Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Silvan Marriage LOST & FOUND ~

NOTE: If anyone who reads this blog has problems finding my most recent post (a friend just told me he had the problem) --- Once you open the home page of my blog, scroll down and you will see Blog Archives on the left with dates below it. Just click on the most recent to catch up and go down from there --- or start old and end new. :)
Imagine my frustration and anxiety while writing Manuela's Petals as I (and Vicki) research every avenue in Hawaii trying to find out WHEN her grandparents (Theodora Silvan and John Souza) married so it will fit into my timeline when grandma was in Hawaii, ready to sail to San Francisco. Museums, Historical Societies, Vital Statistics, Census Lists, Church records -- several churches and so many people to no avail... Until finally, a wonderful lady named Carmen in Kapa'a called last night in response to me "you are my last resort letter" to tell me she was Faxing me all she had on record at St. Catherine's for the old St. Sylvester's Church...
Six baptismal records came through and I was only a little disappointed to see they were children of John Souza's brothers (Manuel and Jose). The good news was each baptismal card listed mother, father and Godparents. So, I began to input all the information into my www.ancestry.com records. Carmen told me they may have had a civil ceremony if they couldn't show their own baptismal records... so no wonder I couldn't find records in a church!
That was the good news. The REALLY GOOD news came when I got to the last one. It was different because it listed John Souza as Godfather but unlike the previous five cards that listed husband and wife Godparents, this one listed the Godmother as one of the sisters in law. I sat there, knowing I was seeing something but not seeing it until the lightning bolt slapped me silly. John Souza wasn't married yet on March 15, 1919. I scrambled into my genealogical file and found his first daughter (Josephine) was born February 4, 1920 --- so I counted backward (I am positive babies took nine months even then :)) I was able to narrow down their marriage date to the 3rd week of March up to the end of April 1919. OMG, I felt light as a feather and shot off an email to Vicki, who has agonized over this information along with me...and will be thrilled! Oh, my investigative expertise amazes me and it's such fun. Like my cousin, Tess, the excitement is in the FINDING...
So, now back to Manuela's Petals and write, write, write...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Treasure Box just waiting to be opened!

The term 'waiting on pins and needles' has always made me smile. Who would do such a thing anyway? Accidentally maybe... but on purpose? I'm rethinking the scenario today as I scratch off the days until this coming weekend. That's the number of days before I will know what is in the treasure box that has been stashed on a shelf in cousin Dorothy's house! Her granddaughter and daughter will gaze inside the box with her this weekend. Her grandsons visited her a few days ago, pulled it down for her, placing it in a place where she could seek and enjoy the depths without the fears of falling off the ladder to do so.
As I think about it, I keep coming back to the main theme I have had with my cousin, Vicki G., for many months! WHEN and WHERE did her grandmother and grandfather marry in Hawaii all those years ago? It is imperative to my book so I can craft the timeline into my own grandmother's story, Manuela's Petals. Could the information be in the box? Pictures? Documents?
The art and fun of genealogy continues to grip me in its wondrous grasp. Even though continuing to research the Silvan history is on the back burner until I find more information during my trip to Spain next Spring, I get so excited with every tiny gem of information I receive NOW.
Then, there's the Chubb and Hubbard family on my mother's side...My cousin, Tess, and I continue to blend our findings and she's a whiz on the phone...receiving wonderful facts and new information all the time. Last week, I received two emails from strangers who turned out to be my first cousins! On www.ancestry.com the family trees do not always post a name, so a contact email goes out into the universe asking how I am related! Wonders will never cease in this endeavor. How can anyone NOT want to know about their family history!!?
I've taken a few side trips from genealogy the past couple of weeks though. I have become a mulch spreader, a tractor driver, a weed puller, an editor and a point counter from a Weight Watcher's book. (Thanks, Sophia!)
Life is good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Genealogical "irons in the fire"

My new, white 4" x 6" cards are prepared, tabs list surnames and each card includes the name of a family member who is or has helped me along the journey prying loose ancestors, pictures, stories and documents. Ah. All organized (again) and it is with great excitement that I am able to add activity notes and as I see pictures attached to names, my heart soars. I also have a tab for HELPERS -- strangers willing to fuel my fire!
In the past two days, I have had several pieces of information flow through cyberspace and into my hands and I am most anxious for USPS packets to arrive as well. There are so many wonderful people (related or strangers) who have helped fill in the historical blanks and I continue to feel amazed at their generosity and heartfelt wish to share their 'loot' with me.
Today, I am holding my breath... Two grandsons are visiting a grandmother in California who has a box on a high shelf she cannot reach. We are waiting with bated breath to find out WHAT IS INSIDE!? Could it be marriage certificate copies? Pictures? Letters? Each cousin that is touched by our quest seems to jump into action, hoping to look through the historical lens of the camera we hold, ready to snap, snap and snap some more ---
As I updated our family tree on www.ancestry.com today, I jump-started myself again as I study census information listing family members, places they lived, neighbors nearby and follow with pictures for these shadowy people I am just meeting from the distant past.
Victoria Gonzales Webber is my father's first cousin. She is 93 years old and very sharp and delightful. She is just one of the members of that generation who is anxious for my quest to continue. She asked me if I knew when her grandmother, Agustina Hernandez, died? One of my priory questions to get answered when I walk the roads into Fuentesauco, Spain. One of the answers among many I hope to jot into my genealogy archive notebook. What fun to share my findings with so many when I return. My focus is on the SPRING of 2012 and Spain here I come!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tess found G.A.R.

