The Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami, Florida

About Spanish/Cuban Vital Records

Vital Records
1.  The vital records of birth, baptismal, marriage, death or burial are commonly referred to as a "partida" in Spanish.
2.  Vital records and event information are more reliable when they are recorded near the time of the happening. The longer the time from the event occurrence that the record is made, the less accurate it may be based on the memory of the person involved.
3.  "Partida Literal" - This is an exact transcription of the birth, baptism, marriage, death or burial containing all data relating to the identity of the individual(s) and facts exactly as it appears in the entry contained in the civil or church registry. Always request a "partida literal" . Sometimes entries include the occupation of father, current address, etc. An abstract would not contain this information.
4.  "Extracto" (Abstract) -  A summary of the information relating to the baptism, marriage or burial contained in the church registry.
5.  Familiarize yourself with the area your ancestor lived in. Investigate where the records are kept (civi, local church, diocesan archive, etc.) for that place and time period. 
Naming Conventions
1.  In Spain or former Spanish territories, people bear a single or composite given name (nombre) and two surnames (apellidos).
2. Traditionally (but not always) a person's first surname is the father's first surname (apellido paterno), and the second one is the mother's first surname (apellido materno.)
3. Each surname can also be composite, the parts usually linked by the conjunction “y” or “e” (and), by the preposition “de” (of) or by a “hyphen.”
4. Be aware of names which can be abbreviated in records: "Agustin" - Agn. or Agn / "Maria" -  Ma, etc.
5. Don't get too hung up on the exact spelling of surnames. Ibáñez can be written as: Ibañez, Ibañes, Ivañez, Ybañez, Ybañes. They are still all the same name.
Special Ecclesiatical Records
1.  "Dispensas de Parentesco" - Dispensation required by the church when persons who were related wanted to marry. Required for 1st and 2nd cousins although many 3rd cousins also got them. These are kept at the Archdiocese.
2.  "Expediente de Solteria" or "Expediente Ultramar" - Document required by the church if a non-national wanted to marry a Cuban national. These usually begin in 1800. They are kept at the Archdiocese.

Also Helpful...
1.  Spanish Genealogical Word List available on Family Search's Wiki.
2.  Resources for Spanish records and Spain are available on Family Search's Wiki. This includes research resources and language resources (such as translation tips and deciphering old handwriting)
3. A book on Spanish paleography is on Internet Archive. You cannot preview the book but you can dowload it as a PDF file.