Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spanish Is Not Dead

Last week I wrote about finding more FamilySearch content republished on (See “ Posts FamilySearch Microfilm.”) From among these, I wrote about using the indexes for Albacete Province, Spain vital records and finding the images on FamilySearch Record Search (pilot). (See “Don’t Stop at the Index.”) I finished that article late one evening, and fearing a lengthy translation from Latin, announced, “It’s late and I’m too tired to try and read some dead language tonight.”

When I returned to the record, I fortunately asked some Spanish-speaking friends to assist. (Thanks!) That was fortunate because the records were not in Latin, but Spanish! I feel a teensy bit chagrined, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you about my lack of overseas research skills.

It’s taken nearly a week. But here’s the document with much of translated. This is a very literal translation, so don’t expect it to read well. I thought this would be more useful for those of you trying to read these records.

Click for a larger view. Did I get it right? Do you have corrections for me?

Example christening record from Albacete, Spain

In case you find it useful, here are some words you can expect to find in these Spanish Catholic Christening records:

  • En la Iglesia del ________ – In the Church of the ________
  • Santisimo (Stmo) Cristo – Most holy Christ
  • Adjutoir? – Branch?
  • de la Parroquia de ________ - of the parish of _________
  • S. or San - St. or Saint
  • Provincia en _______ - Province of _______
  • Obispado en _______ – Diocese of _______
  • en ___ días – on (day of month) day
  • del mes de ______ - of the month of ______
  • de mil ochocientos setenta – of one thousand eight-hundred seventy
  • Yo – I
  • D. or Don _________ – Mr. _________
  • Obio y Coadjutor – Bishop-Coadjutor
  • bautizo solemnemente – solemnly baptized
  • crisma _________ – christened _________
  • que nacio (nacido) - that was born
  • dia _____ - day ____
  • de dho (dicho) mes y año – of said month and year

Once again it’s late and I’ve run out of steam. Want to provide the corresponding Spanish for the following? Click on Comments, below.

  • at the ____ of the morning
  • son legitimate
  • of legitimate marriage of (father)
  • natural parents of (father) and (mother)
  • of (residence):
  • grandparents paternal
  • (grandfather) and (grandmother) of (residence)
  • maternal
  • (grandfather) and (grandmother) of (residence?).
  • The Godmother was (godmother)
  • to whom [I gave] notice the obligation and spiritual kinship.
  • Witnesses:
  • and to affirm I sign

Websites I found helpful preparing this transcription:

  • – Because you can’t always read the entire Spanish word, start typing and a dropdown list will show matching words. Or Use a leading * wildcard, click Translate, and get a list of words that match the ending characters.
  • – Sure you can search for Spanish words. Type part of a phrase to see examples of adjoining words. It was Google that helped me find
  • A Paleographic Guide to Spanish Abbreviations 1500-1700 by A. Roberta Carlin. Page 37 contains graphical examples showing handwritten dicho abbreviations. The one that caused me hours of pain was dho with a horizontal line across the upper stems of d and h, so that it looks like otho. This abbreviation is also documented in a host of public domain books on Google Books.
  • Spain, Albacete, Catholic Church Parish Records,” FamilySearch Research Wiki ( : accessed 14 October 2009).
  • Spanish Genealogical Word List,” FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  • Script Tutorials, Resources for Old Handwriting and Documents by the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University ( : accessed 17 October 2009).

Someone should also consider adding this example and this information to the FamilySearch Wiki. I hereby give my permission for any of the text and/or graphics from this article to be shared on the FamilySearch Wiki. There. You have my… uh… bendición.

The language wasn’t dead, but I’m now brain dead. Good night…


  1. Hey Insider,

    You're close in your translation, I give you a C+.

    Most Spanish parish records are in Spanish - rarely in Latin. In Cataluña you'll find some records in Catalan, but only for that region.

    Another very helpful site in helping with reading old parish records is: The site is in several different languages and provides several tips in reading Spanish, Italian, French, and German parish registers - it's one of the best sites out there for reading helps.


    Lynn - from the Hispanic Genealogy blog

  2. I would just support Lynn's comments. I would also refer readers to for much better help on reading old records in Spanish and other languages.

    George Ryskamp
    History Department
    Brigham Young University

  3. Ouch. When a co-worker gives you a C+, you don't take it seriously. But when a famous Spanish genealogy university professor agrees with him...

    OK, OK. You don't have to tell me twice. ;-) I've added the website to the list of helpful sites.

    Thanks, guys!

    -- The Insider


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