Genealogical Resources For Researching in Portugal (mainland)

Version: 4.0, Feb., 2006. Send updates and corrections to Thanks!

Sample form letter 


1. The Bibliotecas and Arquivos (generally, write here for information older than 100 years). They do not do research for you. They only issue certificates for the vital events. They house the wills (testamentos), which go back to the 1400s, and are transferred every 30 years; passports (passaportes), which begin in 1757 to present; university records which begin in the 1300s; and the inquisition records which ran from 1400s - 1700s. Thanks to Luis Majer da C‰mara Leme for compiling the following list.


Arquivo Distrital de Aveiro; Praca da Republica; 3800 Aveiro; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 34 21988


Arquivo Distrital de Beja; Av. Vasco da Gama; 7800 Beja; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 84 26311


Biblioteca Publica e Arquivo de Braga; Largo do Paco; 4700 Braga; Portugal Tel. 351 53 22129


Bliblioteca Publica e Arquivo Distrital de Braganca; Largo de S. Francisco; 5300 Braganca; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 73 381260

Arquivo da Diocese de Braganca; Largo das Clarissas; 5300 Braganca; Portugal Tel. 351 73 22735


Arquivo Distrital de Castelo Branco; Casa dos Motas; Largo da Praca Velha; 6000 Castelo Branco; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 72 321161


Arquivo da Universidade de Coimbra; Rua de S. Pedro; 3000 Coimbra; Portugal Tel. 351 39 25422 Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra; Largo da Porta Ferrea; 3000 Coimbra; Portugal Tel. 351 39 25541 / 2 


Biblioteca Municipal de Elvas; Largo do Colegio; 7350 Elvas; Portugal Tel. 351 68 622402 


Biblioteca Publica e Arquivo Distrital de Evora; Largo Conde de Vila Flor; 7000 Evora; Portugal Tel. 351 66 22369 Fax 351 66 742081 


Arquivo Distrital de Faro; Rua Ataide de Oliveira, 119; 8000 Faro; Portugal Tel. 351 89 25457 


Arquivo Distrital da Guarda; Largo Gen. Humberto Delgado; 6300 Guarda; Portugal Tel. 351 71 21629 Fax: 351 71 22148 


Arquivo Municipal Alfredo Pimenta; Largo Conego Jose Maria Gomes; 4800 Guimaraes; Portugal Tel. 351 53 419060 


Arquivo da Diocese de Lamego; Paco Episcopal; Rua do Cortes; 5100 Lamego; Portugal Tel. 351 54 62147 


Biblioteca Publica e Arquivo Distrital; Largo da Republica; 2400 Leiria; Portugal Tel & Fax 351 44 824110 


Arquivo Historico Militar; Largo do caminho de Ferro; 1100 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 888 21 31 Ext. 23215 

Arquivo Historico Ultramarino; Calcada da Boa Hora, 30; 1300 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 363 24 14 

Biblioteca da Academia de Ciencias; Rua da Academia de Ciencias, 19; 1200 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 346 38 66 

Biblioteca da Ajuda; Palacio da Ajuda; 1300 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 363 85 92 

Biblioteca Genealogica *Estaca* de Lisboa (LDS Church); Av. Gago Coutinho, 93; 1700 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 846 30 67 

Biblioteca Nacional; Campo Grande, 83; 1700 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 795 01 30 

Biblioteca Portuguesa de Historia da Familia; Av. Antonio Serpa, 46 - 4º - Drtº; 1050 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 795 19 51 Fax: 351 1 795 19 52 

Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tomba (ANTT); Alameda da Universidade; 1600 Lisboa; Portugal Tel. 351 1 793 72 12 Fax: 351 1 793 72 30 


Arquivo Distrital de Portalegre; Palacio Barahona; Rua de Serpa Pinto; 7300 Portalegre; Portugal Tel. 351 45 33 14 10 


Arquivo Distrital do Porto; Rua das Taipas, 90; 4000 Porto; Portugal Tel. 351 2 208 77 91 

