Portugal Gazetteers

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A gazetteer is a dictionary of place names. Gazetteers describe towns, villages, churches and states, rivers and mountains, populations, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published and often their former names. The place names are generally listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary.

Gazetteers may also provide additional information about a town, such as its:

  • Boundaries of civil jurisdiction.
  • Longitude and latitude.
  • Distances and direction from other from cities.
  • Schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Denominations and number of churches.
  • Major manufacturing works, canals, docks, and railroad stations.

You can use a gazetteer to locate the places where your family lived and to determine the civil jurisdictions over those places.

There may be many places in Portugal with the same or similar names. You will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town where your ancestor lived and the jurisdictions of the municipality, district, and state where records about him or her were kept.

Online Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

  • Diccionario geografico, ou noticia historica de todas as cidades, villas, lugares, e aldeas, rios, ribeiras, e serras dos Reynos de Portugal, e Algarve..., VOL 1-2, A-C The first two volumes of a full geographic set. It only covers localities that begin with the letters A-C.
  • Tombo While this website is primarily used to access images of digitized records, the sidebar serves as a type of geographic dictionary. You can view all of the municipalities within each district, as well as the civil parishes within each municipality. If you search for a municipality or parish (either by the name of the parish or the name of it's patron saint) you will see a list of all matches, which will enable you to know where the municipality or parish was located.
  • Interactive map of Portugal Using this map, you will be able to click down to the parish level. Statistical information is provided for each jurisdiction, as well as contact information for the offices at the municipality and civil parish level.
  • Diccionario geografico-estadistico de España y Portugal (Geographic-Statistical Dictionary of Spain and Portugal) produced by Sebastián Miñano and Bedoya between 1826 and 1829.
    • Vol. 1 Ababurreyro - Barquero
    • Vol. 2 Barqueros - Castro de Caldelas
    • Vol. 3 Castro de Caldelas - Espanillo
    • Vol. 4 España-Hoceja
    • Vol. 5 Hoceja - Membrive
    • Vol. 6 Mena-Pesqueiras
    • Vol. 7 Pesqueiras-San Juan de la Nava
    • Vol. 8 San Juan de la Peña-Toro
    • Vol. 9 Toro-Villavicencio de los Caballeros
    • Vol. 10 Villaviciosa-Zuzones
  • Portugal antigo e moderno : diccionario geographico, estatistico, chorographico, heraldico, archeologico, historico, biographico e etymologico de todas as cidades, villas e freguezias de Portugal e de grande numero de aldeias (Portugal Ancient and Modern: Geographic, Statistical, Archeological, Historical, Biographical, and Etymological Dictionary of all the cities, villages, and churches of Portugal) compiled by Augusto Soares d'Azevedo Barbosa de Pinho Leal beginning in 1873.

Gazetteers at the Family History Library[edit | edit source]

To find the municipality that a town is filed under in the FamilySearch Catalog, you can do a "Subjects" search in the FamilySearch Catalog for Portugal - Gazetteers.

  • Inventário colectivo dos registos paroquiais (Collective Inventory of Parish Registers). Lisboa, Portugal: Secretaria do Estado da Cultura, 1993-1994. FHL 946.9 A3i.
  • Táboas topográficas e estatísticas, 1801 (Topographic Tables and Statistics, 1801). Lisboa, Portugal: s.n., 1948?. FHL 946.9 E5t.
  • Diccionário chorográphico de Portugal, continental e insular : hydrográphico, histórico, orográphico, biográphico, archeológico, heráldico, etymológico (Portuguese Continental and Island Chorographic Dictionary: hydrographic, historical, orographic, biographical, archeological, heraldic, etymological). Porto, Portugal: s.n., 1929-1949. FHL 6053542.

Modern Place Names[edit | edit source]

For some research purposes such as correspondence, it is useful to learn modern jurisdictions for the area where your ancestor lived. This may also be helpful when finding the ancestral town on modern maps. The following modern gazetteers may be found at large libraries and archives and in the Family History Library:

  • Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands: official standard names approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Office of Geography, 1961. FHL 946.9 E5u; film FHL 874460 item 3.
  • Divisão Territorial e Endereços de Portugal (Territorial Division and Addresses of Portugal). Lisboa, Portugal: STAPE, 2001 FHL 946.9 E5d.