Portugal, Braga, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Portugal, Diocese of Braga, Catholic Church Records, 1530-1911 .
Title in the Language of the Records
Registros Paroquiais da Igreja Católica, Arquidiocese de Braga, Portugal.
Collection Time Period
This collection of church records includes the years 1530-1911.
The records included in this collection are those of baptisms, marriages, and burial/deaths from parishes in the in the Diocese of Braga, Portugal. These parish records have been preserved relatively well. Some of the older registers appear to have some physical damage; therefore, some data may be difficult to read or some even may be lost. However, in general, they are in good condition for extracting genealogical information. The text of the records is in Portuguese. Earlier records were handwritten in narrative style, but newer records are handwritten in formatted registers.
The key genealogical facts found in most birth records are:
- Date and place of the event
- Name of child
- Date of birth and gender
- Parents’ names, their residence and/or place of origin
- Names of witnesses or godparents’ names
The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:
- Date and place of the event
- Names of the bride and groom
- Civil status (widowed, single, divorce) of bride and groom at time of the event
- Place of origin and/or residence of bride and groom
- Names of parents
- Names of witnesses
The key genealogical facts found in most death/burial records are:
- Place and date of death
- Name of the deceased
- Civil status of deceased person at time of death
- Civil status and name of spouse, if married at time of death
- Cause of death
- Sometimes parents' names and that of children if any left behind
- Sometime if the deceased left a testament (will)
- Place of burial (cemetery)
How to Use the Records
Some records have indexes at the end of the volume. Frequently, these indexes are arranged by the given name of the individual and sometimes use the Latin form of the name. Those volumes without indexes need to be searched chronologically for the individuals sought.
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.
- 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 employment records, military records, or other types of 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 a couple’s 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.
Parish priests performed the ordinances for baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials, and the other holy sacraments in the jurisdiction of their assigned parish or parishes. All the original parish records were kept in the parish archive under the custody of the priest. However, a duplicate of these registers was regularly sent to the diocesan archive where the records were centralized and kept at a higher state of preservation.
Why the Record Was Created
Catholic Church parish registers were created to record the church sacraments of baptism, marriage, death, burial, and other ordinances performed on parishioners by an authorized priest in his area of jurisdiction.
Catholic Church parish records are a reliable source for doing genealogical research in Braga, Portugal, before 1911, when the civil registration was implemented. For records after 1911, it is suggested that you research both the civil registry and the church records to verify information.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also 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: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- “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 for This Collection
Portugal. Igreja Católica-Arquidiocese de Braga. Registros paroquiais, 1530-1911. Arquivo Distrital de Braga, Portugal.
Original registers are housed in different parish archives throughout the Diocese of Braga.