Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Family Trees - Another resource!

Recently, I was contacted by a possible descendant of the Trascasas family who lives in Madrid.  She found me on and there may be some documentation in the future as she researches from her contacts in Spain...  Since I wasn't sure what Mundia was after reading her note, I did a little research myself and see it is a FREE Family Tree site up to a point (of course they want you to upgrade for more advanced research) but the free site offers a multitude of capability.  It is well worth checking out.

I've been writing feverishly with the research already in my files to meet the goal I've set for myself to publish THE GIRL IMMIGRANT by the end of April, a story about Manuela's Petals, my grandmother's story.  Please check back now and again as I will post updates on the upcoming Silvan family reunion as well.

As an aside, I recently spoke with one of my Ruiz aunts about the August 11th  family reunion and she reminded me that the "Martin" family was not related to the Silvan family.  I explained that the Martin family I spoke of was indeed part of the Victorino and Ramona Martin Silvan line.

When I set up the reunion, I thought to make it easier by adding the MARTIN name only once even though there are two Martin families.  There are the Josephine Ruiz-Martins  as the Ramona Silvan-Martins (who weren't Silvans at all but shoe-string relations but a BIG part of grandma's story).  I thought just listing MARTIN once would relate to each of the Martin descendants and nobody would question it.

HOWEVER, as it turns out the Silvan-Martin family has their own family reunion on August 11th and won't be attending at all.  SO --- the MARTIN family who will be attending our Silvan reunion is related through Bernardo Ruiz -- they are his sister, Josephine Ruiz Martin's children and descendants.

A WONDERFUL CONNECTION and everyone is so glad they are joining us!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Family Trees and Goose Brains

PHOTO: COLLAGE OF VICTORINO SILVAN HERNANDEZ FAMILY.  From left to right:  Theodora Silvan (Souza), Felisa (Alice) Silvan (Medeiros), Celestino Silvan.  His twin (Jacinto) died on the SS Orteric during the sea voyage from Spain to Hawaii.
The central colored photo is Victorino Silvan and Ramona Martin Lorenzo.  The family photos are scattered through the remaining part of the collage.

I think sometimes that I do not have the brains God gave geese!  I have so many family trees in my head that the adage, "one can't see the forest for the TREES" slapped me in the face yesterday. 

One of our Martin cousins (not the Ruiz Martins) kindly offered to combine their family reunion with ours at a beautiful mansion in the Bay Area.   I was touched by Julie E.'s thoughtfulness but knew we couldn't accept her offer because of the logistics; many of our family would be unable to go so far.  THEIR FAMILY REUNION IS SET FOR AUGUST 11th ---- the same date as the SILVAN reunion in Winters.

AND I totally spaced on the fact that our MEDEIROS cousin (Lynda) would be at her Martin reunion!!!  Julie and Lynda's mothers were sisters and that is a MARTIN link to our family.  I was so sick at heart when I realized it last night. 

Of course, I’d hoped to have BOTH of these cousins at the Silvan reunion and very sorry it conflicted with theirs.  I would have liked to attend their reunion also... just like last summer when I missed the Gonzales reunion!  However, trying to concentrate on lemonade instead of lemons, I plan to have a poster showing the Martin and Medeiros link at the reunion along with the others posters and Spanish Photo Journey Album.

So, goose brains better speed it up so I don't forget any other links!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


For those SILVAN* descendants I might have missed via email or 
postal invitation  
PLEASE CONTACT ME for information.

Sunday, August 11, 2013
10:00 A.M.


Monday, January 14, 2013

SILVAN ~ More siblings found!

This is how the simple research into genealogy can lead to amazing results ~  After speaking with Joe Silvan and our discussion revolving on WHERE DID THE SILVAN FAMILY ORIGINATE??? I wanted to delve into this further as we prepare for our amazing family reunion in August.  Today, I decided to look further, even though I have previously spent hours doing so!

Recently, my Aunt Millie was visiting and when I mentioned looking for something, she threw up her hands and said, "Why don't you Google it?  I don't know what in the hell that means, but I think that's where people find things!"  As an 82 year old, the last thing she wants is a computer but she certainly understands the stunning results I have come up with over my 4-year genealogical journey.  So I did!

Over the past many months, I have been able to extend the list of SILVAN family members until my eyes nearly cross.  Today, I did it again.  Here is a summary of our family as I have documented so far:

1. Felipe Silvan Hernandez - born about 1860 / Godfather to 3 of his brothers
2. Agapita Silvan Hernandez - born 1864
3. Matias Silvan Hernandez - born 1867
4. Victorino Silvan Hernandez - born 1868 - sailed to Hawaii 1911, Arrived in California & died 1925
5. Edmundo Silvan Hernandez - born 1870 - sailed to South America - no documentation, just family stories
6. Angel Silvan Hernandez - born 1873 - FOUND SHIP MANIFEST TODAY!
7. Juan Silvan Hernandez - born 1875 - sailed to Hawaii 1911, Arrived in California & died in 1945
8. Geronimo Silvan Hernandez - born 1877 - sailed to Cuba and returned to Spain in 1931 (with wife)
9. Lorenzo Silvan Hernandez - born 1880 - FOUND SHIP MANIFEST TODAY!
10. Crescencia Silvan Hernandez - born 1884 - sailed to Hawaii 1911, Arrived in California & died 1946
11. Agustin Silvan Hernandez - born 1887 - sailed to Cuba and returned to Spain in 1930

If I knew how to dance la Jota, I would be doing it right now!
The Silvan family originated in three (3) possible countries - France, England or Sweden.  What a mix ~
Still researching but dancing in the halls.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


After careful research and thumbs up from a few cousins, I have found a wonderful place for our reunion.  It is among the area in California where many of our Spanish and Portuguese cousins began their life forward to the family tree that encompasses our lives today.


