Brazil Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Brazil, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

The following three indexes include various Portuguese localities. The years are an overall range, some localities may be from earlier or later years.

The following databases are only partially indexed, but have browsable images. They are a collection of baptism, marriage, and death records created by various Catholic parishes and diocese, compiled by state. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Religion in Brazil was formed from the meeting of the Catholic Church with the religious traditions of enslaved African peoples and indigenous peoples. This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella of Brazilian Catholic Church, characterized by traditional Portuguese festivities

Roman Catholicism is the country's predominant faith. Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population. According to the 2000 Demographic Census, 73.57% of the population followed Roman Catholicism; 15.41% Protestantism; 1.33% Kardecist spiritism; 1.22% other Christian denominations; 0.31% Afro-Brazilian religions; 0.13% Buddhism; 0.05% Judaism; 0.02% Islam; 0.01% Amerindian religions; 0.59% other religions, undeclared or undetermined; while 7.35% have no religion.

Protestantism in Brazil largely originated with American missionaries in the second half of the 19th century, following up on efforts that began in the 1830s. Evangelical Protestantism and Pentecostalism has grown very rapidly in Brazil since the late 20th century.[13] The 2010 Census reported that 22.2% of the Brazilian population is Protestant, about 44 million people. Brazil has many versions of Protestantism. These include neo-Pentecostals, old Pentecostals and Traditional Protestants (most of them Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists). The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, part of the Anglican Communion, has some 120,000 members. The Eastern Orthodox Church is also present in Brazil. In 2014, according to the denomination, Brazil had 767,449 Jehovah's Witnesses with 11,562 congregations. [1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Brazil.
b. Click on Places within Brazil and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See the Portuguese Letter-writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil is the 19th province of the Anglican Communion, covering the country of Brazil. It is composed of nine dioceses and one missionary district, each headed by a bishop, among whom one is elected as the Primate of Brazil. IEAB (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil) is the oldest non-Roman Catholic church in Brazil, originating from the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed in 1810 between Portugal and the United Kingdom which allowed the Church of England to establish chapels in the former Portuguese colony. In 1890 American missionaries from the Episcopal Church established themselves in the country aiming to create a national church; unlike the English chapels, they celebrated services in Portuguese and converted Brazilians.[3]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Brazilian Baptist Convention has its origins in the establishment of the first Baptist Baptist Church in Salvador (Bahia) in 1882, by the Southern Baptist Convention. It was founded in 1907. In 2015, it has 8,392 churches and 1,618,663 members.[4]

The National Baptist Convention (Conveção Batista Nacional) is a Baptist Christian denomination, affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance and Brazilian Evangelical Christian Alliance. It started with a group of 52 Baptist churches in Brazil, who joined together in 1965, that accept the Evangelical charismatic doctrine of gifts of Holy Spirit in their beliefs.[5]

See, also, The First Conference of Reformed Baptists in Brazil.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the tradition, the first Mass celebrated in Brazil took place on 26 April 1500. It was celebrated by a priest who arrived in the country along with the Portuguese explorers to claim possession of the newfound land. The first diocese in Brazil was erected more than 50 years later, in 1551.Brazil's strong Catholic heritage can be traced to the Iberian missionary zeal, with the 15th-century goal of spreading Christianity.

Catholicism was enforced during colonial rule, then in 1824 became the official religion of an independent Brazil that also guaranteed freedom of religion for its citizens. The Brazilian government has been secular since the Constitution of 1891, though the Church remained extremely politically influential until nowadays. In the late 19th century, the Catholic population of Iberian origin was reinforced by a large number of Italian Catholics who immigrated to Brazil, as well as some Polish and German Catholic immigrants. In 1889 Brazil became a republic and approved a constitution separating the Church from the State, a trend followed by all of the country's seven republican constitutions. Prior to that, during the Empire of Brazil, Catholicism was the official religion of the country.[6]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

When Roberto Lippelt and his wife, Augusta, arrived in Ipomeia, Brazil, from Germany in 1923, Augusta began asking Church headquarters that teaching materials be sent to her. In response, South American Mission President Reinhold Stoof left Buenos Aires, Argentina, to visit Brazil. He returned in 1928 with missionary elders to teach the German-speaking people in that country. The first converts within Brazil joined the Church on April 14, 1929.