In my last posting, my cousin, Tess, and I were puzzled. There was a wooden sign posted before the Chubb cemetery headstones showing G.A.R. We could not find any family members through marriage with the last name beginning with R. Stumped, she diligently researched and she found it! I was happy to see her results today!
Our Chubb ancestors were a group of people whom we are very proud of. Some fought in the Civil War, some lived through it and others died for the cause. Some ran an illicit underground railroad and upon their death, their daughter carried it forward -- all believing, as I do, in the rights of everyone regardless of color, sex or otherwise. This was thrilling to learn.
The G.A.R. as Tess noted is very special. Her findings: The G.A.R. isn't a "who" --- it's a "what." The G.A.R. is the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1866, Union Veterans of the Civil War organized into the G.A.R. The website is http://www.suvcw.org ~ The site has a wealth of information and it put another solid notch in our Chubb relatives esteem.
Thank you, Tess, for your perseverence! We are having such good fun and interesting findings in our searches. AND, we are finding family members from various family lines that cause us to constantly smile and jump up and down with the thrill of it all.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some CHUBB mysteries solved


When I received the large envelope from my cousin, Tess, yesterday my fingers itched to open it and find out what was inside. Hey! A wealth of information and copies of the pages from the Chubb Family Bible lay inside along with family history pedigree sheets. And three mysteries were solved!
1 ~ Clara Myrtle Chubb Young had a child named Juanita that I could not 'find' after they moved from Minnesota and moved to Oregon in the early 1900s. Mystery solved: Alta Juanita died when she was 9 years old in Portland, Oregon. Though, we do not know the cause of death and I was saddened to read of it since it mimicked history for me and my own child's age at her death, i was glad to have the answer.
2 ~ One mystery generated another. In documents and census information I have found, Clara and Robert Young's first son was named Robert L. Young, presumably after his father. In the Chubb Family Bible, he is listed as Roscoe Lyle Young, same birthdate as Robert L. ????
3 ~ Hannah Amy Griggs was the mother of Clara Myrtle Chubb and wife of James Dillon Chubb. The marriage date (April 7, 1868) and place (Des Moines, Minnesota) was listed in the bible as well as the date she died giving birth to a baby girl, stillborn - January 11, 1878.
Of course, with all this great information compiled by another cousin (Nancy), more questions emerge... There's another child born to Clara Myrtle Chubb Young and her husband, Robert L. in Portland, Oregon named Violet, born about December 1909. The elusive Clara Myrtle has left so many stepping stones but we are all still slipping as we jump forward and fall backward just a bit with each new answer!
The pictures we now have of the Chubb cemetery inhabitants are overwhelming ....but now Tess and i wonder who G.A.R. could be? More research...so we can get more answers... We just hope the questions lighten up! :)

Victorina Gonzales - a 93-year old wonder

As I gather names, addresses and phone numbers from heretofore unknown family members while researching into family archives, I sent a letter to Victorina in February, 2011 all the way to Oahu in Hawaii. By mid-June, I had given up my look-see in my mail box, knowing she was old and possibly unable to correspond. Her mother was Cristencia Silvan Gonzales (Christina), my great aunt who was part of the Spanish exodus from Fuentesauco with my grandmother and their family. She hadn't forgotten! She called from Hawaii and I was delighted to hear her voice. Victorina was one of two living children from that marriage. Old? Unable to correspond? What a hoot. She was wonderful, concise in her memories, humorous, overall delightful and to the point. My phone interview took on a world of its own with my pen poised.
Victoria, as she is called, gave me moving insights into the lives of my grandmother, Manuela, (whom she called Mildred -- the Americanized translation) and my great grandparents. Great stories and laughter-filled memories. When I asked her --- as I've asked every member of the family I have 'met' so far, if she knew Uncle Victorino and Aunt Ramona Silvan --- when nobody else ever heard of them..... she chuckled. "Yes, they were my godparents and I knew them well." I was stunned. Amazing contacts --- as my cousin (Tess) and fellow family historian told me several times, "You just never know what you will find, when or where and from whom... keep digging!"
Victoria remembers translating letters for her mother when she (Christina) received letters from her brother, Geronimo --- the infamous brother that took me nearly two years to find and just recently received a picture of..... Sadly, nobody has even one of those letters. All we know is that Christina begged Geronimo to leave Spain and join the families in California... she kept the letters in a pocketbook purse on a hook in her closet all those years ago...
As we spoke of family, Spain, Hawaii, her life and the lives of our ancestors, she asked me about the children's book she'd heard I had written. What? How had she heard of this....? A book I'd written and edited a hundred times in the past 25 years... but never published. She told me to get to it... and she wanted to buy two of the books. No charge... I told her I'd just mail them to her and she said, "If I can't buy them, I don't want them." She is a fiesty and lovely old lady whom I'd dearly love to sit down and talk with personally.
For now, she pushed me into action and I published GOODBYE BALLOON --- Illustrations will be in the second edition -- as I have an out-of-the-box (thanks, Becky for the idea) thought on that. Until then, I am smiling at Victoria's input --- between her push and my new friend's push (another PSteele) I am also looking over another unfinished manuscript about my daughter, Christina (Chrissy)...not knowing I had a great Aunt Christina of my own. Life is filled with losses and finds and I am trying to focus on the finds to get me through the losses.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Genealogical kindred spirits abound!

