Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gazing into our Spanish ancestor's windows

Today I feel like a true genealogist as I prepare my Manuela's Petals manuscript to breathe the timeline of events in our ancestor's history. The questions started bouncing through my mind and catapulted like a jar being filled with little colored marbles.
In 1911, were the streets of Fuentesauco, Spain made of dirt? Cobbled stones? Was blacktop invented yet? And when they arrived in Seville, Spain did that ancient city stun and awe them? Were the smells of the Guadalquiver River daunting? Were the city dwellers friendly to the ragtag bands of emigrants as they trudged toward the entrances to the ship? Were they cautious and a bit afraid to walk through that door and into the dark confines of a world they couldn't imagine? Did they weep at leaving their homeland and moreso to walk away from loved ones they knew they might never see again? How many wanted to turn around and go home before the ship set sailed?
And the psycological aspects! How many of our ancestors entered into Migration Mourning? There were seven (7) important losses of migration that must be processed... Loss of family and friends, their own language, their own culture, their land, their previous status, contact with the home group that provided their identity and the fear of physical risks. They had intense feelings of homesickness, uprooting, helplessness and fear of poverty.
My research is leading me to the life and times from 1911 through 1920, the years my book takes place. I will weave the mourning process and historical timelines within the pages of my book because I want to go beyond the places, people, ages and pedigree charts.
While our ancestors must have lived through their prolonged and intense stress which was really their mourning for so many parts of their lives, we must look beyond the pictures and documents. Getting to know them as if we are truly looking through their very real windows impels me into my research and each day I find a new dimension.
From 1907 to 1913, 7,702 Andalusians, first from Malaga, later from Gibraltar in six successive trips that included Spanish from the middle and north of the country and Portugal as well... made the trip our ancestors followed.
Many of the men never adapted or acclimated to America and paid the price by being lost all their life. The second generation fared better as they were American citizens upon birth in America. The integration into society for many of the old people was difficult and many fell along the wayside, earning money in the summer and being on welfare in the winter. Those that persevered, those that spoke English and those with the ability to negotiate with a businessman's mind would succeed. Many did not.
The window I want to look through is the one they left behind, not the one they showed others as they tried in vain to belong. I am third generation member of our Silvan and Ruiz family but with the research and interviews plus the pictures and documents I have amassed, I feel as if the first generation will soon be at my fingertips. What a miraculous journey over a very rocky ride!

Monday, May 23, 2011

THE Marriage Certificate

Today, gazing at the marriage certificate showing my Grandfather Bernardo Ruiz, age 23 and my Grandmother Manuela Silva(n), age 19 gave me goosebumps. Why is it when you read about history, talk about history and know historical facts that it is so different when you actually SEE history in a document such as this?
They were so young with so many dreams. How could they know they'd have 15 children, see 10 grow to adulthood and so many grandchildren would follow?
I feel completely filled up with the intensity and complex life they shared.
After a week on holiday, I am back to work again and following all the 'leads' for the real lives they led.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A new SILVAN link

Today, I had a very rewarding conversation with my father's first cousin, Dorothy Souza Petersen. She is the daughter of Theodora Silvan and John Souza. Theodora was my grandmother's cousin. All the links and familial stories, births, marriages, deaths and family lines. Dorothy told me stories of her mother and father about their lives in Hawaii and gave me the name of the village where her mother was born! A new lead. If only I could ask Scotty to BEAM ME UP to Kauai!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day for all the mothers in my family line

Today, on Mother's Day I smiled and counted all the mothers who came before me and mine. I thanked them silently for making me who I am today. Today, my mother posted a note on Facebook with a smiling picture of herself and her mother taken years ago. I thought about how much she missed her mother and could no longer tell her the little words that make our mother-hearts fill with pleasure. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

With that in mind, counted backwards in each family line...all the mothers before me (that have been far.)

SILVAN "mothers" - Manuela Silvan Trascasas (Ruiz), Eustoquia Rita Marzo Trascasas; Agustina Hernandez and Manuela Garcia Marzo.

RUIZ "mothers" - Rosa Ruiz Romero was my paternal great grandmother and Maria Rey was my paternal step-great grandmother, the woman who raised my grandfather.

CHUBB "mothers" - Ella Myrtle Chubb, Hattie Ann Bridge, Eliza Mianda Warren, Mary Ann Howe, Eliza Laycock, Pamelia Pattison, Relief Frisbie, Fannie Cook, Elizabeth Hatch, Phebe Ann Baker, Pamelia Knapp

HUBBARD "mothers" - Neyda Mae Hubbard (my mother), Delinda Ophelia Greene, Elizabeth Wood, Bethia Snow, Lucy Boltwood, Submit Graves, Christian Gunn, Anna Warner, Mary Meriam, Mary Bishop, Margaret Dewey, Helena Winsofar.

Then, me --- mother of three and my daughter, Audrie, is mother of one.
And the mothers of my grandchildren! The never-ending story! No wonder there's a day for mothers. I am delighted my brothers spent quality time with our mother today --- so much so that she's decided she'd like to decree that Mother's Day falls TWICE IN THE YEAR!

So, it is my pleasure to send UP the best Mother's Day wishes to those mothers I've listed and all the mothers I am yet to FIND in my genealogical quest... But not to forget my aunties, Audrie, Dorothy, Flora, Rose all laid to rest and those living still ~ Mary, Millie, Rita, Antoinette, Josephine and Carnie. Where would I be without all of you???

