Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Friday, December 31, 2010

More adventure just around the corner

Those Christmas gifts are a recent, but lovely memory. The desserts included Pumpkin Fudge, Cranberry & Wine Nut Chutney, Thumbprint cookies filled with strawberry jam and marmalade, Pecan Pastries, Chocolate Fudge, Pumpkin and Banana Muffins, Pumpkin Cake and now they are all fighting for space on my butt. Ah, Christmas, the end of December and the New Year's promise of adventures to follow.

The fluffy, white snow and roof's icicles are melting slowly and my husband is building steps outside --- gloves, stocking hat and snow boots fight the cold but he perseveres. Cold in Virginia is like no other, I think; the blue sky and birds flitting around our feeders in the back gardens belie the fact that snow lingers, quietly but firmly everywhere.

A new year and more new family to find! Since Grandma birthed 15 children, but saw only 12 live to adulthood, it is no wonder that the number of grandchildren would have spiked the Guiness Book of Records if they'd been registered. As a Grandma of four lovely children myself, it still amazes me that my Grandmother knew each of our names and made us feel special and loved. Her eyes used to light up when we entered the room and her smile made us feel we were her only grandchild. How does a woman do that, I wonder? Could I ever measure up to my grandmother, whose very memory evokes an immediate smile to my face and heart? I must find the rest of those children and share their miles of memories.

As we proceed into the new year of 2011, I will not make resolutions because I never keep them more than a week. Instead, I will work on my grandmotherhood, my research into family history, eat less, smile more and acknowledge the blessings that whisper over my heart.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Meeting" Great Aunt Mary Silvan again

I am smiling again. In yesterday's mailbox, I found a Christmas card from my cousin, Lucinda W. Inside the card was the sweet, smiling face of my Great Aunt Mary, whom I had only met over the telephone a month before she passed away. Along with her memorial picture was the memory card from her funeral and a most beautiful poem. I felt so in touch with the lady and happy to have her picture for our family history pages. Mary Louise Silvan was only 82 years old and that one short conversation sparked a connection that warmed my heart. I know her children will miss her, knowing and loving her. I will miss her because I was so anxious to get to know her. Uncle Celestino Silvan's widow. It was ironic that I was able to speak with her at all.

And the research resumes! I just watched the DVD, GOLDEN DOOR, about immigrants making the decision to leave their poor country, sailing on a ship when they'd never seen the ocean or a ship, and arriving in Ellis Island to face insurmountable odds to remain in the new world.. The movie helped me SEE reality and it helped define the realities in Manuela's Petals as I continue to write, learn, write, learn, research and write again. They were so brave to leave everyone and everything they'd ever known for someplace they couldn't imagine across that watery trip.

A new year is before us and I have great hopes of learning, meeting, writing and finishing my story about Grandma and the saga beyond. Come on 2011 ~

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My cookbook, COOKING DRUNK is on the shelves in the wine department at Lambs on Scholls in Tigard, Oregon. It is an exciting addition to my day and makes me giddy to see it in their wine department. Thank you, Joseph ---- for marketing this for me!
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More help from strangers on our family history quest

Christmas trees are alive with globes and tinsel, people are racing to scratch off their To Do lists, but hopefully there are many of you who are just watching, enjoying and thinking about this glorious season and smiling at it all.... I certainly am.

But, my addiction to Genealogy lingers.....One never knows where help will come from and I am always surprised and feel blessed that these few want to help so many... This week, I received an email from an unlikely place -- Hawaii... from a reverend. After learning my great Aunt Maria (Mary) was born in Kapaa, Hawaii..Reverend Shirley B. from Kauai was willing to step up with some research sites. I was delighted with my findings and may soon know some more answers.

Now, my great Aunt Maria was actually the SECOND Maria that great grandmother Rita Silvan birthed. The first Maria was stillborn between 1912 and 1913. And Aunt Maria Silvan was born in 1914. So, between church archives, museum archives and Hawaiian archives, I hope to soon put my hands on the FIRST Maria's birth and death certificate. I believe my great grandmother Rita wanted a child named, Maria, so hence, the second child born in Hawaii bore that name. I have been told that all Catholic families usually have a MARY in the family....and her heart must have been set on it.

My second surprise was Tandrea K. on I hope to connect with her again soon to discuss her mother, Roberta (Bobby) H. Tandrea's grandmother was my great Aunt Juanita Silvan. I cannot stop smiling as I recount all the lovely new family members in my midst, far away and never met, but with the closeness of the unquenchable internet, connections are made and so sweet!

