Brazil Social Life and Customs

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Effective family research requires some understanding of the society your ancestor lived in. Learning about everyday life, religious practices, customs, and traditions will help you appreciate your ancestor and the time he or she lived in. This information is particularly helpful if you choose to write a history of your family. Research procedures and genealogical sources are different for each area and time period and are affected by the local customs and traditions.

The Family History Library has collected a few sources that discuss a variety of subjects related to the social life and customs in Brazil. Following are some that might be helpful:

Besselaar, J. J. von den. Brasilien: Anspruch und Wirklichkeit (Brazil: Claim and Actuality). Wiesbaden: F. A. Brockhaus. (FHL book 981 H2bj) This book, published in German, is a description and analysis of social, cultural, and economic life in Brazil.

Torres Londoño, Fernando. El concubinato y la iglesia en el Brasil colonial (The Concubinage and the Church in Colonial Brazil). São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo, 1988. (FHL book 981 H6t) This book, written in Spanish, presents indigenous marriage customs and the Catholic Church in colonial Brazil.

Additional sources for social customs in three cities in Brazil include:

Metcalf, Alida Christine. Families of Planters, Peasants, and Slaves: Strategies for Survival in Santana de Parnaíba, Brazil, 1720–1820. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, c1983. (FHL book 981.61/S4 H6m)

Marques, Gabriel. Ruas e tradições de São Paulo: Uma história em cada rua (Streets and Traditions of São Paulo: A story in every street). São Paulo: Conselho Estadual de Cultura, 1966. (FHL book 981.61/S1 H6m)

Silva, Maria Beatriz Nizza da. Cultura e Sociedade no Rio de Janeiro (1808–1821) (Culture and Society in Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1821). São Paulo: Nacional, 1977. (FHL book 981.53/R1 H6s)

Other books of this nature may help you in your research and help you understand your ancestor’s environment. Additional sources may be found in larger universities and libraries.

Online Resouces