Ecclesiastical Sources from the State of Rio de Janeiro

This collection contains ecclesiastical registers from 31 parishes within the state of Rio de Janeiro. Beginning in 2010, the Archdiocese spearheaded an initiative to gather ecclesiastical records from parishes across Rio de Janeiro state, including 16th century Jesuit mission sites, now-defunct churches and sites beyond the Archbishopric's current jurisdiction, and centralise them in the Arquivo da Curia Metropolitana de Niterói, Brazil. The volumes were gathered from colonial-era churches and chapels, where they were at the mercy of the tropical climate. A number suffered damage from insects, mildew, mould, and salt air. Some were further damaged during the 2010 move. Flooding in September 2016 further affected the documents. These records represent the longest and most uniform serial data available for the history of African, indigenous, and European populations in Brazil. They include records of baptisms, confirmations, petitions to wed, wills, and even, on occasion, divorce actions. They also include records for church brotherhoods organised along ethnic lines, through which enslaved and free Africans recorded not only ceremonial and religious aspects of their lives, but also their social, political, and economic networks.