Biblioteca Publica Municipal do Porto; Rua D. Joao IV; 4200 Porto; Portugal 


Arquivo Distrital de Santarem; Rua Passos Manuel; 2000 Santarem; Portugal Tel. 351 43 33 27 08 Fax: 351 43 2 44 31 


Arquivo Distrital de Setubal; Rua Dr. gama Braga, 15; 2900 Setubal; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 65 52 65 00 


Arquivo Distrital de Viana do Castelo; Rua Manoel Espregueira, 140; 4900 Viana do Castelo; Portugal Tel. & Fax 351 58 82 97 39 


Biblioteca Publica e Arquivo Distrital de Vila Real; Av. Almeida Lucena, 5; 5000 Vila Real; Portugal Tel. 351 59 32 57 61 


Arquivo Distrital de Viseu; Largo Sta. Cristina; 3500 Viseu; Portugal Tel. 351 32 42 43 64 Fax: 351 32 42 18 00 

2. The Civil Registries (Conservatorias do Registo Civil) (generally, write here for the last 100 years for information). Civil registry began in 1832, although it wasn't mandatory. It began officially in 1878, but mainly used by non-Catholics. In 1911, Civil Registration became mandatory. It is not centralized, although a copy is on file at the Civil Registry in Lisbon. You must know the municipality your ancestor came from to use the Civil Registries. Address the letters the following way:

Conservatoria do Registo Civil de (town) 

Street & number 

ZIP City 


To find the address or phone number of one of the above, try searching for telephone directories on the internet. 

Freguesias for Lisboa only: (Thanks to Nelson Silva for compiling the following list) Ajuda , Alcantara, Alto do Pina, Alvalade, Ameixoeira, Anjos, Beato, Benfica, Campo Grande, Campolide, Carnide, Castelo, Charneca, Coracao de Jesus, Encarnacao, Graca, Lapa, Lumiar, Madalena, Martires, Marvila, Merces, Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Pena, Penha de Franca, Prazeres, Sacramento, Santa Catarina, Santa Engracia, Santa Isabel, Santa Justa, Santa Maria de Belem, Santa Maria Dos Olivais, Santiago, Santo Condestavel, Santo Estevao, Santos o Velho, Sao Cristovao, Sao Lourenco, Sao Domingos de Benfica, Sao Francisco Xavier, Sao Joao, Sao Joao de Brito, Sao Joao de Deus, Sao Jorge de Arroios, Sao Jose, Sao Mamede, Sao Miguel, Sao Nicolau, Sao Paulo , Sao Sebastiao da Pedreira, Sao Vicente de Fora , Se, Socorro 

For both the Bibliotecas and the Civil Registries, you must send the name of the ancestor, date of event (or at least a span e.g. 1881 1883), the freguesia (the town) and the municipal council. Fees are 15 euros per certificate. Use for current rates. (Send money order or personal check (this covers return the document, the conversion of US dollars to euros and return postage). International money orders do not exist for Portugal. 

3. The Property Registration Archives 

Conservatorias do Registo Predial 

(again, they are too numerous to list here. Please search for phone book web sites to get the area you are interested in.) 

4. The National Identification Archives 

Centro de Identificacao Civil e Criminal 

(It exists, but I am unable to find an address. If you have one, please send to me. Thanks.) 

5. The Portuguese Institute of Heraldry (for those of noble decent) 

Instituto Portugues de Heraldica, Avenida da Republica 20, 1000 Lisboa, Portugal 

6. Army Schools (for those with mainland military) 

Academia Militar; Centr.29; Paco Ribeira; 1150 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-315.02.91 

Arquivo Geral do Exercito; Largo de Chelas; 1900 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-837.26.58 

Arquivo Historico-Militar; Largo do Museu de Artilharia; 1100 Lisboa; Portugal tel.01-888.21.31 

Colegio Militar; Largo da Luz; 1600 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-714.21.71/ 714.08.02 

