Back in the dark misty times...

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

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Freedom, Justice and Healing by Martin Sheen

Project Directors :James D. Fernández is Collegiate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU.  Luis Argeo is a journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in Gijon, Asturias, Spain.

Born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez  

The actor Martin Sheen (Dayton, Ohio. 1940), famous for his roles in Apocalypse Now and The West Wing, decided to compose and use his stage name in memory of the first casting director who trusted (Robert Dale Martin) and a media Catholic archbishop (Fulton J. Sheen). However, he has never officially changed his name: Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez.  He was the 7th of 12 children born to Galician and Irish parents who immigrated to Ohio.  He decided to leave the working class neighborhood where he grew up to study acting in New York City, where he combined his political and social activism.  Maybe that commitment to the values ​​that he learned from his parents have been passed down to him, which led to Martin Sheen to become a benchmark figure in both facets.

El actor Martin Sheen (Dayton, Ohio. 1940), célebre por sus papeles en Apocalypse Now yEl ala oeste de la Casa Blanca (The West Wing), decidió componer y usar su nombre artístico en recuerdo del primer director de casting que confió en él (Robert Dale Martin) y de un mediático arzobispo católico (Fulton J. Sheen). Sin embargo, oficialmente nunca ha llegado a cambiar su nombre: Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez. Hijo de gallego e irlandesa emigrados a Ohio, de joven decidió abandonar el barrio obrero en el que se crió para estudiar interpretación en la ciudad de Nueva York, carrera que desde el inicio ha compaginado con su activismo político y social. Quizás ese compromiso con los valores que le transmitieron sus padres haya sido lo que ha llevado a Martin Sheen a convertirse en una figura referente en ambas facetas.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Addicted to Genealogy

It was great fun, yesterday, when I took part in an art show to display my books.  Right next to me, was a group of people involved in Genealogy -- a Genealogy Club.  How ironic, since I have a passion for Genealogy.  We enjoyed comparing notes, family histories and my book, THE GIRL IMMIGRANT.  It makes me remember the time I sat in my first Genealogy class in Virginia and the professor told us, "Do not expect others to be as excited in family history as you are.  When you see their eyes glaze over, stop talking."

Yesterday, it was delightful because we all spoke the same language.  And we've set a date for me to speak at their Genealogy Club in January.  Great connections and good times ahead for 2016.  I am most anxious to share my book, THE GIRL IMMIGRANT, and my family history quest.  I am sure I will end up learning from them and hope I have a germ of help for them too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


My ancestors came from every corner of the world to join and blend into America.  Proud of their accomplishments and sad to imagine the world and family they left behind, I applaud their strengths.  And this Thanksgiving, I say a special thank you for them and for the many who enter America legally, the way most immigrants did between 1900-1940 and later.  I found the following article on the Huffington post written by Frank Islam on November 1, 2015.  Even though my ancestors sailed from Spain to Hawaii and then re-immigrated through San Francisco, there were thousands who entered on the east coast and into New Orleans.  It is with an overwhelming heart that I sit down this Thanksgiving and feel their conflicts and imagination.
America has always prided itself on being a nation of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty provides eloquent testimony to that with its inscription, which reads, in part:
Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The achievements and the contributions of immigrants to the nation's success over time are legion. Famous first generation American immigrants, to name just a few, include: Albert Einstein (originally from Germany), I.M. Pei (an architect from China), Joseph Pulitzer (a newspaper publisher from Hungary), Felix Frankfurter (a Supreme Court justice from Austria), Madeleine Albright (the Secretary of State from Czechoslovakia), Hakeem Olajuwon (a basketball player from Nigeria) and Saint Francis X, along with Mother Cabrini (a nun from Italy).
More recently, it's been Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, who came here from Russia, and two scientists, Elizabeth Blackburn (from Australia) and Jack Szostak (from the U.K. via Canada) who shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 2009 (along with Carol Grieder) for their chromosomal research.
The list could go on and on. Add second generation immigrants to the list, it could go on almost forever. It is unquestionable that America has been the beneficiary of an unparalleled immigrant advantage, in terms of intellectual and human capital. For that we are thankful.

