Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Ode to Christmas and the Silvan Family of Fuentesauco, España

Writing THE GIRL IMMIGRANT when all through my files

I found documents stirring across thousands of miles
Various photos were tucked into SILVAN folders with care,
With fantastical hopes they’d multiply if I peeked there.

I dreamed of a time, far back in Spain’s day
when our forbears lived with guitar music and spade
their orchards were failing, their money grew dim.
And Hawaii soon called to reach out a limb.

So… many generations I am learning their names
their birthdates, marriages and the babies that came.
I readily walked through their streets to find signs
to show me rich histories maybe survived.

Our ancestors are all nestled snug in dirt beds
Visions of descendants never entering their heads.
But I try to imagine their Christmas long ago
With fiestas and celebrations both high and low.

A lacy mantilla covered our grandmother’s hair
and she’d just kneeled down for a long Christmas prayer.
When out on the plaza mayor, there arose such a clatter
she wanted to spring from her knees to see what was the matter?

Away to the window, someone’s child flew like a flash
Tearing up the aisle and tripping toward the sash. 
She tried to sit quietly, prayer-like and timid,
As this matriarch was feeling blessed and aged.

The moon on the crest of the cobblestone street,
Gave the luster of mid-day to those trying to sneak…
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But all of her grandchildren smiling ear to ear.

With their parents behind them, so quiet and quick,
She knew in a moment she just might be sick
With excitement and pleasure, their footsteps came,
And she smiled at each one, whispering their names.

Now, Agustin, Jacinto, Celestino and Felisa
Teodora, Juanitco, Alejandro and Manuela, ~
Bring in baby Jose and move into my pew
And dash in beside me, to kneel for a few….

And then, in a twinkling, she heard the priest say
Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas this day
Agustin, Juan, Victor, Geronimo and Crescencia
Smiling at these Fuentesauco Silvans in silencia…..

He glanced toward the Alvas, Martins, Hidalgos and more
Inhaled Christmas incense and watched its smoke soar
He thought his flock never looked so wondrous and fair
And felt Christmas peace arise all through the air.

These Spanish families would grow and multiply soon
Some might even try to fly up to the moon,
But Fuentesauco would shine like a beacon to draw
Descendants to meet these ancestors they foresaw.

I smile as I dream of how it was then, wondering slightly
how it really could have been; my people blending tightly
All part of my line with red or brown hair, blue eyes or dark
Their Spanish lives aching for food, aching to make a mark.

Our Spanish pride will never dim as long as we remember
How THE GIRL IMMIGRANT’s family was just a glimmer
Of a family before…descendants, young, old, tall and short

This story spanning across waters to their Hawaiian port

They left their homeland but kept Spanish traditions.
They played their music and sometimes eyes even glistened.
As they prayed.  They cried.  They lost children at sea.

But still persevering… as Americans, created thee and me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cousins: The Family of Paca and Pedro in Fresneda, Spain

Maria Angela and her mother, Francesca (Paca) Ruiz with Steven (2009)
Our last group of cousins consist of Francesca (Paca) Ruiz Martos and her husband, Pedro Nuñez Camuña.  We are related through Pedro Nuñez Camuña bloodline.  Before our trip to Spain in September, 2012, it was with great sadness to learn from our cousin (Janet M.) after her visit to Spain a couple months earlier, that Paca Ruiz died a few months earlier. Steven liked her very much.  Steven jotted notes for our family tree during his 2009 visit.

Before I met Maria Angela, I was vicariously introduced to her by a honking van outside our apartment in Puerta de la Torre.  The bakery truck's arrival lured all the children and Steven out the door quickly...donuts, breakfast rolls, bread and cookies littered the back end and our cousin was the delivery man: Paco Nunez Ruiz who is Maria Angela's brother.  While munching on donuts, I learned his brother, Antonio, owned the bakery and a store in Fresneda, a very small burg nearby.

Steven soon put their family 'together' for me and it was our next stop along a winding village road and into a small parking lot.  The building was shaped like an "L" with a small store adjacent to the home of Maria Angela and her husband, Manolo.  They ran the store for their oldest brother, Antonio.  (Of course, in Spain, the oldest brother always inherits... and typically the younger siblings are employed at the family business).

