As an archivist, I was fascinated to learn that, for more than a century, Spanish families have kept certificates of birth, marriage, guardianship, citizenship and so forth in a collective document known as the “Libro de Familia”, which is essential for administrative procedures such as applying for an identity card, processing maternity leave or applying for unemployment benefits. But the family record book will now be replaced by an online file. From 1 May, every new-born baby will be registered online and all the facts relating to their identity and civil life will be recorded in the same document. The online file will have a personal code linking it to the individual’s national identity card and information will be uploaded automatically. Existing family record books will not be updated. Previously this involved a visit to the Civil Registry, so the new system will help to streamline processes and access to information. However, in many smaller towns, not all the Civil Registry offices have been sufficiently computerised to deal with the changes, so it could take a while for some individual documents to be issued. An interesting change, therefore, but one in which not all the consequences have been thought through in advance!
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