Direccao de Documentacao e Historia Militar; R Marques de Ponte de Lima; 1100 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-886.11.61 

Instituto Militar Pupilos do Exercito; Largo S. Domingos, 374; 1150 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-778.70.66/ 778.37.33/ 778.73.98 

Instituto de Altos Estudos Militares; Pedrouços; 1400 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-301.11.71 

Regimento de Engenharia n.1; Estrada da Pontinha; 1600 Lisboa; Portugal tel. 01-714.01.30 

7. The Family History Center (FHC) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), aka the Mormon Church: 

Your local phone book should list a local branch or stake. They are open to the general public, free of charge. Records can be found under "Topic List" PORTUGAL. Oldest church records begin in Nabainhos in 1529. Although they may not have the topic on site, the film may be ordered for a fee and viewed at the center. (A renewal fee and a second renewal of fee keeps it permanently at your center). The FHC publishes a booklet to assist you in the reading of documents: "Genealogical Word List, Portuguese." 

"Basic Portuguese Paleography" is now only available on fiche from the LDS and the fiche may be used only at their libraries. Photocopies can be made from the fiche. [webmaster note: Most of the "Basic Portuguese Paleography" is available on this website, used with permission by the LDS. Click here]

8. Supreme Council of U.P.E.C., J.A. Freitas Library, 1120 E. 14th St., San Leandro, CA 94577. The library has many books about the Portuguese. (510) 483 7676


1. American Portuguese Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. (APGHS), P.O. Box 644, Taunton, MA 02780 0644 

2. The Portuguese Genealogical Society of Hawaii, 810 North Vineyard Blvd. #11 Honolulu HI 96817 (808) 841-5044 

3. Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society (PHCS), P.O. Box 161990, Sacramento, CA 95816 

All cost $10 to join with the exception of the PHCS, which is $12.  All publish newsletters.  APGHS also publishes surname rosters.  If you want your information in the surname roster, send your pedigree chart along with your $10 membership fee.


Many of these you can find in a public library (or through interlibrary loan) or your FHC. A large bookseller may be able to order them for you. Publishers are abbreviated as follows: HQ: Heritage Quest, P.O. Box 329 Bountiful, UT 84011-0329 (801) 298-5358 GPC: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Anc: Ancestry Publishing, P.O. Box 990, Orem, UT 84059 

"AMERICAN NATURALIZATION PROCESSES & PROCEDURES 1790 1985" by John J. Newman; 43 pages. Excellent reference for naturalization. HQ. ISBN: 1-877677-91-4 

"AMERICAN PASSENGER ARRIVAL RECORDS" by Michael Tepper, 141 pages. An excellent work on the arrival of immigrants in America. Covers colonial to 20th century. Has tables for ALL ports, listing the gaps. Has some info on Canadian boarder entries. GPC. ISBN: 0-8063-1380-3 

"AMERICANS OF PORTUGUESE DESCENT: A LESSON IN DIFFERENTIATION" BY Francis M. Rogers. A small book, excellent overview of the Portuguese migration. A list of Portuguese "National" [Catholic] Churches; migration statistics to 1973; minority status; etc. Beverly Hills/ London: Sage Publications, 1974. Sage Research Papers in the Social Sciences, Series/ Number 90-013.

"A BARRELFUL OF MEMORIES" by Pauline Correia Stonehill. 257 pages. Contains families of Cottas, Correias, Linhares and Vargas families of Los Banos, Gustine, Newman, and Patterson CA & MA. Not indexed. Order from Cornerstone Publishing, 4920 Anna Dr., San Jose, CA 95124 5140. $22.40. 

"COMUNIDADE THE PORTUGUESE COMMUNITY IN LOWELL, 1905 1930." 84 pages. Book of pictures (a little text) of the Portuguese at work and play in Lowell, MA. Order from: Lowell Historical Society, P.O. Box 1826, Lowell, MA 01853. $8.95 + $2.50 S&&. MA residents add 5% tax. 

