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Death Civil Registration Records

The death certificate (partida de defunción) contains the given name, both surnames, marital status, nationality, profession, and place of birth of the deceased. In addition, it frequently contains the date of birth. The names and surnames of the parents of the deceased are also given, and in some cases the cause of death, and the cemetery in which the deceased was buried. If the deceased was married it will give the name of the spouse, indicating whether the spouse is dead or alive, and the names of the children of the deceased, if any.

Deaths from the early years of civil registration should be searched with special care as they may give information about people born in the eighteenth century with greater detail than the parish records. Such records are especially important where parish records have been destroyed.

Before the invention of photocopies, when people requested a copy of a death record, the civil registration officials would provide a certificate or extract of the record. Death certificates could be a literal and complete transcription of the record or an extract of the same.

The Spanish terms used to refer to these are usually: acta de defunción, partida de defunción, certificado de defunción, and extracto de defunción. Sometimes, fallecimiento is used instead of defunción.

Sample Death Record


Partida de Fa=
llesimiento nu=
mero 1 ‡ 

         En   Tlaxcala   á   los   dies   dias   del   mes   de   Octubre   de
mil   ochosientos   sesenta   y   siete   ante   mi   el  Juez del regis-
tro   de   esta   Capital, compareció   el Ciuda[da]no   Miguel   Gal-
ves, el que   manifestó   que en la Calle de Xicotencal   Numero   
Falleció de raguitis su hija   Maria   Petra   de   tres   meses   ayer
Miercoles   cosa   de   media   noche,   aqu[e]lla   fué   hija   lejítima
del   que   habla   y de   Maria   Gregoria   Muños   ambos   origina-
rios y vesinos de esta Ciudad. Presentes los testigos Ciuda[da]n-
os   Mariano   Glaves   y   Carpio   Armas,   ambos   naturales   y
vesinos   de   esta   Ciudad,   el   1º viudo y abuelo   de   la   finada
de   oficio   alfarero y de   sesenta   y siete   años   de   edad, y   el 
2º viudo   de   oficio   Zapatero y   de   treinta   y   cuatro   años   de
edad,   manifestaron   previa   la   protesta   de   decir   verdad,   ser 
ci[e]rto   lo   espuesto   por   el   padre. El   suscrito   Juez   lelló   la
presente acta y despue[s] de leyda quedaron conformes el interesa
do   y   testigos:   estendiendole   la   voleta   para   lara   la   inhuma-
cion   en   el   Senmenterio   de   la   Yglecia   de   San   Nicolas.
           José Maria Herrerias


of Death
Number 1 ‡ 

         In Tlaxcala on the tenth day of the month of October of 
eighteen sixty seven, before me, the Judge of the [Civil] Regist-
er of this Capital, appeared the Citizen Miguel Gal-
ves, who stated that on the Street of Xicotencal Number ...
Passed away from rickets his daughter, Maria Petra, of three months [of age] yesterday
Wednesday around midnight, who was the legitimate daughter
of the declarant and of Maria Gregoria Muños ambos natives
and residents of this City. In the presence of the witnesses Citizens
Mariano Galves y Carpio Armas, both natives and
residents of this City, the 1st one widower and grandfather of the deceased
of occupation potter and of sixty-seven years of age, and the 
2nd one widower of occupation shoemaker and of thirty-four years of
age, manifested, previous the promise of telling the truth, that 
the stated by the father was true. The undersigned Judge read the 
present certificate and after reading it the declarant and the
witnesses were satisfied, and the father of the deceased signed, not doing so 
the witnesses: issuing to him the paper [needed] for the burial
in the cemetery of the Church of San Nicolas.
           José Maria Herrerias


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