This archive has been recently renovated, and is a delight to work in. It only contains appellate judicial records and nobility records, both of which can give a wealth of genealogical information. There are power outlets at every table, widows to let in natural light, and a break room down the hall with a water fountain, vending machines, and tables. A passport and investigator card is required. If you do not have one, they can create it there, or pull up a second copy if you have forgotten your card.
You can only have one book at a time at your table, but they can have up to three books waiting for you on the counter, so you will waste no time waiting for the books you called to be delivered to you.
The archive’s database is available online, but they have a second database onsite that allows you to search in a wide variety of ways. The archivists were very kind in showing us exactly how to work the search engine, and by so doing we were able to find several documents that did not appear on the online search.
Our research focused on padrinos, or census taken in the 1500s and 1600s. The archivist informed us that this is becoming a popular research topic, and advised us to also check the Hijosdalgos database, as many people included padrinos in their files to prove their nobility.
You will not be permitted to take photographs, but you can order photocopies or have a digital copy delivered to your home via CDROM for a small fee.
If you have a chance to research here, be ready for a relaxed, professional environment. We came on a weekday, and were the only patrons for the majority of our time there, and were treated with every courtesy imaginable.