For those many Gonzales cousins whose reunion was last July, this is the same park that I am assured was a 'lovely place'.  I reserved Picnic Area Pad B because it is closest to the lake.  It includes fifteen picnic tables, two serving tables and is adjacent to a play area for children and shade trees.  

So --- We have a date and we have a venue.  Lake Solano is fed by the waters from Putah Creek --- where the Gonzales story began.  

More to follow... 

FROM Sacramento

Take I-80 West (26 miles) to HWY 505 (11 miles), at Winters/CA128
exit turn left onto CA128 go (5.3 miles)
Turn left onto Pleasants Valley Road/County Road 86.
Arrive at 8685 Pleasants Valley Road on right. 

San Francisco

Take I-80 East (53 miles) to Lagoon Valley/Cherry Glen Road exit. Turn left over the freeway and onto Cherry Glen Road, Bear right around the curve and then turn left onto Pleasants Valley Road (12.4 miles) to 8685 Pleasants Valley Road.  The campground will be on your left, picnic area on your right.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cousins reaching us from Spain

I am happy to report a recent connection event!  Through my affiliation with a woman contacted me with a message:

Dear Madam,
We have just discovered that we have a common surname "Trascasas".  Our mother comes from Toro (Zamora) and we knew from the staff of the City Hall of Toro that somebody from the USA came some time ago asking for information about their ancestors.  We are wondering if it was you?  If it is the case, we would like to keep in touch to see whether we can find out some information about our common family.  Merry Christmas!  M and C C Trascasas (For privacy, I am not including their full names)

WHAT ARE THE ODDS of this lady finding me and YES, I was in the City Hall of Toro in September looking for Trascasas family!  I felt faint with hope and so happy she reached out to me!

I responded immediately with a 'family tree' full of names and she is checking with her mother and aunt in Toro.  She is a professor at the Madrid University and busy with her academic life... so she asked her friend --- at the main church in Zamora, called the Obispado.  She is hopeful her friend can find the birth and death documents of all the Trascasas relatives.

IN SUMMARY:  Juan Francisco Silvan Hernandez married Eustoquia "Rita" Trascasas Marzo.  Rita Trascasas' father was Manuel Trascasas from Toro.  Her mother was Manuela Marzo.  Since Manuel Trascasas was 58 when he married a young 24-year old Manuela Marzo, we know he was a widower at least once, possibly twice before they married.  My theory is the woman who contacted me is probably related through the Manuel Trascasas family/descendants before he married Manuela Marzo to father Rita Trascasas, our direct link to the Trascasas family.

Ah, the wonder of a personal meeting in a city hall so many miles away to generate correspondence such as this.  It overwhelms the mind and thrills the heart.  STAY tuned... when and if I have results from this Trascasas cousin, I will post it here.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Family Reunion UPDATE

As a follow up to my January 6, 2013 email to family cousins (those I have email addresses for....) about the upcoming 5-Family Reunion, the date has been set for AUGUST 11th ~

I have had a wonderful response from many family members and I am thankful that many of you are passing on the information to those in your family I do not reach.  At this point, there are several venue options I am looking at --- within a radius of the Winters/Woodland, California area.

A lovely invitation was received from Julie E. telling me their Martin reunion (on the sort-of-Silvan side of the family) will be held at Meek Estate in Hayward on August 11th and she asked us to combine the reunion.  Oh!  I would love to take that invitation and run with it but I know logistically, it would be impossible since so many cousins and aunts and uncles would be arriving in Woodland from out of town and another two hour commute would be a hardship for too many.  But THANK YOU, JULIE!  We will be sorry you won't be able to join us on our day since it is also your day :)

Our cousin, Jeff C., has offered colored T-shirts for the reunion!  For example, all the Gonzales cousins would wear one color, the Silvan family another and the Ruiz family another, etc.  A grand idea and one that is so thoughtful --- What fun this will be!

Stay tuned for a venue.  This will be an exciting day even though August is HOT, we will make it all very COOL :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spanish Pearls 2013 projection

2013!  How on earth did the past year slip by?  This is a question I hear repeatedly and my answer is that it was filled with emotion and many tears after losing a dear loved one, my dad... but also filled with smiles, emotion of another sort and completing my dream of touching Spanish soil in my ongoing genealogical research for THE GIRL IMMIGRANT; a book about my grandmother's trek from Spain through the flowers of Hawaii and on to California.

The past two weeks have brought me documents from my genealogist friend: the marriage certificate of Juan Francisco Silvan Hernandez and Eustoquia Rita Trascasas Marzo and the birth certificate of Crescencia Silvan Hernandez.  I was also contacted through the ancestry site by a Trascasas descendant and hope to learn about our family in Toro through these cousins!

This year --- 2013 ---- will be the culmination of four year's research through interviews, Spanish documents, family stories and photographs.  The anticipation of finally moving abuelita's story to publication and the planning stages for a family reunion to blend and connect the families together will be fun and interesting.

My timeline is publication by May 1, 2013 and the family reunion is projected for August.  I am working on the date and will note on this blog and emails when to SAVE THE DATE.  The family reunion will include the Silvan family and the relatives stemming from the three siblings who braved the ocean trip to the Aloha islands in 1911:  Gonzales, Souza, Medeiros, Martin, Ruiz and of course, the direct Silvan descendants!

I hope to form committees for the family reunion no later than April 15 -- and encourage anyone who wants to get involved in this miraculous 'get - together' ~  Please Contact me by email at Contact Patricia Steele