Transcription Sheet: Portuguese Baptismal Records

Transcription Sheet: Portuguese Baptismal Records

There are ways that you can make transcribing foreign records easier.  When I first started researching Portuguese records, I was really confused and frustrated.  It would take me hours to get through one record.  Then, I developed some aids to help me read the records.

I noticed as I was going through the baptismal records that their was a formula.  Each priest followed a similar pattern and the words rarely varied.  I developed this cheat sheet for transcribing records from Maia, Ribeira Grande.  It can be modified to fit the quirks of any village.


________________ filho/filha de legitima de ______________________ e de sua mulher

____________________________ naturais deste Parochial de Divino Esperito Santo, Lugar de Maia, nasceu em

_______________ de _______________________de mil oito centos _________________ e foi baptizado em

______________________ do ____________________________ nesta Igreja Parochial de seus pais por mim Manoel Jose da

Silva Vigario, della foi Padrinho,



testemunhos, ___________________________________________________________________ e

_____________________________________________________, deste mesmo Lugar, que asignaram comigos de termo em dia, mes, anna. Ut Supera.


As you can see, I’ve left the information for names and dates, but I’ve written in the stuff that repeats on each document.  A person can create a similar cheat sheet for any village once they learn the priest’s writing pattern.

This helps you get familiar with the language in the records.  Also, it helps you focus on what’s important.  You don’t need to write the name of the church and the priest swearing to the validity of the information every time you transcribe a document.  But, you do need to learn to pull out the important details.

Try your own cheat sheet and see how it works for you.

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Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website,

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