Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Silvan story continues to develop

This week, I have spoken with two other descendents of the Silvan cluster of relatives to listen to new stories about my great grandparents that have given more life to these people. So often, we see the name, date of birth, date of marriage, children, siblings and date of death without feeling we have actually met them. As I dig deeper into the family history, they come alive through the stories, the food they ate, the songs they sang, the places they lived and before long, they aren't just names anymore.

Some stories are great to hear, others not so much. There were quite a few womanizers in the family who 'made' children, only to leave them, tossing them out of their lives. Others clung to their families and hugged children close. However, in the older days of the early 1900 generation, the hugging was not as abundant as the later generations enjoyed. I am curious about it and wonder if it was because they worked so hard earning food for the table? Because their parents didn't hug them close? Huh. I can't quite understand it and maybe more of these stories will surface to answer my curiosity. Until then, I am fleshing out the family and find I like most of them!

In two weeks, I will be at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and hope to find documents for the Hubbard and Chubb families. These ancestors are on my mother's side of the family and I am proud to say they included men and women who walked that extra mile by heading up the Underground Railroad during the civil war and others who fought and died in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War before that. I find that everyone has some wonderful heritage to learn about once you dig in and just look. And I am looking ~

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I am breathless with overwhelming gratitude to cousins who have reached out to send me pictures of ancestors. I find that the word, giddy, is the only one I can come up with that explains my feelings at this point. GIDDY, GIDDY, GIDDY.

A cousin, many times removed, found me on the web site a few days ago. She reached out and I responded --- telling her how we were related and about the pictures I hope to get some day. TODAY, she sent me an email filled with pictures and the one that made me tear up was one of GERONIMO SILVAN HERNANDEZ ~ At last. It was a picture I have ached for over the past months... She sent many others and I loved them all but this one... AMAZING. We have agreed to collaborate and exchange pictures and documents. She is just beginning to create her family tree and I'm happy to help. Julie is the great great granddaughter to Cristencia Silvan Gonzales. She can hardly wait to get a copy of the family tree as we've been able to GROW it so far. And I will send it soon....

And I hope to receive a CD and pictures from Linda, a Silvan cousin soon! Every day is an adventure and I can hardly wait for the sun to rise each day to see what I'll find on email or my postal box. Smiling all around the house, PS

Friday, February 18, 2011


Imagine my delight when I found a page on that brings up a wealth of information with just a name in a little box I hadn't ever tried...I typed AGUSTIN SILVAN HERNANDEZ. (He was my great grandfather Juan Francisco Silvan Hernandez's brother whom I understood went "to South America somewhere....." when the other three siblings sailed from Spain to Hawaii and later to California.) Finding him, I knew, was a daunting task and one I doubted I would even begin. I'd found the other brother, Geronimo Silvan Hernandez, and his wife Joaquina on a ship sailing to Spain from Cuba in 1931..... but Agustin? A mystery that would probably remain a mystery...... UNTIL TODAY!!!

We know in the early 1900s that correspondence was nearly impossible. And if one didn't read or write, it was absolutely iimpossible to connect to family who'd left the homeland.
After finding Geronimo, I knew he and his wife had sailed to Cuba to work in sugar cane fields either on their way to America or to work and return to Spain. They did, indeed, return to Spain as proven by the MANUEL CALVO ship manifest in 1931.

But Agustin? I am giddy again. I found the ship manifest ~ He was shown as male, single, did not read or write, born in 1887 and he was from Zamora, listing his full name Agustin Silvan Hernandez. He sailed from Havana, Cuba (from working in the sugar cane fields?) in 1930 on the CRISTOBAL COLON to Coruna, Spain via New York. Big Sigh....

This tells me both brothers returned to Spain one year apart, probably returning to their home village of Fuentesauco. Now, if I can just find a ship arriving in Coruna, Spain to follow him home! For now, I am happy to have found him at all.

