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Access the records: Brazil Civil Registration, 1870-2009 .
Title in the Language of the Record
Registro Civil do Brasil
The registration is done in books sequentially numerated preceded by a letter A, B, or C according to the type of registry as follows: “A” for births, “B” for Marriages and “B-Aux” for religious marriages with civil effect, “C” for death, and “E” for other type of registry. The old registry books were hand written, but the newer and current registries are formatted.
The civil registration started only in cities of larger municipalities around the year 1875; however, it wasn't until 1888 that it became enforced with the new law of the civil registry pronounced just before the proclamation of the Republic. From its beginnings, the civil registration in Brazil was created as a public service delegated to the private sector responsible of the Offices of the Civil Registry. Until 1988, with the proclamation of the Constitution still in force, the civil registry offices were granted a lifetime patrimony of the Union government (currently by the states of the federation) to honorable individuals of society as a way of political exchange and also as a way of social control. Currently, the civil registry is officially presented under the name of Oficio do Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais (Office of the Civil Registry for the Natural People/Citizens), being the official registrars appointed by a public hearing. (The designation of Natural People/Citizens is necessary in Brazil because there is also a denomination called Civil Registry of Judicial People, as it is the commercial entities).
Formerly, the Catholic Church was the only responsible for the registration of individuals and its titles, as a continuation of a classical tradition to register events that involved only people of wealth either of ecclesiastical order, dynasty, or nobility. The civil registry in Brazil was created formally and generally with the decree number 5604 of April 25, 1874, regulating the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths for all the citizens whether Catholic or non Catholic. The principal events of a natural person such as birth, marriage, and deaths are registered by the officers of the Civil Registry of Natural People, legal professionals that give public service and whom are chosen by Public Power, existent in all the municipalities and districts of the country, which activity is regulated by the statutes number 8.935 issued on November 18, 1994 and number 6.015 issued on December 31, 1973 (Public Registries Law). Besides the certificate issued at the time of the registration, it is possible to request the issue of more certificates at any time and by any person because the registry is a public entity.
In order to register a child birth in Brazil it is necessary to present the following verifications:
- Declaration of the living birth issued by the maternity institution where the mother gave birth or in the case of home delivery, by the registered medical professional that helped in the child births at home.
- Personal identification of the person making the declaration of birth (if the parents are married, the marriage certificate is also required). If the delivery of a childbirth was done at home without the help of a medical professional, the declaration of the childbirth will be supplied by the Office of the Civil Registry or the Health Department (either at the municipal or state level), in presence of two adult witnesses of the childbirth delivery, such as the midwife if known
- To qualify for a marriage registration, the marriage application must be signed personally by both groom and bride or by their assignee and they must present the following documentation:
- Certificate of birth or equivalent document
- Written authorization of persons under whom they legally depend or a judicial decree substitution
- Declaration of two adult witnesses, relatives or others that could certify they know them and that there is no impediment/obstacle that forbids them to get married
- Declaration of their civil status, their address, and their current residence and that of their parents, if they were known.
- If it applies, also the certificate of spouse's death, judicial decision of annulment, or the marriage annulment processed in court or the divorce decree. With these evidences, the civil registration in Brazil is of absolute reliability.
Civil registration in Brazil started formally with the decree number 5604 dated 25 April 1874. This decree regulated the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. But it was not until the next year that some cities in the larger municipalities began to gradually create civil registries which were named "cartórios do registro civil". The enforcement of the registration of births, marriages, and deaths was established by the decree number 9886 dated 7 March 1888. However, civil registration was not immediately accepted by the inhabitants, especially by those living in the interior areas of the country, where the religious control of the Catholic Church and the distance of rural areas made it difficult to increase such registration.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Municipal civil registration archives in Brazil. Civil Registration. Corregedor Geral da Justicia, São Paulo, Brasil.
Key genealogical facts found in most birth records are:
- Name of parish
- Name of person making the registration
- Date, time, and place of birth
- Name of the child
- Color/race and sex of the child
- Names, residence, and occupation of the parents
- Names and residence of grandparents
- Names of witnesses
Key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:
- Date, place and time of marriage
- Names of bride and groom
- Bride and groom place of origin and residence
- Parents names, their residence, age, and civil status
- Names, age, and residence of the witnesses
Key genealogical facts found in most death records are:
- Date and place of registration
- Name of person making the registration
- Date, time and place of death
- Name of doctor and the cause of death
- Name, sex, age, and race of the deceased
- Name, residence, and occupation of parents
- Burial place
How to Use the Records
The civil registration records in Brazil are an excellent source of genealogical information for records created after 1888. One can find information of other family members such as: parents and grandparents, places of origin, dates of events, and other important genealogical information. Before 1888, it is suggested to search in church records or immigration records. The civil records of birth, marriage, and deaths are usually listed in chronological order by the date of registration and under the municipal locality of the registry. In order to find a civil record, you need to have some basic information about the ancestor. For a birth certificate you need to have the name of the child, approximate date of birth, and registry or locality where it was recorded. For a marriage certificate you need to have the names of the groom and bride, an approximate date of the marriage, and the registry or locality where the marriage was recorded. For a deaths certificate you need to have the name of the deceased person, date of death, and registry or locality where it was recorded.
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Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Brazil Civil Registration, 1870-2009," index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XJ3X-DP8 : accessed 31 May 2012), Antonio Perez De Figueiredo and Severina De Souza, marriage 22 July 1899; citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 1,286,184; Corregedor Genal da Justicia, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Digital images of originals housed in various municipal civil registation archives throughout Brazil.
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