Brazil Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Brazil Civil Registration, 1870-2012 .

Title in the Language of the Record

Registro Civil do Brasil

Record Description

This collection includes birth, marriage and death records for the states of Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina from 1870 to 2012.

The registration is done in books sequentially numerated preceded by a letter A, B, or C according to the type of registry as follows: “A” for births, “B” for Marriages and “B-Aux” for religious marriages with civil effect, “C” for death, and “E” for other type of registry. The old registry books were hand written, but the newer and current registries are formatted.

The civil registration started only in cities of larger municipalities around the year 1875; however, it wasn't until 1888 that it became enforced with the new law of the civil registry pronounced just before the proclamation of the Republic. From its beginnings, the civil registration in Brazil was created as a public service delegated to the private sector responsible of the Offices of the Civil Registry. Until 1988, with the proclamation of the Constitution still in force, the civil registry offices were granted a lifetime patrimony of the Union government (currently by the states of the federation) to honorable individuals of society as a way of political exchange and also as a way of social control. Currently, the civil registry is officially presented under the name of Oficio do Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais (Office of the Civil Registry for the Natural People/Citizens), being the official registrars appointed by a public hearing. (The designation of Natural People/Citizens is necessary in Brazil because there is also a denomination called Civil Registry of Judicial People, as it is the commercial entities). 

Formerly, the Catholic Church was the only responsible for the registration of individuals and its titles, as a continuation of a classical tradition to register events that involved only people of wealth either of ecclesiastical order, dynasty, or nobility. The civil registry in Brazil was created formally and generally with the decree number 5604 of April 25, 1874, regulating the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths for all the citizens whether Catholic or non Catholic. The principal events of a natural person such as birth, marriage, and deaths are registered by the officers of the Civil Registry of Natural People, legal professionals that give public service and whom are chosen by Public Power, existent in all the municipalities and districts of the country, which activity is regulated by the statutes number 8.935 issued on November 18, 1994 and number 6.015 issued on December 31, 1973 (Public Registries Law). Besides the certificate issued at the time of the registration, it is possible to request the issue of more certificates at any time and by any person because the registry is a public entity. 

In order to register a child birth in Brazil it is necessary to present the following verifications: 

  • Declaration of the living birth issued by the maternity institution where the mother gave birth or in the case of home delivery, by the registered medical professional that helped in the child births at home. 
  • Personal identification of the person making the declaration of birth (if the parents are married, the marriage certificate is also required). If the delivery of a childbirth was done at home without the help of a medical professional, the declaration of the childbirth will be supplied by the Office of the Civil Registry or the Health Department (either at the municipal or state level), in presence of two adult witnesses of the childbirth delivery, such as the midwife if known 
  • To qualify for a marriage registration, the marriage application must be signed personally by both groom and bride or by their assignee and they must present the following documentation:
  1. Certificate of birth or equivalent document 
  2. Written authorization of persons under whom they legally depend or a judicial decree substitution 
  3. Declaration of two adult witnesses, relatives or others that could certify they know them and that there is no impediment/obstacle that forbids them to get married 
  4. Declaration of their civil status, their address, and their current residence and that of their parents, if they were known.  
  5. If it applies, also the certificate of spouse's death, judicial decision of annulment, or the marriage annulment processed in court or the divorce decree. With these evidences, the civil registration in Brazil is of absolute reliability.

Civil registration in Brazil started formally with the decree number 5604 dated 25 April 1874. This decree regulated the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. But it was not until the next year that some cities in the larger municipalities began to gradually create civil registries which were named "cartórios do registro civil". The enforcement of the registration of births, marriages, and deaths was established by the decree number 9886 dated 7 March 1888. However, civil registration was not immediately accepted by the inhabitants, especially by those living in the interior areas of the country, where the religious control of the Catholic Church and the distance of rural areas made it difficult to increase such registration. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse. from the collection landing page

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Brazil, Civil Registration, 1870-2012." Index and Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Registro Civil.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These birth records usually include the following information:

  • Registration date and place
  • Informant's relationship and gender
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Name of the child
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents' names
  • Parents' civil status and residence
  • Mother's occupation and place of origin
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Father's occupation and place of origin
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of witnesses
  • Names, residence, and occupation of the parents

These marriage records usually include the following information:

  • Date, place and time of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Bride and groom's age, civil status and occupation
  • Groom's parents' names
  • Birth place of groom's parents
  • Bride's parents' names
  • Birth place of bride's parents
  • Names of witnesses

These death records usually include the following information:

  • Date and place of registration
  • Registrant's name
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Deceased's marital status and name of spouse
  • Deceased's origin and residence
  • Legitimacy
  • Cause of death
  • Names of deceased's parents and their residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Burial place

How to Use the Records

To search this collection using the index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

Be aware there may be inaccuracies such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

To browse this collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the “State”
⇒ Select the “Municipality”
⇒ Select the “Name of Town/City/Administrative Region”
⇒ Select the "Record Type, Date Range, and Volume" which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

The civil registration records in Brazil are an excellent source of genealogical information for records created after 1888. One can find information of other family members such as: parents and grandparents, places of origin, dates of events, and other important genealogical information. Before 1888, it is suggested to search in church records or immigration records. The civil records of birth, marriage, and deaths are usually listed in chronological order by the date of registration and under the municipal locality of the registry. In order to find a civil record, you need to have some basic information about the ancestor. For a birth certificate you need to have the name of the child, approximate date of birth, and registry or locality where it was recorded. For a marriage certificate you need to have the names of the groom and bride, an approximate date of the marriage, and the registry or locality where the marriage was recorded. For a deaths certificate you need to have the name of the deceased person, date of death, and registry or locality where it was recorded.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

“Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981,” images, FamilySearch ( accessed 28 February, 2012), La Plata > San Ponciano > Matrimonios 1884-1886 > image 71 of 389 images, Artemio Avendano and Clementina Peralta, 1884; citing Parroquia de