Brazilian Research: Getting Started

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Getting started with Brazilian family history research isn't difficult at all. Just follow a simple 5-step Research Process:


Step 1: Identify What You Know

To start your research, first search family and home sources.

  • Search for names as well as dates and places of important life events.
  • Look for records you have close to home:
    • Certificates of births, deaths, and marriages
    • Funeral programs
    • Documents relating to education
    • Documents about military service
    • Photographs
    • Newspaper articles
    • Birth announcements
    • Marriage announcements
    • Obituaries
    • Letters
    • Passports
    • Citizenship or naturalization papers
    • Family bibles
    • Journals
  • Talk with living relatives to learn additional information they might have on your ancestors.

Step 2: Decide What You Want to Learn About Your Family

Select an specific ancestor you would like to learn more about. Identify questions you want to answer about them.

  • Where was he/she born?
  • Were was he/she married?
  • Who were his/her parents?

Select one question at a time to help you focus your research.

Step 3: Select Records to Search

Most of your research will be in these two records:

  • Civil Registration: Civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths of individuals became standardized by the 1880s in Brazil. For help with using and locating civil registration records for Brazil see Brazil Civil Registration.

  • Church Records: The Roman Catholic Church has long been an integral part of Brazilian society and culture. Most of your ancestors from Brazil were Catholic and were recorded in local church records called parish registers (registros paroquias). The catholic church recorded births, marriages, deaths, and burials in parish registers. Catholic parish records are some of the best in the world, stretching back hundreds of years to the earliest settlements of Brazil. For help with using and locating Catholic Church records for brazil see Brazil Church Records.

Step 4: Obtain and Search the Record

You will usually locate the records you need in one of these ways.

  1. In an online database of digitized photos, transcripts, or indexes.
  2. In the microfilmed records of the FamilySearch Library.
  3. By visiting or writing to a repository where the records are preserved, such as archives or libraries.
  4. By visiting or writing to the church or civil office that created the original record.

Detailed help with locating records is given on the individual page for each state of Brazil in the Wiki. Click on the link to the article for your state from the Brazil Clickable Map or list of states on the Brazil Genealogy main page.

Step 5: Use the Information