Adrian, Maria Angela, Steven and Esther in Huertacilla, Spain
The children of Paca and Pedro are Antonio, Juan, Josefina, Maria Angela and Francisco (Paco).  The day of our visit, a very short blonde woman with the bluest eyes like the sky greeted us: Maria Angela.  She did not speak or understand   English, clearly frustrated that we couldn't converse but Steven, as always, translated for us and it made it easier.  Maria Angela nodded and shyly smiled but if only... I'd studied the language harder.  I understood about 30% so at least I wasn't completely lost in the conversations.

On the other side of the "L" is a small cafe with tables and chairs crisscrossed along the tiled patio just outside the door to the store.  It was here that we conversed over Spanish café con leche and tapas with dessert quickly following.  Maria Angela's children are named Adrian (8) and Esther (6).  Esther pulled out a book from school and shyly extended it to Steven.  English!  Maria Angela hopes to learn from her daughter and talk to us in English on another visit.  (smiles all around here).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SPANISH COUSINS in La Fresneda, Spain

Our first stop in Spain was Alla en Frente, a beautiful restaurant owned by Antonio Ruiz Sanchez..... who employed his family.  This included Encarna (above), and his brothers: Paco, Joaquin and other cousins.   Antonio's sister (Josefina) and brother (Juan) had other employment.  Steven told me the restaurant was classy, beautiful and truly elegant.  In fact, he raved about it and explained that their Ruiz cousins (Pedro from yesterday's posting) owned a different kind of restaurant next door.  But --- when we arrived in front of the beautiful restaurant, it was empty.  We learned later, there were several tries to save the business --- the last was changing it to a pizza parlour.  Nothing worked.  Money was dim.  Everyone was laid off.  The restaurant was closed.  

Encarna had been the cook in Alla en Frente.  She is married to Paco Rosa (in photo above).  We drove around the corner to their house and all the hugs, laughter, kisses on each cheek and food embraced us immediately.  I met their daughters, Encarnita and Natalia and later --- their son, Francisco.  Encarna does not speak English but Encarnita speaks enough so we could converse in kindergarten stages.  What a beautiful family.  I still remember the wonderful food --- one of the dishes was a salad with peas, potatoes and corn.  When I asked what the white creamy sauce was, they said it was a mixture of mayonnaise and milk.  I never learned the specific answer and wish I'd asked more questions.  It was delicious.

The girls never stopped smiling.  Once, they even burst into laughter when Encarna was discussing her name and the name of her daughter, Encarnita.  In Spanish, 'carne' means meat.  All her life, she wondered why her mother named her meat!!  Steven and I explained that ENCARNACION (their true name) means carnation, a flower.  She beamed and nearly danced around the room.  This woman is over forty years old always thinking she was called meat!

The girls also are quite upbeat.  They are on Facebook.  They use the internet.  They are boy crazy. And they are adorable.  Encarnita had a tattoo on her leg that brought my smiles out in a wild glow.  This is Encarnita on the left, Natalia on the right.  And see Encarnita's tattoo --- :)
After they fed us, hugged us, photographed us and tried to make me understand their Spanish... Later, we all jumped in two cars and drove up into the hills to Encarna's father's house.  ANTONIO RUIZ is the patriarch of the family, 76 years old, who made us feel very welcomed in his home.  We sat on an open veranda where colored azulejos (blue and white ceramic tiles) lined the very large porch and surrounded the edge near the railings.  ENCARNA introduced us to her twin brothers, Paco and Joaquin,who look nothing alike but both offered their hugs and Spanish-cousin welcomes.  (Joaquin is the twin  brother with glasses)

During our visit with old Antonio Ruiz, Encarna led me down the beautiful tiled steps across the flower-filled yard and bent beneath the fronds of huge trees that lined the driveway and backed up next to the house.  Higos (Figs).  Fresh figs.  She pulled several off the limbs and handed me a bunch.  Then she pulled off the rinds and showed me how to eat them.  Once I started, I couldn't stop!  They were delicious and it brought to mind my life in Woodland, California as a child:  Figs littered the sidewalks when I was little and during my walk to school, my joy was squishing them all over the cement walk.  I'm sure the teachers loved it when I walked across the classroom floor.  I never liked figs except in Fig Newtons.  Since my day with Encarna and her family, all I remember about that day in the Spanish sun are hugs, laughter, food and FIGS!

