Portuguese Genealogical Word List
This list contains Portuguese words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Portuguese-English dictionary.
Portuguese is a Romance language and is very similar to Spanish. It is the national language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola. It is also spoken on the Chinese island of Macau and in the Goa region of India and used in some of the official records of these places. In the United States, Portuguese is spoken in places such as Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts, as well as many areas in California and Hawaii where Portuguese immigrants have settled.
Portuguese words for persons, places, and things (nouns) are classified as masculine, feminine, or, in some cases, neuter. O (the masculine form of the) is used with masculine words. A (the feminine form of the) is used with feminine words. Masculine nouns generally end in o, r, l, and ma. Feminine nouns generally end in a, ão, dade, tude, and ume. Nouns which end in orgenerally are masculine; an a is added to indicate the feminine version.
Adjectives which end in o or a reflect the same gender of the nouns they refer to. For example, the married son would be translated as o filho casado,while the married daughter would be translated as a filha casada.
Many adjectives do not end in o or a and so do not indicate gender. For example, the large book would be translated as o livro grande, while the large parish would be translated as a paróquia grande.
Variant Forms of Words
In Portuguese, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence.Who—whose—whom or marry—marries—married are examples of words in English with variant forms. This word list gives only the standard form of each Portuguese word. As you read Portuguese records, be aware that some words vary with usage.
Plural forms of Portuguese words usually add s to the singular noun as well as the article and adjective. Thus, o avô materno (the maternal grandparent) becomes os avôs maternos (the maternal grandparents).
The Portuguese alphabet uses the same 26 letters and alphabetical used in English. The letters k and w are used only in words that are not of Portuguese origin.
Some letters in Portuguese can carry accent marks that indicate how to pronounce the letter, or which syllable in a word is stressed. They do not affect alphabetical order. The accent marks include:
- agudo á, é, í, ó, ú
- cedilha ç
- circunflexo ê, ô
- grave à, è
- til ã, ˜e, õ, ˜u
- trema ü
Although Portuguese spelling was standardized by the mid-1700s, scribes usually spelled words the way they sounded. Generally, variations between old and modern spellings should not cause too much trouble for the researcher. The following words are examples of old and modern spelling variations:
|y became i||Pereyra||Pereira|
|h became silent||hum, honze||um, onze|
|ã became am||tãpa||tampa|
|˜e became em||b˜e||bem|
|˜u became um||h˜u||um|
|ph became f||pharol||farol|
|nn became n||annos||anos|
|mpç became nç||assumpção||assunção|
|pt became t||baptismo||batismo (Brazilian usage only)|
This word list includes words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Portuguese-English dictionary. Several Portuguese- English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library in the European collection. The call numbers begin with 469.321.
The following dictionary is on microfilm and available to Family History Centers:
- Dicionário Inglês-Português. Porto, Portugal: Editorial Domingos Barreira, 1978. (FHL book 469.321 F413d, film 1,181,702.)
Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library Catalog under PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES. Most bookstores also sell inexpensive Portuguese-English dictionaries.
A helpful guide for reading Portuguese genealogical records is:
- Basic Portuguese Paleography. Series H, no. 20. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, Genealogical Department, 1978. (FHL book 467.17 B292, fiche 6001480.) This guide includes many examples of Portuguese records, handwriting, abbreviations, given names, and spelling variations.
To find and use specific types of Portuguese records, you will need to know some key words. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the Portuguese words with the same or similar meanings, including varying forms of the same word.
For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Portuguese words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, joined,and other words used in Portuguese records to indicate marriage. When a word has both a masculine and a feminine version, the feminine ending is given in parentheses.
|baptism||batismo, batisei, foi batisado(a)|
|birth||nascimento, nasceu, nascido(a), deu à luz, crisma|
|burial||enterro, enterrei, enterrado(a), sepultado(a), sepultura|
|Catholic Church||Igreja Católica|
|child||filho(a), criança, párvulo(a)|
|church record||registro paroquial|
|death||morte, falecimento, óbito, falecido(a), defunto(a)|
|husband||marido, esposo, homem|
|marriage||casamento, matrimônio, recebimento|
|name, given||nome, alcunha, graça|
|name, surname||nome, sobrenome, apelido|
In some genealogical records, numbers are written out. This is especially true with dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. In Portuguese, days of the month are written in ordinal form.
|21||vinte e um||21st||vigésimo primeiro|
|22||vinte e dois||22nd||vigésimo segundo|
|23||vinte e três||23rd||vigésimo terceiro|
|24||vinte e quatro||24th||vigésimo quarto|
|25||vinte e cinco||25th||vigésimo quinto|
|26||vinte e seis||26th||vigésimo sexto|
|27||vinte e sete||27th||vigésimo sétimo|
|28||vinte e oito||28th||vigésimo oitavo|
|29||vinte e nove||29th||vigésimo nono|
|31||trinta e um||31st||trigésimo primero|
Dates and Time
In Portuguese records, dates are spelled out, for example:
No vigésimo terceiro dia do mês de março do ano de mil oito centos e trinta e tres [On the twenty-third day of March of the year of one thousand eight hundred and thirty and three].
To understand Portuguese dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding "Numbers" section.
Days of the Week