Years ago, I came across a passport entry for a family emigrating to Hawaii. It was for my great grandfather’s cousin, Florinda. I combed through Hawaiian records looking for a trace of Florinda, but never found one. I gave up and moved on. Years later, I got some DNA matches pointing to Pacheco cousins in Hawaii. Now I know what happened to Florinda.
Florinda Among The Maria’s
Florinda was confusing to research. Her surname seemed to fluctuate making it difficult to pinpoint how to research her.
But, thank goodness she was named Florinda and not Maria. Maria’s are dime a dozen in Hawaii. There are only a handful of Florindas.
Florinda came from the Azores Islands. She was born in a village previously name Fenais da Vera Cruz on Sao Miguel Island. It’s now called Fenais da Ajuda.
Florinda was my great grandfather’s cousin. Just like him, she made her way to Hawaii. She left with her baby and chaperoned by her uncle. She was going to meet her husband who was already there.
It’s Important To Have the Right Surname
Portuguese surnames, you give me so much grief! These Pacheco kin of Fenais da Vera Cruz went by many names: Pacheco Lindo, Pacheco Grande, Pacheco Elizardo, just plain ol’ Pacheco, but sometimes Algravia, Algrava, and Algarva (don’t ask me where that one comes from).
Florinda was a Soares de Mello, but they were also Soares de Macedo. It all depended on what record you were looking at.
Her husband was Manoel de Sousa. Or was he?
At some point, he took the surname Sousa Medeiros. This is where my problems started. I was looking for Sousa or Souza. I shouldn’t have been.
DNA Provided The Missing Clue
I spent a lot of time trying to pick up their scent in Hawaii. I failed.
Then, I got a couple of DNA matches who were clearly related in some way. They were related to all my friggin’ Pacheco cousins. How could there be Pacheco cousins I didn’t know about?
These people were really good about DNA testing. I matched 7 of them on two testing sites. It drove me nuts that I didn’t have enough information to connect them to my tree.
When AncestryDNA opened up tree preview for non-subscribers. I went back to all those DNA matches and I saw all I needed to. They had the surname Soares de Macedo in their trees. I cross checked the Ancestry matches to the FTDNA matches. I’ll be damned! Those folks had Soares de Macedo, too.
Florinda would have been my great grandfather, Theodoro Pacheco’s, first cousin. Her mother, Joanna Gertrudes Pacheco and Theodoro’s father, Jacintho Pacheco, were brother and sister. That means these DNA matches were close enough to sort out this tangled web.
Research Proved The Connection
I wanted to be sure these were the right people. Not that I don’t trust people, but too many times I’ve found one person copying another and carrying the same mistake across multiple family trees.
I decided to follow them in obituaries. It sounds bad when I put it that way! But, I needed to build out the families of my matches to make sure I was attaching them to the right ancestors.
One obituary after another had that same name: Florinda. I was perplexed though. Why didn’t I find her in Hawaii?
It’s because I was looking for the wrong surname. I had been looking for Florinda Souza when all that time she was under Florinda Medeiros.
Let’s look at how they were recorded in the census…
De Souza Medeiros
The census enumerator seems conflabbered as to what Manoel’s name is. They wrote out his compound surname instead.
The person who transcribed the record decide that the surname was Desouza.
Manoel is indexed as Me?Erios Desouza. Florinda is indexed as Floriada Desouza.
Now, let’s look at the 1900 Census. Manoel is deceased by this point.
The family was recorded under Medeiros. This is the surname I should have searched for in Hawaii. All the records after this point gives their surname as Medeiros.
I now know what happened to Florinda. She lived out the rest of her life on Maui. She owned property after her husband died. Perhaps Manoel and Florinda did well for themselves. Hopefully, one of the descendants can tell me the rest of her story.
She had at least 11 children who married into the Freitas Phillips, Feiteira, and Perry families. And, thank goodness, the descendants did a whole lot of DNA tests!
Have you found a relative through DNA who migrated to Hawaii or elsewhere that you had given up on finding? If so, tell us about it in the comments.