Brazil Court Records

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Records of civil and criminal cases exist from the earliest days of the colony and are usually found in the national or state archives. They contain disputes, accusations, judgments, contracts, property titles, wills, inventories, baptismal records, and personal correspondence about these cases.

Court records contain family information that has great genealogical value. They contain names, residences, occupations of defendants and plaintiffs, ages, relationships, birthplaces, sometimes verdicts, and dates.

Early court records are found in the judicial and legislative sections of the national and state archives. The National Archives of Brazil has a partial index to records in its legislative and judicial section that include inventories and wills, divorces, orphan records, separations without divorce, donation records, adjudications, executions of sentences, and probate divisions of property.

These records have not been microfilmed by the Family History Library and may take considerable time and effort to research in the archives in Brazil, since there are generally no easy indexes and reference tools to them.

Other local court-type records were kept by a notary public and are called notarial records (notariais). These are discussed further under Brazil Notarial Records.