The first meeting of the future APGHS was held on July 10, 1977, in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Present were five of the eight founders; three had independantly extracted information from the 1860 New Bedford census. The American-Portuguese Genealogical Society of America (The APGHS's first name) resolved "to have their work located in such manner that future Portuguese[-Americans] interested in genealogy could have ... information readly available so research would not have to be duplicated." This information was the start of the "Special Collection" in the Taunton Public Library that now has more than 80,000 entries.
On June 13, 1979, Anthony S. Catojo Jr. was elected president. In September the Rev. Timothy Goldrick, first editor of the Society's quarterly newpaper, the Bulletin Board, established the format of the Surname Roster. In 1981 the APGHS was incorporated with fifty-nine members in ten states and Canada. More than 225 Bulletin Boarda are now mailed to members in forty-five states and foreign counties.
During its early years the Society was aided by grants from the Massachusetts Arts and Humanities, Polaroid, Prescott Jennings Charitable Trust and the Oliver S. and Jennie R. Donaldson Charitable Trust. The last two were awarded through the efforts of George J. Viegas, the second president. He was succeeded in office by Ernest Cardoza in 1991. After President Catojo's death in 1995 his widow donated his lifetime collection of 33,000 records and city street directories to the society. The Catojo Collection and other donated books, street and telephone directories, family histories and articals to aid researchers are in the Taunton Public Library