Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Friday, May 28, 2010

My second wind as the quest continues.....

Hello! Miss me? The past couple of weeks I have spent time in my garden here in Virginia with some mini-projects and one major piece of work where I created a dry creek bed. Digging the ditch and hauling rocks to fill it afterwards was not exciting but now that it's finished, I am proud of it, can hardly move, and I am ready to sit here at my desk to continue my genealogy quest.

My new-found cousin has just returned from a vacation and she has spurred me on once again as we study history, look for documents and cement the relationship of our grandfathers, who were brothers, Juan Francisco and Victorino.

In the genealogy world, I have learned nothing is easily found but when it is before me either accidentally or ordered specifically, I sit and stare, adding more pieces to this wonderful and exciting puzzle of my ancestors. IF ONLY I had asked my loved ones the questions that burn in my mind now before they died. But, for now we wonder if they are all watching us and trying to push us in the right direction, pointing, nudging and praying we find our way. Yes, fanciful am I.

With the help of other genealogy questers like me, I have written (in Spanish with the help of the Bing translator) to the Diocese of Madrid to find out where the documents are stored for my grandmother's family.... in Fuentesauco? In Toro? In the archives in Madrid? In the church? In the court house? I learned the civic offices are call the Ayunamiento. No answer yet.

I wrote to the historical society in Hawaii, the Diocese of Honolulu and the Archives of Hawaii at the college as I try to find out what life was like during the 1900-1920 years for Spanish and Portuguese, where they lived, what their houses were like, what the school was like, how they got to the fields, what they did when they got there? I found out that the workers often had a BANGO number vs. using their names since they HAD SO MANY NAMES!! It has been the bane to my existence trying to figure it out since many 'chose' which name to use when they became anglicanized. A father's surname was their middle name and their mother's surname was the last name ~ in Spain. When they arrived in Hawaii and later in America, they could only have one surname, so hence the name anomolies. Without their bango numbers, I can't find out which plantation they worked on UNLESS I GO TO HAWAII. Hey! Good idea. If only.... but then again, Spain is my first choice and I'm still hugging my mind around September...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Putting faces to Spanish ancestor's names ~

After nearly a year of reading the name of my great grandfather's brother, Victorino Silvan Hernandez and his wife, Ramona, and their children, Theodora, Feliza and Celestino -- I now have pictures of their long-ago faces. They are fleshed out in my mind now ~ PLUS I have a picture of Theodora and her husband, John Souza. They are professional photographs and to say I am delirious with excitement is just about right. Finding new relatives willing to share pictures and other supporting documents is amazing and my quest moves on enthusiastically.

Yesterday, I went to a Williamsburg restaurant and tapas bar called, La Tienda. I learned how to make PAELLA, a Spanish dish that I have heard about for eons but never tasted. It was tongue-tingling delicious and the Spanish chef raised her glass of Sangria (did I mention we all had a glass plus tapas?) and said, "Salud y pesetas... " To good health and money. It was a fun trip and I came away with a cookbook filled with Spanish recipes listed by province and in the book, I found mention of TORO, Spain and their special wines. Toro is where my great grandmother, Eustoquia Rita Marzo Trascasas Silvan was born. AND I HOPE to be there myself to taste the wine and photograph the entire area!

All in all, it has been a good week -- mostly working in my garden spreading mulch after deep weeding and thinking about how genealogy has gotten under my skin so bad that I wake at night thinking of what to look for next and wondering where! Oh, but these pictures are amazing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A bathing hummingbird at Steele's Vineyard

As I took a garden break away from my genealogy quest this morning, I decided to spray the parts of the garden where our water system spray denies the daisies, Bee Balm, Siberian Iris, assorted Lilies and the ever-climbing-to-craziness Wisteria. Lost in thought, I saw what I thought was a butterfly in my periphial vision and ignored it, trying not to drench it into flying incapability.

Swoosh, swoosh ..... I sprayed water across my Chrissy's daisies and around the stretched wire that used to hold our grapevines and then my eyes widened in delightful surprise. I stood there grinning like I was short a few brain chips as I stared at a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird following the water's dripping pleasure as he whipped and snapped his miniature wings while perched on the wire, a perfect foothold for such a tiny, dazzling creature. Then I started laughing quietly as he nipped and tucked those feathery mile-an-hour wings and bathed. I could almost hear him singing in bliss. Oh! What a wonderful way to water a garden. I didn't want him to go away as I watched him move just an iota ever close to the watering stream. Those daisies, Iris and Lilies drank enough water for a week and I am still smiling as I see that little bird dancing across the water in my mind's eye.

On the genealogy front, I am focusing on my ancestor's life in Hawaii and the sugar plantations that earned them blisters and eventually the money to sail to America. I'm also trying to assimilate family names with several stories regarding the Souza's. Did some Souza men change their name to Bento and another to Castro? With mother's maiden names and father's mother's maiden names...... The naming complexities are becoming the bane to my existence but I intend to unravel it so we know who's who. I remember how surprised I was to find out my great grandfather's full name was Juan Francisco Silvan Hernandez instead of 'Grandpa Silvan'..... Since I will have an extended family-tree page for each lfamily ink in my book, MANUELA'S PETALS.... I must perservere.

I am prioritizing my To-Do list for my Spain trip this fall, thinking positive I will be in Fuentesauco standing in front of the Iglesia de la Santa Maria where Abuelita was baptised..... Until then, my continuing research fills my folders to bursting.