From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 11:06, 17 September 2020 by Laurenwake (talk | contribs) (Created page with "{{Spain-sidebar}} {{breadcrumb | link1=Spain | link2= | link3= | link4= | link5=Military Records }} Spanish Military Records...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Spain Wiki Topics
Spanish flag.jpg
Beginning Research
Record Types
Country Background
Local Research Resources

Spanish Military Records

The military records in Spain can be a good source to look for your male ancestors. Many men in Spain served in military units such as the army, the militia, the navy, and others. Often these records contain genealogical information that can help you to build your family tree. The men of Spain often had to receive an exemption from military service or prove that they had already served before they could leave the county. They needed to receive special permission to do so.

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Service records (Hojas de Servicios)[edit | edit source]

Service records were created for each individual who joined the military, and detail their service. Generally, you can expect to find the following information in a service record.

  • Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Names of parents
  • List of assignments and/or ranks with dates in chronological order.
  • In the bottom part of the page you can find information about the military campaigns in which he served with his military unit.

Petitions/Personal files (Expedientes Personales)[edit | edit source]

Expedientes personales, a petition created for a specific purpose, were primarily created for officers. These records may be arranged alphabetically by the soldier or officer's name, or in the following categories:

  • Academic Files – Files related to petitions regarding education.
  • Promotion Files - Files relating to military promotions.
  • Marriage Files – Files related to marriage petitions. Often identifies as expedientes matrimoniales.
  • Pension Files – Files related to pension petitions. Often identified as expedientes de pension.

Marriage petitions (expedientes matrimoniales)[edit | edit source]

Marriage petitions generally contain great genealogical value. Created by an individual during their military service, these petitions generally include the following information:

  • Name of the couple.
  • Proof bride was a faithful Catholic.
    • Copies of baptism certificate of bride and groom.
    • Copies of the marriage certificates of the parents of the bride and groom.

Military conscription (Quintas)[edit | edit source]

Quintas began in 1773, where every fifth man between eighteen and 20 years old was selected by lot to serve in the army. Initially meeting with heaving resistance, its enforcement was suspended at first but ultimately instituted. Local municipalities were required to make lists of all male citizens from whom the conscripts were selected. Hidalgos (nobility) were not included in Quitas.

The following information can be found in Quinta records.

  • Name of the prospective conscript
  • Their age (sometimes birth date)
  • Sometimes names of parents and their residence.

Most quintas can be found in municipal archives and/or provincial historical archives. Some can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog, under their specific municipality.

Time period: 1773-1920.


Recruitment Files (Cajas de Recluta)[edit | edit source]

Beginning in 1877, the process for enlisting men in the army transitioned from quintas to recluta, or recruitment files. The transition was completed in 1925. These offices collected a great deal of personal information on the young men who entered military service, which they compiled into enlistment files.

These enlistment files expedientes generales de alistamiento) may include:

  • Conscription documents (quintas o reclutamentos) taken as the man entered military service
  • Enlistment records (filiaciones) MAYBE THE SAME AS CAJAS DE RECLUTA Organized alphabetically by major enlistment district.
  • The personal file (expedientes personales de mozos o expediente reglamentario) of the young men
  • Service records (hojas de servicio)
  • Punishment file (hoja de castigos)

Online Records

Contact Servicio Historico Militar - clarification

Army Military Archives[edit | edit source]

The following information is a brief overview of the information found at the main military archives in Spain. A guidebook has been newly published in 2012 with detailed information about Spanish Military Archives. A downloadable pdf version of the book is available by clicking on the title below. Please note that the guide is in Spanish.
Guía de archivos militares españoles

General Military Archive of Segovia[edit | edit source]

The General Military Archive of Segovia (AGM Segovia) was created in 1898 as a place to hold the military records scattered across various military archives throughout Spain. The archive holds more than 67,000 files. These include the following indexes and original records.


Original Records

  • Officer Personal files (Expedientes personales), 1400s-1900s, most 1700s-1800s.
    • They also contain hojas de servicio (service sheets), which list all military assignments/positions held with their corresponding dates and any relevant comments, and some vital information (usually, name, birth information, and parents’ names).
  • Expedientes matrimoniales, 1500s-1800s, most 1800s-1900s: The paperwork involved in the petition made for a marriage involving a person serving in the military; frequently contains copies of baptism records as well as the record of the marriage.


