Brazil Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Brazil Flag New.png
Flag of Brazil
Map of Brazil
Location of Brazil
Record Description
Record Type Civil Registration
Language: Portuguese
Title in the Language: Registro Civil do Brasil
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

The registration is done in books sequentially numerated preceded by a letter A, B, or C according to the type of registry as follows: “A” for births, “B” for Marriages and “B-Aux” for religious marriages with civil effect, “C” for death, and “E” for other type of registry. The old registry books were hand written, but the newer and current registries are formatted.

The civil registration started only in cities of larger municipalities around the year 1875; however, it wasn't until 1888 that it became enforced with the new law of the civil registry pronounced just before the proclamation of the Republic. From its beginnings, the civil registration in Brazil was created as a public service delegated to the private sector responsible of the Offices of the Civil Registry. Until 1988, with the proclamation of the Constitution still in force, the civil registry offices were granted a lifetime patrimony of the Union government (currently by the states of the federation) to honorable individuals of society as a way of political exchange and also as a way of social control. Currently, the civil registry is officially presented under the name of Oficio do Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais (Office of the Civil Registry for the Natural People/Citizens), being the official registrars appointed by a public hearing. (The designation of Natural People/Citizens is necessary in Brazil because there is also a denomination called Civil Registry of Judicial People, as it is the commercial entities). 

Formerly, the Catholic Church was only responsible for the registration of individuals and its titles, as a continuation of a classical tradition to register events that involved only people of wealth either of ecclesiastical order, dynasty, or nobility. The civil registry in Brazil was created formally and generally with the decree number 5604 of April 25, 1874, regulating the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths for all the citizens whether Catholic or non Catholic. The principal events of a natural person such as birth, marriage, and deaths are registered by the officers of the Civil Registry of Natural People, legal professionals that give public service and whom are chosen by Public Power, existent in all the municipalities and districts of the country, which activity is regulated by the statutes number 8.935 issued on November 18, 1994 and number 6.015 issued on December 31, 1973 (Public Registries Law). Besides the certificate issued at the time of the registration, it is possible to request the issue of more certificates at any time and by any person because the registry is a public entity. 

In order to register a child birth in Brazil it is necessary to present the following verifications: 

  • Declaration of the living birth issued by the maternity institution where the mother gave birth or in the case of home delivery, by the registered medical professional that helped in the child births at home. 
  • Personal identification of the person making the declaration of birth (if the parents are married, the marriage certificate is also required). If the delivery of a childbirth was done at home without the help of a medical professional, the declaration of the childbirth will be supplied by the Office of the Civil Registry or the Health Department (either at the municipal or state level), in presence of two adult witnesses of the childbirth delivery, such as the midwife if known 
  • To qualify for a marriage registration, the marriage application must be signed personally by both groom and bride or by their assignee and they must present the following documentation:
  1. Certificate of birth or equivalent document 
  2. Written authorization of persons under whom they legally depend or a judicial decree substitution 
  3. Declaration of two adult witnesses, relatives or others that could certify they know them and that there is no impediment/obstacle that forbids them to get married 
  4. Declaration of their civil status, their address, and their current residence and that of their parents, if they were known.  
  5. If it applies, also the certificate of spouse's death, judicial decision of annulment, or the marriage annulment processed in court or the divorce decree. With these evidences, the civil registration in Brazil is of absolute reliability.

Civil registration in Brazil started formally with the decree number 5604 dated 25 April 1874. This decree regulated the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. But it was not until the next year that some cities in the larger municipalities began to gradually create civil registries which were named "cartórios do registro civil". The enforcement of the registration of births, marriages, and deaths was established by the decree number 9886 dated 7 March 1888. However, civil registration was not immediately accepted by the inhabitants, especially by those living in the interior areas of the country, where the religious control of the Catholic Church and the distance of rural areas made it difficult to increase such registration. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, see Brazil, Civil Registration FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

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Record Content[edit | edit source]

These birth records usually include the following information:

  • Registration date and place
  • Informant's relationship and gender
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Name of the child
  • Legitimacy
  • Parents' names
  • Parents' civil status and residence
  • Mother's occupation and place of origin
  • Names of maternal grandparents
  • Father's occupation and place of origin
  • Names of paternal grandparents
  • Names of witnesses
  • Names, residence, and occupation of the parents

These marriage records usually include the following information:

  • Date, place and time of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Bride and groom's age, civil status and occupation
  • Groom's parents' names
  • Birthplace of groom's parents
  • Bride's parents' names
  • Birthplace of bride's parents
  • Names of witnesses

These death records usually include the following information:

  • Date and place of registration
  • Registrant's name
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Deceased's marital status and name of spouse
  • Deceased's origin and residence
  • Legitimacy
  • Cause of death
  • Names of deceased's parents and their residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Burial place

How to Use the Records[edit | edit source]

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, age, and family relationships.

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

Start 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 birth, marriage or death records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors 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. Be aware there may be inaccuracies such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

The civil registration records in Brazil are an excellent source of genealogical information for records created after 1888. One can find information of other family members such as: parents and grandparents, places of origin, dates of events, and other important genealogical information. Before 1888, it is suggested to search in church records or immigration records. The civil records of birth, marriage, and deaths are usually listed in chronological order by the date of registration and under the municipal locality of the registry. In order to find a civil record, you need to have some basic information about the ancestor. For a birth certificate you need to have the name of the child, approximate date of birth, and registry or locality where it was recorded. For a marriage certificate you need to have the names of the groom and bride, an approximate date of the marriage, and the registry or locality where the marriage was recorded. For a deaths certificate you need to have the name of the deceased person, date of death, and registry or locality where it was recorded.

Related FamilySearch Historical Records Collections[edit | edit source]

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