February 20, 2013

Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Mexican Catholic Church Records
Last Names of Nuevo Leon

In this post, I talk about how to find Your Mexican ancestors using Mexican Catholic Church Records. Mexican Catholic church records are what I like to think the low hanging fruit in Mexican Genealogy research since they are, in my opinion, the easiest records to find.

With this post, I will show you where to search and browse Mexican Catholic Church Marriage, Baptism, and Death records in order to find your Mexican Ancestors and ancestry.

These records are also very valuable since they date from as early as 1560 up until the 1950’s. If you read my previous post, Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Civil Registry Documents, then you will know that these records preceded the Mexican Civil Registry records.

Thanks to FamilySearch most of these records have already been indexed and are available online from anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, some parishes have not been indexed but I will give you some ideas where to find indexes for those areas. For your convenience, you can access all records available at FamilySearch from their Mexico Record Collections Page.

Here is How to Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Mexican Catholic Church Records


Before we get more in-depth let me just warn you about name variations. Since these records go back hundreds of years back up until the 1500’s and in some locations, the way names used to be written has changed. The older the documents you will find that Jose was written as Joseph and Javier as Xavier. Also be aware of abbreviations such as Jph for Joseph, Ma. for Maria, and Fraco/Franca, for Francisco/Francisca. You might also want to see the following PDF, Spanish Name Abbreviations, for more examples. When reading the old documents also keep in mind that a lot of common words or even places were abbreviated.

Searching Mexican Church Records at FamilySearch

The primary place to find your Mexican ancestors using Mexican Catholic Church Records is at FamilySearch since they have indexed most Church collections, but if you don’t find them there do not be discouraged since I will also tell you about other alternatives.

Searching Marriage Records

To search I always enter the groom’s name and also wife’s name, if their names are not that common you will only get a few results but if they are very common you will get several. When you get several, look at the dates and location of the records to find your ancestors. Once you find the indexed record you will only see the basic information indexed and most of the time the parents will be listed. If they are not listed don’t worry it does not mean that their names are not in the original document, many times they are. You can search for Marriages here Mexico, Marriages, 1570-1950.

Searching Baptism Records

Once you find the names of your ancestor from their marriage record the next step is to find his/her baptism record. To do this just enter the names of the parents and hopefully your ancestor’s baptism will be along with the ones of his siblings. Once again if the names are common which is not that common, narrow it down with place and dates. You can search for Baptisms here Mexico, Baptisms, 1560-1950.

Searching Death Records

Death Records are a bit hard to locate since sometimes there may be many results with the same name but again narrow it down to location and date. Also, try entering the husband/wife name or parents and you will sometimes find it that way. You can search for Death records here Mexico Deaths, 1680-1940.

You Have A Date Then What

Unfortunately, the indexed records do not have a link to the copy of the original image. So now we will browse FamilySearch Mexican Collections to locate the document and I will demonstrate this with an example.

I had been searching for my third great grandparents for years but could never locate them in the Municipality of Mier Tamaulipas where my Marroquin family was from in Mexico. Then I tried searching for them in FamilySearch and got a result, Jo. Angl. Marroquin and Franca. Perez for Allende Nuevo Leon. At the time I had no idea about common abbreviations and did not know it was them so I ignored it. Then about a year after I learned about abbreviations, these names came back to me and I searched for them again. This time the same record came back plus my second great grandfather’s baptism record came back listed with several of his siblings as well. At this point, I knew I had the right couple. I also learned a very important lesson, always come back to see if more records have been added since I am assuming that the first time the baptism records for that locality had not been indexed yet.

I then got the date for the marriage record and went browsing. I first went to familysearch.org / Mexico / Mexico, Catholic Church Records / Browse through 16,596,760 images / Nuevo Leon / Allende / San Pedro Apostol and finally Matrimonios 1857-1905. Once there it took me a few minutes to locate the record for 1865 since they are in order by date, it was not that difficult.

After I read it, I found out that the names were also abbreviated in the original document and that the parents for both of my ancestors were listed there but for whatever reason, they were not index. This is why it is very important to always get a copy of the original document.

Through further research of church marriage, baptisms and death records I found out that my Marroquines were from the Allende, Santiago, and Monterrey area and have traced them back till the 1600’s just with church records.

FamilySearch Has Not Indexed Everything

This is very important to remember, in my area of research, Ciudad Camargo Tamaulipas, and Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon has not been indexed. Though FamilySearch does have their images online for browsing.

