January 26, 2017

Digitized Brazilian Slave Church Records

One of the struggles with those who descend from enslaved Africans in the USA is trying to connect the dots to determine where you came from.  One pattern I have noticed in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America is that religion was the key controller of documentation. I am posting images for those who are not aware they exist and are no longer under copyright since they are extremely old. All images are from the 1800's in Brazil.

Slavery in Brazil by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1834–1839)

The Roman Catholic Church was known to document every person via baptism, marriages and deaths.  This included people who were made slaves and there was nothing good about the slavery that occurred to our ancestors.  Believe me that they fought just as hard for their freedom just like we would today so don't think otherwise.

Today I get many requests about African culture and where to find records which is why I make it a point to post these records.  I too have many questions as I now have African cousins on both my paternal and maternal side.  It seems that people from Gambia are testing the most as I now have a Gambia cousin who is 100% African on both sides.

I was able to determine what line my Gambia cousins are coming from on my father's side and tonight I was able to determine the same for my maternal side.  Without a doubt the Gambia cousin is coming from my maternal grandmother.  I am still researching to determine if this Gambia cousin comes from my grandmother's father, which is Cartagena, or from my grandmother's mother, which is Rivas.  Either way the Gambia cousin is definitely from my maternal grandmother. I hope as I continue to build my tree I can place this person on my tree.

I had completely forgotten that there are actual church books that are available online and are digitized by Vanderbilt University for Brazil. The access is free and you do not need student access.  You will need to use Google Translate as the records are in Portuguese.

1824 Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro Brazil - Children Being Sold

For Antonio de Sa, there are 2,745 images to go through.  The books start off in 1761 and ends in 1861. There are many other regions and churches so Antonio de Sa isn't the only collection.  Just scroll down to view more records.


This collection has baptisms, marriages, and death records for both Africans and African descents enslaved as well as those that are free.  There is also books with Wills and Obituaries for both slaves and freed blacks so these images are a great resource to do research if you're looking for ancestry in Brazil.




Slave Ship on Way to Brazil in 1800's
Most important there are other posts on this blog for Brazil so don't think that this is the only post.

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