Saturday, January 12, 2019


Take a look on my new post where I explain how you can research and find your Portuguese ancestor in United States. I will post other resources in the following weeks.

I often receive emails from people in search of their ancestors and asking how they can locate records for them. I know that uncovering a family ancestry is not an easy task, I have been through it different times, either researching for my own family, or one of my client's families.

1 - Start with your own family

If you really do not have any idea where you are going to start finding information about your immigrant ancestor, the best way to begin your research is inside your own family. Yes, your closest family members. They are the descendants of that first immigrant and they will give you information if you ask for it. Most of the time I am sure they will. They are proud of who they are and proud of their history. The reality is when you do not know much about your ancestor's history, including stories about those who lived or are still living during your life span, you will need to rely on their information and available documentation.

My mother and father - 1956 - Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Talking to your mother and father is almost obvious, but we often take this for granted. For example, I never asked my parents how they met, when and where; now I cannot ask as they passed away a few years ago. Do not skip your parents much less your grandparents, aunts, and uncles if they are still alive. In doing this your perception about their lives will broaden and the research paths will certainly start to open. This will also bring more awareness to aspects of their lives which you never understood before. 

2 - Write down their thoughts

On a sketchbook
Writing down their thoughts means you are documenting them. In genealogy we call it evidence[1].If you like to write, draw, doodle, like me, a sketchbook is a great idea to informally take notes. Think about the fact you can carry a sketchbook in a family visit, sit down and quickly take notes of what people will tell you. At the same time, you can draw a family tree and establish relationships between individuals. The list of questions and things you can ask and do are endless. The information gathered will probably surprise you in many aspects you never thought of before. Sketching and writing combined are great tools and were used throughout history to document all kinds of events.

Wikimedia Commons - James Abbott McNeill Whistler [CC0]
On a tablet

If you are more towards a tech approach, take your tablet and do the same as I mentioned above, plus take photos! You can also document your new investigation by recording the conversation and later transcribing it to your computer. It could be either just a voice record or a film from your phone. Most phones and tablets have a voice recorder. Any choice is great, as long as you record it and later use it in your family tree!

Family Group Templates

3 - Scan or photograph

Last but not least, scan or photograph is considered one of the aspects of preservation. Ask your family for any possible documents they have, photos, letters, any heirlooms they have available. Kindly ask if you can scan or photograph them. You never know if you will see that letter or photo again. Check for resources that can help this part of your project, such as an app, a scanner bin[2], a scanner, etc. Do not know how to start? Check for a free poster and other preservation resources I have created while working for the library and archives at the Preservation Services UNC-Greensboro. One of the posters shows how you can set up a small digitization project with your phone, tablet or camera[3].

Thursday, January 10, 2019




The CCA or Centro de Conhecimento dos Açores
is the digital repository for most of the civil and ecclesiastical records from the nine islands that are part of the Azores archipelago.

Azores Parish Records (Pesquisa de Registros Paroquiais)

For birth, marriage and death records from the Catholic Church, from 1541 until 1911, click here:

Passports (Pesquisa de Passaportes)

For passports from Terceira, Graciosa and São Jorge (since 1770) click on Angra do Heroismo;
For passports from Corvo, Pico, Faial and Flores (since 1836) click on Horta, and
For passports from São Miguel and Santa Maria click on Ponta Delgada.


“Each Azorean Island is organized into one or more administrative districts, each being divided into parishes, known by their administrative name or by their patron saint….The original documents lie in the Public Libraries and Regional Archives of the Azores, in Ponta Delgada (S. Miguel), Angra do Heroísmo (Terceira) and Horta (Faial).” 

Terceira, Graciosa and São Jorge

Angra do Heroismo administrative region

Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional Luis da Silva Ribeiro

Rua do Morrão, 42 - 9700-054 Angra do Heroísmo
Telefone: (+351) 295 401 000Fax: (+351) 295 401 009

Information on how to request copy of records
Angra do Heroismo Digital Library
Genealogical Documents
Information for your genealogical research, including a list of those who immigrated to Brazil between the years of 1771-1774, as well as on the Flemish population.

Santa Maria and São Miguel

Ponta Delgada administrative region

Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional de Ponta Delgada

São Miguel and Santa Maria Islands
Largo do Colégio s/n - 9500-054 Ponta Delgada
Phone: (+351) 296 305 040 Fax (+351) 296 281 216

Information on how to request a copy of records:

Faial, Pico, Flores and Corvo

Horta administrative region

Biblioteca Pública Arquivo Regional João José da Graça - Horta

Faial, Pico, Flores and Corvo Islands
Rua Walter Bensaúde, 14 - 9900-142 Horta
Phone: (+351) 292 208190 Fax: (+351) 292 208199

Resources for researching Azores and Portugal records: 

Family Search

LDS Church website with links for Portugal Historic Archives.

Portugal and Azores districts and parishes

FamilySearch Wiki

Information on how to research Portuguese genealogy

Historical Atlas and Parishes

Website where you can re-create the parishes and historical territorial division in Portugal and Azores. If you want to locate the parish or religious division in Portugal and Azores, give a try on this tool, it is very useful. Maximize parts of the map to have smaller divisions and more detail.

CITCEM – Centro de Investigação Disciplinar


Genealogia FB

Genealogy resources

Online archives from Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Portugal

Emigration - Portugal to Brazil

Arquivo Municipal Alfredo Pimenta 

Guimarães - Distrito de Braga

Aquivo Histórico Ultramarino

Archives from the Ministério Ultramar