I admit that I sometimes get distracted by families only distantly related to my tree. Thus was the case with Manoel Carreiro and Maria Claudina Muniz Serpa. I am related by marriage to their siblings in a myriad of ways, but not by blood as yet. As they left Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island, Azores for Hawaii and ended up on Kauai, Hawaii, I kept tabs on them. Then, they disappeared. Understanding where they ended up took a decade.
The Immigrants to Hawaii
Manoel Carreiro, son of Jose Carreiro and Maria Augusta do Couto, married Maria Claudina Muniz Serpa, daughter of Joao Muniz Serpa and Claudina Pereira in the Divino Esperito Santo Church in Maia on 14 Feb 1870.
They had seven children in Maia and one in Hawaii: Manoel I, Maria I, Maria II, Manoel II, Maria III, Ermelinda, Emilia, and Julia. In 1883, they signed a sugar plantation contract and left for Hawaii. They ended up on Kauai with their in-laws, Diniz de Braga and Francisca Muniz Serpa. My de Braga’s were there, too.
Did They Really Make It To Hawaii?
One of the frustrating aspects of Hawaiian research is that it can be a challenge to find proof that a family ever arrived. If you have access to the Portuguese Consulate Logs in Honolulu, you can search for the family to see if they were processed at Honolulu.
I had no definitive proof that Manoel and Maria Claudina made it to Hawaii. Issuing a passport was not the same as getting on the ship and leaving your country.
I could not find any proof that they lived in Hawaii. I couldn’t find any proof that their children had set roots in the Hawaiian Islands.
Maybe they never left Maia.
The Curious Carreiro Daughters
I didn’t have Manoel and Maria Claudina. What I did have was a couple of Carreiro daughters living with their aunt and uncle in 1900.
Manoel Carreiro’s sister Francisca da Conceicao Carreira married Diniz de Braga. In 1900, they lived in Lihue on Kauai. They had two nieces living with them, Julia Carreiro and Maria Carreiro. I had no proof that these were Manoel and Maria Claudina’s children, but my instincts told me they were. So far, I’d only found one sibling for Francisca and none of Diniz’s siblings married Carreiros.
1900 US Federal Census, Lihue District, Kauai County, TH, ED 77, sheet 13B and 14A
Brugger, Deniz, Head
————, Francisca, wife
Coreira, Maria, niece
——-, Julia, niece
Why would their children be living with an aunt and uncle? The easy answer is they died. They might have died on the ship to Hawaii. They might have died after arriving on Kauai. Disease was rampant and deadly.
Julia and Maria are not listed on Diniz’s passport and they didn’t appear on their consulate log entry, so they did not come with the couple to Hawaii. Manoel and Maria Claudina left no proof that they set foot in Hawaii.
Not only that, but I could not find later records of Julia and Maria dying, marrying, or anything.
I was stuck.
A Family Emerges in Fall River
Several years ago, I helped a researcher find his relatives in Hawaii. In return he sent me some research about a Carreiro family in Fall River. The son, Manoel Carreiro, Jr., was nicknamed “Kanaka” and there seemed to be a link to Hawaii.
I did some research on this family, but could not draw any conclusions. There was a Manoel Carreiro Sr. written about in Fall River newspapers, but the information given about his nativity was conflicting.
I documented the family. I attached them to my tree. Then, I unattached them because I wasn’t certain. They sat unlinked in my database for many years.
While I had found a lot of information out about these Carreiro’s, I was not quite comfortable that they were the right ones. I needed something besides a nickname to link them to Hawaii. Not only that, I needed to link them to the ship that my Carreiro’s left on.
There Is Something Called an Emergency Passport
A few months ago, I had access to a new database. This was a database of passports showing people leaving the East Coast. This database had records of people from Fall River, Massachusetts.
It was in this database that I found out the truth. These really were the right family.
Manoel Carreiro Jr. took out a passport on the 16th of November 1904. His birth date was within range of the guy in my database. He was from Sao Miguel Island, Azores, but no village was given.
But, it was his immigration information that was the final puzzle piece. Manoel stated that he originally sailed on the SS Australia in 1886 from Honolulu to Massachusetts.
I now had the piece that linked the Fall River Carreiro’s to Hawaii.
It was another passport added another puzzle piece. Emilia Carreiro married Manuel Moniz Jr. in Fall River. In 1911, Manuel left Fall River for his home village of Maia to recover from illness.
The next year, Emilia, applied for an emergency passport so that she could be with him as he died. Manuel’s link to Maia was helpful. It made me think Emilia was from Maia, too.
Emilia and Manoel’s Marriage Record Seals the Deal
My genealogy jigsaw puzzle was starting to fit together. Now all I needed was a record to prove parentage.
Emilia Carreiro married Manoel Moniz Jr. in 1901, Fall River. Manuel’s parents were Manoel Moniz and Maria da C. Castanho. Emilia’s parents were given as Manuel Carreiro and Claudina Serpo [sic] Claudina was a first name common to the Serpa family. Many of the girls carried it. Emilia’s mother was Maria Claudina. The Serpo is clearly Serpa.
And, guess what? We know that Manuel Moniz Jr. returned home to the village of Maia. That Castanho maiden name his mother bears is an alcunha my Mello Castanho ancestors took on. Manuel Moniz was my great grandmother’s cousin.
It’s Been Long, Strange Trip
Immigration trails to Hawaii aren’t usually this convoluted. Most of the Azoreans who arrived in Hawaii stayed. What lead this group to Fall River? Maybe they were dissatisfied. Plantation work was difficult with little chance for upward mobility in the early years.
Maybe a family member was ill. There was so many diseases one could contract on the plantation. Some of them debilitating, many of them deadly without modern medicine.
Fall River was ramping up work in the cotton mills. Some of the cousins from Maia were leaving for Fall River. Could that have been a lure?
Maybe the question should be why the heck would you leave those warm, sunny shores for the cold winters of Fall River? Why not California and the promise of the Golden Gates where most of their migrating cousins ended up?
That I may never know!