Portugal Inquisition

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Inquisition Records[edit | edit source]

For three centuries, the Portuguese Inquisition led by the Catholic Church investigated those accused of religious infidelity. Candidates for investigation by the Inquisition had to prove “purity of blood.” Examinations probed the ancestry of both the man and his spouse or fiancée. Those accepted were exempt from taxation, from military service, and were given priority in the distribution of meat, fish, bread, wood, and coal, like all members of the Catholic faith. These records should not be confused with criminal trials.

There were Courts of Inquisition in Lisbon, Coimbra, and Évora. From 1542-1547, there were also courts in Porto, Tomar, and Lamego. The persons targeted by the Portuguese Inquisition were individuals who had converted from Judaism to Catholicism (Conversos), who were suspected of practicing Judaism in secret, and Catholics who practiced unorthodox traditions such as the Cult of the Holy Spirit. Such records were referred to as Diligências de Habilitações,[1]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

The Central Archives for the History of Jewish People in Jerusalem (CAHJP) contains microfilms of Portuguese Inquisition records from 1497 onwards. This includes Inquisition court records, an inventory of all inquisition records in Portugal’s Torre de Tombo, and documents pertaining to Jewish colonies across Portugal.[2].

In 2007, the Portuguese Government initiated a project to make available online by 2010 a significant part of the archives of the Portuguese Inquisition currently deposited in the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, the Portuguese National Archives. Those records can be found through the Torre de Tombo.

Inquisition Records at the Family History Library[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has a variety of primary and secondary records on the inquisition in Portugal.
To access them, perform a subject search at the FamilySearch Catalog for PORTUGAL - INQUISITION.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Portugal,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1986-1999.
  2. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Portugal," in The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem (CAHJP), http://cahjp.nli.org.il/content/portugal. Visited 12 June 2017.