"A CONCISE HISTORY OF PORTUGAL" by David Birmingham. A very good general history of Portugal. Available from your local bookstore. Published by Cambridge University Press. $19.95 + S&&. 

"THE CROSS AND THE PEAR TREE" by Victor Perera. A book about the history of the name Pereira (Perera and Perreira). The family name was originally Abendana and when forced to convert to Christianity they took on the name Pereira which means "pear tree" or "pear orchard". The book mostly traces the author's ancestral lines which left Spain, went to Italy, then Salonika, then the middle east (before Israel), and finally Guatemala. There are two chapters of general history of the name in Portugal and Spain and other chapters on Pereira's in the Netherlands and in France. Knopf Publishing. ISBN: 0-394-5851-5 

"THE FARIAS CHRONICLES: A HISTORY & GENEALOGY OF A PORTUGUESE /SPANISH FAMILY" by George Farias. Order from Borderlands Bookstore, P.O. Box 28497, San Antonio, TX 78228. $50 + S&&. 

"FINDING YOUR PORTUGUESE ROOTS" by Cheri Mello. 31 pages. A genealogical guide that Cheri uses at her genealogy workshops. Contains hints on tracing your immigrant ancestor, addresses, and translations of Portuguese documents. Available free online at: 

"GUIA PORTUGUESE TELEPHONE DIRECTORY SEVING CONNECTICUT, MASSACHUSETTS, RHODE ISLAND, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA" Guia Comercial Portugues, Inc., 108 Warren Ave., East Providence, RI 02914 (401) 438 1740. It's free. Call and give them your name and address. 

"A GUIDE TO THE NATURALIZATION RECORDS OF THE UNITED STATES" by Christina K. Schaeffer. Lists each county and state in the US and US territories and tells if records are available and if the FHL in SLC has filmed or put them on fiche and give the number. Gives a short background on the naturalization laws and what to expect on a Declaration of Intent and the Naturalization paper. GPC. ISBN: 0-8063-1532-6 

"THE HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS IN CA 1902 1972" by Dr. Peter T. Conmy. Lists when Councils were organized, founding officers, lists WWI deaths of members, biographies of the CA state deputies, short biographies on the Bishops of CA, presidents of the CA chapters, by year, much information. No ordering/availability info at this time. 

"LOCATING YOUR IMMIGRANT ANCESTOR" by James & Lila Neagles. A good reference book for naturalization records of the United States. A must for anyone searching for their immigrant ancestors' immigration papers. Broken down by pre 1906 and post 1906 records, information on the records and availability of said records in each state. Order from: Everton Publishers Inc., P.O. Box 368, Logan, UT 84321 0368. (800) 443 6325. ISBN: 9996474674 

"THE MELUNGEONS, AN UNTOLD STORY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING IN AMERICA" by N. Brent Kennedy with Robyn Vaughan Kennedy. 156 pages. Interesting case study for proving the Melungeons of the Cumberland Plateau area of VA, KY, NC, WV and TN were indeed of Portuguese ancestry. Order from Mercer University Press, 6316 Peake Re., Macon GA 31210 3960. $20.74 inc. S&&. 

"MORTON ALLAN DIRECTORY OF EUROPEAN PASSENGER STEAMSHIP ARRIVALS 1890 1930" by Morton Allan. 268 pages. "Contains the arrival dates of passenger steamships arranged by calendar year and indexed by steamship line. The port of arrival and port of departure are shown at the top of each column." GPC. ISBN: 0-8063-0830-3 

"PORTUGUESE BERMUDIANS EARLY HISTORY & REFERENCE GUIDE 1849 1949. by Patricia Mudd. I have no ordering information at this time. 

"PORTUGUESE GENEALOGY SYLLABUS" by Doug da Rocha Holmes. Over 20 pages of how to go about doing research anywhere in Portugal (with Azorean samples). Doug da Rocha Holmes, $10 + $2 S&&. 

