Back in the dark misty times...

Back in the dark misty times...
Genealogy, joyfully discovered ~

Follow Spanish Pearls Blog

Friday, March 26, 2010

Studying Sugar Cane Plantations of Hawaii

After hours and hours of research on the internet and the local library, I found another Spanish research site that listed a book called Pau Hana. The author was a genealogy nut like I have become and she also got lost in the maze of trying to find her ancestors in the plantation scenario of Hawaii in the early 1900s. She spent time in the libraries and historical societies IN HAWAII only to find there wasn't much written about it. So, I ordered the book and am now armed with a wonderful wealth of information that has given me great insight on what my grandmother and her family lived through. Sometimes harsh times, a 5 o'clock screaming alarm by the overseers and the type of lives they lived. I started placing little colored tabs on the pages with the information that will help me proceed with my MANUELA'S PETALS book only to run out of tabs. You see? It is helping me put more flesh on those people I only had names for before I started on this quest to meet my ancestors to share with the rest of my Spanish family.

Since MANUELA'S PETALS is going to be a fictionalized story from my Grandmother's point of view based on facts as I research them along the way, I also plan to include only PROVEN FACTS as explained by my genealogy professor regarding actual family blood lines. The fiction will only be my Abuelita's (little grandmother) view of her life from age 9 forward. What fun I am having seeing and talking with her through the mists of time as I imagine her thoughts and feelings and wishing I could have known her then.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Since my last posting, I have spent a merry-go-round of emotions because --- armed with my newly-learned research instructions from my recent class I found something that made me breathless and teary. I have taken baby steps to learn when, how and why my ABUELITA (grandmother) Manuela and her family left Spain, sailed to Hawaii, worked in the sugar cane fields and moved on to California..... where my descendency began. I have managed to leap over several brick walls with the help of my genealogy classes and found (1) Where and when they sailed from (2) the ship they sailed on (Orteric) (3) where and when they arrived in Honolulu (4) and pieced together stories from grandma through personal conversations and those of her children.

I have struggled to find a picture of the Orteric and found pieces of information about their voyage to put together in my book.....imagining their trip, etc. I have looked consistently for information about what plantation they worked on, when, how she met grandpa.... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday morning I logged onto the Library of Congress web site because my professor said there were digital photos of historic information. I clicked on newspapers and found the Hawaiian Gazette for various dates around April and May 1911 looking for articles on the farming immigrants etc. I found one article listing Arrivals and Departures and......On a fluke, decided to check the date I knew my grandparents arrived in Honolulu. Looking at page 8 of that date, I saw their Arrival listed and was excited.... then the word 'Orteric' caught my eye in a column beside it -- an actual story that was continued from page 1. The Orteric!! Their ship. OMG, I was shaking.... I went back to page 1 and found the headline, "Orteric Arrives with Many Laborers" It was 1/3 of the front page WITH A PICTURE OF the immigrants.... Crying by then, I printed it out and when I looked at the printed page in my hands I saw at the bottom left hand corner a PICTURE OF THE ORTERIC. Sigh. Life is good.... The article explained so much and filled so many holes. My story can continue now since I am including information in my book that are only from proven sources as much as possible --- no hearsay except for my imaginations based on facts. My heart beats triple time even as I recollect my findings. For you out there who are related to me through Abuelita --- get ready! It just gets better and better!! Smiles to you. PS

Friday, March 12, 2010


Happily esconsed at my desk this morning, I am reviewing the 20 pages of notes taken this past week from a class titled, Advanced Internet Genealogy. The professor at Christopher Wren Assn. at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg is a master genealogist along with the three assistants in the class. I was mesmerized with the wealth of knowledge filling the room and delighted to find I had only scratched the surface of the many research repositories and internet links to the genealogy world.

