Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New cousin's trust overwhelming

I am now the proud owner of an original Spanish document dated January 27, 1911. (Thank you Lynda Medeiros E!) It is yellowed with age and the creased areas have come apart but I plan to get it copied and printed to make it beautiful again. This document was created by a Spanish attorney at the request of Victorino Silvan and lists himself, his wife (Romana) and his four children, Teodora, Felisa, Jacinto and Celestino. The certificate was required to prove they were natives of Fuentesauco and that their children were their natural children.

It revealed three new bits of information; 1) It lists Romana's maiden names as 'Martin Lorenzo,' 2) it lists the names of her parents (Pedro Martin and Sabina Lorenzo) and after staring at the dates (in shock), it states 3) Jacinto was the oldest TWIN of Celestino. They were both 5 years old---- not age 5 (Celestino) and age 3 'Juanitco' as the ship's manifest appeared to show. Romana labored 4 hours between each boy's births. This just adds another layer of sadness, since we know little Jacinto died on the trip from Spain to Hawaii of either measles or scarlet fever and was buried at sea.

The burial at sea was a traumatic affair; the baby (48 died on the ship~) was wrapped in a blanket, carefully placed on a wooden plank and then slipped from the side of the ship into the ocean for burial.

Finding more information with constant surprises sometimes leaves me weak with knowledge but full with love thinking of the hardships and lives our ancestors lived and perservered!

Today, I created the cover to Manuela's Petals and I am content. This story in the making is going to be a tribute to those before and those that come after. I can hardly wait to get to Spain to stand on their soil, on their village streets, in their Santa Maria church..... oh! And that reminds me, with the help of my cousin, (Ramona) I now have a yahoo address on the Spanish system! I used the Ruiz name (like she did) so people in Spain will recognize who I am when I send Spanish emails. Oh, better get back to cracking those Spanish books and open the dictionary ~ So those Spaniards can understand me though.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

More progress made with Feliza's descendents!

In the past week, I have received more valuable information and finding Lynda, Feliza's granddaughter has led me to another cousin, Julie. They are gathering information for me and trying to remember all the stories their Grandmother Feliza told them about her memories of Spain and Hawaii. We now have a 4-way connection that includes Vicki in San Jose, who's grandmother was Feliza's sister, Theodora. I am grinning like a fool just writing this as I am filled with such pleasure to unite all of us with our ancestral story.

And the no-longer-in-print book, Memories of Spain is now in my hands! My good friend, Jane, in Williamsburg was able to get it through interlibrary loan and it is filled with so much information regarding the research of Spain, embarkation procedures, sailing to Hawaii, debarkation procedures, quarantine and much, much more that I have lost sleep over it. It is hard to close my eyes just thinking how I will incorporate the extensive details into my story about grandma's trip.

Life in my little genealogical world is smiling.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Making progress with Manuela's Petals

Over the past week, I have created fill-in-the-blank forms for many of the new family contacts I have been talking with recently. Several suggested thee forms might work best and since I love creating forms and writing, writing, writing, I jumped right to it. I have emailed and pony express mailed the forms to several people and will prepare a packet to go to Grass Valley, CA where my uncle will have a birthday party. He turned 90 years young today -- Frank Ruiz...

I have also been writing grandma's story and just finished page 87. I am having great fun with it and inserted many photographs and copies of original documents that the family will be very happy to see. It is definitely a labor of love and it feels like I was in Spain and later Hawaii with grandma as she lived through her early years.

My story will end when grandma marries grandpa and finds she is pregnant with her first child. I have decided to do this because two family history books will carry on the rest of the story..

I AM ASKING FAMILY MEMBERS TO give me a brief biography of grandma's brothers and sister as well as their own. This can be over email or I can call to have a personal interview and type while they talk. This will add a very special touch to their SILVAN LEAVES pages and so far, the family has responded wonderfully.

It is hot and humid here in Virginia but I hardly notice as I am glued to my computer... Having a great time and sad to miss my uncle Frank's party!

And I am celebrating. As of today, I have sold 45 of my Cooking Drunk cookbooks!

Friday, August 13, 2010

TWO OPTIONS to share my internet journal (Blog)

TO FOLLOW MY BLOG: If you know anyone who would be interested in following my blog, please left click the word, Follow, at the top of this posting. It is above the words, spanishpearls, in the blue line. Once you left click the word, Follow, a box will pop up that will allow you to click your request to follow my postings.