"PORTUGUESE HAWAIIAN MEMORIES" by J. F. Freitas. It lists Portuguese immigrants coming to Hawaii. Order from The Portuguese Genealogical Society of Hawaii, 810 North Vineyard Blvd. #11, Honolulu HI 96817. $40 including S&&. Index online at: 

"PORTUGUESE IMMIGRANTS 25 YEARS IN CANADA" by Domingos & Joao Medeiros. I have no ordering information at this time. 

"PORTUGUESE IMMIGRANTS: THE CENTENNIAL STORY OF THE PORTUGUESE UNION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA" by Carlos Almeida, Supreme Council of U.P.E.C., 1120 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94577. (510) 483 7676. A history of the U.P.E.C. giving a picture and short biography of all the past presidents of the Society. Also has an index of Portuguese names in California and their English equivalents. $11.75 inc. S&&. 

"THE PORTUGUESE IN AMERICA 590 B.C. 1974, A CHRONOLOGY & FACT BOOK, by Manoel da Silveira Cardozo. Has a 9 page bibliography and a surname index. Available through inter library loan. 

"THE PORTUGUESE IN CALIFORNIA" by August Mark Vaz. This book has a full chapter on Portuguese Societies, when they were founded, and the persons who founded them. It also has the same information on the Portuguese 

Press (not necessarily newspapers) and who founded them. Also, the same information on churches in CA. Available through inter library loan. 

"THE PORTUGUESE OF GUYANA: A STUDY IN CULTURE AND CONFLICT" by Mary Noel Menezes, R.S.M. (Sept 1992). A former Prof. of History at the University of Guyana. Ph.D. from University of London, she lectured history for 20 years at the University of Guyana. An overview of the story of Portugal /Madeira as a backdrop to the culture brought to British Guiana by the Madeirans. Please make checks payable to Jesuit Missions and send to either: Mr. A. E. Montfort or Miss Thelma Lewis, Jesuit Missions, 11 Edge Hill, London, SW19 4LR $40 USD. 

"PORTUGUESE PIONEERS OF THE SACRAMENTO AREA" by Lionel Holmes, 6430 Surfside Way, Sacramento, CA 95831 (916) 392-1048 Published by the Portuguese Historical & Cultural Society. History of the Portuguese in the Azores and in California, specifically, in the Sacramento area. Also has a listing of pioneer families and their descendants. Being reprinted (Fall, 2002). Write to: PHCS, P.O. Box 161990, Sacramento, CA 95816 

"OUR PORTUGUESE HERITAGE, 1860 1990: AN INFORMAL GENEALOGY OF 3,000 FAMILIES ON MARTHA'S VINEYARD", by Marianne Holmes Thomas. This is a two volume, 1,052 page, hard cover genealogy of the principal Portuguese families on Martha's Vineyard island in Massachusetts. The work, which includes a 263 page, every name index, was published in the summer of 1996 by the Community History Project (CHiP), a non profit organization located on Martha's Vineyard in the Town Of Edgartown. The post publication price of the genealogy was $95.00, but only 300 sets of the first edition were issued and the work is now out of print. As of January 2000, the plan is to publish a revised (corrected, expanded and updated) second edition of the work around 2004. For information on the availability of the first edition of the genealogy (in U.S. libraries) or for corrections and additions to the first edition, contact Ann C. Allen, Director, CHiP, P.O. Box 575, Edgartown MA 02539. Phone: (508) 627 9428. 

"ROOTS & BRANCHES OF PARKER & VIEIRA" by Eva Parker Newton and assisted by David P. Parker & Edmund K. Parker Sr. About Parker and Vieira families of Hawaii. 286 pages. Hardcover, $65. Order from Mrs. Leilani Parker, 1250 S. Los Robles, Pasadena, CA 91106. 

