[Research Journal #6, Entry #12]
I started on the film with 1820 and worked backwards.
As I went further back I noticed a problem. Felicianno’s parents were Joao de Mello and Maria Theresa. There appeared to be two couples of this name who had kids at the same time in Maia. One group was from Maia the other was from Povoacao and Maia. I had to be very careful as to how I recorded records. If I mixed them up I might be heading in the wrong direction. My hope was that only one of these couples had a child named Felicianno!
I found what appeared to be my first de Mello 31 Jun 1818. Francisca da Conceicao. Her parents were listed as Joam de Mello of Nossa Senhora Maes de Deus, Povoacao and Maria de Medeiros, of Maia.
I kept reading and writing. In 1807, I finally found my man! Here was my Felicianno. It is no wonder that I miscalculated his birth. He was 17 years old than his wife!
I went back to 1799 where I found the last sibling Antonio.
There were a couple of things I noted from my research.
1. Felicianno’s parents were Joam de Mello of Maes de Deus and Maria Tereza de Medeiros of Maia.
2. The name de Mello Castanho was an invention from the 1830s. It did not appear in the baptismal records. To date, I have not found reference to any relative, godparent, etc. using the Castanho surname.
3. Don’t stick to formulas! If I had continued with the 20 year theory that I was told so many times, I would have never found Felicianno’s baptismal record.
4. Always search for the siblings. I know alot of people like to work couple to couple, generation to generation. I don’t. I like to find all possibilities in the film and sort it out later. By searching for the siblings, I was able to determine that Felicianno was older than I thought, that he was a soldier, and that he probably had left his village for duration.
It pays to keep at it! Persistent helped me find Maria da Conceicao’s father.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com