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The FamilySearch moderator for Brazil is Giuseppe Martinengo

To learn more about maps in general, go to the Maps Record Page.

Online Maps

Tips for Using Maps

Maps must be used carefully for several reasons:

  • There are often several places with the same name. You may want to use a Gazetteer to help you.
  • The spelling and even names of some towns may have changed since your ancestor lived there.
  • Place-names are often misspelled in English sources. Difficult names may have been shortened and important diacritic marks omitted.
  • Political boundaries are not clearly indicated on all maps. Look for neighboring towns and geographic features to find the area where your ancestor came from.
  • Boundaries changed over time. Use historical maps to understand boundary changes.

For more tips and information on using maps, go to the general Maps Record Page.

Finding the Specific Town on the Map

To successfully research maps from Brazil, you must identify the town where your ancestor lived. Because there are several towns that have the same name, you may need some additional information before you can locate the correct town on a map. Using gazetteers can help you to identify a place's the jurisdiction and help you locate it on a map. See the Brazil Gazetteers article for more information.

Types of Maps

Different types of maps help you in different ways, for example:

  • Historical atlases describe the growth and development of countries, showing boundaries, migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, and other historical information.
  • Road atlases are useful because of the detail they provide.
  • Other types of maps include: parish maps, state maps, tourist maps, topographical maps, and air navigation maps. City maps are extremely helpful when researching in large cities.

To learn more about different types of maps, go to the general Maps Record Page.

Historical Maps Collections

Historical map collections are helpful because they can show you the geography of your ancestor's residence at or around the time they lived there.
Collections of maps and atlases are available at numerous historical societies and at public and university libraries. Major collections for Brazil are at the National Library, in Rio de Janeiro.

The Family History Library has a good collection of Brazilian maps and atlases. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:
BRAZIL - MAPS
Below is an excellent set of maps that comes with an index of towns. It lists the longitude and latitude of each town and two coordinates where it can be found on the map. It can be used as a gazetteer:

  • Carta do Brasil ao milionésimo (Map of Brazil on the millionth scale). Rio de Janeiro: Serviço Gráfico da Fundação IBGE, 1972. FHL 981 E3in


Some other helpful maps at the Family History Library are found in:

  • Carta do Brasil (Map of Brazil). Scale 1:500,000. 68 maps. Rio de Janeiro: Conselho Nacional de Geografia, 1945–1967. FHL 981E7b The library lacks numbers 10, 11, 19, 47, and 50.

Helpful atlases for Brazil are:

  • Ira, Rudolf. Atlas do Brasil Globo: com os mapas políticos e físicos do Brasil e os mapas dos seus Estados e Território (The Global Atlas of Brazil: with political and fiscal maps of Brazil and maps of their states and territories). 30 maps. Porto Alegre: Editora Globo, 1960. FHL 981 E7i
  • Mello, Francisco Ignácio Marcondes Homem de. Atlas do Brazil (Atlas of Brazil). 29 maps. Rio de Janeiro: F. Briguiet, 1909. FHL 981 E7m; film FHL 0924466 item 3