This site aggregates in a single database all the parish books that are part of the collection of several Portuguese archives. Without this resource, you would require detailed knowledge of the inventory of the archives in order to locate some books, since a few of them are not in the respective District archive. One of the main objectives of this site is to hide this type of details to the user and to allow, through a simple navigation, the visualisation of the desired parish books. However, please note that all books are located on external sites, which are the responsibility of the respective archive.
Navigation by administrative areas
The best way to navigate to the desired parish is by navigating through administrative areas on the left-hand side. When entering the main page, this block presents the traditional districts of Portugal and the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira. When choosing one of these options, you will be presented the list of municipalities belonging to that district, except in the case of the autonomous regions where there is an intermediate step to choose the desired Island. Once in the desired municipality, the navigation will indicate the list of parishes or respective parishes. Some of the indicated parishes may have been extinguished sometime in the past, so do not be surprised if you do not recognize them.
Another possibility is to use the site internal search engine to find the desired parish. The search engine is still simple, so it is best to simply indicate the name of the desired parish (example: "help" to find the Relief Parish in Lisbon).
Organisation of the page of the parish
Once in the page of the requested parish, you will have access to the following information:
- Left sidebar
- Interesting links: Depending on the parish, there may be other, particularly useful, external sites. If this block is present, the visit to these sites is strongly encouraged.
- List of parishes: direct link to other parishes of the same municipality, indicating the number of books available.
- Main content
- Information: varied information about the parish. Of particular interest, the patron saint of the parish church.
- Book tables: For each type of book, a list sorted by date with the oldest first, with the following data:
- Book: title of the book. If the title is a link, it means that the digital version of the book is available. In that case, clicking on the title will open a window with the book available from the respective file. In case the book is not available, this title will be text only.
- Start: If it was made available by the archive, it indicates the start date of the records in that book.
- End: If it was made available by the archive, it indicates the end date of the records in that book.
- [+i]: This link is always present for all books, allowing you to visit the catalog's book page.
- Contact: allows you to contact the archive responsible for the book.
Once on the book page, you can save the file with the image of the records to your disk. It is strongly advised to document your tree with a copy of this image. If, for some reason, you want to be able to browse a book on your computer without being connected to the Internet, you will need to save all the images in that book to disk. To automate this task, it is advisable to use the program GetLinks developed by Carlos Leite. Do not forget to consult the instructions for use, available on the program page. Once you have all the pictures in a book on your disk, you can use your favorite picture preview program to browse the book. Another alternative, with advantages in reading parish books, is the use of programs such as ComicRack or CDisplay Ex. To convert your image files in the format recognised by these programs, simply use a file compressor to save all the images in a
.zip file and then change the file extension to