100 Word Challenge: My Most Interesting Ancestor

100 Word Challenge: My Most Interesting Ancestor

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Tonight’s Saturday Night Genealogy Challenge from Randy’s GeneaMusings.com blog is based on a school children challenge called the 100 Word Challenge.  You start with the prompt “The Most Interesting Ancestor I Have” and fill in the rest.


My great grandmother Maria de Braga Pacheco Smith
Maria (de Braga) Pacheco Smith (1876-1938)

The most interesting ancestor I have is Maria (de Braga) Pacheco Smith.  Born in the Azores, she migrated to Hawaii as a child in 1882.

She helped smuggle her husband to Oakland, California around 1907 when he contracted leprosy.  9 months pregnant, with a sick husband and 4 children, she gave birth on the ship.

Her husband and son, Willie, died within a year of each other.  She took her children to Spreckels to live with her brother.

Willie Pacheco Smith’s tombstone

A widow and illiterate, she navigated America as best she could.

She returned to Oakland living with her daughter until she died.

tombstone st marys cemetery oakland
Theodoro and Maria’s tombstone


Who is your most interesting ancestor?  Tell us about the person in the comments or write a blog post and share it over at Randy’s blog.





Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com

2 thoughts on “100 Word Challenge: My Most Interesting Ancestor

  1. I have crossed the Atlantic in a modern ship from the Azores to Florida. I can’t imagine all those brave enough to sail from the Azores all the way to Hawaii in the 1800s. She was a brave, determined lady, but had a difficult life, didn’t she?

  2. Linda, I can’t imagine it was an easy journey at all. I have a feeling most didn’t really have a concept where Hawaii was so they boarded those ships blindly. The laborers like my great grandmother would have been in steerage for a couple of weeks.

    She did have a difficult life. It must have been difficult for her especially after her husband was diagnosed with leprosy. Taking care of the family rested solely on her shoulders.

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