When I can’t find my ancestors in FamilySearch I always search for them on Google, you will be surprised. Many times someone else has already done research on them. For example, Raul Longoria has hundreds of people listed in these two areas and I use his research to locate the original images. You might also want to search for books that have indexed those records already like the ones offered at SAGA (Spanish American Genealogical Association). You might also want to check out your local University Library for genealogical books pertaining to the city or town where your ancestors lived. In my case, I have found over 100 books where at least one of my ancestors is named and in some instances, they are the focus of the whole book. These books have provided me with dates to locate copies of original images. An example of these books is Los Marroquin de el Valle de Santiago del Guaxuco, I found it at my local University.

I hope that I have provided you with the necessary knowledge and ideas on how to Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Mexican Catholic Church Records. Please let me know about your finds in the comments area. The most important thing to remember is that these records are available at FamilySearch from their Mexico Record Collections Page. If you have any comments or tips concerning these records, please leave me a message I would love to read them.

Other Articles Related to This Topic

I truly hope that you have found this article, Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Mexican Catholic Church Records, to be of use and that you have learned more about using Mexican church records in your own research.

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About the author 

Moises Garza

I have doing my family genealogy since 1998. I am also the creator of this blog Mexican Genealogy, and my personal blog We Are Cousins. To always be up to date with both of these sites follow me on facebook. To contact me or book me for a presentation, buy my books, and or learn more about me visit my personal website at www.moisesgarza.com.

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  1. Hi- Quick question. My husband has his father’s baptism certificate from Moroleon, MX. His father was born and baptized in 1927. On the baptism certificate it states: “Nombre del Bautizado – J. Raul, Donato. h.n.”

    We don’t know what Donato. h.n. means. Can you help? We believe his first name was Jose “J.”
    Thanks so much!


    1. You are right J. stands for Jose and Donato is probably a third middle name. It is not that uncommon to have a 3 names. As for H.N. it stands for hijo Natural “Natural Son” usually meaning that the child was born out of wedlock. Now if his parents were already married then I have no idea as to why they may have had added it. Usually it would read h.l. meaning Hijo Legitimo “legitimate son”. Hope this helps.

  2. wow, what can I say other than Thank you a million times for your pointers. I have many ancestors from Tamaulipas so your information has been priceless! I used the link to http://raullongoria.net/ to find some ancestors from the 1500s. Thanks again.

  3. ¡Hola! Me comunico desde España. Estoy interesada en conseguir copia de un Registro de bautismo. He conseguido los datos en Familysearch, pero el registro no está digitalizado. ¿Puede decirme cómo puedo conseguir el documento digitalizado?. Los datos son:
    Enlace WikiMexico Baptisms, 1560-1950
    Información sobre el documento:
    Número de lote o batch I07558-1
    Sistema de origen Mexico-EASy
    Número de microfilm de FamilySearch 640050
    Identificador de referencia v 48 p 62
    Cita de este registro
    “México bautismos, 1560-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J9QL-CJ1 : 9 March 2018), Luis Silvestre Guadalupe Del Corsason De Jesus Aguilar, 24 Jan 1883; citing Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico, reference v 48 p 62; FHL microfilm 640,050.

    Le estaría muy agradecida si puede ayudarme. Gracias de antemano

  4. hi like most I have traced my family ancestry to 1675 and am stuck. any thoughts on why someone would travel form valle de allenade chihuahua to mexico city just to birth their children? both children were born in mexico city but then taken back to san Bartolome to be baptized. after them my lineage stays in chihuahua then juarez til 1926 when they migrated to el paso texas. just wondering why they choose to travel just to give birth.

  5. Why won’t the Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona let me see my family (mother and father) church records? The secretary said they will not let me see them. I made my first Holy Communion there so did my brother and sister. My older brother was an altar boy there, he then went on to the Seminary (that didn’t work out). Not that she knew that information. She just said she would make me duplicate communion book with my information for a charge. That is not what I want. What is the issue here?

  6. Any idea why a Catholic Church won't allow access to deceased parents church records? I'm sure there is useful information there. Just wondering (still).

    1. As far as I know, the bishop determines the policy for the parish. The books are considered sacred and not open to the public. They can only make you a formal document with the information found in the book. I personally think that the public should not have access to the originals. In archives all over the world, people have damaged and even ripped off pages to take with them. I am not saying you would do that but imagine someone that does not care and is left alone with the book. You can see this on auctions in the U.S. where documents stolen from Mexican churches and archives are auctioned off.

  7. Hi Moises,

    Do you know how I would go about contacting the Catholic Church to obtain permission to use images of my family genealogy? I was told that I have to obtain written permission, but have not been successful in figuring you which office to contact.

    Thank you,

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