General Archive of Simancas[edit | edit source]

While the General Archive of Simancas (AG Simancas) is comprised mostly of 16-17th century documents focused on the nobility, it also contains holds the majority of the military records for the 18th century. The military section (secretaria de guerra) contains all letters, notices, decrees, and legal cases relating to military campaigns. The following categories would be the most helpful in documenting specific soldiers:


  • Service records (hojas de servicios de america) of personnel (officers) who served in the american colonies during late 18th century and pre-independence 19th.

Original Records

  • Hojas de Servicios, 1700s: Military service files, sorted by military branch for soldiers who served in Spain and by country name for soldiers who served in the colonies.
  • Expedientes personales, 1700s: names of soldiers as well as all documents related to their military service, ordered by last name.

The archive also contains files that document military captives, deserters, and prisoners of war throughout the 1700s and early 1800s.
The records of those that served in the Americas are found in the General Archive of Simancas. These records include the following places:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Cuba
  • Chile
  • Philippines
  • Guatemala
  • Nueva España (originally Mexico and Central America except Panama)
  • Viceroyalty of Peru (originally included most of Spanish South America)
  • Indias (Florida, Puerto Rico y Venezuela)

The service files for Cuba are also at the Family History Library.

General Military Archive of Guadalajara[edit | edit source]

The General Military Archive of Guadalajara (AGM Guadalajara) was created in 1967 in order to alleviate the funds of the General Military Archive in Madrid. Of particular interest to genealogists is the recruitment collection. Beginning in the 1870s, recruitment files were created for each person who joined the military. These files contain a great deal of personal information on the young men who entered military service, often including their enlistment personal files.

  • Soldier Personal File (expedientes reglamentarios de soldados)

cajas de recluta
CAJAS DE RECLUTA has expedientes generales de alistamiento Fechas extremas: 1875 - 2001. Volumen: 9.982 unidades de instalación

Some military prisoners

Other Archives[edit | edit source]

National Archive (Archivo Histórico Nacional) was created in 1866.

  • Military Orders (órdenes militares)
  • (expedientes de prubas de las órdenes españolas)

You can access a guide to the military records in the national archive (written in Spanish) online at

Navy Military Archives[edit | edit source]

Ministerio de Marina Archivo General de la Administración (Paseo de Aguadores, España) WE HAVE expedientes personales

Military Ranks[edit | edit source]

Military ranks - Army
[edit | edit source]

  • Soldado - private
  • Cabo – corporal
  • Alferez – sergeant
  • Sub-teniente – second lieutenant
  • Teniente – Lieutenant
  • Capitan – Captain
  • Comandante – Major
  • Teniente Coronel – Lieutenant Colonel
  • Coronel – Colonel
  • Comandante General – Major General
  • Teniente General – Lieutenant General
  • General – General

Military ranks - Navy
[edit | edit source]

  • Marinero - sailor
  • Marinero de primera clase - seaman first class
  • Cabo - corporal
  • Cabo Primero - corporal first class
  • Sargento - sergeant
  • Sargento Primero - sergeant first class
  • Brigada (grado) - brigadier (grade)
  • Subteniente - sub-lieutenant
  • Suboficial Mayor - senior chief
  • Alférez de Fragata - ensign of a frigate
  • Alférez de Navío - ensign of a ship
  • Teniente de Navío - lieutenant of a ship
  • Capitán de Corbeta - captain of a corvette
  • Capitán de Fragata - captain of a frigate
  • Capitán de Navío - captain of ship
  • Contralmirante - rear admiral
  • Vicealmirante - vice admiral
  • Almirante - admiral
  • Capitán General - captain general or commaner in chief

Promotions[edit | edit source]

There were three ways to advance in rank:

  • Por elección (by vote)
  • Por gracia general (by general order)
  • Por antiguedad (By length of service)


Empleo – A position of command or responsibility. A person could have the Rank of a captain but serve in the empleo of a lieutenant.

Religious Military Orders[edit | edit source]

To learn more about religious military orders we recommend that you read the following article:

Religious Military Orders

Other Online Records[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Cadenas y Vicent, Vicente de. Archivos Militares y Civiles Donde se Conservan Fondos de Carácter Castrense Relacionados con Expedientes Personales de Militares. Madrid: Hidalguía, 1963. FHL INTL Book 946 M2c.

Ryskamp, George. Tracing Your Hispanic Heritage. Riverside, CA: George R. Ryskamp, 1948. FHL INTL Book 946 D27r.

Internet sites[edit | edit source]

General Military Archive of Segovia

General Archive of Simancas

Portal de Cultura de Defensa

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Spain,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1984-1999.