Where has this genealogical sparkle been all my life?! This past week, I have received emails from several sources and not all directly related but thrilling contacts nevertheless.
1. Julianne H. found me while she browsed the www.ancestry.com message boards. She had a detailed list of the SS Heliopolis ship's manifest from the first immigrant sailing from Spain in 1907. My ancestors were not on that ship, but the information was boundless and has encouraged me to detail the SS Orteric's manifestinstead of my squinting at each page while looking at the pages for detailed information and passenger names. Thank you, Julianne!
2. Jenifer A. is related to me from afar. Her grandmother is Theodora Silvan Souza's daughter, Dorothy, age 83. Dorothy and I have had some wonderful, long conversations and I smile when I remember how happy she was to reminisce about her youth, her mother, father, their lives together and her life as an adult. We have hopes up that a box she is anxious to open and riffle through may have some Silvan information, especially marriage date and documents from her parent's marriage in Hawaii. All we know is it was early 1919 or earlier.. Their first child (Dorothy's older sister) was Josephine, born April 1920. Jenifer has been a wonderful help as we research and gather the Souza history. Jenifer also found me on www.ancestry.com when she input her family names and my family tree information popped up for her. Sharing the pictures and documents from my tree with her family was a wonderful event for her and for them.
3. Jeanne! She also found me on www.ancestry.com and the criss-crossing avenues from me to her is pretty amazing. My great-great-grandfather James Dillon Chubb was married to her great-great-grandmother -- They divorced to each remarry again. When I was last in Oregon, my mother showed me an old autograph book (1884+) that belonged to her grandfather, Ervin Lyle Chubb -- Inside the book, we found pages listing family members named 'Pool' and they signed as brother and sisters. Then, we found Priscilla L. Chubb and knew she must be married to James D Chubb --- a wife we had never heard of. It added adventure and surprise to our wandering through their family history and Jeanne found me through this blog when the names popped up. How amazing is that? She's shared pictures of Priscilla and her family tree on www.ancestry.com with me and I am so appreciative for that!
4. Cindy S. found my posting about the SS Willesden on www.rootsweb.com -- Another kindred spirit who lives in Utah and she's looking up family history for a friend as a favor! She was excited to read that I had the Spanish poster that lured the Portuguese and Spaniards to the Hawaiian sugar fields and I was happy to email it to her.
5. Judy A. found me by googling her family name or the village of Fuentesauco and my blog popped up. HER GRANDPARENTS WERE ALSO BORN IN FUENTESAUCO!! She and her mother and daughter traveled to the little town in 2006 and I am more than hopeful to talk with her to bombard her with questions about what she saw, who she spoke to, if she found documents relating to her grandmother and where she found them....
A fresh new week ahead. I wonder what stunning results I will find and whether I will 'meet' any more wonderful genealogical kindred spirits along the way?!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Will I ever think in Spanish?

Spanish language and Spain have been dodging around in my head all my life but as my travel plans steadily mount toward actually standing on Spanish soil, I feel adrift because I have to catch up! My book shelves are heavy with Spanish-informational tomes listing places, history, people, traveling ideas and dictionaries. Pictures of my Spanish ancestors litter the tables and I remind myself I am only half Spanish, but feel the tug of those ancestor's homeland like a restrained puppy on a leash and I want to chase that squirrel!
This week, I took the bold step of buying a Spanish language program called the Rosetta Stone. It sounded impressive, rich and promising. With the program in my hands, I asked the salesman how long before I speak fluently? His lips twitched before he pinched them with his finger and thumb, trying not to laugh. Huh? No guarantee,? I asked. LOL -- Well, now the work begins. With my estimate, my trip has now been pushed out to the Spring of 2012. That should give me time to study, conjugate, memorize and eventually think in Spanish.
Of course, I have always been a dreamer. My glasses have always been rose colored. There are always adventures upon each horizon. And my dreamer-mentality has usually made my life what it is today. Sure, there are bumps on the horizons, some extremely big ones, but I just put those rosy glasses on again. I wonder if I can read the language program through the pink haze? Of course I can! Between Esteben, mi hermano (brother) and Ramona, mi primo carnal (first cousin) both speaking fluently, I plan to converse with them (when I'm ready....) Oooops, those glasses slipped... I plan to converse with them one day soon :)