Portuguese Genealogical Word List

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This list contains Portuguese words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Portuguese-English dictionary.

Portuguese is a Romance language and is very similar to Spanish. It is the national language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola. It is also spoken on the Chinese island of Macau and in the Goa region of India and used in some of the official records of these places. In the United States, Portuguese is spoken in places such as Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts, as well as many areas in California and Hawaii where Portuguese immigrants have settled.

Word List

Language Characteristics

Portuguese words for persons, places, and things (nouns) are classified as masculine, feminine, or, in some cases, neuter. O (the masculine form of the) is used with masculine words. A (the feminine form of the) is used with feminine words. Masculine nouns generally end in o, r, l, and ma. Feminine nouns generally end in a, ão, dade, tude, and ume. Nouns which end in orgenerally are masculine; an a is added to indicate the feminine version.

Adjectives which end in o or a reflect the same gender of the nouns they refer to. For example, the married son would be translated as o filho casado,while the married daughter would be translated as a filha casada.

Many adjectives do not end in o or a and so do not indicate gender. For example, the large book would be translated as o livro grande, while the large parish would be translated as a paróquia grande.

Variant Forms of Words

In Portuguese, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence.Who—whose—whom or marry—marries—married are examples of words in English with variant forms. This word list gives only the standard form of each Portuguese word. As you read Portuguese records, be aware that some words vary with usage.

Plural forms of Portuguese words usually add s to the singular noun as well as the article and adjective. Thus, o avô materno (the maternal grandparent) becomes os avôs maternos (the maternal grandparents).

Alphabetical Order

The Portuguese alphabet uses the same 26 letters and alphabetical used in English. The letters k and w are used only in words that are not of Portuguese origin.

Accent Marks

Some letters in Portuguese can carry accent marks that indicate how to pronounce the letter, or which syllable in a word is stressed. They do not affect alphabetical order. The accent marks include:

agudo  á, é, í, ó, ú
cedilha  ç
circunflexo  ê, ô
grave  à, è
til  ã, ˜e, õ, ˜u
trema  ü


Although Portuguese spelling was standardized by the mid-1700s, scribes usually spelled words the way they sounded. Generally, variations between old and modern spellings should not cause too much trouble for the researcher. The following words are examples of old and modern spelling variations:

Variation Old Modern
y became i Pereyra Pereira
h became silent hum, honze um, onze
ã became am tãpa tampa
˜e became em b˜e bem
˜u became um h˜u um
ph became f pharol farol
nn became n annos anos
mpç became assumpção assunção
pt became t baptismo batismo (Brazilian usage only)

Additional Resources

This word list includes words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Portuguese-English dictionary. Several Portuguese- English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library in the European collection. The call numbers begin with 469.321.

The following dictionary is on microfilm and available to Family History Centers:

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library Catalog under PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES. Most bookstores also sell inexpensive Portuguese-English dictionaries.

A helpful guide for reading Portuguese genealogical records is:

Key Words

To find and use specific types of Portuguese records, you will need to know some key words. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the Portuguese words with the same or similar meanings, including varying forms of the same word.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Portuguese words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, joined, and other words used in Portuguese records to indicate marriage. When a word has both a masculine and a feminine version, the feminine ending is given in parentheses.

English Portuguese
baptism batismo, batisei, foi batisado(a)
birth nascimento, nasceu, nascido(a), deu à luz, crisma
burial enterro, enterrei, enterrado(a), sepultado(a), sepultura
Catholic Church Igreja Católica
census censo, rol
child filho(a), criança, párvulo(a)
church record registro paroquial
confirmation crisma, confirmação
day dia
death morte, falecimento, óbito, falecido(a), defunto(a)
father pai
husband marido, esposo, homem
index índice
marriage casamento, matrimônio, recebimento
month mês
mother mãe
name, given nome, alcunha, graça
name, surname nome, sobrenome, apelido
parents pais
parish paróquia
wife esposa, mulher
year ano


In some genealogical records, numbers are written out. This is especially true with dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. In Portuguese, days of the month are written in ordinal form.

Cardinal Ordinal
0 zero
1 um 1st primeiro
2 dois 2nd segundo
3 três 3rd terceiro
4 quatro 4th quarto
5 cinco 5th quinto
6 seis 6th sexto
7 sete 7th sétimo
8 oito 8th oitavo
9 nove 9th nono
10 dez 10th décimo
11 onze 11th décimo primeiro
12 doze 12th décimo segundo
13 treze 13th décimo terceiro
14 catorze 14th décimo quarto
15 quinze 15th décimo quinto
16 dezesseis 16th décimo sexto
17 dezessete 17th décimo sétimo
18 dezoit 18th décimo oitavo
19 dezenove 19th décimo nono
20 vinte 20th vigésimo
21 vinte e um 21st vigésimo primeiro
22 vinte e dois 22nd vigésimo segundo
23 vinte e três 23rd vigésimo terceiro
24 vinte e quatro 24th vigésimo quarto
25 vinte e cinco 25th vigésimo quinto
26 vinte e seis 26th vigésimo sexto
27 vinte e sete 27th vigésimo sétimo
28 vinte e oito 28th vigésimo oitavo
29 vinte e nove 29th vigésimo nono
30 trinta 30th trigésimo
31 trinta e um 31st trigésimo primero
40 quarenta 40th quadragésimo
50 cinqüenta 50th quinquagésimo
60 sessenta 60th sexagésimo
70 setenta 70th setuagésimo
80 oitenta 80th octogésimo
90 noventa 90th nonagésimo
100 cem, cento 100th centésimo
200 duzentos 200th ducentésimo
300 trezentos 300th tricentésimo
400 quatrocentos 400th quadringentésimo
500 quinhentos 500th quingentésimo
600 seiscentos 600th sexcentésimo
700 setecentos 700th setingentésimo
800 oitocentos 800th octingentésimo
900 novecentos 900th nongentésimo
1000 mil 1000th milésimo

Dates and Time

In Portuguese records, dates are spelled out, for example:

No vigésimo terceiro dia do mês de março do ano de mil oito centos e trinta e tres [On the twenty-third day of March of the year of one thousand eight hundred and thirty and three].

To understand Portuguese dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding "Numbers" section.


English Portuguese
January janeiro
February fevereiro
March março
April abril
May maio
June junho
July julho
August agosto
September setembro
October outubro
November novembro
December dezembro

Days of the Week

English Portuguese
Sunday domingo
Monday segunda-feira
Tuesday terça-feira
Wednesday quarta-feira
Thursday quinta-feira
Friday sexta-feira
Saturday sábado

General Word List

This general word list includes words commonly found in genealogical sources. Numbers, months, and days of the week are listed both here and in separate sections prior to this list.

In cases where significant spelling variations between old and modern Portuguese affect alphabetical order, words are listed twice (for example, batismo and baptismo). Optional versions of Portuguese words or variable endings (such as feminine endings) are given in parentheses. Parentheses in the English column clarify the definition.