Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Spanish family mixed with Portuguese

In the past, whenever I heard the term 'extended family' I did not realize how my thinking was 'inside the box' when my mind created my family-member list. In the past few days, I have extended my thinking a long way 'outside the box' as the family-history research has led me inside the lives of Abuelita Manuela's cousin, Theodora Silvan Souza, nicknamed DORA.

In my quest, I have joined Vicki, my new-found cousin from the Souza line. Theodora/Dora is her Abuelita and we have had some exciting breakthroughs as she and I have played sleuths regarding the Souza line of the family......just since yesterday with the help of a stranger!!!

Since we are both connected to the genealogy site, www.ancestry.com , it has been a huge benefit when we put a family name into the site and we receive feedback from other ancestry.com members or in this case --- another Souza even though he is not related to our line. He chose to help us and found our relatives along with census lists, ship's manifests and the WWI Draft Registration document for Dora's husband, John Souza.

The head-chatter began when the Latin name craziness raised its ever-so difficult head again. It appears that the Souza men used their father's maternal name, BENTO. So, there are many Bento-Souza family members. More lines to resurrect for our family files! With my family SILVAN HERNANDEZ changing to SILVAN, her family was BENTO PERREIRA and then some men kept SOUZA and others used BENTO. One ship's manifest even listed Theodora as Bento. She must have gone nuts in America when her paperwork was changed again = to Souza. We have sent letters to many John Souza siblings and I sent email to the Diocese of Hawaii because they have archives for five Catholic parishes and four mission churches in Lihue, HI.

I feel like I've just been put on a bucking bronco, ready to dash out of the holding pen as we re-define the term, extended family, and add more cousins who may be waiting to be found!
AND I AM STILL PLANNING MY TRIP TO SPAIN IN SEPTEMBER. I am on a roll and I do NOT want to get off that horse before I get my answers!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another A-Ha moment in Silvan family research

In my evergoing traipsing through my grandmother's historical trek through life, I have had the great opportunity of having Aunt Rose's book as a guidepost and found many clues. That's the great news. The SIGH-type news is many names are spelled incorrectly and it has given me the opportunity to get my research credentials down to a perfect pitch = spending hours and hours trying to sort the names out. Yesterday, I had a major breakthrough!

One of grandma's stories was about a baby who was born on the ship sailing from Honolulu on January 5-12, 1918 to San Francisco. On the SS Herman Governor ship, a little baby was born and named 'Herman Governor' after the ship and the voyage. My grandmother was the baby's God mother. After researching endlessly for the name of Donecio Lagone, knowing it must be a relative to grandma's Aunt Ramona (married to Victorino Silvan) since her maiden name matched, I nearly gave up looking until yesterday.

I decided to take the ship's manifest from the SS Herman Governor and look at every name, where they were from, their ages and study the wife's maiden names since the Spanish names are so very complicated, I miss people all the time. Grandma said there were five families that traveled together so I knew there had to be more clues.

AND I FOUND IT. On the last entry on page 6, I found DIONISIO L. HERRERO. His wife was listed as DOMINIQUEZ PERES. Their children were listed as Rosa P Leigones, Manuel P Leigones and Francisco P Leigones, ages 8, 10 and 11. No baby was listed but since the child was born at sea and the ship's manifest was 'typed' in Hawaii ...baby Herman was not be listed. So, one day descendents of Herman Governor Leigones will not find him! This is the 4th family.

1) Juan Silvan Hernandez and Eustoquia Rita Marzo Trascasas (and my grandmother & siblings)
2) Felix Gonzales and Cristencia Silvan Hernandez (and their children)
3) Jose Forresco and Catalina 'Salvan' Martin (and their children)
4) Dionisco Leigones Herrero and Dominiquez Perez (and their children)
5) In question: Jose Garcia and Isabel Sarmento or Jose Garcia and Emilia Diaz Castellano or Francisco S Bernal and Isabel H. Gonzales or Mariano Gonzalez and Bonaficao S Sanchez.
All in all, I still have a way to go but I am moving in the right direction....
THEN, I found a note in Aunt Rose's book about the Castro cousins/family. I asked my new-found cousin in San Jose, a descendent of Teodora Silvan Hernandez Souza if she was familiar with the name. Her mother said the Souza brothers changed their names to Castro! It appears to be a chocolate mess but I LOVE chocolate!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I found another Silvan Hernandez brother!!!

I found another brother! His name wasn't HERMANO at all. I figured it out. Here's the story ---- when my father went to Spain quite some years ago, he sent a letter to my Aunt Rose (his sister) and when she published her book, she typed in his letter... In the letter, he said he hoped to find his old great Uncle Geronimo. At the time, I laughed because it sounded like an Indian name... Now, years later, after nearly giving up (not me!!) trying to find these two lost brothers, I figured that Victorino, Juan Francisco and Cristencia just said good bye and that was that.