A Memory of Spain

Sometimes the memories can invoke such strong feelings, it's almost like being there again.

Friday, November 20, 2015


For the last nine years, Spanish writer Luis Argeo and NYU Professor James D. Fernández have been crisscrossing the United States and Spain, interviewing descendants of Spanish immigrants, and scanning their family archives. In the process, they have amassed a digital archive of more than 8,000 photographs, which document the experience of the tens of thousands of Spaniards who, in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries, settled in the United States.
"Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the United States, 1868-1945" uses these private images to tell the almost unknown story of those intrepid Spaniards. All texts, including photo captions, are in both English and Spanish.
Francis Lam, in the Sunday magazine of the New York Times, referred to the book as "a beautiful haunting historical photo album of the Spanish in America."
Sebastiaan Faber, of Oberlin College, has written:
"In addition to being beautifully curated, Invisible Immigrants is a milestone in the field of Spanish immigration studies in the United States. Based on painstaking, rigorous research yet accessible to a broad audience, the book will prove seminal for years to come. It's a must-have for both public and academic libraries."
And José Moya, Professor of History and Director of the Forum on Migration, Barnard/Columbia says:
"James Fernández’ and Luis Argeo’s Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the US (1868-1945) is both a work of scholarship and a labor of love. Its chapters follow and capture the cycle of the immigrant experience: leaving the homeland; toiling, playing, and organizing in the new land; the solidarity and conflict engendered by the Spanish Civil War; and the emergence of the American-born generations.
The photographs gathered by the authors are a treasure trove. They not only turn visible the immigrants of the title but also display the richness and diversity of their existence: Asturian cigar-makers in Tampa and miners in West Virginia, Andalusian plantation workers in Hawaii and California, Basque shepherds in Idaho and Nevada, picnics and days at the beach, orchestras and dances, ball games of all sorts, dinners, weddings, children…a veritable kaleidoscope of immigrant live and memories."
The first print-run of the book (1500 copies) sold out in a matter of months, and was acquired by more than 75 college and university libraries in Spain and the US. We have issued a limited and final second printing (750) and the book can be ordered here:

​"Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the US, 1868-1945" By James D. Fernández and Luis Argeo Madrid: Whitestoneridge Productions, 2015. 236 pp. 
ISBN: 978-84-617-2491-8
Price: $60.00

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Finding Ancestral Photos on Passport Applications

Another venue to find ancestral documents 

This is an excerpt from a recent notice:

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925 
Nearly 400,000 new passport records have been added to our existing collection of passports. In the collection, you'll find:
Regular – majority of the applications, which were made by citizens planning to travel overseas
Emergency – issued abroad and good for 6 months; the earliest were issued in 1874, and the practice was discontinued in 1926
Special – include diplomatic and other passports issued under special circumstances
Insular – issued from territories controlled to some extent by the U.S., including Hawaii (1916–1924), the Philippines (1901–1924), and Puerto Rico (1915–1922)

To receive a U.S. passport, an applicant had to submit proof of U.S. citizenship, usually in the form of a letter, affidavits from witnesses, and certificates from clerks or notaries. If you get lucky, these additional documents and even a photo will be included as part of the application packet, too. 

Look for passport applications on Ancestry
Look for passport applications at National Archives
Look for passport applications at Family

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Find A Grave Memorials

I became a volunteer for the Find-A-Grave organization in 2008. One day while I was researching my ancestors, I came across this site and nearly fainted when I found the photo of a gravestone for my many-times great grandfather Chubb.  Since that time, I have created memorials for many ancestors and descendants for others to find and enjoy that feeling.  This is an example of a memorial and I will list the steps to find others.
Juan Francisco "John" Silvan Hernandez Memorial

First, go to Find A Grave  - At the HOME Page, you will see several options.  You can type in the last name, date of birth and death and if you have it, list the state, county and town where your ancestor or relative lived.  Sometimes, it will pop up (if a memorial is already in their database).

