Migration to the US and Brasil

Last Edited: 07 May 2022

We often receive correspondence from individuals in the US seeking to determine if there is any connection to our line of Cordeiros. For the majority of US Americans with Azorean descent (and last name Cordeiro), ancestry would be linked to individuals from the island of São Miguel. However for a small but still significant number of individuals from the US or Brazil, your ancestors may have emigrated from the island of Terceira some time in the late 1800s. For individuals that are able to identify ancestors originating from Terceira, there is a good chance there might be a connection to our tree. This connection would be in the early 1700s. As our site concentrates on an ancestor that immigrated to Mação in the late 1700s, we have not built up information on the related Cordeiros that arrived in the US (directly from Terceira) in the late 1800s, although the information for that branch is slowly building up.

If you can answer yes to the following three points, there is a good chance you will find ancestral information on this site (with a caveat explained below):

  • You know your ancestors are from the island of Terceira in the Açores;
  • There is a strong likelihood that they are from the village of Biscoitos;
  • You have family members with the combined two last names (or middle and last name) - Gonçalves Cordeiro. [If it is Soares Cordeiro, scroll to the bottom.]

Gonçalves Cordeiro

There are 2 major lines of Gonçalves Cordeiros from the village of Biscoitos, Terceira. One descending from Antonio Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1753) where all living descendants have a link to Mação (a Portuguese colony in Asia from 1557 to 1999); the other from Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1786), where descendants have mostly migrated to either the US or Brazil in the late-1800s to early-1900s. Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1786) was the likely nephew of Antonio Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1753) and the possible son of either a Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1756) or possibly but unlikely, Hyacinto Cordeiro (b. 1764), both of whom were brothers of Antonio.

What we know about the Gonçalves Cordeiro connection through Manuel Gonçalves (b. 1786):

Heading back in time, as far as we can ascertain, we are unable to find records for children born to Manuel (b. 1756) or to his brother Hyacinto (b. 1764). We have however, found records for an individual, Manuel Gonçalves (b. 1786) with pai incognito (meaning: anonymous father, name concealed) and his mother, Antonia Luísa. This child named Manuel in the birth record, appears as Manuel Gonçalves in his marriage record. In subsequent birth and marriage records of his children, his name was recorded as Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro. The naming of various individuals (such as his Godparents and his mother) in the birth and marriage records of his children and grandchildren are consistent enough to suggest that Manuel, Manuel Gonçalves and Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro are one and the same person (b. 1786). Do note that last names are not given at birth and the omission of the Cordeiro last name (particularly in the marriage records) of our ancestors is quite common. Gonçalves and Cordeiro are both last names, hence they would / could have been used together or interchangeably.

Here is the caveat: We made a leap to link Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1786) as the son of either Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1756) or Hyancinto Cordeiro (b. 1764). There are no records to support this father / son relationship due to the anonymous father status of Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1786), but we base our assumption of relationship on i. the Gonçalves Cordeiro last names; ii. the birth years of the individuals; and iii. the village in which these individuals were born and lived. Note that we have found a marriage record for Manuel (b. 1756) to an Anna Joaquina in the year 1787, which is a year after the birth of Manuel (b. 1786). While we cannot rule out Hyacinto as the father of Manuel (b. 1786), it is unlikely to be the case as we have not found the existence of Hyacinto in the records after his birth. There is no marriage record for him nor is there a death record and it is possible that he may have left the island as was the case with his brother Antonio (b. 1753).

It is important to note that "pai incognito" does not necessarily mean "unknown father" - after all, it wasn't a virgin birth. Often, the father is known but may wish to remain anonymous due to the circumstances surrounding the conception of the child, for example, the parents of the couple may not have approved of the relationship. It could be much later on in the life of the child that the "anonymous" father is acknowledged in the records. In this case, the father is acknowledged through the use of the last name Cordeiro in subsequent records.

Keeping in mind that we are making assumptions, but if true, the descendants of Manuel (b. 1786) would link to our tree through a Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro, born in 1723. Manuel (b. 1723) is the father of Antonio, Manuel (b. 1756) and Hyacinto. It is important to note that in our genealogy tree, we have selected to use Manuel (b. 1756) as the possible father of Manuel (b. 1786) for no reason other than to provide a branch 'link' on the tree. Individuals on our tree after the mid-1700s concentrate mainly on the descendants of Antonio Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1753). We have minimal information on the descendants of other Cordeiro family members although this information is slowly building up due to the generous contributions of descendants of Manuel (b. 1786) who are now living in the US.

Further information on descendants of Manuel Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1786) that moved to the US in the late 1800s can be easily identified in ship arrival records. One can use the website familysearch.org to find these. The records are clear and provide a wealth of information on the person in question; whom they traveled with; their age; and place of origin (including the village). However, we have not gathered this information for deposition on our site.

We are aware that the above information can appear confusing and there are questions regarding the linking of individuals. However, we have gone through the record books numerous times searching and studying the limited information available to ensure we have not missed any pertinent records.

Soares Cordeiro

There is a connection of the Soares Cordeiros to our tree that links up in the late 1600s. The Soares surname comes from the marriage of Ursula da Trindade Cordeiro, daughter of Pedro Gonçalves Cordeiro (b. 1669), to a Manuel Soares, son of Sylvestre Soares and Maria Nunes de São Francisco. The majority of the descendants of this family from Terceira carry the combined Soares Cordeiro last names. We have approximtely 90 members of this family in our database. Note that there is also a separate (?) Soares Cordeiro family line that originates from and exists on the island of São Miguel.

If your family name is Soares Cordeiro, there is a tree on the familysearch.org website. If you do not already have an account with them, you can create one for free. The tree on the familysearch site is however not comprehensive and leads mainly to families that migrated to Brazil. There are migrants from this family to the US, but there would be a substantial gap between records of these migrants and any current descendants.