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The Azores are a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km (950 mi) from Lisbon.The nine major Azorean Islands and the eight small Formigas extend for more than 600 km, and lie in a northwest-southeast direction. All of the islands have volcanic origins, though Santa Maria also has some reef contribution. The mountain of Pico on Pico Island, at 2,351 m in altitude, is the highest in all of Portugal. The Azores are actually the tops of some of the tallest mountains on the planet, as measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean. 
The westernmost islands in the group lie about 1200 miles from St. Johns, Newfoundland and about 2400 miles from the East Coast of North America.
They were discovered by the Portuguese in 1427 and the Portuguese began to settle there in 1439. Later, Flemish settlers came to the islands, as did Italians, Scots, English, Bretons, and some Jewish farmers. The Azores were occupied by Spain from 1580 - 1640 and used as a base for Spanish ships. There is a long naval history associated with the Azores Islands.
Long considered a colony of Portugal, the Azores became an autonomous or self-governing region of Portugal in 1976.
The Azores consist of nine inhabited islands – Santa Maria,Sao Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo – and a number of smaller, uninhabited Isletas. One of the major record groups is church records. Microfilmed copies of the records of churches on each island are listed on the WorldGenWeb page for each island. Digital images of church records are also found in a website sponsored by the government of the Azores. There are some ships' passenger lists available on the Internet, as well as helps to write to government offices and archives on the island.
The records of the Azores are recorded in Portuguese, which is the language spoken on the islands. A Portuguese Genealogical Word List can help in the translation of words found in the records of the Islands.
Many of the parish records for the Azores have been digitized and put online by the Azorean government. To view these images clic on the following link "Pesquisa de Registos Paroquiais". These records were recorded by the Catholic Church until 1911 when Civil Registration was established. Record types include baptisms/births, marriages, and deaths. They are organized by island, council, and parish. Before beginning your search, it would be very helpful to know which island and parish your ancestor was from.
To search the parish records on the Azorean government website begin by choosing the Island/Ilha. Next choose the Council/Concelho and then the Freguesia/Parish.
Once you have made your selections, click on Procurar to view the available record types and their associated year ranges. Next select the record group you wish to view. They will open in a new browser window.
Grupo de História das Populações History of Populations Group is a website which contains some genealogies for the islands of Pico, Faial, and Sao Jorge as well as a few places on mainland Portugal. Here you can find extensive family genealogy information that has been extracted from parish records and placed into family groups.
To begin your search you must first know the parish where your ancestors lived. Click on the name of the parish.
Next you will click on the arrow next to the words Clique aqui para aceder ás Genealogias.
Change the page to English by clicking on the British flag at the top of the page. It is the 8th one over starting on the left side of the page.
Begin searching. The recommended method is to search by surname. Click on the radial button next to the word surname and then the surname you wish to search.
Click on Ok.
The results are now in alphabetical order by first name. Click on the name of interest.
On the page you will see the name of the person you chose at the top of the page followed by other information about his parents, spouse, and/or children. Each name is a link to more information.
If you find family information, you will want to verify its accuracy by checking the parish records.
Parish records for most parishes in the Azores are available online through the Azorean government website and on microfilm from FamilySearch. Please see the instructions above in the Parish records section for information on how to search using this website.
Passports were issued by the Civil government. They originate from three places: Angra do Heroísmo (beginning in 1832), Horta (beginning in 1836), and Ponta Delgada (beginning in 1875, with some records missing). Beginning in 1917 the passports contained photographs. To view passport records click on "Pesquisa de Passaportes". Your ancestor may have lived on a different island but received his passport from one of these three islands.
- Azores GenWeb
- Azores Mailing Lists
- Archives of Coimbra University (University & District Archives info in Portuguese)
- Arquivo Distrital de Braga (mainland, in Portuguese)
- Azores Google Group
- BYU Research Resources for The Azores
- Cape Verde History & Genealogy
- Diario de Noticias (newspaper)
- Doug da Rocha Holmes
- ETombo Vital records of some of the continent online
- Hawaiian Portuguese Mailing List
- Hawaiian Portuguese Resources
- J. A. Freitas Library
- Jewish Cemeteries – Brazil and South America
- Jewish Cemeteries – Europe
- Jewish Cemeteries – Cape Verde
- Lusaweb.com A Portuguese Ancestry Community
- National Biblioteca (mainland Portugal)
- Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society (PHCS)
- Portuguese Genealogical Word List
Featured Training Modules
See tutorials in FamilySearch Learning Center for "Reading Portuguese handwritten Records"
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