I learned that before Ellis Island, there was Castle Garden. I learned that you can go to the Library of Congress web site and look for books of specific counties, times, ethnic communities and genealogy -- print out the book information and take it to a local library and request an Interstate Library Loan or take it to the LDS Family History spot in my local area for help. I found I can find ancestors on the web site and jot down the film # and page # and they would order it (for a small shipping fee) and I can study and copy it when it arrives in their offices.

I learned there is a site and is amazing.......they have indexed where and why and how for many sites based on what you want and where you want to look and what forms to use and why, including free templates.

I learned that using can lead to message boards so you can type in your family history and others will read it and respond if they have similar experiences and family history stories that could help yours. I have already exchanged information with a fellow Spaniard and look forward to the amazing ride into the Silvan and Ruiz ancestor tree! Now, armed with my book of knowledge, I'm crashing through as many brick walls as history has built for me to jump over! PS

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spanish - MOVING Around Hawaii

I absolutely love it when some information surfaces to add to my research! One little letter of the alphabet has moved my Abuelta (Grandmother) from Kailua on the island Oahu to Kilauea on the island of Kauai. Thorough research tells me they arrived in Honolulu from Spain but there were several plantations called the "Big Five" who imported immigrants to work their fields from plantation to plantation. Our Juan Juan Francisco Silvan family worked in sugar cane fields as their muscles throbbed and calluses grew. The family of Juan and Victorino took them to Kauai on the beach where Abuelita learned to love flowers, ukeleles and the Hawaiian music...... When she and her family left Hawaii for California ..... her Uncle Victorino and Aunt Ramona chose Hawaii as their home, not America.

As I flesh out my story about Abuelita, I hope to follow Uncle Victorino Silvan and his family also. This week I found information showing the village they lived in --- as Hanalei . It was only 10 miles from Kilauea -- the name of the village listed on Juan Francisco and Eustoquia Rita's paperwork from Hawaii to San Francisco, California! So, the brother stayed close and raised his children while the other brother chose to move to California --- where my ancestors lived, thrived and multiplied.

This past week I have enjoyed classes at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA that has given me exceptional information on research possibilities and I am thrilled to think of finding Victorino's family in Hawaii and following them forward. NOW I NEED TO MAKE A TRIP TO HAWAII AGAIN ---- AND SEE WHERE THEY LIVED, WHERE THEY WORKED AND THE LIFE THEY LED IN THE PARADISE OF HAWAII. I know my Abuelita smiled at the memories she left behind in Hawaii and my book will reveal her love and their family descendents. I think I am addicted to family history as I revel in my Spanish heritage. One more class and I can get back to gathering information and adding more to the already 35 page manuscript I have written on MANUELA'S PETALS.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Manuela's Petals - On to Hawaii

Finding Grandma's ship (Orteric) sailing from the Rock of Gibralter with her and close family members in 1911 was truly a step up. I have finished the skeleton of their trip and produced a 35 page draft that takes the family to their very strange welcome into Honolulu. The last couple of weeks have been spent fighting computer problems and trying to loosen layers of history to put me into the Spanish settlements of Hawaii and learning the sugar cane field experience... That was such hard work!!

Delving into the genealogy has created many different folders of information; finding cousins and connecting again has been lovely. Now, with Aunt Rita's help I have learned we have Gonzalez cousins in Woodland and Winters, CA -- THAT folder is still nearly empty but hope to fill it soon. They are my great Aunt Cristencia's grandsons!

I wonder if there is a way to research the family of great Uncle Victorino and Ramona Silvan in Hawaii?? And then I have all the Ruiz family to follow and feel the astonishment and wonder of finding our family and connecting there also!

This next week will find me taking Genealogy/Internet Advanced classes in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William & Mary and hope I can slip through the doors of knowledge and some of it will actually seep into the doors of my brain ~ Until then, I will follow up with another update after the classes and hope by then I may have connected with the Gonzalez cousins in CA!! Smiles to all of you from Charles City, Virginia and the baby-step-research of Manuela's Petals....