The Case for Sharing Your Genealogy Work: Proving Manuel Melo Castanho is Related

The Case for Sharing Your Genealogy Work: Proving Manuel Melo Castanho is Related

My mom used to tell me that sharing was good especially when my siblings and I were fighting over over a toy. Not only is sharing good for siblings, it’s good for genealogists. Case in point, I’ve confirmed the relationship of a man on a “Fiche de Emigrante” card all because I posted a link to Facebook.

The Fiche de Emigrante Azorean Passport Records Provide Clues

The card in question is for Manuel Melo Castanho of Maia, Ribeira Grande in the Azores.

 

Fiche de Emigrante Database Screen Capture
Source: Screen Capture mea.cm-ribeiragrande.pt/

The Mello Castanho Family of Maia is All Mine

Mello Castanho was a made up surname, Castanho added to Mello, somewhere in the mid-1920s in the village of Maia. The surname does not exist otherwise. Everyone with this surname branches off from Joao de Mello and Maria Theresa de Medeiros married in Maia in 1796. They happen to be my ancestors, too.

View the Fiche de Emigrante for Manuel Melo Castanho

There was one other detail that made me believe this was a relative.  The family was going to 129 Columbia Street, Fall River, MA.  This address was known in the family.  Chances are this family was just another group of cousins passing through before they found their own place.

So, I knew Manuel was related…but how?

Fall River, MA, 1905
Fall River, MA about the time the Mello Castanho Families first started appearing 1905. Source: Wikipedia, public domain

Manuel’s father was Francisco Mello Castanho and his mother Rosa Monte Bastos. I don’t have this couple in my database. I did have a Francisco born in the right time frame floating around. But, you can’t attach people to your tree based on instincts. Well, you could, but then you might as well just make up the names and attach them anyway you like.

I located the marriage record for Francisco and Rosa in Maia in 1903. His parents were listed as Joao Mello Castanho and Francisca Claudina (aka Francisca Julia da Conceicao Pereira and Francisca Julia Claudina de Resendes).

I like to have all my ducks in a row.  I was satisfied of the connection when I found Manuel’s baptismal record.  Manuel was born 20 Mar 1904, Maia and baptised on April 3rd of the same year.  His parents were Francisco de Mello and Rosa Monte Bastos.  Paternal grandparents were Joao Mello and Francisca Claudina.

Bonus material!  During this era, the priest went back to note marriages and deaths.  You find these notes in the side margins.  On Manuel’s baptismal it is noted that he married Maria da Gloria Moniz da Costa in 1931, Maia.

There you have it!  Now I can add this family to my tree.

Did This Family Really Migrate?

Something bothered me. My cousin grew up in Fall River in the same community that Manuel and his wife joined in 1962. She didn’t know them or of their relationship to the tree.

I to post a link to the card on Facebook, sort of a fishing expedition to see if my cousin’s friends or relatives might recognize the couple. I knew how they were related but I needed to prove that they really migrated. Having a Fiche de Emigrante (passport) means they intended to migrate, but doesn’t mean they actually did.

The village of Maia
The village of Maia where the Mello Castanho Family was from

It didn’t take long to get an answer. A cousin remembered the family. In fact, she went to school with the children.

And, here’s the kicker. Her mother told her a crazy story that Manuel’s father was her grandmother’s twin.

The Twin’s Nephew Comes to Light

Bingo!

My cousin knew her grandmother, Engracia (Mello Castanho) Moniz Thomas, had a twin and that his name was Francisco. However, that’s about all we could find out about him.

Engracia had several of her siblings who came to America. They left long descendant trails. Now we know that Francisco stayed in Maia.

His son migrated in 1962. Those descendants are out there somewhere, most likely in Massachusetts.

Yes, mom, sharing is good. With genealogy it is imperative. Only through sharing with family will you learn the tales that aren’t found in records.

This family tree follows this descendancy:

Joam de Mello m. Maria Teresa de Medeiros

  1.  Antonio de Mello m. Rosa Izabel de Braga
    1. Joao Mello Castanho m. Francisca Julia da Conceicao Pereira
      1. Francisco Mello Castanho m. Rosa Monte Bastos
        1. Manuel Melo Castanho m. Maria da Glora Moniz da Costa


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