Friday, December 21, 2012

VENTA PEPE GLORIA - Spanish Cousins ~

Imagine my delight when Steven drove us to Venta Pepe Gloria Restaurant, a place I had heard of through stories of my brother and father.  This was a place where (mostly men) people congregated to gossip, eat, laugh, watch television and principally connect with other Spanish family and a multitude of friends.  The restaurant's parking lot was large and beautiful gates led beside and behind to what I later learned was the special area where baptismal and wedding parties took place.  The land was owned by Ruiz people as far as the eye could see.  Each family had a little portion of soil to create their homes and businesses.  This particular restaurant sat smack next door to another family restaurant named Alla en Fuente -- to our dismay, it closed a couple of months earlier. (More about that family in day 3 of posting.)

Walking up the stone steps to the large veranda framed by a beautiful railing, we walked inside the double doors and Steven was instantly recognized as a long-missed cousin from America.  Steven's face lit up when he saw Paco Fernandez Carnero (also a cousin) at the bar...and watching Paco rush around the end of the bar to greet him with a big Spanish hug and kisses on each cheek, he turned to me and I was embraced, cheeks kissed, and pulled into the warm atmosphere.  (Of course, everyone assumed I was Steven's novio (girlfriend) instead of his sister).  When I was introduced as the daughter of Miguel Ruiz Silvan, Steven's sister...the sounds of welcome were clamorous.  There is a photo above the bar showing Steven with our father during one of their trips several years ago and Paco grabbed it to show us...  This is Paco with his wife, Joaquin.

We were led to a table, bread and a plate oil were delivered with glasses of wine and I felt like I'd come home.  Within minutes, the owner arrived --- Pedro Ruiz Gomez --- more hugs, more cheek kisses and Spanish words flew between him and my brother, more hugs, more wine.

Pedro's sister is named Joaquina, married to Paco Fernandez (the bartender).  Joaquina is the cook in her brother's restaurant, her husband is the bartender and their nephew is a waiter -- Andres!

Pedro's wife is named Maria Laura Fernandez.  They have two daughters; 16 year old Elise and 13 year old Laura.  Elisa speaks English very well and her delight in understanding and conversing with us was a sight to behold.  I can still see her smiling.  Laura speaks no English --- but offered to give us a special treat!  Her specialty is the Rumba.  So, we made a date for the next day after visiting Alora (looking for information on Rosa Romero Fernandez, our great grandmother) and Laura would dance for us!  (And she gave me a lesson too...All I need now are my abuelita's castanets that my Aunt Millie promised to me yesterday!)

You will notice the name of the restaurant is Pepe Gloria.  This is the name of Pedro's father.  He is one of the older generation and knew our grandfather Bernardo (Ben) Ruiz Romero.  The family connections made words swim through my head.  I took detailed notes and the photographs are thick in my file.  Despite my lack of Spanish, I managed to converse with smiles, my eyes, hand motions and toasting wine to them... They nodded, hugged, kissed both of my cheeks in return and took me into their family as their own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ruiz cousins across the ocean

During this Christmas season, I have been overwhelmed with new cousins who have treated me as a special long-lost relative.  And I, in turn, have embraced these wonderful people with a smile that will not quit...and a longing to get to know them better.

There are five days until Christmas and the countdown I envision is to honor them with their story.
My first story is about Angela Ruiz Fernandez, who was named after her paternal grandmother, Angela Ruiz Roman, the mother of Juani Ruiz Ruiz --- Young Angela's father.  Juani Ruiz Ruiz is married to Maria Delores Fernandez --- Angela's parents.  Angela has a sister named Margarita (who recently had her first child, a son) and a brother named Juan Jose, who has a daughter named Maria.  Juani and Maria Delores were amazing and eagerly shared any information I needed, including a photograph of their family (our family).  I was sorry I did not meet their other children but enjoyed photographs in their lovely, Spanish-tiled home above the town of Los Nunez, across the small valley from my father's house called la casa ronda.
 This photo is Angela Ruiz Roman on the left -- Juani as a young man/father next to his wife, a younger Maria Delores Fernandez....and their two oldest children.

ANGELA --- My first memory of Angela (pronounced AN'-hell-ah) was her huge smile, large brown eyes and the perplexing look on her face as she realized I did not understand Spanish well enough to converse with her.  As in many situations such as this, the smile on the face, through the eyes and the constant nodding in place of words seemed to be our way of connecting.  Luckily, she has some English and shared them with me --- which definitely put a smile on MY face also.

