Back in the dark misty times...

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

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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.