TO SHARE TODAY'S BLOG: Look to the left of the text of this posting and you will see the word, Options. Left click Options beneath my name. You will see three options. If you left click on Invite Friends you can invite your friends or other family members to read today's genealogy blog by using one of the social networking sites or their email address.

Please feel free to invite others to share in this wonderful trip I am taking through our family and live vicariously through my words.

Have a wonderful weekend!

A Family Interview

Mary Silvan is a soft-spoken woman with a gentle sense of humor. She is the wife of my grandmother's brother, Celestino Fernandez Silvan. Great Uncle Celestino (Cel) was my grandmother's youngest brother and I know she was very close to him. Yesterday, Mary, a widow since Uncle Cel died in July 1973, graciously granted me an interview and added color and 'life' behind the man and the times. She also knew my father and bought appliances from him in Carmichael with the promise of a "lifetime guarantee." "Who's lifetime?" she'd asked him. "Yours or mine?" My father, Michael (Miguel) Silvan Ruiz replied, "Both, of course."

Great Aunt Mary will celebrate her 82nd birthday December 19, 2010. We are both Sagittarians, we've both lost a child through death way before their time and she made me feel like a young girl again by calling me, "honey." Our comfortable conversation made me imagine myself in her living room sharing a cup of coffee as she'd just prepared for herself. We discussed her past, her children, her husband and her life.

She basically filled in many blanks. One question was "Why was Uncle Cel's middle name, Fernandez, when the Spanish naming rules typically would have his mother's maiden name or Marzo?" She didn't know and said all of his brothers middle names were, Marzo. I can assume Grandpa John and Grandma Rita broke the Spanish name ruling for American rules where they could choose any name and consequently, he carried the Fernandez (or Fernandes?) middle name. I also learned, with sadness, that cancer is a big killer in the Silvan family; Grandpa John Silvan, Great Aunt Juanita, Great Aunt Mary Cuellar, Grandma Rita Silvan and my own father, Michael Silvan -- the only cancer-stricken Silvan I was aware of.

My files are beginning to plump up with information and I look forward to many more interviews to add color to my family history story. At the end of our conversation, I smiled when I heard the story of my father painting the front of his appliance store purple -- just for my grandmother , Abuelita -- her favorite color.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feliza Silvan vs. ALICE

Feliza's granddaughter, Lynda E., told me Feliza's name wasn't really Alice. When she came to America as a teenager and began school, the teacher's didn't like her name, so they named her Alice. Why of why would 'Alice' be chosen over the beautiful name of Feliza or Felicia, I wondered? And I found it very strange that the name Alice stayed and Feliza was somehow lost along the way. I am profoundly relieved and happy to have found her. When I sent the letter to Dorothy Mederios, hoping she was related to our Feliza, I never imagined how wonderful it would turn out to be. And now we have added Lynda to our group and I can hardly wait for the pieces of information and possibly pictures.... to arrive.

A gracious gift of trust and generosity

This morning, I received an email from one of Cristencia Silvan Gonzalez's grandchildren, Alicia. She has graciously agreed to either copy for me or mail me her copy of the book I have been trying to find through interlibrary loan or other ways that is no longer in print titled, MEMORIES OF SPAIN. I have tried to find this book for several months after being told it includes many of the types of memories needed for 'feeling' the Spaniard's way from Spain. I am overwhelmed by her trust and generosity and look forward to reading it and referring to its contents for further research for MANUELA'S PETALS. I find that every 'cousin' I have encountered during my quest has been loving and filled with an insatiable curiosity for our ancestor's information, as am I. It is a powerful and emotional bonding.

With Linda's help, I have managed to nearly finish Juanita Silvan's leaf pages. And to add more excitement to the mix, she and John (Juanita's son) are planning to visit us in Virginia this coming October. I am smiling. Oh, and she's bringing wine too!!

Today, I plan to mail sample 'Our Slvan Leaves' pages (2) to Aunt Millie, Aunt Mary and Aunt Rita, as they appear to be the most interested in my findings. I am content knowing they will share the information and one day, all the siblings of my Abuelita will have a copy of the entire book in their hands so they can 'meet' the family that came before and get to know them as I have been over the past 18 months. It is such a joy to share this with them! And to top it off, my Uncle Frank will soon be 90... I know what I'll put in his birthday card!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A new link to Feliza Silvan!

