Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Geronimo Silvan was married after all!

As a comparatively new genealogist, I found the ship's manifest for the S.S. Manuel Calvo last April, 2010, excited to find one of the missing brothers, uncle to my grandmother Manuela listed: Geronimo Silvan. There are many columns to these ship's passenger lists; the first 'M or F' signifies male and the next column signifies M or S (married or single). I saw 'M' and stopped. So, he's male and single. I was so intent on finding Great Uncle Geronimo's name that it took new eyes (thank you, Vicki) to show me that the columns showed an M and another M = Male/Married. And his wife's name was listed below his --- all the while I thought he was returning from Cuba to Spain all alone at age 54. Lo and behold, Vicki nonchalantly mentioned his wife on an email I found from her this morning and I just went into overdrive.

We now have a Great Aunt whose name was Joaquina Bragado Vicente. On the ship, June 1931, she was 55 years old; they were both born in Zamora and returning to Zamora -- a pair of Spanish ancestors. One more tiny piece to our Silvan puzzle just fell into place.

I often find myself 'seeing' additional information after looking at a document 2,3,4,5 and sometimes 6 times. My daughter's 'eyes' found the name of the ship, ORTERIC, over a year ago. It was the ship my grandmother sailed on from Spain to Hawaii and I'd looked at the same document more times than I can count moaning over not know the name of their ship.....

Fresh eyes....and more help. I learned that Geronimo Silvan was 5' 9" and his wife, Joaquina was 5'4" tall. They were both born in Fuentesauco, Zamora, Spain. Neither could read or write. Now I am off to research these ancestors. Did they have a family? Are there any descendents still in Spain? Will I find them next summer when I walk through the streets of Fuentesauco and go in and out of the Ayunamiento, the cemetery, or the church? Another adventure begins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Losing Aunt Mary Louise Silvan

I 'met' Aunt Mary Silvan over the phone less than six weeks ago. She and I had such a sweet conversation about her life and marriage with Uncle Celestino, my grandmother's baby brother. She was making plans for a new adventure, packing boxes and moving to Long Beach, CA with her daughter (Kathy) and she was excited about the family history I was gathering. I can still hear her laughter as she told me the trick she played on Uncle Cel all those years ago..... She planned to send me documents and pictures for my book once she got settled. But it was not to be. Recently, her daughter (Lucinda) told me she had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Before my Get Well card was in the mail box, this morning I another cousin (Linda) emailed me notice that Aunt Mary died a few days in the hospital. I am so filled with sadness that my fingers are just moving, typing and as I keep sighing loudly with the loss of this lovely old lady, my heart aches. She was 83 years young.

With these recent memories of meeting her for the first and last time, I plan to devote a very special page in Silvan's Leaves just for her. Hopefully, once the terrible sadness eases for her family, I will still get copies of the documents and pictures she planned to gather for me. For now, we are grieving and the emptiness that follows a loss like this has zapped us silly.

Sad today,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reaching out to more family

Happy Sunday out there! The e-mails are already flying among cousins I have never met before (except Vicki) and now I am (im)patiently waiting for replies to all the family history forms I have sent with return envelopes. Maybe this week, my mail box will be overflowing? Yes, please!

Strangers among the new family members are ever so helpful too. I've received copies of documents from other Spanish families that continue to help me flesh in the time, the people, the places and all the spots in between. Thank you all!

I just finished working on page 164 and now the family is nearly ready to work their way to Honolulu and get on the SS Herman Governor for their last leg in the dream of America. What a time that must have been for them.

Fighting allergies, so will keep this short. Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy the 'trip' through the pages of Manuela's Petals and my continual quest for family history!
Smiles from Virginia....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adding personal stories to Manuela's Petals

As I meet more descendants from our family and their personal stories, I have been able (happily) to blend theirs with the stories I've already nipped and tucked into Manuela's Petals. Adding the heart-rending sad times as well as the good times is creating a fleshed-out story more real than I could have ever imagined.

And recipes! Learning how our Spanish relatives cooked, what they specialized in, what they were the 'best' at is coming at me from all directions. And I will amass all of them in the back of Manuela's Petals for everyone to see and just maybe..... cook like the old country through their ancestor's kitchens. Imagine a time when women created meals out of what they found in their gardens, could barter for, had stored in barrels or in cloth on storage shelves. And we, all the ones after, clamor to add to our recipe books and share with our own families.

Torrene, similar to divinity is made of almonds, a nougat candy. And the Garbanzo bean stew! There are so many different ways to make it beyond the traditional recipe. It's basically a soup made with garbanzos, beef shanks, salt pork, fideo pasta, and a "tortilla" made from bread, garlic, eggs, and parsley fried and then reheated in the broth. Thanks for that, Julie!

Still working on the name issue with the Spanish lines of the family. If I can just keep inside my head, the middle name is the father's name and all paternal links from that father must have the same middle name. Without both the father's name and the mother's maiden name, we can't trace our lineage! So, I continue the quest, walking through the years and pages of NAMES!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Spanish Naming Principals again

My head hurts. I continue to repeat a mantra......the second name is the father's name and the last name is the mother's name. That promises to clarify how everyone is related and working with my grandfather's side, the RUIZ family, and this has become a rollicking headache.

Unfortunately, there are some discrepancies between some of the ancestor's names now that I have a copy of a family tree created from a direct Ruiz descendant.... a cousin in Spain. When I follow it to my great, great grandfather the names differ. I am breathing in with the good and breathing out with the bad..... and on the phone with my brother, Steven, who brought the family tree from Spain on his last trip. Maybe I better just concentrate on the Silvan side of the family for now and wait for our trip to Spain next summer to confirm others?? Otherwise, I am unsure if my brain matter will be gray or red by then.....

