Dear Aaron Chan
Thanks for your email describing your experience with the Portuguese.

The question is: Is Elvis Prestly of Portuguese descent?
In certain sectors, there is the speculation that Elvis is Portuguese, because his first name is pronounced in exactly the same as a large city in Portugal "Elvas" where many Portuguese born in this city joined the deSoto expedition in the early 1500's working for Spain.

Most of them never came back, some stayed and joined the native Indians and only a few did return. The most famous is called "The Gentleman of Elvas" who wrote the first book describing the Southeast of the United States and still used today as a reference book by many scholars.

Why is the PAHRF in North Carolina?
This is mainly due to the fact that North Carolina and neighboring States have the most material about the early history of the US where most research is still being done today.
There is a small community near the Universities in North Carolina and a few Portuguese families spread throughout the State.

I didn't think there is a large Portuguese population there?
You're right, there is not.


I not Portuguese, but I grew up in Danbury, CT. One of my friends I grew up with was a Joe Nunes. Anyway, I have an Uncle from NJ. His family is from Macau just a few hours from Hong Kong. But he is very Asian looking. His son married a Greek girl from Crete.

I knew there were Portuguese in New England, Hawaii, and San Francisco areas. I worked in Newark, NJ. I didn't realize the Portuguese built Newark, NJ. I think highly of the Portuguese, one of the hardest working and family oriented people I know.
The question is: Is Elvis Prestly of Portuguese descent?

Why is the PAHRF in North Carolina? I didn't think there is a large Portuguese population there? But a many things changed in 20 years. Look at how many Chinatowns are in the South now.

Thanks Aaron Chan.


I was looking at your web site, very impressive. I am listed as a distinguished Portuguese person under sports. I am honored. I was also looking at Portuguese American graduates...I've had two children who earned thier degrees:
Michelle Motta-DeLeon, BS Southern NH University - Portuguese Parents
John P. Motta II - BS Southern NH University - Portuguese Parents

Lets add these two and keep the list growing.
John Motta


Dear PAHR Foundation:
I was alerted to your website from a non-Portuguese friend of mine and must say I am impressed. I am happy to see an online archive, such as this, exists for those of Portuguese descent. I wanted to express my gratitude for including my grandfather, Jose Bernardino Henriques, in your list of distinguished Portuguese. He was mentioned under Community-Service-Activities and in addition to helping found the Philadelphia Portuguese Club, eventually went on to become the Consul of Portugal in Philadelphia. He was also the recipient of the Order of Good Merit from the Portuguese Government upon retirement.

I would also like to be considered for addition to your list of recent graduates. I hold a BA in Communications from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and an MS in Library/Information Science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, I currently work at the United States Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as a research librarian.

I commend you on your research to shed light onto this important group of immigrants in American culture.

Paul S. Henriques, MLS
Arlington, VA


It's funny how I keep going back to this page in your website hoping to find new discoveries about how Portuguese Americans and Canadians are defining themselves in this confusing racial cauldron of North America.

I'm constantly having this issue thrown in my face by people who will tell me to my face that Portuguese are a minority or that we're not white or that we don't fit into any category, etc. I read one article that said we had no race to call our own. I feel that this issue is really holding the Portuguese back in many ways here in the states. Without a strong sense of identity it's difficult to forge a solid and healthy future, emotionally or otherwise. I know it affected my life as a student where often I did not how to enter a discussion on race in class as I was not sure where I fit in.

I am white by any standards but still after years of having been told Portuguese weren't white, I came to doubt myself especially when there is that minority of ethnic Portuguese who aren't quite "white". I'm hoping our community can come to some kind of consensus on this subject in order to get beyond this racial confusion I know a lot of us feel.

Hope to hear from you on this,

Thank you

Frank G.

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  • Updated:
    November 18, 2011