If you know the name of the cemetery, click on "Search for a Cemetery"  Once you type in the name of the cemetery, it will bring up a list of everyone interred there and you find the person, or people with the same surname that will lead you to who you are looking for.

If you still cannot find it, then the next best option is "Add burial records"  This is the place you can create a memorial, add photos, a biography and link to other memorials related to your family member.  More instructions soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I am one day closer to launching my newest venture at  As of today, it is a temporary Home Page and Contact Page.  Within the week - poof ~ it will be live.
Yesterday, an idea popped into my head to include a tab called "WHISK ME TO SPAIN."

Before I was privileged to visit Spain in 2012 in order to finish writing my grandmother's immigration story in the historical fiction, The Girl Immigrant, one of the most interesting pieces of my research revolved around finding my ancestor's villages.  I'd heard towns mentioned by many family members but "seeing" them for myself seemed like the quintessential bonus to my research.  I had hundreds of questions.  If I'd been able to find a website that included photos of some of their villages, it would have adding icing to my already-baking cake.

So, this new page in this new website will include a glimpse of villages through a Facebook site created for exactly that purpose.  I encourage other descendants of Spanish heritage to post photos of their villages, their family gatherings or anything Spanish you feel others would enjoy.  It could become a wealth of information.

There are two Facebook sites that I find pretty amazing, miraculous and informative.  Each of these Facebook sites were designed and created for Spanish descendants and each stand alone in their quest to add that special layer of need to all of us.  Please have a visit there too.

Spanish Immigrants in the United States:


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Spanish Pearls Genealogy is moving forward

Family history, the study of families, and the tracing of their lineages and history is where the magic happens.  The passion one feels about filling the branches on these trees truly is something one can't force or imagine.  During the past nearly ten years since I began the genealogy experience, I have located hundreds of ancestors, documents, photos, stories and filled my family tree.  The end result is very exciting but the journey up and down the roads looking for all the holes in the story is amazing.

My new project will be launched on February 1, 2016.  All the marbles flitting around in my head as I put together exactly how I will offer to help others are still doing just that...flitting around.  However, I want to help others by posting genealogical help here, besides taking family tree business requests.

When I first began my quest, there were a lot of free help sites.  Now, there are very few.  I want to make a difference, so you will find helpful hints and tips here during 2016.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

DNA messages

DNA results are being spit out from various genealogy banks every day.  Recently, I received a message from a woman who thinks we must be related because her data bank told her so.  Since I received my own DNA results early last year, I have contacted every person who was listed as a "cousin" of some degree.  I've checked every surname in their family tree and found 2 out of 15 who were related.  Some might say, that's not very good odds, but wait!  Those 2 "cousins" were people I never knew existed before I trusted my run the test in the first place.

Sometimes, it is a trust issue and we have to just do it as Nike would say.  In this day and age, I know it is difficult to trust strangers and we should be cautious.  However, I am willing to look for my relatives in this way.  I am not concerned about who might find me in the hopes I'm their cousin only to find no links to our families.  What I am concerned about is having anyone using my DNA for a tracking device or other unconventional use.

Until I'm proved wrong, I will continue to look for, research in databases and strive for connections.
I hope you do too.  It's an amazing journey. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Invisible Immigrants will not be forgotten from James Fernandez


This is in Spanish and one day I hope to translate the video in my head instead of Google Translate and books.  My Spanish classes help a lot but when I see a wonderful video such as this, I wish I could work at a faster speed!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Spanish Pearls is now ~ Spanish Pearls Genealogy ~

As Fall brings gold and red leaves, changes are definitely in the air here too.
In preparation for my new look, Spanish Pearls is changing to Spanish Pearls Genealogy.
It will be different but the same...not a cliche, really.

