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Marriage Records

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The process of marrying in Catholic societies potentially generated several different records:

  • Pre-marriage investigation
  • Parish marriage register entry (liber/matricul​a​​​​​ matrimonialis, registrum matrimoniorum​​)
  • Marriage dispensation (matrimonialis dispensationis​)
  • Church and civil court records relating to marital relations
  • Dowry inventories and pre-nuptial/post-nuptial contracts

The first two record types on the above list relate to the marriage performed by the parish priest. The third one refers to the application by a future bride and groom to the bishop, and the subsequent investigation to waive an impediment to the proposed marriage. The fourth category refers generally to broken promises to marry—lawsuits and prosecutions relating to marital conflicts and annulments found in the diocesan and civil courts. The last items are contracts defining property contributions to and ultimate property distributions from the marriage, often not only involving the bride and groom, but their respective parents as well.

Marriage Entries

The information given in marriage records for most Catholic communities varies dramatically, according to the place, time period, and individual priest making the records. Some or all of the following information can be included. The Latin phrases are taken from the marriage entry below which came from the parish records of Seva, Catalonia, Spain:

Marginal note: Names of Groom and Bride and/or Other Information

131 Monmany ab Riquer; b[eat]e Civitate Vici oriundi die vero E vero commorantis Sui obit[ib]us seva degenis​​

Date of the Marriage

Die Dom[inic]a quarta mensis Septembris anno D[ei] mil[esi]mus  Septing[entesi]mus  descimo octavo

Place of the Marriage

in Ecc[lesi]a p[ariochia]le B[eat]ae M[ari]ae de Seva vic[en]s di[ocesi]ss

Identification of the Officiating Priest

Rever[aendi]s Petri [s] Prat  p[res]bitere Monchiae Vicaris ejusdem Ecc[lesi]ae

Actual Marriage Ceremony Phrase

fuerunt in Matrimon[i] conjucti

Identification of the Groom: given name, surname, age, profession; given names, surnames, residence and/or birthplaces of the parents of the groom

Generius Monmany Juvenis Cultor commor[ante]s in manso Gajala par[och]iae S[ant]I Geneti de Tarradell ejusden dio[cesi]s

Filius Legi[timatus] nat[uralei]s Jacobi Monmarisny q[uonde]m ag[rico]lae dictae pa[rochi]ae d[e] Seva et Mariaie anneiae ejus uxoris defunctii /ex una

Identification of the Bride: given name, surname, age, profession; given names, surnames, residence and/or birthplaces of the parents of the bride

et Magdalena domicella filia legitima nat[urali]s Bonaventure Riquer q[uonde]m Sartoris de d[e] Seva et Mariae ejus[dem] uxoris vivenis /ex altera.

Note Regarding the Reading of the Banns

tribis continuis diebus festivis testimonis praemsis denunctiationibus ab forma[tion]eS[antii] C[oncilii] T[ridentini]

Note as to Impediments Dispensed with, if any.

per q[uod] a Rivera V[oster].E[xcelence] Expetditas Abadal  dic[tis] die et anno

Names and Identification of Witnesses .

Presentis Joanne Aguilar lanae paratore de Seva et Petro Hijalt juvene cultore    ambo de par[ochi]lae d[e] Seva

Marital Blessing

Postea die inmediate sequenti vesperes benedic[tus]. Nuptial[e]. In d[ict]a Ecc[lesi]a

Dowry Inventory or Pre-Nuptial Contract (not generally found)

capi[t]is matrim[onal]is  penes dicti Petru[s] Prat in Seviarria [de] Seva

Signature of the Parish Priest

The information included in these records usually follows a specific order; however, it is not uncommon to find the same information in different order. See examples below.

Marriage Record Sample: Paragraph-Form

Phrases

  1. Marginal note​
  2. Date of the marriage
  3. Place of the marriage
  4. Identification of the Priest
  5. Actual marriage ceremony phrase
  6. Identification of the groom
  7. Identification of the bride
  8. Note regarding the reading of the banns
  9. Note as to impediments dispensed with, if any
  10. Names and identification of witnesses
  11. ​Marital blessing
  12. Dowry inventory or pre-nuptial contract
  13. Name or signature of the officiating priest

