In December, I began working in the records for Achada, Nordeste on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. This is where my great great grandmother, Anna Jacinta de Mello, was born. I had not touched the records in over 10 years. Since they were digitized and put online, I had a new opportunity to explore this side of the family tree.
My hope was to locate four records I had missed in the first go around:
1. Anna’s baptismal record
2. Anna’s marriage record to Jacintho Pacheco
3. Oldest son, Antonio’s, baptismal record
4. Jacintho Pacheco’s death record
Originally, I was able to find all of Anna and Jacintho’s children in the birth and baptismal records except one. Antonio eluded me. I began to suspect adoption, multiple marriages, or some other situation was at play. I had some of Anna’s ancestors records, but not her marriage. I wanted to know when and where Jacintho died so I could add the final bit of information to his record. Finding these documents would not hinder my research on this line, but I wanted them…badly! I felt like I was missing parts to their stories by not having them.
I started my search for Anna’s baptismal record. This would help me determine the range of years for their marriage and the birth of the first child. After a weekend of searching, I found what I was looking for. Anna was born in 1835 in Achada right where she was supposed to be! I had missed her the first time around because the microfilm I had on loan at the Family History Center stopped a couple years before her year of birth.
I was not so lucky finding the other records. I scoured the marriage and baptismal records for the period 1850-1863 (second child, Manoel, was born in 1863). I found nothing, not even a possibility with wrong first name or wrong surname.
Next, I turned to the obitos (death records) to search for Jacintho’s death record. Anna was a widow when she left the Azores for Hawaii. Their last child, my great grandfather Theodoro, was born in 1876. Jacintho was alive at the time according to Theodoro’s birth and baptismal records. So, my search centered on 1876-1882 when Anna left for Hawaii. I did not find what I was looking for! I still have some hope though. Jacintho was from the village of Fenais da Vera Cruz (now called Fenais d’Ajuda). There is a possibility that he went home to die and is recorded in the records for that village.
My weeks of research were not fruitless. I was able to work my lines back to the late 1600s. I added four new ancestors to my tree. I filled in gaps in birth, death, and marriage information. I corrected the spelling of names and found some variations. I added some siblings.
While I was able to find many records pertaining to my Achada family, I still came up empty with three of the four records I originally searched for. I’m going to continue looking through the record for other relatives. Then, when Fenais da Vera Cruz becomes available, I will continue my search there. Who knows? Although it was standard for the couple to be married in the bride’s village, maybe Anna and Jacintho chose his village instead. Perhaps their first son, Antonio, was born there. And, maybe Jacintho went home to Fenais de Vera Cruz where he died.
Though I am discouraged, I have not run out of options. So, keep those digitized records coming! I’m waiting for my next village.
For those doing research in the Azores, here is the link to parish records. Keep in mind that only a few parishes are online at this time. More records are being added periodically, so keep checking!