The second memory was the delightful enjoyment in motherhood she displayed and pride in her boys.  Little Ivan is ten months old and absolutely adorable with huge blue eyes and a smile that crinkled up his little face. By the time school was out, she introduced us to her older son, Ruben, who is six --- He was as dark eyed as Ivan was blue eyed and extremely shy where Ivan was overly exuberant.  My family across the ocean!

Angela and I share an across-the-miles relationship via email and Facebook that I never expected and this connection has added a new dimension to the familial and genealogical research I so enjoy;  she and her father drove into the country to snap a photo of my grandfather's house where he was born (Bernardo Ruiz Romero) and perseveres with her help trying to send me the birth certificate of her paternal grandfather, Jose Ruiz Nunez.  I hope to receive it soon, especially because it will solve a piece of the Ruiz family puzzle.... More on that issue another time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Their long walk vs. my long walk

I love walking, especially when I know it is burning calories and I can have that last piece of mince pie or that margarita without the fear of both landing on my hips.  While living in Virginia, I used to walk three miles every day and it took about an hour on our country road.  It was a workout but what a feeling of accomplishment when I crawled up the driveway afterward...  Now, in Arizona there is no country road but sidewalks and streets, a little traffic but very walkable.  I have been walking about a half hour instead of the old hour walk but still felt good about it.

Then, I decided the Nike+iPod sensor would help me because a voice tells me how many calories I burn, how far I walk, when I meet the half way mark, how fast I am walking etc.  That tiny little sensor 'finds' my iPhone where my iTunes music sits and the instructions were followed to the letter...  Placing the little sensor in my sock, I walked around the house to get it synched and up popped this wonderful display asking if my workout request would be distance, time, calories or anything.  Wow.  I was impressed.

This morning, sensor inside my sock, earphone to my head I started off on my normal route even though it was barely 50 degrees.  I was ready to roll as a Samba got my gait started and I was off.  Suddenly, after walking nearly half my route a woman's very nice voice cut into the music telling me I had walked half a mile.  That surprised me... I was so sure I'd walked farther...  Then, reaching the end mark of my usual route, the woman's voice cut in again to tell me I'd reached the one mile mark.  What???!!  I stood still a moment, disbelief flooding my senses.  Well, I said to myself ----(I had been deluding myself since June when I arrived and began my walking routine)  I'd just walk the entire route again and that should be two miles.

When I finished my usual route for the second time, the little voice (I no longer thought it was a nice) cut into my Spanish guitar music to tell me I had reached the 1-1/2 mile mark.  What???!!  That wasn't possible.  I was dragging a bit but pushed on... and walked up and down every street in the housing development waiting for this woman to give me the word to STOP.  Never happened...the music went on but I didn't.

Limping back inside the house, I realized I'd been walking over an hour which in the Virginia days would have been three miles...  I flopped into a chair and studied this little piece of....plastic and flipped through the iPhone Nike+iPod APP for more information..... when, suddenly an unbidden vision of immigrants walking all day long for twelve days floated through my mind.  Oh. My. God.  How did they do it?  They had babies to carry, toddlers to pull along, trunks to lug across the miles in carts, blisters to ignore, miles to endure.  Some women were pregnant, some losing their babies along the way, birthing them near Gibraltar only to lose them on the ship voyage.  NOW, I feel small --- never to complain about the distance again.

Although I will drive the route today just to measure how far I walked because that sensor could be wrong....  but I AGAIN applaud the tenacity, courage, strength and strong will of our ancestors.  Their history gives me such pride.... and even if the sensor is right... I will walk and walk and walk some more.  I know I could never catch up to those people's long march to Gibraltar so long ago.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ORTERIC Immigrant Ship Manifest - INDEX

Compiling the ship's immigrant passenger names and indexing them with the villages they left and the family they left behind continues toward completion.  Just a gentle reminder to anyone whose interest might lie in finding your immigrant ancestors who may have been on the SS ORTERIC sailing from Gibraltar on February 24, 1911 to Hawaii --- this list may hold the names of your ancestors.