Transcription

i3i Die Dom[inic]a quarta mensis Septembris anno D[omi]ni mil[esi]mo
Monmany ab
Septing[entesi]mo  decimo octavo in Ecc[lesi]a p[ariochia]le B[eat]ae M[ari]ae de Seva
Riquer
vic[en]s di[ocesi]s Rever[endi]s Petri[s] Prat p[res]biter Monchiae Vicaris
  ejusdem Ecc[lesi]ae tribis continuis diebus festivis praemiis denuntia
  tionibus ab forma[tion]e S[antii] C[oncilii] T[ridentini] fuerunt in Matrimon[i] conjucti
  Generius Monmany Juvenis Cultor commor[ante]s in manso
  Gazala par[och]iae S[ant]i Geneti de Tarradell ejusden dio[cesi]s filius
  Legi[timatus] nat[ural]s Jacobi Monmany q[uonde]m ag[rico]lae dictae par[ochi]ae
  d[e] Seva et Mariae annae ejus uxoris defunctii /ex
  una et Magdalena domicella filia legitima nat[urali]s
be Civitate Vici
Bonaventure Riquer q[uonde]m Sartoris d[e] SevaL et Mariae
oriundi die vero
ejus uxoris vivenis /ex altera. Presentis Joanne Aguilar
E vero commorantis
lanae paratorae de Seva et Petris Hijalt juvene cultore
Sui obit[ib]us seva
ambo eujsdom de par[ochi]lae d[e] Seva Habita per q[uod] licen[ti]is a Riera V[oster]. E[xcelence].
degenis​​ expedita Abadal nos dictis die et anno.
  Postea die inmediate sequenti vesperes benedic[tus]. Nuptial.[e]
  in d[ict]a Ecc[lesi]a
  Capi[t]is matrim[onali]s  penes dicti Petri Prat in Scri[v]ania [de] Seva

Translation

131 On Sunday the fourth day of the month of September of the year of the lord one thousand
Monmany with seven hundred eighteen in the parochial church of Saint Mary of Seva
Riquer diocese of Vic. the reverend Petrus Prat, priest of the monastery[,] vicar 
  of this church by banns [announced] on three consecutive holy [festival] days
  according to the format [required] by the Holy Council of Trent were joined in marriage
  Generius Monmany, a young man, hired laborer in the farmhouse
  of Gajala of the parish of Saint Generi of Tardell of this diocese, 
  Legitimate and natural son of Jacobus Monmariny, deceased, a farmer in said parish
  of Seva and Maria Anna his wife deceased and, of 
  the first [part], and Magdalena, young woman, legitimate and natural daughter of
certainly originating from Bonaventure Riquer deceased a tailor of Seva * and Maria
the city of Vic  his living wife. And another present [person] Joanne Aguilar
Is certain the day Lanus, shepherd of Seva and Peno Hizalt, a young man, farm laborer
of his death taking place both said  same parish of Seva. Having obtained a license from Riera Your Excellence
in Seva issued [unknown two words] on the said day and year
  Afterward, on the day immediately following they received the wedding blessing
  in the said church
  The marriage contract in the possession of the said Petrus Prat in the [parish ?] notary] office of Seva​​

Marriage Record Sample: Pre-Printed Form

Transcription

Pagina 1 ​Anno Domini Millesimo octongentisimo nonagesimo 1890 
N[umerus]. 1 Die sepima Mensis Junii Denuntiationibus
Phillippus Semproni praemissis tribus continuis diebus festivis, in hac Paroecia qua-
Dominica Baldessari
rum prima, die decima octava Mensis Mai seconda,
  die vigesima quinta Mensis Mai tertia, die prima
  Mensis Junii inter missae parochialis solemnia ha-
  bita est nulloque legitimo detecto impedimento cum dispensation
  apostolica ex impedimento ______________________________
  _______________________________________________________
  Ego Joannes Di Benedetto Rector huis Ecclesiae
  parochialis S. Angeli Philippum Semproni filium
  Antonii de paroecia dicta
  et Dominicam Baldassari filiam
  Petri huis parochiae interrogavi, eorum-
  que mutuo consensus habito, solemniter per verba de praesenti Ma-
  trimonio coniunxi juxta ritum S[ancti]. Matris Ecclesiae et in Missae ce-
  lebratione bendixi. Praesentibus testibus idoneis ac notis nempe
  Gaietano Savelli q[uonda]m Josephi et Alberto Albertini q[uonda]m
  Gaietani de parecia S[ancti]. Joannis B[apti]st[ae] Apponeani
  In quorum fidem – Ego Joannes Di Benedetto

