Portugal, Porto, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Paroquiais da Diocese Católica do Porto, Portugal

Collection Time Period

This collection of church records includes the years 1530 to 1905.

Record Description

This collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial records from the Catholic Diocese of Porto created at several parishes. It also includes an index of parish records for the city of Porto. These church records are housed at the Porto District Archives. Additional images will be published as they become available.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most baptismal records include:

  • Date and place of the event
  • Name of person baptized
  • Gender and date of birth or age
  • If legitimate or illegitimate
  • Parents' names, residence, and/or place of origin
  • Names of paternal and maternal grandparents
  • Names of godparents


The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records include:

  • Date and place of the event
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Sometimes their civil status (widowed, single, divorced) at the time of the event
  • Place of origin and/or residence of the bride and groom
  • Parents' names and their civil status
  • Names of witnesses


The key genealogical facts found in most deaths records include:

  • Place and date where the person died
  • Name of the deceased
  • Civil status and name of spouse, if married at time of death
  • Place of burial
  • Parents' names
  • Cause of death


How to Use the Records

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The name and surname of the person
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The name of the parents or spouse

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.


Record History

Parish priests performed the baptisms, marriages, deaths and/or burials, and other holy sacraments in their assigned parish or parishes. All the original parish records were kept in the parish archive; however, the older records were centralized in the archdiocesan archive. The records in our collection were acquired from the District Archive of Porto.

Why the Record Was Created

Catholic Church parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, death, and burial in the life of their parishioners. These and other ordinances were performed by an authorized priest in his area of jurisdiction.

Record Reliability

The Catholic Church parish records are an excellent source for genealogical research in the District of Porto. These may also be the only records available before the implementation of the civil registration in 1911.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Portugal Catholic Church Records

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: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

Please help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying source citations for this collection here.

  • "Delaware Marriage Records," index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 4 March 2011, entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
  • “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 21 March 2011, entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.

Sources of Information for This Collection

Portugal. Diocese of Porto. Several parishes in the Diocese of Porto. Parish records, 1540-1905. District Archive of Porto (Archivo Distrital do Porto), Porto, Portugal. 

Digital copies of originals are also housed in different District Archives of Porto throughout Portugal.

Detailed instructions for adding citations are also listed in the wiki article: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.