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Portuguese Origins in the United States: A Guide to Local History and Genealogy Sources

Compiled by subject specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide provides print and online resources for researching the genealogy of Portuguese families in the U.S., along with key national, state and local histories.


The Portuguese were among the very first European explorers to the Americas, and some Americans claim descent from the parties of the first conquistadors. Subsequent waves of immigration included people from the Azores, the Madeiras, the Cape Verde Islands, continental Portugal and China.

We have listed catalogs and archives outside the Library of Congress that have local histories, censuses, and land records. Look for various genealogy periodicals and publications, lists, useful websites and online databases, as well as services subscribed to by the Library.

Russell Lee, photographer. The Queen of the Portuguese-American Festival of the Holy Ghost leaving the church, Novato, California. 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.