The document is currently being created with the invaluable help of a man from Malaga as he studies every page that Steven A. has painstakingly transcribed from my Orteric page copies.  It is a wonderful work in progress.  At this time, there is an email address for readers to use if there are changes they notice on their own family's transcribed information.  We are doing the best we can as we continue to look at extremely difficult cursive letters and change them into readable type.

You can find the document at ORTERIC IMMIGRANT SHIP MANIFEST - INDEX in progress

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eusebio Gonzales --- two of them!

With the diligence of a bulldog, my genealogist in Seville has given me information that is perplexing as much as interesting.  In the Silvan family, Cristencia (whom he tells me may be spelled Crescencia) Silvan Hernandez married Eusebio Gonzales in Fuentesauco, Zamora, Spain in May 1906.  There have been several questions that arose based on differing names on documents in the family as well as a mystery about a military medal he earned and never received.

With my curious nature, I wanted to find out why this man was called Eusebio Gonzales Hidalgo on the certified birth record one of his children received from Spain some years ago and on other documents he was called Felix/Felis/Feliso Gonzales Hernandez.

There is a story in the family that tells me he and his sister, Isabella, were orphaned at a young age.  A family in Fuentesauco had daughters and added Isabella to their family, adopting her but refusing to accept Eusebio.  He lived in an orphanage and was treated badly so he ran away and joined the Spanish military.

The next part of his life shows he married Cristencia Silvan, the aunt to my grandmother, Manuela Silvan.
The ship's manifest lists him as Felix G. Hernandez.
Why Hernandez I wondered?  Was his name changed to Hernandez because Cristencia's parents made a home for him?  Was he related to Agustina Hernandez, Cristencia's mother's family?  The questions shot rapidly through my head.

I wanted answers.  Fernando Hidalgo de la Terada in Seville tried to find Eusebio's military records.  We wanted to find that elusive military medal he'd earned all those years ago but never received.  Now the story gets fuzzier!  Here is Fernando's findings:

Hello Patricia,

I've received your family's certificates but... I think there is a problem with your information because Eusebio González Hidalgo and Félix González Hernández are not the same person, as you can see in the attached with all the information the certificates have given to us. In fact, Eusebio González Hidalgo married another person in 1907 and died in Fuentesauco in 1977... and Félix González Hernández married Crescencia in 1906...

II.- Celestino Silván. Natural de Fuentesaúco, en 1822. Jornalero. Casado con Agustina Hernández, natural de Villamor, hija de Miguel Hernández, natural de Villamor, jornalero, fallecido antes de 1884, y Margarita Martín, natural de Villaescusa (Zamora), fallecida antes de 1884. Fueron padres de:
  1. Juan Francisco Silván Hernández (tomo 5, fol. 162-163v). Casado en la Iglesia de Santa María de Fuentesaúco el 23 de abril de 1900 (tomo 5, fol. 145v), con Rita Marzo Trascasas Marzo, natural de Toro, en 1881, hija de Manuel Trascasas y Manuela Marzo, naturales de Toro.
  2. Crescencia Silván Hernández, natural de Fuentesaúco, 15 junio 1884, tomo 10, pág. 114, hija de Celestino y Agustina. Casada en Fuentesaúco con Félix González Hernández, el 5 de mayo de 1906 (tomo 5, fol. 257).

Eusebio González Hidalgo. Natural de Fuentesaúco, Zamora, 14 agosto 1881, tomo 8, página 171, hijo de Luciano González Vicente, natural de Fuentesaúco, jornalero, hijo de Bernardo González, labrador, fallecido antes de 1881, e Isabel Vicente, naturales de Fuentesaúco, y María Hidalgo, natural de Fuentesaúco, hija de Ángel Hidalgo, jornalero, y Marcelina Antón, naturales de Fuentesaúco. Casado con Gabina Alba Zamorano en Fuentesaúco el 27 de abril de 1907. Falleció en Fuentesaúco el 9 de marzo de 1977 (tomo 2, folio 130).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Family Health Portrait

How many of us follow our genealogy to find the health history that might follow our own families?  How many have a disease in their family and wonder where it came from?  The following link will take you to a government site where you can complete the forms and share with your own family so many of the questions can be answered.

Create My Family Health Portrait

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas Treat

This is such an enjoyable "journey" for us!

My mother emailed it to me this morning and it is easy to use and like candy to the eyes.


Left Click on the link below
Type in an address and SEE the house!

Go "home" for the holidays