Surname Saturday: de Melo’s of Achada

Surname Saturday: de Melo’s of Achada

I have several different de Melo lines.  This post will concentrate on the de Melo’s of Achada, Nordeste, Sao Miguel Island, Azores.

This has been a tricky line for me.   While I had my Great Great Grandmother’s name very early in my research, I was able to find very few documents to help fill in the story.

My Great Great Grandmother was Ana Jacinta de Melo.  She was married to Jacinto Pacheco.  They had 8 children:  Antonio (m. Alexandrinha Jose), Manoel (m. Jacintha Moniz), Maria (probably died young), Jose (m. Francisca Bonita & Maria Nunes da Souza), Joao (m. Joana Gonsalvaes Cardoza), Francisco (m. Alexandria de Caires), Marie (m. Joaquim Jacintho da Camara), and my Great Grandfather, Theodoro (m. Maria de Braga).

I cannot find Ana’s birth/baptismal record, her marriage record, or her oldest son, Antonio’s birth/baptismal record.  It isn’t for a lack of trying!  After I exhausted the records of Achada, I branched off to Fenais da Vera Cruz (aka Fenais d’Ajuda) since that is where her husband’s family was.  I also checked the nearby village of Algarvia as it sounded very close to Algravia/Algarva, a surname the family adopted after 1900.

Thankfully, I was able to leap over them and collect a couple of other generations.  Still it bothers me to have this hole in my data.  It leaves unanswered questions.  The only unanswered questions I like are the ones I can answer!

This is the de Melo line.  It’s short and sweet.

Ahnentafel of Ana Jacinta de MELO – 14 May 2011

First Generation
1.  Ana Jacinta de MELO: born about 1840 in Achada, Nordeste, Sao Miguel Isl.; died on 4 Dec 1902 in Kilauea?, Kauai Co., HI.  Married Jacintho Pacheco.
Second Generation
2.  Jose Francisco de MELO: born about 1795 in Achada Grande, Sao Miguel, Acores; married on 14 Dec 1827 in N.S. da Annunciacao, Achada, Nordeste, Sao Miguel Island; died before Jul 1876.

3.  Rosa PIMENTEL: born about 1800 in Achada Grande, Sao Miguel, Acores; died before 29 Jan 1865.

Third Generation
4.  Manuel de MELLO: born on 23 Jul 1766 in Achada Grande, Sao Miguel, Acores; married on 16 Nov 1794 in Achada Grande, Sao Miguel, Acores; died before 1820.

5.  Barbara da SILVA: born on 25 Dec 1768 in Achadinha, Nordeste, Sao Miguel Isl..

Fourth Generation
8.  Estevao CORREIA: born about 1730 in Achada Grande, Sao Miguel, Acores; married about 1755; died before 16 Nov 1794.

9.  Anna de MELLO: born about 1730 in Fenais Da Luz, Sao Miguel, Acores.


You’ll notice a couple of things about this surname.

First, the spelling changed.  Anna de Mello (the last ancestor) used the spelling de Mello (two “l’s”).  But, her grandson used the spelling of de Melo with one “l”.  The rules on double letters changed over the years.  The one “l” version is the more modern spelling.  It gets confusing because you won’t find uniformity between villages.

Second, Ana Jacinta gets her surname from her Father.  However, if you get down to the oldest ancestor, it’s a female.  Anna de Mello gives her surname to her son.  Surnames are tricky.  At times, the maternal line was carried forward.  Other times it’s the paternal surname.  You might also find compound surnames.  And, then you might find surnames that seem to have no connection to anyone whatsoever.

That’s the fun of Portuguese genealogy! 😀


while at first the line follows the paternal line, it switches to the maternal line in the mid-1700s.  Anna de Me


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