Spanish Pearls began several years ago for a way for me to post about my personal genealogical journey during the research phase while I wrote THE GIRL IMMIGRANT, the story of Spanish immigration during the early 1900s through my grandmother's eyes and memories.  What started as a project of love, as I followed my grandmother and her family, morphed into a passionate obsession with Spanish genealogy.  That being said, my new venture will be doing this crazy, wonderful searching for others so they can feel the bliss of growing their own family trees by connecting their families to the past.

My goal is to move all the personal blog posts to Touching Spanish Soil where my personal genealogy journey will continue, while my new Spanish Pearls Genealogy blog will include tips and steps to genealogy help and suggestions for others.

New website will be live soon!
New genealogical contact email is live now ~

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Immigration and the Statue of Liberty

This article (September, 2015) hit home for me because of so many immigrants who came through San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Boston and down from Canada into America in the early 1900s.

This was written by Rosemary LaBonte to the editors of a California newspaper in response to an article written by Ernie Lujan who suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the immigrants of today aren’t being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry. The paper never printed this response, so her husband sent it out via internet.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented.
Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.
Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought alongside men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French American, the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Perseverance pays off in Hawaii for Spanish Descendants

Over the past fifteen years, family folklore has told me repeatedly about one of my great, great grandfather's sisters who immigrated from Spain to Hawaii.  During my quest to find our ancestors during their flight from Spain, I learned this great, great aunt's name was Dolores "Glory" RUIZ Garcia.  She and her husband, Antone RUIS Martos, were on the FIRST ship which left Malaga in 1907, the SS Heliopolis along with five of their children. (Francisco, Juan, Maira, Delores, and Carmen).  Once in Hawaii, they eventually began a dairy business and had five more children. (Emily, Adelina, Antone, Manuel and Alfred.)

Folklore in the Ruiz family said "Uncle Tony" married Sarah, who was full Hawaiian and played a ukulele and sang like a bird.  "Aunt Lily (Carmen)" married Joe Saucedo and had two children.  They lived on different parts of Oahu and both had dairy farms.  The family stories became convoluted over time and I did not know where to begin.

One day, I learned "Freddy Ruis" was a friend of my dad's cousin, who had a dairy years ago on Oahu and maybe some of his descendants still lived?  I tracked Freddy's (Alfred Ruis) descendants to the big island, but hit a brick wall.  By then, the Ruis name (I thought) had disappeared due to marriages and later descendants.

A man named Miguel Alba is writing a book about the Heliopolis descendants in California and Hawaii and he asked me about the Ruiz/Ruis link in Hawaii.  So, I got on the internet once again and hammered it like a freight train.  And it paid off!

I found an obituary for Sarah Ruis, the Hawaiian cousin --- and nearly cried when I saw she died only seven months ago.  She was alive when I was on the big island in February, 2014.  I browsed the RUIS name and found Kaimi Kaupiko, sent him an email and PAYDIRT~  His Aunt Sarah did, indeed, marry Antone Ruis, Jr.  He is asking his uncle Wilbert Kaupiko to contact me.

Honolulu Star*Advertiser Newspaper OBIT
Feb. 5, 2015
SARAH KA‘AWA LAU O PUNA KAUPIKO “UKULII” RUIS, 85, of Waimea, Hawaii, a fisherwoman, owner of Sarah’s Ranch, dairy farmer and co-owner of Ruis Enterprises, died in Kohala Hospital. She was born in Milolii, Hawaii. She is survived by sons Wayne and Wilbert Kaupiko, five stepchildren, brother Wilfred Kaupiko, sisters Winona Tahara and Naomi Naipo, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Visitation: 9 a.m. March 28 at Hauoli Kamanao Church, Milolii. Services: 10:30 a.m. Aloha or casual attire. Lei and loose flowers welcome. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 959 Kamuela, HI 96743.
Sarah Ruis
Sarah Kaawa Lau O Puna “Ukulii” Kaupiko Ruis of Waimea died Feb. 5, 2015, at Kohala Hospital. Born Sept. 22, 1929, in Milolii, she was a fisherwoman, owner of Sarah’s Ranch, a dairy farmer, co-owner of Ruis Enterprises Inc., member of Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders Association, Kaahumanu Society, Kawaihae Canoe Club, Imiola Congregational Church, Hauoli Kamanao Church, Hale O Na Alii O Hawaii and Halau O Kelii Ahonui.
Friends may call at 9 a.m. March 28 at Hauoli Kamanao Church in Milolii for a 10:30 a.m. service. Family requests aloha or casual attire be worn. Lei and loose flowers are welcome. Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 959, Kamuela, HI, 96743.
She is survived by sons, Wayne (Jackie) Kaupiko of Kailua-Kona, Wilbert (Marie) Kaupiko of Waimea; five stepchildren; brother, Wilfred (Anita) Kaupiko of Milolii; sisters, Winona Tahara, Naomi (Anli) Naipo, both of Hilo; five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews.
Arrangements by Cremation Services of West Hawaii.

The late Sarah Ka‘awa Lau O Puna “Ukulii” Kaupiko Ruis was a member of Hale O Na Ali‘i O Hawaii and Halau O Keli‘i Ahonui. That information was not submitted for an obituary published Sunday

Friday, September 11, 2015


Spain is where my DNA awakened, where family folklore from the past came to life, where forgotten and unknown relatives embraced, where tradition and culture became real...and where the Tortilla Espanola is perfect.  I have researched all four sides of my family tree and extended branches in several directions.  I know it is never ending, just like the family tree is never ending.  The romance, charm, thrill, amazement and sparkle of finding one's ancestors --- well, there are just no words.  Here is a toast to Spain and my family left behind and the family in America that make me feel so blessed.

My PROJECT for the brand new year of 2016, STEPPING BACK IN TIME, will be another exciting journey for me, where I will gather Spanish genealogy for others and share the bliss.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Stepping back in time has been a litany for me since 2008, ever since my addiction to Genealogy rose up and bit me as I tried to "find" where my grandmother came from in Spain.  Since that time, I have published two books and created several family histories for others.  It has, since then, sprouted wings.  Not only have I put together family trees for my own family members, but I've accumulated history, photos and stories for non-family members as well.  And I enjoyed doing it for free...

Recently, I created two extensive family history packets; one for my granddaughter's other grandmother that filled about fifty hours of my time as well as a financial investment.  I also gathered photos, historical information and researched my son in law's family and created a personal family history scrapbook. I knew this could make me feel happy to help others, but wasn't sure how to proceed.   There was no doubt in my mind that I loved these projects!

Since that time, I have been approached by two different people who have asked me to create their family histories and I had to step back and consider the implications of putting "more on my plate." My immediate reaction was to say, "I just don't have the time.  Yes, I am the self-appointed family historian in my own family, but could I do this as a business?"  Now I am reconsidering the option, thinking about the possibility of reinventing my author's platform and stretching my wings.  

Since researching, cataloging, listening to family folklore and offering personal family histories is a job I love to do,  I made a decision.  I am going to make a plan to launch my new STEPPING BACK IN TIME Family History site.   Although I am an amateur genealogist who has learned where to find information.  I want to fill others with the excitement and exhilaration of finding their family.  

Stay tuned for more information that will include a Stepping Back in Time Family History package that will include a basic option and a more in-depth option.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

SPANISH pictures tell the story

 Before people could read, I am sure art was a way to feed their emotion and tell a story.  I saw it in several countries as well as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  Tiles and art tell the story where words are unnecessary.  But in Spain, especially, I was constantly drawn to the painted tiles on the fronts of shops, residential homes, cafes and historical treasures like the Plaza de España, where the first photo was taken.

When we were in Torremolinos, west of Malaga on the beach, I saw many of the restaurants decorated with tiles advertising their food and establishment.  This photo was the Restaurante Amillo on the boardwalk where the palm trees swayed above a vast expanse of golden sand.   Inside the restaurant, we were amazed to see tiles on every wall, each depicting the menu items!

The artwork tiles showing  Christ on the cross was attached to the house in Puerto de la Torre, which is a very small town northwest of Malaga.  The houses along the street were whitewashed and decorated with candles, art and welcomed you right into their home.

 Marbella is another magical town built on the southern coast of Spain.  A wide boardwalk divides upscale hotels and restaurants and the ocean along the sandy beach.  This is the type of sign that was so arresting that I could feel the love of art flowing just as much as the water that slipped through the pipes.
Venta Jose Carlos is a beautiful restaurant and hotel where we spent our first night in Spain before moving into a small apartment the next morning.  The coffee, Tortilla Español and ambiance their restaurant offered us started us off sweeter than any Starbucks coffee ever could.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spanish Immigrant Ships 1907-1913

At one time, I was a newbie to genealogy and started at the bottom and worked up from genealogy classes, libraries, court houses, email, letters, and the Spanish community both in the USA and in Spain.  I met with a genealogist in Seville and since that time, I have found several wonderful Spanish contacts who have become friends.

Over the past few years, I have been contacted by various family historians and descendants of Spanish immigrants who want to become their family's historian.  As a passionate genealogist myself, it always surprises me to feel excitement sparkle off the computer when a note arrives asking me for help.  Many of the questions are such as, Where can I find a list of people on those immigration ships?  Where did they go?  Do you know what plantations they lived on when they arrived in Hawaii?  

I often try to help them as much as I can and tell them about the Spain to Hawaii Project that can be accessed through Hawaiian Spaniards Facebook site.  I also include a link to my Q&A page from my website at and if I do not answer their specific question, I encourage them to send me an email from the contact form on my website.

Do not give up if you've hit a brick wall and think you just cannot find your family because one day you may find that tiny clue that will lead you to the answers (and a boatload of more questions.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


by Ann Yards Cozzolino

This book was in the Library of Congress.  I was given approval to copy the pages to share with others as long as I listed the author's name. It summarizes the Spaniard's immigration and focuses on specific Spanish families in the Mountain View, CA area once they left Spain and Hawaii to emigrate to California.  I tried to find the descendants of this family in 2007 when I first began my genealogy research, but did not find anyone whose name was listed on this book.  Hopefully, with the wonderful global reach through the Hawaiian Spaniards Facebook site, maybe there are still family members for the LAREZ LOPEZ family or someone linked to Ann Yards Cozzolino.  I hope so!

At the time I began my research to publish THE GIRL IMMIGRANT, I was stunned when I could not find any books or immigration stories about the Spaniard immigration migration from Spain to Hawaii.  This was the only book in the Library of Congress in 2007.  I am honored that the Library of Congress has my book, The Girl Immigrant, on its shelves and I hope several other books are keeping mine company to help other descendants know their story.

For the photos of the full book, please click the link below.  Keep in mind that these pages were taken with my cell phone in 2007, so they are certainly not good quality, but they tell Juan Larez Lopez' family story.

Sugar Boat Book

Monday, August 17, 2015


This week, I had the opportunity to submit THE GIRL IMMIGRANT book for translation into Spanish.  During the submission process, I was asked to complete the form that asked me to include the book's Facebook site.  Since I did not have a specific site for this book, I created one immediately, completed all the forms and took a deep breath.

Now, I had a Facebook page for The Girl Immigrant, but I wasn't sure what to do with it...
After thinking of the connections I have made in the Spanish community, it dawned on me that many of the followers of the Hawaiian Spaniard Facebook site liked photos of the villages in Spain where their ancestors lived before they immigrated from Spain to the United States either via Hawaii or other parts of the country.  That's when I had an Ah-Ha moment.  

Three years ago, I was in northern Spain researching my Silvan family ancestors and then I traveled across the southern portion of Spain near Malaga, visiting long-lost cousins and researching my Ruiz family line.  And I snapped nearly 200 photos.  That was just with my camera.  My phone had already been overloaded to the brim.

I now have a wonderful tool in this Facebook site to share with Spanish descendants like me and hope others will post photographs of their own family ancestral villages.

PLEASE CONNECT ~ PLEASE "LIKE" ~ AND PLEASE "SHARE" the Facebook site so others can enjoy looking at beautiful, quaint and sometimes not-so-perfect villages the Spaniards left behind.  You can find the site on Facebook here = listed as TheSpanishGirlImmigrant

Monday, August 10, 2015


A NEW PROJECT for our Spanish descendants ~

VACAVILLE TOWN CENTER LIBRARY (Meeting Room) - AUGUST 20 at 5:00 - 9:00. James Fernandez is a professor from NYC who is co-author of Invisible Immigrants, the photo book about all the Spaniards history forgot. He is going to be in Vacaville area next week to interview, scan documents and photos and listen to ancestral stories. I wish I could attend, but alas --- I cannot be there. As I understand it, there will be an informal presentation of his new project with a Meet & Greet time. There will be scheduling of interviews and scanning sessions of photos and documents with stories from Spanish descendant's archives. James will be interviewing descendants in the area Friday and Saturday, so please try to attend Thursday night or contact him if you can do that at the Hawaiian Spaniards or Spanish Immigrants in America FB sites (or send me a note). I have asked one of my aunts to be part of the interview process to discuss our ancestors and my fingers are crossed that she agrees... There are so many boxes filled with documents like the above image, photos and stories floating around in the older generation's heads and James Fernandez wants to hear about them, see their faces and hear their stories. He doesn't want history to forget them.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A bit of Irish in Spanish Pearls

Genealogy is oftentimes defined by family folklore, photographs and documents.  Sometimes, it is only a name, a town where our ancestors immigrated from or a photo of an ancestral family member.  Old family portraits are rare, but when one finds one, it is fascinating to study it, ponder where the threads of our DNA started and wonder what tiny point of DNA exists within us to match the photo. I've done this many times.  When I went to Spain to eke out my family history three years ago, I romanticized that I must surely resemble some of the country's women.

When I returned home, I submitted my DNA to, anxious to see how much Spanish blood that actually flowed through my veins.  I knew my lineage included English, Dutch and a bit of German through my mother's family tree, but, wait!  When my DNA report arrived, I was stunned to learn 17% of my DNA was Irish!  

Thinking back to photos, folklore and family stories, I remembered my mother telling me that my blue-eyed Spanish grandfather, Bernardo Ruiz, "looked more Irish than Spanish."  Really?  He was from the southern part of Spain near Malaga.  That was a long way from Ireland.  Doing a bit of research into Irish history tells me that an Irishman named Eoin O'Duffy led a brigade of 700 Irish volunteers to fight for General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War and that Frank Ryan led the Connolly column who fought on the opposite side, with the Republican International Brigades.

Remember, I said I'd romanticized that I looked a bit like those Spanish women?  After reading that Irishmen fought for Franco and also against Franco, I returned full circle to Spain.   Despite liking four-leaf clovers and wearing green on St. Patrick's day, deep in my psyche, I've rolled that 17% all the way back to my Spanish history, where I'm sure it belongs.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Re-energizing Blog for my NEW WEBSITE

SOMETIMES CHANGE IS SO DIFFICULT ~  But then again, it can be great fun.  I choose the latter... My genealogy blog will now be on this site, accessible from the Blogger site and/or linked from my new website --- as soon as it is published.  I hope this new CHANGE will happen before the end of July, 2015.  All of my fingers and toes are crossed and yes, it's uncomfy, but necessary (the change, not the digits).