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clues from the CHUBB and SILVAN families

Recently, while visiting my mother, she showed me a very old autograph book that belonged to her grandfather, Ervin Lyle Chubb. The handwriting was delicate, descriptive and beautiful. The dates were between 1882-1884 from towns such as Monticello, Silver Creek and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Such a wonderful little book and easy to scan. Looking through the pages, we found three signatures listing themselves as brother and sisters with the last name of Pool. We had no idea what it could mean as her grandfather, Ervin, had no siblings with those names as far as we knew. Curiosity abounded and then we found a page signed Priscilla L. Chubb. More confusing as we knew Ervin's father had been married three times (Mary Ann Howe, Hannah Amy Griggs and Emma J. Royer Durrin). Who was Priscilla and who were these Pool children?

Ah ha! Back to ~ I typed Daisy Pool, 1884, Silver Creek, Minnesota and viola! I found Daisy and her sister (Nora) and two brothers (John and Ed) with their mother named Priscilla Pool, whose maiden name was Priscilla Battin. In the autograph book, she was Priscilla L. Chubb, so she had to have been Ervin's father's wife. Now, we knew James Dillon Chubb had four wives, not three so this was quite interesting and surprising!

In the paperwork from James Dillon Chubb's medical report, his grandson was interviewed and in the forms he said his grandfather had been married four times; Two wives died and one was a divorce. He married at age 21, 32, 42 and 65. So, narrowing down the age 42, we realized that Priscialla L. Battin Pool married James Dillon Chubb and proven on an 1885 census listing him, Priscilla and the four children. Wow! The puzzle pieces fell into place with a solid THUNK.

Now, my cousin and I are on the path (hopefully) toward finding Ervin's sister, Clara Myrtle. She has some wonderful connections, so I will jet off in another direction as she tosses each stone aside for answers.

On the SILVAN side of our family, I have found more cousins! Jerilyn is Christina and Eusebio Gonzales's great-granddaughter through her father, Dutch. Felix is their grandson and both have been delighting me with information, obituary information and cousin connections. I found out the Gonzales's worked in the EWA Plantation just outside Honolulu, Hawaii before coming to America. Felix shared the information and gave me some pointers to find documents there.

Then, on the Victorino and Ramona Souza side of the Silvan family, Jenifer contacted me and she's offered to get some answers to questions she will run by her grandmother, Dorothy, who is Victorino Silvan's granddaughter through his oldest daughter, Theodora. Jenifer's grandmother is one of Theodora and John Souza's children. Ah, how I love this family stuff!

I can hardly wait to update the family tree in and see our tree grow a few more inches!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Back from a wonderful visit with my family in Oregon, dodging rain drops, watching the Pacific Ocean roll over miles of gray sand, seeing the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Salt Works, hugging my son, my brothers, grandchildren and especially Mom and Dad. But as always, returning to our little neck of the woods in the country was wonderful too.

During our time away, I had access to my eMail and the surprising moments of being contacted by two more Silvan family members! I received an obituary from one for Eusebio Gonzales, Jr., a brief history and his visit-to-Hawaii story from another and the moments go on and on. When someone 'finds' me through the web site, I am always amazed and smile, smile, smile. Thank you so much for great information from anyone and everyone who finds the STEELE Family Tree. I have incorporated so many family lines inside the tree, that I feel so blessed when people reach out.

While in Portland, with Tess's (my cousin) excellent investigative prowess, I was able to find gravestones for family members from the past and her greatest find: An approximate site where the cremated remains rested for our great great grandfather, James Dillon Chubb -- Mom and I were given a map of the Lincoln Memorial Mausoleum and were told his ashes were in the ROSE aisle "right by the front door."

Winding our way around the cemetery roads, we arrived at the wrong door, but unknowingly, we proceeded to look on every wall along the quiet and seemingly empty mausoleum. I'd never been inside one before and not sure I ever want to return... There were five (5) floors to this massive building, quiet as a tomb (exactly!) with walls and walls of hallways and flowers sitting in tiny niches near the names of thousands (I kid you not) of resting bones. We wandered around, climbed stairs to the level below and craned our necks to read all the names. Then we found another door and thought we'd finally found the ROSE aisle but no, we did not. I finally left Mom on floor two and walked downward (73 steps) three (3) more levels and thought my eyes were being pulled from my head as I tried to read, read, read those names on all the marble hallways and in the 'ashes' boxes. I found the ROSE aisle and the little cubicles were as high as the very tall ceiling but would not give up! Tess and I had wondered for too long where our ancestor's ashes were! She gave me so many possibilities. and I could not let her or Mom (or me!) down... I'd already walked miles and miles of marble hallways and the quiet was overpowering.

The quiet mausoleum started to work on my worry bone, wondering what I would do if someone was there and nobody could hear my scream? Yes, my mind was sprawling in several directions...and then I espied a man on a very tall ladder who pointed to the ROSE aisle and then began to get testy when I kept asking him where, oh where or where??! Finally, he came off the ladder and told me I'd NEVER find the ashes without the map. What map? He was horrified to hear all we were told was the ROSE aisle. Period. He became my dear friend from the moment he hiked out to his truck, pulled out a giant 3-ring binder, looked up the number on the funeral card I held in my hand and then walked me around until he found him!! He pulled his very tall ladder over, climbed upward and said, "Here he is." I was ecstatic (yes, Mom was still upstairs on floor 2 but I couldn't leave the one person I found or let him out of my site.

He climbed up the ladder, confirmed James D. Chubb and I grinned like an idiot. I asked him, "May I please take a picture?" He said, "No." I was bitterly disappointed until he smiled at me crookedly and followed with, "But I can do it for you." I nearly skipped back up those millions (by now, they had multiplied I think) of steps to find Mom back in the car. When I told her the story and ended with the picture for her to see, we were both grinning like idiots (we are related you see) and couldn't wait to get back home to shoot off the picture to my cousin, Tess! We were all delighted and I must say, it was a day to remember! I have not attached a picture of the ashes in deference to the other three boxes in the cubicle and the descendents they left behind.