In this post, I will show you why it is important to analyze the marriage records that you find. Nowadays indexes have made it so easy for us to find marriage dates for our ancestors.
Tools like books, FamilySearch, and ancestry make it so easy for us. Many times we just want to fly by and get as far back as we can.
If this is you, you need to slow down.
Analyzing Church Marriage Records
The other day I was researching individuals with the last name Cuellar that got married in Monterrey and came across a couple that the index did not have the names of the parents listed.
In this case, I was using the book titled “Matrimonios de la Catedral de Monterrey 1667 – 1781” by Jose Francisco Garza Carrillo. On page 62 entry 485 I came across the marriage of Bartholome de Cuellar and Josepha de Trebiño.
This is what I found.
As you can see the record does not mention the parents. To an inexperienced researcher, this may be a dead-end, but it is not. You have to take the time to read the entry and analyze it. Something that stands out straight away is that they had an impediment of 4th grade of consanguinity. What this means is that they were related by blood four generations back.
You may think that this is not important but it is. Once an impediment was found, a marriage investigation had to be done and a petition for a dispensation was granted so that the couple could get married.
Before we go on looking for a marriage dispensation, first we need to get a copy of this church marriage record. Many times indexes leave out the names of the parents and the original may contain them.
To get one just go to familysearch.org and sign in. If you don’t have an account, create one. It is free to do so.
Once you log in go to Search / Records / click on “Browse all published collections” toward the lower center of the page / then click on Mexico / then click in Nuevo Leon / then click on “Mexico, Nuevo León, Catholic Church Records, 1667-1981” / then towards the bottom left corner select “Browse through 447,381 images” / then click on “Monterrey” / then click “Catedral” / finally click on “Matrimonios 1667-1800”.
We select that link since the marriage record we are looking for happened 8-21-1707. Once you click it and the page loads look for the record. This particular one is on page 79.
Here is a copy of it.
So, from reading the record, no parents are mentioned.
After you get a copy of the original church marriage record there are two books that you can search for it in order to find the information need to find the marriage dispensation.
If you find a marriage record that took place in what is now Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and Texas between 1653 and 1779.
You have to check out the following two books:
Index to the Marriage Investigations of the Diocese of Guadalajara 1653 – 1750
Index to the Marriage Investigations of the Diocese of Guadalajara 1751 – 1779
You can look for them in a library near you since these are rare books. Luckily for me, my local university has copies of them.
For other areas of Mexico check out:
How To Locate Your Mexican Ancestor’s Marriage Dispensation
Using the books:
In the first book, I found the extracted genealogical information for this couple.
On page 198 entry 20 I found the following.
As you can see, this extraction has the names of the parents and in two of their lines, it mentions their second great grandparents through where their blood relation comes from.
You could very easily stop here but what I do is that I recommend that you look for the original marriage dispensation. Many times they contain the signatures of your ancestors and many other juicy details about them provided by witnesses.
Finding The Microfilm
On top of the page, you will find a film number and in this case, it is Film # 168359.
Finding Marriage Film Dispensations
Go to FamilySearch / go to Search / then Catalog / then click on “Film/Fiche Number”
Then just enter the film number in the box and hit search.
Then click on “Registro Parroquiales” and when the page loads hit Ctrl+F and enter the film number to find it in the list of films.
Once you find it click on the little camera icon to browse the images.
There you have it, taking the time to analyze a church marriage record often pays off big by helping you find more ancestors.
Turns out that the parents of Josepha de Trevino are my 8th great grandparents and the father of Bartholome de Cuellar is the son of my 8th great-grandparents. Even though Josepha and Bartolome are not my direct ancestors they ended up being part of my family tree. Further analysis of these records helped me find the parents of my 9th great grandmother Luisa de Benavides aka Luisa Martinez Guajardo.
Always take the time to analyze your church marriage records and look for clues that can lead you to other records.
- Jose Francisco Garza Carillo, Matrimonios de la Catedral de Monterrey 1667 -1781 (Monterrey, N.L. Mexico, Self-Published, 2004), Pg. 62.
- “México, Nuevo León, registros parroquiales, 1667-1981,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9Q97-YS24-1M?cc=1473204&wc=3PML-VZS%3A45389701%2C45389702%2C46695301 : 21 May 2014), Monterrey > Catedral > Matrimonios 1667-1800 > image 79 of 732; Parroquias de la Iglesia Católica, Nuevo León (Catholic Church parishes, Nuevo León).
- Index to the Marriage Investigations of the Diocese of Guadalajara 1653 – 1750, Pg. 198 # 20.
Moises! Just reading how you went about it, was exciting! Thank you so much for the tutorial.
Thank you, I really appreciate your comments.
I stand in awe at your expertise! I don’t know how I would have been able to figure this out on my own. Thanks!
Thank you Mary.
Thank you, I found it very interesting, very ‘user’ friendly.
Glad you liked it.
Fascinating! Great research
Awesome!!!!! Do you mind if I share that information with my Garza Primos? Thanks again
Go for it.
Thank you for this, I also am currently looking for my ancestors and have found many interesting facts and names of my family that coincide with many of the stories my father would tell. So far I am in the year 1772 in Guanajuato. Thank you for this information.
Arturo Vasquez Torres
That is great.