Today's posting is beyond excitement. In the past few days, I have been able to fill many of the blanks for my grandmother's sister, Juanita and prepared a draft page of what I will now call SILVAN LEAVES. I will prepare a 'leaf' for each of my grandmother's siblings and with the help of the new cousins, I can do it.

These 'leaves' will be in addition to my book, MANUELA'S PETALS since what I originally began as a story about my grandmother has expanded beyond belief and I am very, very excited to FLESH in all those names and help all the long-lost cousins with family history. I have found that every cousin (there are 6 now) tells me they do not know much about the Silvan part of their family. Adding that to my aunts and uncles who did not know they had an Uncle Victorino, I'm a happy girl and will happily share my research.

Adding to my new cousins related to Cristencia, Celestino, and Victorino and working closely with my new cousin related to Theodora, I am truly on a roll. My husband thinks I should camp out in here by the computer....

Today, I just got a call from another cousin! I'm in la-la land. Lynda E. is Feliza Silvan's granddaughter. Feliza was 2nd child of Victorino. Victorino was brother to Juan Francisco Silvan. Juan F. Silvan was, of course, father to my grandmother Manuela. Sigh. Things are going so nicely. She is willing to collaborate with me and has copies of a Spanish registration that her grandmother had before they sailed from Spain. Pay dirt!

I have decided to go beyond Manuela's Petals with a Silvan family history book and this is the start. I knew I had to have some place to start listing all the history as it was coming in fast and furiously (thank God!) Receiving and sharing this family history makes me feel like I have grown a foot and still smiling.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Silvan's are off and running ~

My head is spinning. MORE COUSINS! I spoke with Celestino's daughter, Lucinda, who happily filled in the blanks for their family. She promises to find some missing information and I have her mother's phone number for further investigations!

This afternoon, I received an email from a granddaughter of Cristencia Silvan Gonzales with further information and we are going to connect for further information. Her father was Cristencia's son. She said she was googling her grandparents and up popped this blog!

Then, the RUIZ LINE.... I received an email from Dick Ruiz's daughter in law, Kelly. He was my grandpa Ben Ruiz's brother and I hadn't begun the Ruiz line yet --- but I am on it now! Clyde Ruiz is one of Uncle Dick's sons and I hope to open the Ruiz Folder and start listing and writing.

So I can add three more cousins to my list from my last posting and think there might now be two books vs. one. One will be Manuela's Petals, the story about Abuelita and her trip from Spain to CA via Hawaii and the other will be the family history with links, trees, pictures and more. I have had a very complete, fulfilling day and anxious for tomorrow!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another lost cousin is found ~

Today while I was on I found a family tree with my great grandfather's name on it so of course I was curious (bold and nosy) and clicked on it. Well! This is a new cousin who is a descendent from my grandmother's brother, Celestino Silvan. It feels like it is raining family all around me and I'm running through the puddles with my arms out, flying round and round. This is such fun and I am very anxious to connect further with her.

At this rate, I shall have the family history all in a row for the Silvan's. I haven't even begun to work on Grandpa Ben Ruiz's side yet. So all the fun there still awaits the investigator in me.

My sweet cousin, TT, told me she was amazed at how much information I have found so far and I smiled and shook my head because she is WAY ahead of me in the research department as she plugs away at my maternal family history. She amazes me and I keep trying to catch up!

Let's see, to summarize my new finds.....
Victorino Silvan (Grandma's uncle)- I found Vicki (and Cheryl) his great granddaughters
Juanita Silvan (Grandma's sister) - I found her son (John) and daughter in law, Linda.
Celestino Silvan (Grandma's brother) - I found his daughter or granddaughter --- need to connect further for sure.
Christina (Cristencia) Gonzales (Grandma's aunt) - I found her grandson, John and family with the ironic coincidence that they have known my cousin on my maternal family line for years!
And I found their pictures in a book called IMAGES OF AMERICA / Winters, CA.
I think I should have been a private investigator!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I found Victorino Silvan's missing child!

Missing to me, that is. Alice, Alice is found at last. With the help of a stranger who lives in San Francisco who has an eager willingness to help find mysteries and who helped me find the Souza Bento line several weeks ago, has come through with wildly flying colors for me once again.

