Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Friday, April 27, 2012


As the days move forward and my friend, Steven A., painstakingly transcribes the Orteric manifest going backwards, he's bringing these people back to life.  Immigrants who left so much to go so far to an unknown.  Immigrants who (mostly) never saw their Spanish soil or loved ones left behind for the rest of their lives.  Immigrants who took their love of agriculture, honed it, treasured it and taught its importance to the children that came after the Orteric's sailing in 1911. 

Deciphering the names written on the manifest, sometimes (possibly) in haste and often by ear as the manifest seaman 'heard' the names and wrote it the way he thought best.  These people all had to have legal papers to board the ship so it astounds me at times, why the names were skewed so badly in the transcription process.  Steve A. reminded me how easy it is to misinterpret Spanish words when we hear them, often pronouncing them phonetically vs. the written word.  I know I've gotten myself in trouble trying to remember a word that really means something completely different and I had a red face.....

Steve A. seems to be taking each of our ancestors and shaking loose their stories, their family members and who they left behind with a calm and curious need to make it right.  My sincere thanks for his undertaking a project I began some time ago...he is making it happen.  He is 'walking among the immigrants' on the ship, listening to them, watching them, seeing them.  He is feeling their pain and joy.  He sees names appear at Gibraltar and then disappear upon Hawaiian shores.  Did they die?  Did they not board in Gibraltar after all?  Did they skip past the name taker in Honolulu?  Then, there are the babies who were born at sea; those who died and had a watery burial.  So many stories and so many people wanting a better life.  And we are part of what they began.

This meandering through the crowds on the Orteric has snapped back my burning desire to find these people and leave the corrected names behind for others like us to follow their ancestor's path.  The full list will eventually be found on Google Docs for the public to enjoy, research and have for their own genealogy.  Thank you, Steven ~  Even though this ship and the others sailed 100 years ago, you are making it seem like the watery trip was yesterday. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spain is calling in my dreams

How many times are we kept awake in the night with random thoughts that just will NOT go away? Last night, I was in Spain poking around the cemetery in Fuentesauco. I was lifting vines, moving weeds and gripping my camera with the hope of finding those gravestones I have dreamed of. The gravestones were in disarray, they were rained smooth so I had my magnifying glass close to the etchings, trying to read the letters. (a magnifying glass!?) I must add that to my list to take with me on my trip ~

This morning, when I tapped on my email, I found a note from a long lost friend in Williamsburg when I was active with the master gardening group. She began, "Hello from Spain." Wow -- what a coincidence! The body of her email really made me laugh though. A friend of ours in Williamsburg saw my advertisement in the Virginia Gazette asking if anyone had moving boxes I could pick up before they took them to the dump.... and that friend emailed this friend all the way to Spain to alert her changes were in the air (she recognized my email from paper). Ha -- what a very small world it is.

With SPAIN beating into my brain and heart first thing this morning after tossing through the cemetery in Fuentesauco all night, I am in Spain mode without a doubt. So, another cup of cafe con leche and I can begin another active day to fulful the long lists I have prepared --- YES, we are moving from Virginia to Arizona~ I will send new contact information but the move isn't until mid-June so we have time...

In the meantime, on the genealogy doorstep, I found the captain's name of the SS ORTERIC ship and have slipped it into my story about abuelita in MANUELA'S PETALS as he would assuredly have been in charge of the burials at sea and little ones in our family were part of that sadness.
For now, my lists await and so do those burial stones so far away! Calling me....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Life Changing Event ~

Amidst the Silvan research, genealogy investigations and the mysteries that Steven A. continues to unravel about the SS Orteric over 100 years ago, my life is set on PAUSE due to a life changing event that occurred in the past weeks --- Moving to Arizona!
My genealogy files are packed with notes lingering atop my desk ---- just in case a juicy tidbit of information surfaces. I can't put it all away :) I will have times in between the packing, separating, preparing for a big auction and the actual move to peek into the ancestry site because I have a list of 'lost' relatives I want to find on the 1940 census (just released April 2nd).
Please stay tuned as I hope to post at least once a week until I am back up and running full speed ahead from my new home (mid-June?)
I still have so many pieces of the puzzle to find and once the SS ORTERIC ship manifest is deciphered and completed on google docs (thank you, Steve!) it will be available to the public. For now, here is the DRAFT-preface to the book, SILVAN LEAVES... a work in progress. Now that I found more siblings, it will (of course) include everyone!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Agapita Silvan

After all the investigating to find so many siblings to my great grandfather, I realized he had TWO sisters, not one; Cristencia accompanied him with the families from Spain to Hawaii and on to California....AND now we know he had an older sister named Agapita.
This is a copy of her baptismal record and after translation, I found it shed light on grandparents and godparents. It is amazing to feel the touch of family just reading these documents and a wonderful feeling of completion by adding her to our family tree.
If anyone wants a larger photo of the document, please let me know and I'll be happy to share it.
For now, there are some life-changing events going on and I may be slow to post for a few weeks. More later.