Portugal Census

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National Censuses (Censo/Recenseamento Geral da População)[edit | edit source]

Census have been enumerated in Portugal since 1260. These records allow researchers to identify family groups and establish the sex, estimated birthdates, occupations, and relationships for each member of the family. However, most Portuguese census returns were destroyed after the authorities had compiled statistical information.

Population censuses of the Kingdom of Portugal were taken in 1527, 1639, 1732, 1798, 1801. All existing records for these registers are numerical only.

General censuses were conducted in 1864, 1878, 1890 and every tenth year thereafter. After statistical data was compiled, the returns are believed to have been destroyed.[1][2]

Parish Censuses (Confessados)[edit | edit source]

A possible alternative to census records would be confessados, or parish censuses. These censuses were taken by the priest periodically for every member of the Catholic faith in their parish. These censuses frequently name every individual of the “age of reason” (usually 8-12 and older) within each family. These records may also include the individual’s sex, age, occupation, and marital status.

Because these records were taken by the parish priest, there is no set format to what is recorded or how frequently the parish census was taken. These records can be found at the district archives, or at the local parish. For a list of the archives of Portugal, visit Portugal Archives and Libraries. For information on locating a parish office, visit Portugal Church Directories.

For the Island of São Jorge there are available records found here at the São Jorge Genealogical Society.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. João Gavinho, "Census in Portugal Over the Time," in Censos, https://sites.google.com/site/formacaolivrecensos/home/inicial-page/census-in-portugal/censos-in-portugal-over-the-time. Visited 12 June 2017.
  2. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Portugal,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1986-1999.