I’m back with another installment of Surname Saturday. This week will focus on the de Mello’s of Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island, Azores.
The de Mello’s are one the few families in my tree from the town of Maia who didn’t stay put. The de Mello’s were originally from Povoacao. My Great Great Grandmother, Maria da Conceicao de Mello was born in Maia in 1845. Her parents were Felicianno Francisco de Mello and Rosa Jacintha Boteilho, both of Maia. Maria married Jozimas de Braga and had these children: Jose I, Jose II, Jacintho, Maria d’Espirito Santo (my ancestor), Seraphim, and Marie Grace. Jozimas’ line is covered in another post.
Felicianno has an interesting story. He was 33 where he married Rosa Jacintha. She was only 16. It took me a long time before I found their records. The reason was that Felicianno was a soldier in the Portuguese army. He left Maia for what looks like several years according to the church records. He reappears with notations being made in records like “I swear this his him”. There appears to be some doubt to his identity. It would seem his siblings who be able to identify him. He may have been disfigured in some way. Maybe he was an impersonator. I’ll never know. Whatever the reason, the Priest swore an oath to his identity.
While Felicianno was fulfilling his conscription in the Portuguese Army, his siblings were starting families. They also changed their surname. Sometime around 1830, they adopted the surname de Mello Castanho. I researched many decades back and I found no Castanho’s in the de Mello tree. There were no other Castanho’s in Maia either. The term means “chestnut”. I can only guess what this refers to. There were several other de Mello families in Maia. Perhaps their was need for distinction. Maybe my de Mello’s had darker hair or skin. For whatever reason, they added Castanho to their name and their are people using the de Mello Castanho surname to this day.
Felicianno and Rosa Jacintha Boteilho had eight children. Four daughters named Maria (I have been able to prove that one made it to adulthood), and sons Jose, Manoel, and Jacintho.
Felicianno’s parents were Joao de Mello (written in early records Joam de Mello) and Maria Theresa de Medeiros. They were both originally from Povoacao, Sao Miguel Island. Besides Felicianno they had these children: Antonio, Maria Jacintha, Manoel, Joze, Joao, Jacinto Jose, and Francisca. All married and raised their children in Maia.
My research ends with Joao de Mello’s mother, Josefa de Mello. She was married to Francisco de Medeiros. Both died before 1796. I only know of two of their children: the Joao mentioned here and his brother, Apollinario de Medeiros.
This is the ancestry of Maria da Conceicao (de Mello) de Braga:
Ahnentafel of Maria da Conceicao de MELLO – 26 Aug 2011
1. Maria da Conceicao de MELLO: born in Jan 1845 in Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.
2. Felicianno Francisco de MELLO: born on 19 Apr 1807 in Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island; married on 26 Oct 1840 in Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.
3. Rosa Jacintha BOTEILHO: born on 24 Feb 1824 in Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.
4. Joao de MELLO: born on 7 Feb 1771 in Povoacao, Sao Miguel, Acores; married on 14 Mar 1796 in Divino Esperito Santo, Maia, Sao Miguel, Acores; died before 26 Oct 1840.
5. Maria Theresa de MEDEIROS: born on 13 Aug 1778 in Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.
8. Francisco de MEDEIROS: born about 1755 in Povoacao, Sao Miguel, Acores; died before Mar 1796.
9. Josefa de MELLO: born about 1755 in Povoacao, Sao Miguel, Acores; died before Mar 1796.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com