AND today I was already in thrill-mode after receiving a copy of my Abuelita Manuela Silvan's marriage certificate to my grandfather Bernardo Romero Ruiz... again -- she thought she was 19 when she married him, but alas! With the inability to read or write, she always thought she was born June 24, 1900 when in truth she was born June 25, 1901.... Ah, back to the search!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My LIAISON in California ~ Genealogy Rocks~

Today, I am trying to curb wild anticipation as the adventure of the hunt bubbles out of me all over again. One of my new-found cousins (John) and his wife (Linda) live in Colorado. Happily driving away from 12 inches of snow and 17 degrees below zero weather - COLD, they arrived in California where Linda tells me she was stunned to see people mowing lawns! She was digging around, hoping she put a short-sleeve T-shirt in her luggage..... when she called me last night.....It was 72 degrees ABOVE zero in California. She has been an avid hunter with me to help me round up ancestors,; they both shared family stories, pictures and a family connection.

Now, in California, she's offered to be a liaison between our many relatives to gather more stories, snap pictures of pictures or scan and print pictures while trying to keep names of people with their respective parents and the grandchildren in between. She is amazing and my heart whispers a mantra, 'thank you thank you thank you thank you....' amidst our conversations and her excitement runs in tandem with my own.

The lovely new people we find when on a quest to dig back into our family history never ceases to amaze me and their hopeful wish to fill in all our blanks makes me SMILE. You rock, Linda!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be cautious ~ can trick you is a wonderful tool to track ancestors and the new WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE television program makes it more exciting. It also deludes one into thinking it's all there and true. However, over the past week, I have been reminded of something my cousin, Tess, told me some months ago. People input information even if they don't know if it's true and copy family trees just because.

For real! The past couple of days, I wanted to clean up my home page on For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program, I'll briefly explain. When the program 'sees' a family ancestor's name, it tries to match it with documents and other people's family trees. When a little leaf flaps in the breeze by an ancestor's name, you know it's hinting there's information just waiting for you.... So, you click on the leaf and viola! Documents, census, marriage, birth and death lists AND other people's family trees who are looking, looking, looking just like you. I have FOUND many distant relations of my ancestors..a gold mine.

HOWEVER, some people tend to ignore many facts and just copy other family trees into their own. There are many checks and re-checks to make sure the person is truly YOUR ancestor. Then, once you are sure, you look at their spouse, the ages, where they were born or lived and their children. I shake my head as I think back on the past couple of days and remember there are some family trees who have copied or added impractical information. For example, there are children listed who are born before the marriage by 20 years (which can occur.....) or the children are born after the mother or father's date of death. Or one child is born in Ohio and all the other children are born in Vermont and every census attached shows Vermont. Upon a closer look, you might find that child born in Ohio has the same name but nothing else matches. So I am very, very, very careful to only add family members who make sense! Yes, I may make errors but plausible ones.

On the exciting finds though, there is an ancestor on my mother's paternal side named Isiah Hubbard. He was a Revolutionary War Patriot and is buried about ten miles from where I lived in Ohio in the 1970s. And the name of the town he was buried in? HUBBARD, OHIO ~ You'd think it might have piqued my curiosity at the time, wouldn't you? AND a relative posted a last Will and Testament of an ancestor that was thrilling to read over and over again! Now, back at it...there may be something just waiting for me to find ~

Friday, February 4, 2011

Extending the Family Tree

I have found that once you begin your family tree, branches keep growing in so many directions that you wonder how it all fits the puzzle. Starting with me growing from my father and mother, then their parents, their parents, their parents and all their siblings and children in between makes my heart race.

My main focus has been the SILVAN and RUIZ families because I am writing a book about Abuelita (Grandma Manuela Silvan Ruiz) and her emigration from Spain with her family as a young girl not quite 10 years old in 1911. But while pedaling backwards, it is impossible to create the pedigree (family tree limbs) chart without darting in all directions.

There are the Chubbs and Hubbards. Then there are the Hobarts who are really the Hubbards before the name was Americanized. Then the Hubbarde family, again our line with an added 'e' at the end. Following them from England across the sea to Massachusetts created such excitement within me! Could they have been on the Mayflower? I wondered.

This has lead to a date in Washington, D.C. next month with my friend (from England herself) and the possiblity of traipsing through the Library of Congress to find specific records of our ancestors. She will check her family, PARKE and I'll check HUBBARD/HOBART/HUBBARDE. I've been told once we pass through security at the Library of Congress all I can take into the archival room is a pencil and pad of paper. No phone, no purse, nothing. At least with that small bounty, I won't have to worry about forgetting anything when I leave. LOL

Ah, the quest is a never-ending story and I am enjoying it whole heartedly.