Brazil Notarial Records

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Notarial records are records that were recorded and verified by a notary. For information prior to church records and civil records, the notarial records are the primary source for information on individuals’ private lives.

Notary records in Brazil date back to 1549. The books kept by the notaries include various types of legal documents such as wills, codicils, land transactions, powers of attorney, contracts, dowry arrangements, bonds, mortgages, complaints, and so on. Books are generally organized chronologically under the name of the notary.

These records have not been heavily used because of the hours it takes to go page by page through numerous, unindexed volumes. However, to those willing to search these records there may be valuable information that will help you trace your family back to earlier generations.

Notarial records are housed in the public archives (arquivos públicos) throughout Brazil (see Brazil Archives and Libraries). No inventories or catalogs have been published for these records, but some archives may have created card indexes or surveys of the books in their holdings. The Family History Library has not acquired notarial records for Brazil.