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

Regions of Settlement in United States

As early as the late 17th century, Portuguese have been drawn to North America. Economic opportunity and political conditions have influenced when and where immigrants from Portugal settled and what kind of life they were able to build for themselves in the United States. From the exploration of the New World in the South and Southwest to seafaring and millwork in New England, agricultural work in California and Hawaii, and religious and ethnic diasporas throughout the country, the experience of Portuguese immigrants to the United States has varied greatly.

To complicate matters, marginalized immigrant communities in the United States, such as Jews and African-Americans, have often used or been associated with the term 'Portuguese', sometimes without rigorous investigation into their countries of origin. A particularly interesting case in point is the Melungeon community of the South and Southeast, whose Portuguese ancestry has been a source of heated debate among scholars.

This page highlights resources for a handful of useful state-specific resources. Also make sure to visit the U.S. State and Territory Guide from the local history and genealogy section.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.



New England

New York