Looking for Portuguese Ancestry Information
February 11, 2015 11:10 AM   Subscribe

My grandfather was born in Portugal. My brother is really interested in getting a Portuguese passport. We know my grandfather's full name, date of birth, and city of birth (Lisbon). We do not have his birth certificate which we are trying to order. To get his birth certificate, we need the names of his parents and their date of marriage. How can we most easily find this information OR is there a way to get the birth certificate knowing just full name, date of birth, and place of birth?

How can I either:

1) Get my Lisbon-born grandfather's birth certificate knowing just full name and date of birth (mid 1910s if this is relevant)


2) Find out the names and date of marriage for my great-grandparents who at some point lived in Lisbon?

I have reached out through the citizen portal on the Portuguese birth certificate website and am waiting to hear back but I wasn't sure if anyone here would have any information about this. Thank you!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Law & Government (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would start with checking ancestry.com for the great grandparents' stuff. Search for your grandfather and if you're lucky, your great grandparents will be listed as his parents.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2015

Where did he die? And how long ago? His death certificate may list his parents' names. If he died in the US you shouldn't have any trouble getting it if you know where and when he died.

Your local public library probably has a library subscription to ancestry.com (usually only accessible in the library, not through the library's website) and maybe even a librarian who is an expert in genealogical searches.
posted by mareli at 11:29 AM on February 11, 2015

Response by poster: Please assume that I have done my basic research. I used to be a passport examiner for another country so I am well-versed in questions of nationality law and procedures for determining passport eligibility and am looking for documents in support of this application. My grandfather was a Portuguese citizen who then served as Portuguese counsel for a while in the US. My question is NOT about how to get a passport, my question is, as stated, about how to get either:

1) My grandfather's birth certificate

2) My great-grandparents' names and date of marriage.

Sorry, I'm not trying to be rude and if I don't get any answers that's fine because I'll just assume no one knows anything, but if anyone who does have an answer could please just answer the questions I asked that'd be great. Thanks!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:32 AM on February 11, 2015

I have reached out through the citizen portal on the Portuguese birth certificate website

Ugh, I tried this too - no answer.

Maybe try to go at this sideways. Your grandfather was Portuguese counsel? Perhaps ask the consulate here in the US for any records they have of him.
posted by chainsofreedom at 12:01 PM on February 11, 2015

Best answer: I have done this before for my grandparents and I could swear I just wrote "Unknown", "Desconhecido" in the parents' names fields. They should be nice about it and find your grandfather for you unless his name is José Silva and 20 others were born on the same day in the same parish!! You do know the date and location? On that second dropdown, after you choose Lisbon, you know which "Conservatoria/Cartorio" to choose?

In the unlikely event of having them say they won't give you the birth certificate because you are missing information, you can hire someone from the Lisbon Archive to go dig it up - 15 euros an hour, if I remember correctly, is what they used to charge for "genealogical researches". I'll find the link for the "Pesquisas" service for you if you need it.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 1:03 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Now that I think about it, maybe your grandfather's passport application is online and it would include his parents' names. In any case, it's worth it to search for your grandfather's name at the central archives where all sorts of passport registries and such are - many of them digitized. Or do it by hand here.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 1:49 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Genealogist here, though in no way a Portuguese specialist. I don't know that Ancestry.com would be particularly helpful here; they don't have much in the way of Portuguese records/indexes. FamilySearch has the same index databases, and their info shows those databases also have little material from Lisbon. FamilySearch itself offers much more for free, but almost none of their current offerings have been indexed, which means you have to look through the images in a collection in order to find what you're looking for. If you have a date, name, and location, that may not be too difficult, just potentially time consuming. (You can see a list of the current FamilySearch collections for Portugal here. These are being updated and the records indexed on an ongoing basis, but my sense is that collections that aren't in English just aren't indexed as quickly because of the language issue---fewer volunteers to do it.)

It sounds to me like your best bet at the moment would be Marauding Ennui's suggestions.
posted by percolatrix at 4:16 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions, especially Marauding Ennui -- I tried to order a copy with the information I've got so we'll see what happens!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:58 PM on February 11, 2015

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