Spanish Word List

Our goal is to not be just another online dictionary, we hope to offer explanations of certain terms to help you better understand the various terms you may come across in your genealogical research. If you have something to offer or see an error, then please contact us.

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Abadabbot, rector of a parish (in some provinces)
Abuela, Abuelo, AbuelosGrandmother, Grandfather, Grandparent; ancestor; forefather; old person.
Abuelos MaternosMaternal grandparents
Abuelos PaternosPaternal grandparents
Acuerdo agreement or decision; specifically, a meeting of an audiencia (q.v.) or other judicial body to discuss and decide administrative questions.
AdelantadoMen who served in frontier regions and who were primarily military commanders. In the conquest of the Canaries and the New World, the crown granted certain men the title of adelantado. This title gave the authority to make repartimientos (divisions) of booty and offices and subsequently appointed some of them to the governorship of the islands they pacified. But the crown reserved the right to control, limit, and revoke at will political functions conceded to the adelantados and governors. The adelantado not only held the military title of captain general; as governor and chief magistrate he exercised civil authority over his won men, and, when after a successful undertaking the expedition of conquest became an expedition of occupation, he assumed the governance of the indigenous population. His captains became his political subordinates, and when the conquerors founded towns they became vecinos and ciudadanos, that is, political persons.
Adelantadofrontier governor, possessing a commission to discover, conquer, and settle independent of other authorities in the Indies. colonial title used for the following: governor of a frontier province, supreme justice of the kingdom, captain general in times of war; a discoverer, founder; pacifier of Indian lands
AlbarazadoCambujo and Mulato
AlbinoSpanish and Morisco
Alcabalasales tax. The alcabala, having long been levied in Castile at a nominal rate of 10 per cent, was introduced in New Spain in 1574.
Alcade mayorchief constable. Beyond the jurisdiction of Zacatecas, an enclave of the corregidor's power, lay lands in the direct administration of the Audiencia of New Galicia. The remaining towns of the province, and some other large settlements, were the heads of alcaldías mayores.... The alcaldes mayores had much the same judicial and administrative authority as the corregidor of Zacatecas; but since they were appointed by the Audiencia of New Galicia, they did not enjoy his independence. In country districts beyond the reach of the alcaldes mayores, the supervision of justice and the pursuit of criminals were entrusted to officials of the Santa Hermandad, a volunteer rural constabulary.
Alcaidewarden or governor of a fortress.
Alcalde mayor or magistrate; chief magistrate of a province or district, usually in thinly settled areas.
Alcalde ordinariomunicipal magistrate of an incorporated Spanish town; each year, two such
Alcaldes ordinariosthe two senior officials of a cabildo. They had some judicial powers and more importance than the regidores, who were simply councilors. They presided over the cabildo whenever the town council was not present.
Alférezensign; army officer lower than lieutenant, sub-lieutenant; in Bolivia and Peru a municipal office in the Indian villages
Alguacilconstable, bailiff, officer who carries out the orders of the alcalde; minister of justice who executes the orders of the justices and tribunals
Alguacil mayorchief constable of an incorporated Spanish town or province, or of an audiencia. The alguacil mayor was the constable of the town, chief executive officer of justice, and entitled to bear the royal staff of justice. The position was one of great dignity and prestige.
AlhóndigaA grain exchange: Like their mediaeval predecessors in Spain (and Europe in general), cabildos in Spanish America attempted to supervise supplies of food within their jurisdictions. The agency for cereals was the alhóndiga, or grain market, to which all grain entering the city had to be taken before sale. The producer or carrier declared the size of the consignment he brought before the supervisor (fiel, diputado or alcaide), paid an excise tax on it, and was then permitted to sell it at the alhóndiga, but nowhere else. The object was to control the retail price of grains by ensuring that all transactions took place under supervision; so reducing, it was hoped, possibilities of cornering the market and profiteering.
Allí te estásChamizo and Mestizo
BarcinoAlbarazado and Mulato; Another dictionary says Albarazado and Coyote
BarnocinoAlbarazado and Mestizo
Calpamulo(a)Zambaigo and Lobo; I have also seen it noted as Albarazado and Negro
Calpán mulataZambo and Mulato
Cambujo/aIndian (¾) and Negro (¼); I have also seen a reference that it was a mixture of Indian, Negro and Chinese
Cambur(a)Mixture of Negro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼); taken from the parish registers of Mexico;
Cientohundred, one hundred
CimarrónNegro (½), Spanish (¼), and Indian (¼); The term was used in American colonial times to describe slaves who escaped from captivity, who lived a life of freedom in places away from urban centers, or creating small cabins in the middle of the jungle avoiding at all costs be discovered.
CincoFive, 5
CoyoteSpanish (½), Indian (3/8), and Negro (1/8)
CuarterónSpanish (¾) and Negro (¼)
LoboIndian (¾) and Negro (¼)
ZamboIndian (½) and Negro (½)