Recently, I found that the Feliza Silvan I was looking for was known as "Alice" and was married to a Portuguese man named S. Maderos; I found the 1930 census showing occupants of the house that documented it was our Feliza!

On a fluke this morning, I sent my SF friend my basic information and asked if he was up to another mystery? Yes! Within a few minutes, I had the documented information.
Alice Felicia Martin Silban, born 4 Nov. 1904 in Spain, died 10 December 1991 in Alameda Co.
Married: Seraphim A. Medeiros, born 12 March 1901 in Hawaii, died 29 March 1973 in Oakland
They are both buried in Hayward, CA at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Wonder of wonders, that is the cemetery where my cousin, Vicki, just visited and sent me pictures of the gravestones of her siblings and extended family. Life is soooooooooo good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alice Maderos, where are you?

Here we go again on the merry-go-round of genealogy. At this time, I have 'found' my grandmother's Uncle Victorino and his family, her Aunt Cristencia (Christina) and her family and recently found several descendents of both.

Fixing the family tree by adding the children has been a major investigative masterpiece and I have not done it alone as I've found several long-lost (newly found?) cousins to help me. The last piece of the puzzle was fit into place with Uncle Victorino's daughter, Feliza, when I found she Americanized her name to ALICE and married a Portuguese man, S. Maderos.

Now, the race is on (again) to find her descendents...... and I shrug and stew because I am stumped once again. She was born in 1904 in Spain, her husband was probably born in Portugal in 1902 and her children were born in 1925 (Medora Maderos, daughter) and 1926 (Jerome Maderos, son). Concentrating on Jerome, since his ancestors would have the same name, I came up with ZERO. Using Medora as a first name, I came up (again) with ZERO. I found a 1930 census showing the ages above and found Aunt Ramona Silvan (Romana Silva) at age 67 and "Alice's" brother, Celestino at age 22 living in the same household in San Leandro, Alameda Co., California. There are answers somewhere and I hope to find them very soon.... so I can move on to HAWAII and the Sugar Cane fields for the meatiness that my book needs.....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Impatience is a virtue I'm not proud of...

Well, I sent emails to the port authorities of Seville, Spain and Cadiz, Spain as I try to narrow down which port Abuelita and her family boarded the SS Orteric that day in 1911.... I was sure it was on the Guadiquiver River port in Seville but recent information may have shot a hole in that assumption. I need documentation or at least factual answers here. No response from either of the port authorities yet.

Then I sent an email to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii asking where I can research (and find!) a master list of bango numbers, which are the numbers given to immigrants entering Hawaii to work in the sugar cane fields due to mispronounciation and the immigrant's inability to write their own names. No response.

I wrote to rootsweb hoping for an indication of where I could research sugar plantation life on Hawaii in the early 1900. No response there either. Did I give up? NO, no, no.....

Then a got a note from a stranger about a book he's sure will help me titled, MEMORIES OF SPAIN by Anne Aguilara Santucci, which is now out of print (go figure...) I couldn't find it anywhere but contacted the Library of Congress who gave me a list of all US libraries and suggested I get an interlibrary loan from my local library. Well, we live in Charles City and my Williamsburg Library card won't allow interlibrary loans. Charles City is a rural community without a town... I was told to go through the Charles City Library. What? There's a Charles City Library? Well, I found there is one that is shared with another county so I called and was given the library manager's name and email address. I'm excited again and sent off that email on Thursday (4 days ago). No response.

Well hey! *^&$%^&&()(*^% That's another word for well, hey! If I was rich, I would fly to Hawaii and do my leg work on my own. Unfortunately, that's a long way and won't work... I found I can call with my cell phone so Monday I hit the air waves. Or is that sound waves? Or just phone waves? Either way... I will not allow myself to get stuck.

To add jitters to a calamity level, during my recent 5-week vacation (yes, I know I am a lucky girl) the curriculum was circulated for College of William & Mary for a Family History Class 303, an advanced class I've been hoping for and now, August 1, it is already 'closed'. So I sent a begging-on-my-knees-crouched-low-letter and said I would STAND up if I have to in order to get into the class. For now, the crouch still hurts but my fingers will remain crossed until I get a RESPONSE! For now, I am still optimistic. And maybe I will soon hear from the Catholic Diocese in Madrid telling me where the birth, marriage, death documents are located in Spain for my trip... or maybe not. Still optimistic...