Brazil Cultural Groups

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Many ethnic or religious minorities such as Jews, Germans, Italians, Spanish, Poles, and Japanese have settled in Brazil. It is important to learn the history of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups your ancestors belonged to. For example, you might study a history of the Americans in Brazil, Germans in Brazil, or Japanese in São Paulo. This historical background can help you identify where your ancestors lived, when they lived there, where they migrated to, the types of records they might be listed in, and other information to help you understand your family’s history.

There are some unique records and resources for most minorities in Brazil. These include histories, gazetteers, biographical sources, settlement patterns, church records, and handbooks.

The Family History Library collects some published histories. These are listed in the "Place Search" section of the Family History Library Catalog under:




Other sources are also in the "Subject Search" section of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the minorities such as Jews, Germans, or Italians.

Examples of some of these books and records include:

Azevedo, Thales de. Italianos e gaúchos: os anos primeiros da colonização italiana no Rio Grande do Sul (Italians and Gauchos: the first years of the Italian colonization of Rio Grande do Sul). Porto Alegre: A Nação/Instituto Estadual do Livro, 1975. (FHL book 981.65 F2a.)

Cenni, Franco. Italianos no Brasil: Andiamo in America (Italians in Brazil: Let’s Walk in America). São Paulo: Martins, Ed. da Universidade de São Paulo, 1975. (FHL book 981 F2c)

Auswandererkartei de Rußlanddeutschen na Brasilien: 1870–1940 (Emigration Card Index of Russian Germans to Brazil: 1870–1940). Stuttgart: Deutsches Ausland- Institut, N.p., (1988). (FHL film 1552796 item 1)

Famílias brasileiras de origem germânica (Brazilian Families of German Origin). 5 vols. São Paulo: Instituto Genealógico Brasileiro e Instituto Hans Staden, 1962–1967. (FHL book 981 D2i; films 0564388 and 1149534 items 1–2)

Much research and published information is available on the German immigrants to southern Brazil. Background information about these groups and a useful bibliography of studies can be found on the Internet at:

The Family History Library also has books on North Americans in Brazil. For some references, see the "Emigration and Immigration" section of this outline.

In the United States and other countries that Brazilians emigrated to, various local and national societies may have been organized to gather, preserve, and share the cultural contributions and histories of Brazilian minority groups. See the "Societies" section of this outline for more information.

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