Tombstone Tuesday: What’s in a Name?

Tombstone Tuesday: What’s in a Name?

This is the tombstone of my Azorean Great Great Uncle and Great Great Aunt, Manoel Pacheco and Jacintha Rosa (Moniz) Pacheco at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland, Alameda County, California:

manoel-and-jacinta-pacheco-algraviaDid you notice that neither of those names are on this stone?  The surname Algravia was adopted by this family somewhere around 1910.  It’s been spelled Algarvio, Algrava, and Algarva at different times.  It’s unknown why some of the Pacheco chose this alternative surname, but they did.

Manuel is the anglicized spelling of Manoel.  Notice that whoever added his name to the stone put Manuel P. Algrava–giving his original surname Pacheco as a middle name.

Jacintha’s name has been changed to the pet name, Jessie.  Whoever added her name changed her from Jacintha Rosa (Moniz) Pacheco to Jessie P. Algrava–making it seem like her middle name began with a P.

If I had walked through this cemetery without the knowledge of the name variations, I would have never found their stone.  The names are different and Manoel’s birth year is way off!  Manoel’s birth year is given as 1855, but he was born in 1863.

Anglicized names, pet names, abbreviations, and so forth make finding our ancestors very difficult.  It would have been nice if everyone stuck to the names they were born with!

An extra note about this stone…For whatever reason, Manoel and Jacintha’s son, William Pacheco Algrava, who died in 1914, is not buried here.  He is buried with my Great Uncle Willie Pacheco Smith, my Grandfather, Joao Pacheco Smith, and a cousin, Theodore Souza.  There are some possible reasons.  Willie died as a young teenager.  Theodore died as a baby.  They’re deaths were very close.  It may be that since they were children there was more than enough room for William.  (My Grandfather, John, was added 40 years later.)  Perhaps Manoel and Jacintha could not afford a cemetery plot for William in 1914, so this plot was offered to them.  Families often took care of each other in those days.  Though my Great Grandparents are listed as the ones who originally bought this plot, given the fact that my Great Grandfather had leprosy and he had not worked for years, I question whether the money was theirs.  It may be that whoever put up the money saw this as a family plot and pretty much whoever decided should be buried there was.

Whatever the reason, Manoel and Jacintha are buried on one side of the cemetery.  Their son, William, who died young, is buried in another part of the cemetery.  Without the cemetery files, no one would ever know.

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