A church padron is basically a church census, but it is not just any census. It is a census of the whole parish under a particular church. I am for ever grateful for the Catholic church and it’s meticulous record keeping, since with their records I have been able to trace some family lines back to the 1500’s.
The only issue is that on some churches records survived better than in others. When doing your Mexican genealogy research church padrones can be the difference between finding your ancestors and not finding them. Unfortunately you will soon discover that not all churches have one, just cross your fingers that the one where your ancestors lived did.
As I have mentioned in the past my area of focus is South Texas and Northeastern Mexico, specially the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas. In this particular post I will be talking about the Church Padrones of Ciudad Mier and Revilla (present day Guerrero).
I wish I could go state by state and church by church and provide complete listing of what churches have surviving padrones but as you may have already concluded it is impossible to do so for one person. The only thing that I want for you to learn form this article is for you to be aware that these records exists, were to go looking for them online, and to read one example of how they have helped me in my own research.
Hopefully this example will get your ideas flowing as to how you can apply padrones into your own research.
Finding Padrones Online
The first thing you need to do is go to familysearch.org then got o search. Once there click on the link that says “Browse all published collections” and then under place chose Mexico. You will then see a listing of all the Mexican Civil and Church records.
For the sake of this example go to Tamaulipas Catholic Church Records. Once there click the link located towards the bottom “Browse through 199,328 images”. Finally chose the name of the municipio that your family came from, in this case “Mier”, then the church “Inmaculada Concepción”.
If you followed the steps correctly you will seethe following on the screen. Note I highlighted the Padrones.
Let me just warn you, sometimes the padrones are not listed but they are in between collections of church records. Doing a search on all records by jumping 50 pages at a time can sometimes help find these records.
This is how half a page of the padrones looks like. As you can see it includes whole family groups. This records will be invaluable in your research.
How they Helped Me Out
For over ten years I could not locate the parents of my 3rd great grandfather Rafael Garza but I did find a clue on his death record. His maiden name was Sanchez and it mentioned his age at death so I had a pretty good Idea of when he was born.
Soon afterwards I discovered the Mier padrones and there it was. There were only two Rafael’s living in that time period and only one of them had a mother with the last name Sanchez. His parents were Jose Rafael de la Garza and Maria Tomasa Sanchez. The other Rafael’s mother was a Cuellar.
As you can see this is only one example. I have already brought down several brick walls using the church padrones. Remember these documents are a great resource but the first thing you need to do is find out if for your particular area there are any. If there aren’t any make sure to check the surrounding towns since many times the church jurisdictions tended to change from time to time.
Finally, don’t forget that these records are were made throughout Mexico. Any questions or comments please let me know by writing them in the comment section of this post.