"ST. JOHN'S CEMETERY GRAVESTONE INSCRIPTIONS" by Gil & Pat Amaral. 230 pages. A nearly complete listing of all the gravestone inscriptions in St. John's (Sao Joao Baptista) Cemetery in New Bedford, MA. Order from: APGHS, P.O. Box 644, Taunton, MA 02720 0644. $39.95 + $3 S&&. 

"THEY CAME IN SHIPS" by John P. Colletta, PhD. Useful guide for searching ship's passenger lists. $9.95. Anc. ISBN: 0-916489-42-6 

"U.S. CATHOLIC SOURCES A DIOCESAN RESEARCH GUIDE" compiled by Virginia Humling. Gives addresses, phone numbers and other information on each Diocese in Catholic churches all over the U.S. Anc. ISBN: 0-916489-60-4 Many books (cemetery records; birth, marriage, and death records; voter's registration) from the counties in CA that were populated by the Portuguese exist. Contact the genealogical society in that county. Also, if your ancestor lived in a heavily populated Portuguese community, you may wish to look into county or township history books. (Many have indices). 


Cyndi Howell's Lists:

Family History Library: FHC in Portugal:

LUSAweb: Contact: or Genealogy chats are on Mondays from 6:00-7:30pm Pacific Time (9:00-10:30pm Eastern Time).


A site belonging to an "Arquivist" working at "Torre do Tomba" is: 

Portuguese Tourism Board: 

Online Library in Portugal: p.html#Portugal 

Some of the records available in Portugal: 


Send email to: (Write "subscribe" in the "To" box and in the body of the letter. Nothing else.)


TAP Air Portugal, 521 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (800) 221 7370. They have travel brochures which may be used to learn more about Portugal. 

The Bureau of Portuguese Tourism, 590 5th Ave., New York, NY 10036 (212) 354 4403 or 800-PORTUGAL. They will furnish informational booklets at no charge. 

ICEP (Inventimentos, Com?rcio e Turismo de Portugal); Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office 1900 L. Street, NW, Suite 310; Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 331-8222 FAX: (202) 331-8236 They will furnish informational booklets at no charge. 

The Portuguese Consulate of New Bedford, Consulate of Portugal, 628 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 (508) 997 6151. If you have ancestors that lived in New Bedford, they can search their database. $13.50 per certificate. 


If your paper trail in the USA doesn't give you a town (most commonly used sources are the U.S. Census, death and marriage records, and city directories; and in CA, you may wish to check the California Death Index many other states have them also, such as MA), you may want to try the following sources: ship's passenger arrival records, naturalization records, alien registration records, Social Security records, World War I draft registration records, and fraternal societies. 


Next, is a sample form letter. Follow the format to send in your requests. Use Portuguese spellings of names when possible, not the Americanization of names. 




Day Month Year

Faz-se favor mandar me: Certificado de Nacimento (Please give me: Birth Certificate) 

Nome: (Name:) 

Nome da Esposa: (Name of Spouse:) 

Nome do Pai: (Name of Father:) 

Nome do Mae: (Name of Mother:) 

Nome da Ilha: (Name of Island:) 

Nome da aldeia ou freguesia: (Name of town:) 

Concelho de (Council of:) 

Data do Nacimento: (Date of Birth:) (or marriage or death change as necessary) 

Faleceu: (Death give date and place.) 

Muito Obrigado (Thank you male) 

Os meus respeitosos cumprimentos

(Muito Obrigada (Thank you female)

(Respectfully yours)

Your name 

Your address 

Your city, state, ZIP 

Estados Unidos da America 

(For a marriage certificate, you'd change the first line to: Faz-se favor mandar me: Certificado de Casamento. For death, it would be: Faz-se favor mandar me: Certificado de Obito. And of course, you'd change the dates to correspond to the certificate you are asking for). ______________________________________________________________________________ 

Note: This information was originally compiled by Cheri Mello for America Online's Genealogy Forum (no longer in existence). I (Cheri) don't have mainland Portugal lines yet, so I probably have made errors in compiling this. Please send me corrections. Thank you.

© Kathy Andrade Cardoza 2022