But, when I spoke with Cristencia's grandson's wife the other night, she said one of the brothers went to Cuba instead of Hawaii like the other siblings. When I asked if it was Hermano or Mondo (each spelled wrong, I know that now) ... She said they didn't sound quite right. She spelled out the name H-E-R-O-N-E-M-O. I looked at it and said it out loud and gasped! It is the Spanish pronunciation of Geronimo! I was sure of it. I went into www.ancestry.com and put that name in with Silvan Hernandez and 'Cuba' and his Ship Manifist listing popped up. It is very clear it's the missing brother as he was born in Zamora.. Also, it looks like he left Cuba and the ship came to New York 'in route to Spain' in June 1931 when he was 54 years old. So, he must have returned to Spain after working in Cuba (in the fields like the siblings worked in Hawaii I am assuming). The ship was filled with all Spaniards coming from Cube in route to Spain. So, I found him for a minute...

Another Silvan family link is found!

As I stumble along the annals of history through the internet, I stub my toe along the way in the most unlikely places. When my cousin, Tess (on my maternal side) and I discussed my quest to find my great uncles and great aunt's families, I mentioned JOHN GONZALES as a potential cousin in California referred to me by my Aunt Rita in Michigan. Tess said she knew a John Gonzales who lived near them where she grew up outside Woodland and her brother's good friend was a Gonzales from that family. Could it be this easy? Tess called her brother for the phone number of the Gonzales family and told me they were willing to talk with me...

That night, I spoke with Virginia Gonzales, whose husband (John) was the grandson of my great Aunt Christina! His father was Aylendro Gonzales --- who was 7 years old in 1911 and shared his ship ride from Spain to Hawaii with my Grandma Silvan Ruiz!! Excitement mounted. We had a wonderful conversation and she is going to mail me documented information showing our family line. Needless to say, Tess now considers me a sleuth and my newest distant cousin in San Jose from the Victorino Silvan line calls me 'scout'.

During my conversation with Virginia Gonzales, I asked her if she knew anything about the other two brothers named 'Mondo' and 'Hermano' that I'd been told about. She did not know a Mondo or Hermano but fed me another piece of the puzzle. One brother went to Cuba instead of Spain, she told me, and she thought his name was 'Heronemo'. More sleuthing for me now!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Back to Genealogy Research in Charles City, VA

My genealogy spark is hot and moving forward. I brought J.D. home from the hospital after 9 days in Richmond's MCV Hospital and he's doing well. All he could think about was a shower, being home and eating NON-hospital food. He's a happy man and now I can get back to what I am enjoying so much: genealogy research. I took a webinar with www.ancestry.com last night and learned a few tricks I am anxious to try out soon.

My new-found distant cousin in San Jose that I 'met' over the ancestry.com site (VICKI) and I are getting to know each other and have traded information, document copies and pictures. Since our great grandfathers were brothers, we have a connection AND we have found we have inherited some Spanish genes that make me smile. Creative arts, writing, of the same age, and our love of children. What a wonderful new world it can be when we FIND relatives we were unaware of. I am most anxious to cultivate our friendship and relative-ship (is that a word?). She is in San Jose and I am in Charles City about 3000 miles apart but with the age of computers, it's a cinch to feel right next door.

With her help, I have a new direction to forge ahead regarding my Great Great Uncle Victorino AND I SAY LET THE RESEARCH BEGIN AGAIN!!! Smiles, PS

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The SILVAN plot thickens!

I haven't posted for a bit because my husband is very ill and today I decided I must stay focused with busy stuff...... Lo and behold, I had a message on Ancestry.com from a COUSIN who found me and she's from the Victorino & Ramona Silvan line! Yay!!! I am most anxious to correspond with her in more detail to piece together this family history. This is what I have found out so far and wanted to share some facts...
* I have a picture of Grandma Manuela at age 12 with her mother holding a baby named Mary. Another cousin told me Grandma told him it was Mary SOUZA, not Mary Silvan. At that time, I had no idea where the Souza line originated.
* Our NEW cousin is Vicki. Her great great grandfather was Victorino! She said her Grandmother's name was Feliza but went by Theodora. This part is strange since the ship's manifest lists 2 girls (Teodora age 12 and Feliza age 7). Theodora Silvan married John SOUZA and their children were Victor (Vicki's father), Alfred, George, Dorothy, Lillian, Robert & Jerome Souza. She said her father, Victor, was raised by her Great Grandmother Ramona (who spoke no English) and I do not know why...(yet). Victor, who is Victorino's grandson, died in 1986 so she couldn't ask him.
This is an amazing find since I 'lost' Victorino and Ramona in Hawaii after the 1920 census. With J.D. so sick, I am unsure how often I will be updating this family history blog but will do the best I can. Life is in limbo about now. Trying to keep smiling, PS