Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records, 1537-1911 .
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Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records collection is available online only to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Microfilms of these records are available for viewing at a Family History Center. Please see Using the FamilySearch Catalog to find a microfilm and see Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche

Title in the Language of the Records

Registros Paroquiais da Igreja Católica da Diocese de Viana do Castelo, Portugal

What is in the Collection?

This is a collection of church records from parishes in the Diocese of Viana do Castelo for the years 1537 to 1911. It includes baptisms, marriages, and deaths or burials. These parish records are housed at the Braga District Archives at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal. Some of the older registers may have some physical damage due to natural causes; 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 original parish records were kept in the parish archive under the custody of the priest and a duplicate register 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. Earlier records were handwritten in narrative style, but newer records were handwritten in formatted registers.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records, 1537-1911.

Collection Content

Baptism records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's date, time, and place of birth
  • Parents' names
  • Names of paternal and maternal grandparents
  • Godparents' names, their civil status, occupation, and residence

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name
  • Groom's civil status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Bride's name
  • Bride's civil status, occupation, residence, and origin
  • Names of bride's parents
  • Names of witnesses, their civil status, occupation, and residence

Death or burial records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death or burial
  • Name, age, and gender of deceased
  • Legitimacy of deceased
  • Civil status of deceased
  • Name of spouse, if married
  • Sometimes, parent’s name if deceased is a minor
  • Sometimes, a note regarding a testament (will)
  • 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.

Search the Collection

To browse the collection by image:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "District" category
⇒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.

When searching:
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.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Portuguese. For help reading the records, see the following 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.).


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Don't overlook FHL Place Portugal, Viana do Castelo items or FHL Keyword Portugal, Viana do Castelo items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Portugal Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Maps of Viana do Castelo

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


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.

Collection citation:

"Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records, 1537-1911." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Viana do Castelo District Archive.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Portugal, Viana do Castelo, Catholic Church Records, 1537-1911.