Registro Civil. The records are still housed in each municipality in their local municpal archives, Juzgado de la Paz or Oficina del Registro Civil should be contacted if a certificate copy request to the Ministerio de Justicia fails.

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.

Some municipios may have civil registration records beginning as early as 1837. These births, marriages, and deaths are normally found in the municipal archive. Some of them have been microfilmed and/or digitized by FamilySearch.

Wiki articles describing online collections which may contain pre-1870 civil registration records are found at:

Births[edit | edit source]

Spanish civil registration birth records are among the richest genealogical records in the world. Birth records typically provide the following information:

  • Place and date of child's birth (often times they provide the exact time of birth)
  • Full name, profession and place of birth of the child's father
  • Full name and place of birth of the child's mother
  • Full name and place of birth of the child's maternal and paternal grandparents

Birth Record Tip:

Be sure to check marginal notes in the birth record of your ancestor. Often times recorders will note the marriage and/or death dates of the individual.

One substitute for a civil registration birth record is a baptism record. A wiki article describing an online collection of Baptisms for Spain is found at:

Spain Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage records are also very valuable in Spanish genealogical research. Marriage records provide the following information:

  • Date when the marriage occurred
  • Full names, marital status (single or widowed) and places of birth for both the bride and groom
  • Full names, and places of birth for the parents of the bride and groom

Marriage Record Tip:

Couples usually married in the home town of the bride (if the family still lived there).

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Spain Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Deaths[edit | edit source]

Death records should not be overlooked. Death certificates often provide additional information about the deceased and his or her family. You can expect to find the following information in Spanish death records.

If the deceased was single:

  • Full name, age, occupation (if applicable), place of birth, and death date of the deceased
  • Full name of the deceased parents, and often times their places of birth
  • Cemetery where the deceased was buried

If the deceased was married or widowed:

  • Full name, age, occupation (if applicable), place of birth, and death date of the deceased
  • Full name of spouse (whether deceased or living), and often their place of birth
  • Cemetery where the deceased was buried
  • If the deceased created a will and the name of the Notary that notarized the will.
  • Sometimes living descendants (could include name of living children, and other heirs)

Wiki articles describing online collections is found at: Spain Deaths

Spain Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Obtaining Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

Most civil registration records have not been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, however, if you are researching from outside of Spain you should perform a Place Search in the FamilySearch Catalog to determine if the civil registration records for the town you are researching in have been microfilmed.

If the records you need have not been microfilmed you will most likely need to write to the archive where the records are housed. The best way to find out if civil registration records are available in the town you are researching in, and to get the address of the archive is through the Directorio de Archivos in the Censo-guia.

It is possible to order copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates online from Spain through the website of the Ministry of Justice (Ministerio de Justicia). See Order Spain Vital Records Online for complete instructions on how to receive copies of post-1870 civil registration records.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

    • This site will allow you to order a birth, marriage, or death certificate from any municipality in the Basque Country (provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Vizcaya) for free.
    • The Archive Directory (Directorio de Archivos) will allow you to search for nearly any archive in Spain. Each archive entry will give you an inventory of the records in that archive as well as the archive's contact information.