Brazil Emigration and Immigration

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Emigration and Immigration

Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigration) or coming into (immigration) a country.

Emigration and immigration records can help you determine where in Brazil your ancestor came from as well as where she or he came from prior to settling in Brazil. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, ports of emigration, and occasionally places of origin or birthplaces. If you do not find your ancestor, you may find emigration information on your ancestor’s neighbors. People often emigrated with neighbors and friends from the same communities, and by finding the neighbor’s town of origin, you may locate your ancestor in the same place.

There are not many immigration records for Brazil prior to 1808, as Portuguese settlers were not considered immigrants.

Online Records

Immigration Trends

  • 1530-1755 The Portuguese sent prisoners, degredados (exiles) or indesejáveis (undesirables) to Brazil.
  • 1530-1808 The Portuguese limited immigration to Brazil to Portuguese nationals.
  • 1808 Brazil opened immigration to individuals from any country.
  • 1890 In response to the freeing of the slave population, plantation owners (fazendeiros) created the Sociedade Promotora de Imigração (Society for the Promotion of Emigration) to promote immigration, leading to an increased European immigration to Brazil.
  • 1808-1940 Immigrants came from over 50 nations, mainly Portugal, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Russia, France, Spain, Turkey, the British Isles, and other South American countries. Many settled in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1865-1870s Thousands of Southerners from the United States emigrated to Brazil. Most settled in Amazonas, Espírito Santo, and São Paulo, establishing rural colonies. Most of these colonies failed and the settlers returned to the United States.

Passenger Lists

When migrants arrived or departed from Brazilian ports, they usually used one of the three following ports:

  • Rio de Janeiro had its own port. There, migrants were registered through the Agência Central de Imigração (Central Agency for Immigration). Newly arrived immigrants were then taken to the Ilha das Flores (Isle of Flores) and processed at the Casa dos Imigrantes (House of Emigrants).
  • Santos was the main port for the city of São Paulo. The port authorities who registered and handled migrants in Brazil were known as the Hospedaria de Imigrantes (Hostelry of Immigrants).
  • Salvador was the main port for the state of Bahia.

Many of the Brazilian immigrants from Europe and other western hemisphere countries left from the ports of Bremen, Hamburg, La Havre, Bordeaux, Marseille, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Funchal, Cádiz, New Orleans, Naples, Tokyo, and New York. While Hamburg Passenger Lists are available on microfilm at the Family History Library, departure lists from La Havre, New Orleans, and New York were not preserved.

The information in passenger lists varies over time but usually includes the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, and destinations. In addition, relationships and last residences or birthplaces may be given.

Records at the Family History Library

Some passenger lists are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. Perform a keywords search in the FamilySearch Catalog for Brazil passageiros to find lists of passengers entering and leaving Brazil.

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of immigration records from each of these ports. These records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog under a subject search for:

BRAZIL - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION

Records at Brazilian Archives

Arquivo Público do Estado da Bahia (Salvador)
The "Historical Section" of the Bahia state archive has six volumes of passport records (passaportes e guias) from 1718 to 1822 as well as copies of the record of immigrants to the port of Salvador from 1839 to 1854.

For an address of the state and national archives, see Brazil Archives and Libraries.

Immigration Cards

Brazilian consulates around the world issued immigration cards, which were presented at the Brazilian port of entry by foreigners visiting or immigrating to Brazil.

Information on immigration cards may contain the immigrant's name, date of immigration, date and place of birth, nationality, marital status, parents' names, profession/occupation, place of residence in country of origin, names, ages, and genders of children under the age of 18 traveling with the individual, passport number, whether the stay was permanent or temporary.

Records at the Family History Library

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of immigration records from each of these ports. These records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog under a subject search for:

BRAZIL - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION

Records at the Brazilian Archives

Arquivo Nacional (Rio de Janeiro)
In the Arquivo Nacional (National Archive), in Rio de Janeiro, there is a large collection of immigration records on cards in nearly 30 drawers. These cards have information on Portuguese immigrants to Brazil. The National Archive in Brazil compiled a supplement volumes to this collection:

  • Registro de Estrangeiros e Entradas de Portugueses do Registro de Estrangeiros nas Capitanias, 1777–1819 (Register of the Foreigners and Emigrants from the Portuguese Register of Foreigners in the Captaincies, 1777–1819). Rio de Janeiro: Arquivo Nacional.

Another book from the National Archives in Brazil lists emigration records of French residents in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Os franceses residentes no Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1820 (The French Residents in Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1820). Rio de Janeiro: Arquivo Nacional, 1960.

The original records of the Hospedaria de Imigrantes (Hostelry of Immigrants) in Rio de Janeiro are also available, although they have been microfilmed by the Family History Library and include arrival lists, passports, lists of ships, and so on:

  • Registros de imigrantes (Register of Immigrants). Arquivo Nacional no Rio de Janeiro, N.p., (1981).