Translation

Page 1 In the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety 1890
Number 1 On the seventh day of the month of June, the marriage banns
Phillippus Semproni being announced the three successive festival days in this parish
Dominica Baldessari the first [of the banns] on the eighteenth day of the month of May the second
  on the twenty-fifth day of the month of May the third on the first day
  of the month of June during the sacred parish mass having
  detected no legitimate impediment with an
  apostolic dispensation for the impediment ________________________
  _______________________________________________________
  Joannes di Bendetto Rector of this parish church
  of Saint Angelus, questioned Phillippus Semproni, son
  of Antonius of the said parish
  and Dominica Baldessari, daughter
  of Pe​trus of this parish [and]
  having their mutual consent, by the words of the present
  I joined them in marriage, according to the rituals of the Holy Mother Church and in the
  celebratory [nuptial] mass I blessed them. Suitable witnesses being present and named
  Gaitanus Savelli, son of the deceased Josephus and Albertus Albertini, son of the deceased
  Gaitanus of the parish of Saint Joannes Baptista of Apponeanus
  In whose faith - I Joannes di Benedetto

Marriage Record Sample: Tabular Form

Transcription

Liber Matrimoniorum in Ecclesia
​No. ​​Nomina Contrahentium ​​ ​ ​Tempus M​atrimonii ​ ​Tempus et Ecclesia Baptismi vel locus Nativitatis Sponsi ​Parentes Sponsi
Annus Mensis Dies
1
Sponsi
​Rafiel Delgado
Sponsae
Maria Carmen Galban
1936 July 5
24 October 1914
​El Paso Texas
​​ ​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Jose Delgado
​Guadelupe Delgado
2
Sponsi
​Rafiel Serrato
Sponsae
Carmen Fierro
     
​Penjamillo Michoacan
​15 October 1914
​Bapt 18 ----------
​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Jose Serrato
​Magdalena Zaragoza
3
Sponsi
​Sacramento Valdes
Sponsae
Daisy Jand De Rome
1936 July 23
​Morenci Arizona
 
​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Sacramento Veldez
​Felicitas Pico
4
Sponsi
​Claudio Bernasconi
Sponsae
Aloisia Valdez
1936 August 1
natus 1907 - 
​1 Sept.
​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Claudio Bernasconi
​Maria Conte
5
Sponsi
​Jose Saches
Sponsae
​Celia Ronquillo
​1​936 August 29
​El Paso - Texas - Sacred
Heart
​(El Paso Texas - Sacred Heart)
​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Antonio Sachs
​Ramona Sonia de Sachs
6
Sponsi
​Timoteo Delgado
Sponsae
Soledai Bermudez
 ​
19​36
 
1936
August 30
Miami Arizona
​Ventura - Calif
​Vide "Liber Bapt[ismatis]" Vol.___ Pag.___ No.___
Timoteo Delgado
​Maria Campos Delga

Translation

Book of Marriages in the Church
​No. ​​Names of the Contracting [Parties] ​​ ​ ​Date of Marriage ​ ​Date and Church of Baptism or Place of Birth of the Groom ​Parents of the Groom
Year Month Day
1
Of the Groom
​Rafiel Delgado
Of the Bride
Maria Carmen Galban
1936 July 5
24 October 1914
​El Paso Texas
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Jose Delgado
​Guadelupe Delgado
2
Of the Groom
​Rafiel Serrato
Of the Bride
Carmen Fierro
     
​Penjamillo Michoacan
​15 October 1914
​Bapt 18 ----------
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Jose Serrato
​Magdalena Zaragoza
3
Of the Groom
​Sacramento Valdes
Of the Bride
Daisy Jand De Rome
1936 July 23
​Morenci Arizona
 
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Sacramento Veldez
​Felicitas Pico
4
Of the Groom
​Claudio Bernasconi
Of the Bride
Aloisia Valdez
1936 August 1
born 1907 - 
​1 Sept.
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Claudio Bernasconi
​Maria Conte
5
Of the Groom
​Jose Saches
Of the Bride
​Celia Ronquillo
​1​936 August 29
​El Paso - Texas - Sacred
Heart
​(El Paso Texas - Sacred Heart)
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Antonio Sachs
​Ramona Sonia de Sachs
6
Of the Groom
​Timoteo Delgado
Of the Bride
Soledai Bermudez
 ​
19​36
 
1936
August 30
Miami Arizona
​Ventura - Calif
​​ ​See "Book of Baptism" Vol.___ Pg.___ No.___
Timoteo Delgado
​Maria Campos Delga
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