Portugal, Coimbra, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Portugal, Coimbra, Catholic Church Records, 1459-1911 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of the Portugese Republic|
|Location of Coimbra, Portugal|
|Title in the Language:||Registros Paroquiais da Igreja Católica da Diocese de Coimbra, Portugal.|
|University of Coimbra Archives|
What is in the Collection?
This collection of church records includes the years 1459 to 1911.
The records included in this collection are those of baptisms, marriages, and burial/deaths from parishes in the Diocese of Coimbra, 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; newer records are handwritten in formatted registers.
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 Coimbra, 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.
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.
These records are written in Portuguese.
Birth records usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of baptism
- Name and gender of child
- Child's date and place of birth
- Father's name, occupation and origin
- Mother's maiden name and origin
- Names of paternal grandparents
- Names of maternal grandparents
- Names of godparents or witnesses
Marriage records usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of marriage
- Names of the bride and groom
- Groom's age, marital status, occupation, residence and origin
- Groom's date and place of baptism
- Names of groom's parents and origin
- Bride's age, marital status, occupation, residence and origin
- Bride's date and place of baptism
- Names of bride's parents and origin
- Names of witnesses, their marital status and residence(s)
Death or burial records usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of death
- Name, age and gender of deceased
- Civil status and occupation and origin of deceased
- Name of spouse, if married at time of death
- Names of parents if deceased is a minor
- Sometimes, burial information
How Do I Search the Collection?
This section provides information on how to search the collection, what to do with information once found, some tips on how to find records, and what to do if no record is found.
To browse the collection by image
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Municipality" category
⇒Select the "Civil Parish" category
⇒Select the "Parish" category
⇒Select the "Record Type and Years" category which takes you to the images.
Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
About 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. Use the locator information 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 ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur. When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about other people listed in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.
- Use the baptism date and place to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil and land records.
- The father’s occupation can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.
- The parents' places of origin can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Marriage date and place may help you find their children.
- Burial place may also help to show their migration pattern. It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents.
If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile baptism entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the baptism records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born, married, and died in the same place or nearby.
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 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.
For Help Reading These Records
These records are in Portuguese. For help reading the records, see the following resources:
- Portuguese Genealogical Word List
- Portuguese Letter-writing Guide
- Learning Center Resources:
Tips to Keep in Mind
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
- Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date.
What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?
- Check for variant spellings of the names.
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. In addition local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the records of nearby localities (or military unties, counties, parishes, etc.).
Known Issues with This Collection
| Problems with this collection?|
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Citing this Collection
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.
- "Portugal, Coimbra, Catholic Church Records, 1459-1911." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Arquivo da Universidade de Coimbra [University of Coimbra Archives].