As I wait daily (very patiently I might add) for the mail lady, watching for completed family history forms from Silvan and Ruiz descendants ........ I pace. I have so many irons in the fire, they have multiplied like rabbits... and I am also on my 3rd edit of Manuela's Petals up to page 135. On a definite roll here in Charles City...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Extending the Silvan horizon

The pages continue to fill up within my manuscript with some amazing additions to the story. Another descendant from another family that traveled on the S.S. Orteric with my grandmother has surfaced and shared stories, people's names, relationships and documents with me (thank you, Julie!) Incorporating these Silvan friends and Martin relatives has added depth to our story, the good, the bad and the sad. It was real. It was frightening. It was awesome. Manuela's Petals now stands 135 pages long and going strong; quickly becoming three dimentional, as has always been my intent.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day traversing the country of Spain, minutely dissecting its mountain ranges, the railroad tracks in the early twentieth century and the villages and cities that lie between Fuentesauco and Seville for the Spain part of our story. Seeing these Spanish names and learning how the rivers run hither and yon and the mountain ranges stretch across its bounty has made me itch to move up my Spain trip but alas! June 2011 it is.

I work hard to buckle down my impatience as I wait for family members to complete and return family history forms for the other parts of my genealogical research. Sighing loudly does not hurry the post office lady, nor does it rush their email responses. But it feels good so I will continue to sigh, write, research some more and look forward to new family horizons.

If only, I'd started this quest sooner; talking with my loved ones and writing down their stories. For now, I rely on all the descendants they shared their stories with and I smile toward the bulk of them as they grow and come alive with their telling.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Learning Spanish on the run....

It seems like I may be getting the swing of it. The other morning when I woke up I asked my husband, "Que hora es?" He looked at me like I'd just grown a second head. Oh!! I am starting to think in Spanish. Then the next day, I found a box from the post office with a college Spanish text book, workbook and flashcards from my daughter. She even sent her notes! With that and the books and flashcards I already have.... How can I miss learning? Now, all I have to do is slow down those fast-speaking Spaniards when I get to Spain!

In the past few days I have been a busy genealogist. I've written letters to the Spanish Consulates in San Francisco and Honolulu. I have documents from both offices and hope to find the same documents for the rest of our family. Again, I must learn Spanish and can only assume each consulate has translators. But of course, they must!

Then, I sent an email to my brother's friend, Ana, who now lives in Madrid. Her friend has a tour company. Both the venue and the occupation should be able to help me further. In the mix of working with what I can find, I have been trying to find out WHERE to go for the documents I can't find. I hope that will be a window of opportunity for my trip next summer.

And then to top it all, I received a Spanish document from another very generous shirt-tail cousin (I have decided we must be related vicariously through Felisa Silvan). This document was prepared by an attorney in January 1911 to prove her grandmother was a legitimate daughter of her parents along with all the legitimacy of their entire family --- in order to emigrate from Spain to Hawaii.... she will definitely be part of Manuela's Petals in the timeline, place and Hawaii.... It is dated 3 days after the same type of documents were prepared for my grandmother and her cousins in Fuentesauco.

Thrown into the mix, I have decided to continue working part time as Medicare Specialist for my employer for another year. By the time I REALLY retire, I will have worked for him 23 years. It will be hard to let go, but alas! i have a family to find.

Today, my niece gave birth to a little baby girl -- especially sweet since it is my son's 36th birthday! Oh, family! What on earth would we possibly do without that warmth and links? Which reminds me, I will be flying to Arkansas the end of the month and share special family time with a cousin I haven't seen since 1985.

It will be good to get away from all the weeds... two days of racing after them and ripping them to their death is enough for awhile. I yanked and tossed them aside until I couldn't move. So, I'll go pour a glass of wine and think good thoughts.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SPANISH and more

More progress on my Spanish genealogy meets me daily. I found a Spanish college student in northern Spain on Facebook (thanks for the suggestion, Rick P) but his slang makes it difficult to use (smile). I am listening to CNN in Spanish on the radio (not to much luck there but I catch "and, but and friend" sometimes... My daughter, Audrie, is sending me her Espanol college study workbook and textbook to go with several I already have. Maybe a Spanish class might be more helpful? I have a Spanish email account and can't figure out who to send emails to except my brother and cousin who both speak fluently and will not laugh at me....

Considerable frustration has followed my research for bango numbers. This is a number given to my Spanish ancestors when they worked on the sugar plantations in Hawaii. A friendly lady is helping me from the Kaua'i Historical Society. She tells me each time a worker moved from one plantation to another, they changed bango numbers (yipee) and it was before the time of social security numbers. Also, the numbers were anywhere from 2, 3 or 4 digits (2 = doctor, etc). So I am BELOW square one trying to find out which plantations my families worked on because bango-numbered disks had ever been heard or let alone saved in the family archives.

Setting aside just a bit of my frenetic family tree investigation for awhile as I wait for information to arrive in bits and pieces, I have spent the past week deeply entrenched in writing Manuela's Petals and I have already written 129 pages. It is an amazing journey for me and at the end of my writing day, I smile, wishing I could place the finished book in my grandmother's or my father's hands. Instead, their descendents will be part of it and that is exciting. Until then, more typing, more research and a trip to Spain lies ahead for me.

The village of my ancestors is Fuentesauco, Spain; 2010 population is less than 2000 people living in the tiny village. No hotels are listed on the internet, 107 miles northwest of Madrid. Excitement continues to mount. I'll sleep in the fields if I must (with my laptop of course).