Following Instincts to Find an Adoptive Mother’s Name

Following Instincts to Find an Adoptive Mother’s Name

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Research Journal #4, Entry #4

We Know the Birth Parents, But Not the Adoptive Parents

Helen’s birth parents were now clear. She really was the last child of Joao and Joana. But, who adopted her? I hadn’t found any clues about her adoptive parents except the cryptic name Zuweena.

I took a look at some Portuguese names in the census to see what Zuweena might really be.  The closest name was Jesuina which sounds like Jez-oo-ee-na.  I could see how the name could be shorted to Zuweena.

At this point, I had two choices…

Choice 1: I could go through the 1910 and 1920 census looking for anyone named Jesuina with a daughter named Helen. I didn’t really like that plan.  It would take hours of research time.

Jesuina could be listed under Jessie, Jess, Jesweena, or errantly as Jacinta. I had no clue where Helen and her adoptive parents lived.   They were probably on Kauai in 1900, but that was before Helen’s adoption.  By 1910, they could be in Hawaii or California.  I could narrow it down to three likely localities (Kilauea, Oakland, and Monterey County), but it might take a lifetime. No, I did not like this plan at all.

Choice 2: I could follow my instincts! In my years researching the Portuguese of Hawaii, I’d come across a few unofficial adoptions.  These unofficial adoptions had two things in common.
1. The child usually went to a relative.
2. That relative was often childless.

Not Going Down That Road

Since I’d been keeping information on associated families for several years, I went through my research and made a list of all the women of the right age named Jesuina and Jessie. Then, I narrowed that down to those who had no children or who had a child named Helen.

One stuck out like a sore thumb, Jesuina (de Caires) Fitkal. I knew two things about her. She married Peter Fitkal and she was the sister of Alexandria (de Caires) Pacheco, Helen’s aunt by birth.

The relationship was close enough that Jesuina (de Caires) Fitkal just might be the right one.  It was as good of a place as any to start with.

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