The first branch of the Church in Brazil was organized in Joinville on July 6, 1930. The city of São Paulo was opened to Church missionary work in 1935. A Brazilian mission, with headquarters in São Paulo, was created from the South American Mission in May 1935.

As a result of nationalism that took hold in Brazil starting in 1930, Portuguese became the national language. This marked a shift in Church policy of teaching the gospel in a person’s native language (which had been predominately German). The Book of Mormon was translated into Portuguese, and all missionary teaching and Church meetings in Brazil switched to Portuguese in 1938–39.

In March 1959, the first meetinghouse constructed in Brazil (in Ipomeia) was ready for occupancy.

Total Church Membership: 1,394,616. Congregations: 2,111.[7]

Eastern Orthodox Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Greek, Coptic, Syrian, Russian, Polish, and Serbian Orthodox congregations can be found in Brazil.

Jehovah's Witnesses[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Today, there are some 750,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses in more than 11,000 congregations all over Brazil. [8]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Church book from The Norwegian Seamen's Mission in Santos, Brazil
(Many of these records are restricted for privacy, but are still listed on the Norway National Archive's website)

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Igreja Evangelica Luterana do Brasil
Av. Cel. Lucas de Oliveira, 804
Bairro Mont’Serrat
90440-010 – Porto Alegre, RS

Phone: 55-51-3332-2111

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod missionary came to Brazil in 1900 at the request of German immigrants living in Brazil. The IELB’s Seminario Concordia was established in 1903 and one year later, in 1904, the IELB became a district of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.[9]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Brazil Methodist Church
Avenida Piassanguaba, 3031-Planalto Paulista
Sao Paulo, SP 04060-004

Work Phone: (55 11) 2813 8624
Work Fax: (55 21) 2813 8632
Work Email:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Methodist Church in Brazil was founded by American missionaries in 1867 after an initial unsuccessful founding in 1835. It has grown steadily since, becoming autonomous in 1930. In 2006, it had 162,000 members and 1266 pastors.[10]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Presbyterian Church of Brazil (Portuguese: Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil, or IPB) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, having an estimate 1,011,300 members, 8,315 ordained ministers and 5,015 churches and 5,392 parishes. It is also the only Presbyterian denomination in Brazil present in all 26 States and the Federal District. Brazilian Presbyterianism owes its origin largely to the efforts of Rev. Ashbel Green Simonton (1833–1867). Due to the influence of a religious revival in 1855, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary. Later he, volunteered to PCUSA's Missions Board, naming Brazil as his preferred destination. Two months after being ordained, he embarked to Brazil, where he arrived on August 12, 1859, at the age of 26. In April 1860, Simonton celebrated his first service in Portuguese. In January 1862, the first converts professed their faith and the Presbyterian Church of Rio de Janeiro was formally organized. [11]

The Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (in Portuguese: Igreja Presbiteriana Independente do Brasil, IPIB), the second oldest Presbyterian denomination in the country. In 2012, the church had more than 85,000 members and 546 congregations. It was founded by Brazilian minister Rev. Eduardo Carlos Pereira and a group of six other ministers and their churches, who split from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil over a number of political and ecclesiastical controversies. [12]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a major Christian denomination with a significant presence in Brazil[1] with over 1,655,558 members as of June 30, 2018.[13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Brazilian Baptist Convention", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "National Baptist Convention, Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Brazil, accessed 6 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Brazil,, accessed 8 March 2020.
  8. "A Visit to Brazil",,, accessed 8 March 2020.
  9. "Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil", in "International Lutheran Council",, accessed 8 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Methodist_Church_in_Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 March 2020.
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Presbyterian Church of Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 8 March 2020.
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 8 March 2020.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 8 March 2020.