Mexico, Yucatán, Catholic Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Mexico, Yucatán, Catholic Church Records, 1543-1977
This article describes a collection of records at
Yucatán, Mexico
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Location of Yucatán, Mexico
Record Description
Record Type: Church
Collection years: 1543-1977
Languages: Spanish
Title in the Language: México, Registros Parroquiales de la Iglesia Católica del estado de Yucatan
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Catholic Church Parishes, Yucatan

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection of Catholic Church records for the state of Yucatan covers the years 1543-1977. Often in Catholic Church records, separate books were kept for baptisms, confirmations, marriage information documents, marriages, and deaths. However, in smaller areas, all records may be recorded on one register. In larger parishes a separate book was usually maintained for confirmations, while in smaller parishes the confirmations may have been included with the baptisms. In larger parishes, most of the marriage banns (informaciones matrimoniales) may be registered separately. In smaller parishes, these records were included in the marriage entry or the confirmations may have been included with the baptisms or even with marriages. In larger parishes, a separate book of confirmations was usually maintained.

These records are in relatively fair condition, with the exception of some older records that may be damaged and, therefore, hard to read or missing some information. Most of the older records are handwritten in narrative style and follow a common text with some variations depending on the style used by the priest. Newer records are handwritten in formatted registers; some are even written in ledger style registers.

These records also include priests' applications for the ministry and marriage dispensations. The priests’ applications are all bound in books and written in narrative style. Some of the documents included in this collection are letters from the applicants and the documentation of their purity of blood. The documentation for one of these applications could include a letter from the applicant requesting acceptance into the seminary, other documents submitted by the applicant to prove legitimacy and purity of blood (limpieza de sangre), and ecclesiastical correspondence such as approving the application, requesting more documentation, and so on. The FamilySearch Catalog lists these records as becas y órdenes in the film notes. The marriage dispensations are a Catholic Church approval for marriage when a couple is of close kinship. The entries were normally made in chronological order. Marriage dispensations include the information of couples attempting to receive permissions to marry despite the consanguinity issue that they may have with canon law. This includes couples who may be too closely related and couples where one is a member of another religion. Some couples included their pedigrees. The FamilySearch Catalog lists these records as dispensas de parentescos in the film notes.

The priests’ applications were created to enlist and accept qualified men to the order of the priesthood, specifically for the Tridentino Seminary College of Merida (later San Ildefonso) in Yucatan, Mexico. In the application, the petitioner needed to present his qualifications such as: legitimacy, baptism, schooling, cleanness of blood (sometimes a pedigree was presented), witnesses’ testimonies, and so on. There were students with scholarships that were paid by tithing, and students who shared some of the expenses (porcionistas) by paying for their own room and board. This seminary became the most important educational center of the Diocese of Tabasco. The ecclesiastical marriage dispensation or relationship dispensation for marriage was an authorization documents that a couple with close kinship needed to get married in the Catholic Church. It required the certification of witnesses who knew the relationship of the couple, certification of baptism, and sometimes a pedigree.

The priest’s application was necessary to certify that the person applying was worthy to receive the seminary scholarship and order to the priesthood. Marriage dispensations were necessary, according to ecclesiastical rules, when a couple who wanted to get married had a close kinship. Mexican Catholic Church priests’ applications are a reliable and accurate source for family history. The marriage dispensations do not give a lot of genealogical information; however, they are considered accurate because the certifications needed to be submitted to the ecclesiastical authority.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

Reading These Records[edit | edit source]

These records are written in Spanish. For help reading them see:

If you speak Spanish, the following free online lesson may be helpful to learn how to use the information in these records:

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Mexico, Yucatán, Catholic Church Records, 1543-1977.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptism or confirmation

  • Date and place of the baptism or confirmation
  • Child's given name and gender
  • Legitimacy
  • Child's birth date and place
  • Parents names
  • Paternal and maternal grandparents' names
  • Godparents' names


  • Date and place of the marriage
  • Name and age of groom
  • Groom's legitimacy, baptismal date and confirmation date
  • Groom's birth date and place of birth
  • Groom's occupation, civil status and origin and residence
  • Groom’s parents' names, their occupation and origin
  • Name and age of bride
  • Bride's legitimacy, baptismal date and confirmation date
  • Bride's birth date and place of birth
  • Bride's origin and residence
  • Bride's parents' names
  • Godparents
  • Witnesses names, their age, occupation, civil status, and residence
  • Length of time witnesses have known bride and groom

Death or burial

  • Date and place of death or burial
  • Name, age and gender of deceased
  • Origin and residence of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Spouse's name, if married
  • Parents' names and their origin
  • If their were children of deceased

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

For additional details about these records and help using them see Mexico Catholic Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records.

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Your ancestor's given name and surname
  • Identifying information such as residence
  • Estimated marriage or birth year
  • Family relationships

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select City or Town
  2. Select Parish
  3. Select Record Type and Years to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the information to find more. For instance, use the age listed in the record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in 1930, Mexico National Census
  • Compile information for every person who has the same surname as your ancestor; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent
  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Mexico, Yucatán, Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records are also a good substitute when church records of births, marriages, and deaths cannot be found or are unavailable
  • A useful Coverage Table for Mexico Baptisms is available in the wiki article Mexico Baptisms, Coverage Table - FamilySearch Historical Records
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names. Transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record; also, it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name
  • Also, consider looking at collections for surrounding localities. Campeche is to the southwest, and Quintana Roo is along the southeast
  • New information is constantly being indexed, microfilmed or updated. Periodically check back to see if your ancestor’s records have been added. You can see if the area you’ve been looking in has been recently updated by going to Historical Records Collections. Watch for an asterisk for recently added or updated records

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Mexico.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.