Monday, August 13, 2007

Expedientes Matrimoniales Continued

I felt bad last week for having to cut my post short, however, it was probably getting a little long so maybe it was a good thing I was having a few issues. The issues seem to be resolved now, and I'm ready to continue my last post, but with a twist...I have included my preliminary findings on which dioceses have pre-marriage investigations in Spain. I also couldn't wait until next week to talk about marriage dispensations, so I've included an image to wet your appetite.

Pre-marriage Investigation records is the topic (aka expedientes matrimoniales, información matrimonial, and diligencias matrimoniales) and I was discussing how to find them. Before I continue down that vein I wanted to share what I have found for Spain as far as the availability of pre-marriage investigations.

Using the Guía de la Iglesia de España. I have found that the following dioceses have collections of expedientes matrimoniales (followed by the years covered by each collection). For a complete list of Spain's dioceses click here...
  • Avila (1529-1979)
  • Barbastro-Monzon (1545-1982)
  • Barcelona (1649-1776)*
  • Burgos (1813-1996)
  • Cadiz-Ceuta (1596-1997)
  • Canarias (1700-1840)
  • Ciudad Rodrigo (1633-1981)*
  • Coria-Caceres (no years given)
  • Girona (1344-1950)
  • Granada (1556-1933)*
  • Guadix (no years given-mixed with limpezas de sangre)
  • Huesca (1600-1900)
  • Jerez de la Frontera (1659-1892)
  • Leon (1600-1900)
  • Lleida (beginning in 1900)
  • Malaga (1775-1900)
  • Mallorca (1800-1900)
  • Menorca (1900-1965)
  • Mondenado (1700-1900)
  • Ourense (1800-1900)
  • Plascensia (no years given)
  • Salamanca (1918 to present)
  • Santander (1557-1973?)
  • Santiago de Compostela (1500s-1900)
  • Siguenza (1600-1900)
  • Tarragona (no years given)
  • Teruel-Albarracin (1582-1834)
  • Toledo (no years given)
  • Tortosa (no years given)
  • Seu d'Urgell (1602-1952)
  • Valladolid (no years given)
  • Vitoria (no years given)
  • Zamora (1506-1919)
  • Zaragoza (no years given)

This study was brief, and not exhaustive of all available resources. Some of these are vague and/or include marriage dispensations (see upcoming posts on this topic...see above image for an example of this too). The * denotes that these collections are available through the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City.

For Latin American countries you will want to search at the parish level to begin with. For example the FHL has informaciones matrimoniales for the parish of Ojuelos de Jalisco, Jalisco, Mexico for the years 1800 thru 1945. Pre-marriage investigations for other Latin American countries will most likely be in the parish archives, but the diocesan archives should be checked as well. To search for informaciones matrimoniales for your ancestor's parish in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC). Follow these steps:
  1. go to
  2. click on Explore the Family History Library Catalog
  3. click on Place Search
  4. in the first box enter the town name where your ancestor would have married (for example Ojuelos de Jalisco)
  5. in the second box enter the country (example: Mexico) and click Search
  6. click on Church Records
  7. click on the link that says: Registros Parroquiales [followed by a range of years]
  8. in the upper right hand corner of the screen click on View Film Notes
  9. the records will be arranged by baptisms, confirmations, then marriages. The entries titled informaciones matrimoniales are the pre-marriage investigation records.
From this point you will have to order the microfilm to your local family history center. Contact your local center for microfilm ordering information.

You can also try the Censo-guia. Since this post is getting long, I will save you from all the details. It is pretty self explanatory, just enter place name information like the FHLC, and click search. If you find the archive you are looking for, the site contains parish and diocesan archives, you will see a list of collections on the left side of the screen. You can click on each entry (or the plus next to each entry), and learn more about the collections. This guide or inventory of collections within archives can guide you to records available throughout Latin America. If the link above doesn't work follow these steps:
  1. go to
  2. click on Archivos
  3. click on Censo-guia de Archivos
  4. click on Directorio de Archivos
  5. perform your search
I have really liked using these records. They complement 'regular' parish records very well, and have proven to be a viable parish record substitute. Please come back and learn more about these and many other valuable records you can use in your family history research.

1 comment:

Lynn Turner, AG said...

I was just asked how someone would get a copy of a pre-marriage investigation packet for their ancestor(s). As noted in the post only 3 diocesan collections have been filmed, however, some dioceses will perform a search for you, or you can write to the archive. The Malaga diocese will search their collection for you and actually take requests via email (see their website for more information: