Back in the dark misty times...

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

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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.