Arquivo da Secretaria da Promoção Social (Santos/São Paulo)
The original records of the Hospedaria de Imigrantes (Hostelry of Immigrants) from 1854 to 1885 in São Paulo are at the Arquivo da Secretaria da Promoção Social (Archive of the Secretary of Social Progress).


Many records prior to 1940 of naturalization and citizenship are in the National Archives. Records created after 1940 are in the office of the Minister of Justice.

For an address of the National Archives, in Rio de Janeiro, see Brazil Archives and Libraries.

Passports

People desiring to leave Brazil were required to obtain passports from the Federal Police (Polícia Federal) in each state capital.

The applicant had to provide an original copy of her or his birth certificate, two recent pictures, a voter’s registration, an identification card, CIC (income tax information), and a military release (required for males over 18 and under 45 years). After completing the necessary forms the police performed a background check. You can research these records if you can show your relationship to the person and a need to see the records. Useful records are:

  • Permissions to emigrate (Rio de Janeiro)
  • Probates of relatives who stayed
  • Police records
  • Passports
  • Court records

The addresses for the Federal Police are:

Policia Federal (Escritório Central)
Avenida Prestes Maia, 700 Centro
05512-000 São Paulo, SP
BRASIL

Policia Marítima
Avenida Venezuela 2 - Saúde
20081-310 Rio de Janeiro, RJ
BRASIL

Directoria de Portos e Costas (CIPANAVE)
Rua Teófilo Otoni 4-Centro
Rio de Janeiro
RJ - Brazil
CEP: 20090-070
Phone: +55 21 2104 5195
Fax: + 55 21 2104 5196
E-mail: secom@dpc.mar.mil.br

Departamento de Policia Federal
Rua da Assembléia 70 - Centro
20011-000 Rio de Janeiro, RJ
BRASIL
http://www.dpf.gov.br/

Other Sources of Immigration Information

You may be able to learn the town your ancestor came from by talking to older family members. Members of your family may have documents that name the city or town, such as:

  • Birth, marriage, and death certificates
  • Obituaries
  • Journals
  • Photographs
  • Letters
  • Family Bibles
  • Church records
  • Naturalization applications and petitions
  • Passenger lists
  • Passports
  • Family heirlooms

Records of Brazilian Emigrants to the United States

Sometimes the best sources for information about your immigrant ancestor are created in the country he or she emigrated to. Many Brazilians migrated to Florida, New York, Illinois, California, Texas, Washington, and Utah. Emigration from Brazil has occurred mostly in the 20th century.

Immigration records provide the town of origin and other information. To learn about these records, view the state naturalization pages under United States Naturalization and Citizenship.

  • Passenger lists. Most Brazilian immigrants to the United States arrived at the ports of New York and New Orleans. Many of these records have been digitized. See United States Emigration and Immigration for more information about emigration and immigration records of the United States.
  • Immigration and Naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has a national index of immigrants who arrived in the United States between 1906 to 1956. For its records, write to:

Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 "I" Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20536
Tel.: 1-800-375-5283   1-800-767-1833 (TTY)
e-mail: uscis.webmaster@dhs.gov
Website: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

Additional Resources

The following websites give further information on Brazilian emigration and immigration

The Family History Library has additional information on Brazilian emigration and immigration. These sources include:

  • Bangerter, Lawrence B. The Brazilian Compass.
    • This two volume work includes name of vessel, places of embarkation and debarkation, dates and corresponding Family History Library film numbers for immigration records. Both volumes have been digitized by the Family History Archives at Brigham Young University, and are accessible online. Volume 1 Volume 2
  • The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, c1995. FHL 981.61 H2c
  • Ferenczi, Imre. International Migrations, volume I: Statistics. Series: The American immigration collection. Series 2, vol. 1. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1970. FHL 304.8 F379i
  • Griggs, William Clark. The Elusive Eden: Frank McMullan’s Confederate Colony in Brazil. Austin: University of Texas Press, c1987. FHL 981 F2gw
  • Hauschild-Thiessen, Renate. Germans in Brazil 1850-1865, German emigrants to Brazil advertised their whereabouts in Brazil in order to give their relatives an update in the newspaper Hamburger Nachrichten. The author listed all emigrants who posted such announcements. FHL 943 B2gf
  • Luetjohann, Roland. Die Ersten deutschen Auswanderer in Brasilien. Archiv für Sippenforschung, 8. Jahrgang, Heft 3.FHL 943 B2asContains names of Swiss (canton Freiburg) and German emigrants (from Helsbach) with date of arrival and circumstances.
  • Oliveira, Betty Antunes de. Movimento de passageiros norte-americanos no porto do Rio de Janeiro, 1865–1890 (Movement of North American Passengers in the Port of Rio de Janeiro, 1865–1890). Rio de Janeiro: B. A. de Oliveira, 1982. FHL 981.53/R1 W3o; FHL 1162490

Wiki Articles Describing this Collection

Brazil, Bahia, Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Brazil Immigration Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Brazil, São Paulo, Immigrant Hostelry Records, (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Brazil, São Paulo, Port of Santos, Passenger and Immigrant Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)