So, I will ponder my next steps and continue plugging through the many miles of notes and information as I sift, sift, read, enjoy and write it all down. OH, also --- be sure to get the DVD titled, GOLDEN DOOR. It is a pure and real movie about immigrants and their trials and tribulations. It has been very helpful with my narrative in MANUELA'S PETALS...
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Digging into family history once again ~

The packet of papers and pictures are now spread over my desk. Images drawn in my head from my conversation with a new-found cousin, Rose Marie, flit around in my brain with such a clamor, I know I must get them down on paper quickly before they slide away. So, adjustments have been made to text as I weave her memories and stories into Manuela's Petals in such a way to flow from one to the other. Oh! Hearing her memories of a shadow grandparent, whom she remembers so clearly brushes warmth over my heart. Her grandmother was my great grandmother, Eustoquia RITA Marzo Trascasas. Rosie brought her alive for me and gave me insight into her life in Spain with her mother, my great-great grandmother, Manuela Marzo Garcia. My heart clenched as she told me some sad times and family history information; such as grandma Manuela Marzo's fight with Diabetes and the amputation of one leg. Her second marriage to grandma Rita's step father......

As in all the family history I glean out of so many new members of the outreach of family, I have more questions. When did grandma Rita's father die? How old was he? How did he die? Where is he buried? Who was her step father, his name and where did they live? So, I am again 'back in the saddle' learning and digging, hoping my trip to Spain will give me the answers.

It was fun to find out that my great grandfather worked in the bull ring! He rode a horse into the ring after the bull was killed and pulled it out for the butchers, waiting in wagons outside the fences. And my great grandmother was a seamstress, who sewed matador's costumes that were called suits of lights. I sit here filled with amazement, anxious to add more and more to my story. It just keeps getting better, broader, thicker, deeper and so much sweeter with each new family member I find who is willing to share their memories and hearts with me. Thank you, Rosie!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blessed with more family

I just returned from a wonderful, family-filled Thanksgiving holiday in Oregon, so no postings for awhile. Not that my mind didn't careen back and forth between where I was and the genealogy research from time to time! Imagine my delight when I arrived home with a stack of mail that includes surprises and new information.....

My cousin returned from Hawaii with a fund of information from Kauai as he and his wife tried to find sugar plantation information. He sent me a book and forms for document retrieval. It is such a wonderful world when so many want to help so much. Thanks Frank and Scottie!

Another nice packet of information waited from the daughter of one of my grandmother's siblings; Rose Marie is Maria (Mary) Silvan Cuellar's daughter and it was like a party as I opened each piece of paper inside! She reminisced with stories of her Aunt (Tia) Manuela --- (my grandmother) as well as stories about my Bisabuelo (great grandfather) Juan Silvan and my Bisabuela (great grandmother) Rita Marzo Silvan. Within the stories and family information, I found new facts! One supported my findings that Grandma Rita lost a child in Hawaii, a stillborn. When my Grandmother Manuela was 12 years old (2 years after landing in Hawaii from Spain) a family photograph was taken with her and 2 brothers (Agustin and Jose) and parents. In Grandma Rita's arms was a child named Mary but I knew after careful research it wasn't my Great Aunt Mary Silvan, but another Mary. Rose Marie's information confirmed it! Though the child in Grandma Rita's arms was also named Mary, it was quite a puzzle. Answer: Mary Souza, the child of family friends in Hawaii. Mary Souza's Uncle John Souza would later marry Grandma Manuela's cousin, Teodora Silvan! I now believe 'investigating' is in my blood.... It is time consuming but so very satisfying.

Still hoping for pictures from Great Aunt Cristencia's daughter, Theresa as well as information from Anthony Martin, Jr. and his sister Janet. Another letter came from my cousin, Cindy, who was Aunt Rose's daughter --- she will send me information soon. And hope for information from Lucinda Silvan... Uncle Cel's daughter... My mind is full of names and relationships!

And while I was in Oregon, my brother (Esteban) Steven showed me his pictures taken last June 2009 in Spain --- all 592 of them and yes! I downloaded them and can use some in my book. Panoramic vistas tell a story all by themselves. And then, Andalucia, Malaga, Campanillas, Los Nunez, Almogia..... the villages and towns never end. So, hopefully in June of 2011 we can add Fuentesauco, Toro and Seville to the load of pictures and I can finish my book about Grandma!
Cold here. JD blowing leaves for days on end. Fighting with a new computer. Life is fabulous.