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by Cheri Mello
Copyright 1998- 2015. All rights reserved


The filming of the Portuguese records (or the Azorean ones) began in the mid-1980s. The dissemination of how to bridge the gap between the United States to the location overseas took another 5 or 6 years. Slowly, the numbers and knowledge of how to use the Portuguese records was built. This guide was written to give you a brief overview of the records that are available and how to use them to trace your ancestors. The first part will deal with the records here that will lead you to a town overseas. The second part deals with what to do once you have that town and can't read Portuguese.

Genealogical research is concerned with 3 things: a name, a date, and a place. These 3 items need to be gathered for each birth, marriage and death of each ancestor you have. If you have American branches, I strongly recommend that you do those first. Dealing with the immigrant involves some little used sources. You may not even find your immigrant on the frequently used sources. It can become frustrating. To do Portuguese research, you will need an island and a town or village. At some point, your research will lead you overseas. But let's start at the beginning, here in America.....

Contents for Finding Your Portuguese Roots - Part 1

Locating the Town by Tracing Through U.S. Resources

  1. Charts And Forms
  2. Collecting Information
  3. Bibles
  4. Genealogical Groups
  5. County histories
  6. Documentation

Obtaining Vital Records from the States

  1. Death Records
  2. Marriage Records
  3. Birth Records

Using the LDS Church Records to Trace in America

  1. U. S. Census
  2. City Directories

Some Other Sources to Try

The Immigrant

  1. Naturalization Records
  2. Alien Registration
  3. Social Security Records
  4. World War I Draft Registration
  5. Passport Records
  6. Fraternal Societies
  7. Baptisms
  8. Passenger Arrival Lists
  9. Genetic Genealogy (DNA)

Part 2: - Tracing With Portuguese Records

Structure Overseas

  1. Civil Registries
  2. Biblioteca e Arquivo
  3. The Film

Portuguese Vital Records

  1. Batismos
  2. Casamentos
  3. Obitos

Other Useful Portuguese Records

  1. Passaportes
  2. Land/Property Records
  3. Wills
  4. Books

Part 3: Reading Portuguese Documents

Reading Portuguese Documents - with several examples of original records and their English translations