As opposed to reading a Portuguese newspaper, reading old handwritten records in Portuguese requires awareness of certain unique features that may complicate this task. The average reader with an intermediate knowledge of the Portuguese language will quickly realize that in older records, scribes may have included words that do not match their modern equivalents, either because they were misspelled or because they were not Portuguese words but words of a derivative dialect​ or influenced by another language spoken in the area. These variations could also be the result of Latin influence when written in Portuguese; for example, using “th” instead of “t,” such as in “Thomas” instead of “Tomas” or “Thereza” instead of “Tereza." This section provides examples of some challenges a researcher may encounter in reading old Portuguese and also provides assistance in those particular challenges:

Seven Practical Suggestions



Latin Influence 



We recommend studying these sections thoroughly before reading old manuscripts. Doing so will help you be more confident in your ability to understand these records and minimize misinterpretations or missing the information you are searching for.  The other topics under Techniques and Tools section of the sidebar are for your reference as you develop your personal paleographic expertise.

It is beneficial to have an alphabet open while transcribing a record.

Below is a sample record from Portugal, ​Braga, that illustrates the types of challenges you might find while reading old manuscripts.

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1031 Joseph F. Smith Building

Provo, UT 84602

Phone: 801.422.1968

Email: cfhgoff@byu.edu