I thought I would do something nice for some cousins this weekend. As some of the Azorean church records are online, I thought I would look through them and find some of my great and great great aunts and uncles. I was able to locate Francisco de Boa Ventura in Sao Jose, Ponta Delgada fairly easy. This, of course, encouraged me to go further.
Most of these records are not indexed and as one would expect are in Portuguese–a language I don’t really know, but have learned the basics for vital record reading. It is a painstaking process of going one record at a time. This is fine when someone like Francisco actually knew what year he was born.
But, I’m trying to find Alexandrinha (Jose) Pacheco. Alexandrinha has two different birth dates and a multitude of birth years. I have found her born anywhere from 1866 to 1877. Hey, at least I have the village! I know she was born in Ginetas.
As I’m looking at the data I have for her family, I begin to suspect something is not right with the numbers. The family went to Hawaii in 1882. Alexandrinha is listed as 5 years old in the passport entry. I have her father born ca 1839 and mother born in ca 1841. Alexandrinha would have been born ca 1876 if the passport is correct. That would make her mother 35-36 when she was born. I’m fine with that, although, I am suspicious that there were no other children listed with them. Portuguese families were rarely small.
Now it gets tricky. They had two children in Hawaii. Manoel was born in 1884 and Jacinta was born in 1891. That makes 14 years between Alexandrinha and Jacinta. That means their mother was 50 when Jacinta was born.
I supposed she could have been giving birth at 50. What really bothers me is the amount of years before Alexandrinha was said to be born. I find it hard to believe they didn’t have any children until they were in their mid 30s.
But, there is another problem. If I am to believe Alexandrinha was born in 1876 and 5 years old when she got to Hawaii, then I must also accept that she was 12-13 when she married Antonio Pacheco in 1889. Antonio was 35-39 at the time. That means there could have been as much as 27 years between them. I know there were older men, young teen marriages between the Portuguese, especially if the man was married before (he was) and he had children (he didn’t as far as I know). I have seen marriages where the bride is 15. 13 seems very young.
So, now I must think about this. I’ve already gone through 1876 and 1877 with no luck finding Alexandrinha. I supposed I could make an attempt at her parent’s marriage certificate, but what year would I look in? It could be anywhere in the 1860s or the 1870s.
I think for now I should go look for someone else. Until I have a much firmer set of dates, or an index, this would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com