As I spend more time putting context to what I know about my ancestors, I realize that my great grandmother, Anna Jacintha (de Mello) Pacheco, left me many questions in between the documents. I’d love to meet her, ask her a few questions, and have her tell me her story.
She had quite a journey. I think she deserves to have her story filled in.
Anna’s early life is full of holes.
My great grandmother left a few holes in her biography. There is a period after her marriage in 1856 to Jacintho Pacheco of about 7 years where they vanish. They resurface in 1863 in Anna’s home village of Achada to baptize their second child, Manoel.
Yes, I said their second child. Antonio was the first and said to be born anywhere from 1857 to 1862. Yet, there is no record in Anna’s village (Achada) or Jacintho’s (Fenais d’Ajuda). Antonio is a proven child via DNA matches, so we can cross adoption off our list.
Anna, where did you vanish to? Are you really the couple who are in the military index living in Furnas? Is that where you went? Is that where Antonio was born? Did you have any other children that didn’t survive?
Anna’s mid-life also leave questions unanswered.
Along the way Anna lost her husband. He is alive when your last child, Theodoro, was born in 1876 but he’s gone by the time you leave for Hawaii in 1882.
Anna, you list yourself on your passport as a widow. Did Jacintho die or were your abandoned? Perhaps I shouldn’t even bring this up, but there are rumors you murdered your husband. Is that why you got the urge to leave for Hawaii when those recruiters appeared in the Azores looking for sugar plantation laborers?
Maybe it didn’t happen like that at all. Maybe you really were widowed. Then, your sons, Manoel who was 20 and Jose who was 18, decided they wanted to sign one of those plantation contracts. But, they didn’t want to leave you behind. So, they brought you and the rest of their siblings along with them. Either way, I’d like to know.
Then, there is the journey to Hawaii and life in Kilauea.
I, at least, know that the journey on the SS Hansa wasn’t all that pleasant…traveling in steerage notwithstanding. It was the first ship to take people from mainland Portugal to Hawaii, and unfortunately, Anna and her child got caught up l in the political divisions of the time.
They were taken off the ship and put back on multiple times as the ship’s agent and captain argued with local leaders in Lisboa who did not want those Portuguese to go to Hawaii at all. They held up the ship demanding they be diverted to Brasil.
Anna, did you ever think this was sign and that this voyage was a bad idea? Did you think about returning to Sao Miguel Island? I bet you couldn’t though. I bet you didn’t have the money to do so. So, you waited with your children for 2 weeks at port until you finally got to finish your trip.
I know you arrived in Hawaii and were was assigned to the Kilauea Sugar Plantation on Kauai. And, then you vanish again! What the heck?!? And, I know you lived in Kilauea because there is a tombstone with your name and date of death in 1902 in the Kilauea Catholic Cemetery.
Anna, how did you avoid being a godparent, a witness to a marriage, or being mentioned in the 1900 U.S. Census? Were you there but using a different name? Maybe you remarry but your relatives forgot over time. Help me out here! I want to know what your life was like in this strange to you new world.
I would have one last thing to ask my great grandmother after I tired her out with all these questions
Anna, were you the one who trained your daughter, Marie (Pacheco) Cosma, to be a midwife and healer?
I know that someone did, someone who brought the Azorean healing arts from the Azores. I also know that there was more than one Pacheco cousin who carried down this talent and was trained to heal. Were you the one who made sure these healing arts didn’t die with you…did you pass them on to Marie and others?
I’m pretty sure my great grandmother would have had enough of me after this inquisition. But, darn it, she’s left me yearning for so much more. A woman shouldn’t spend 67 years on this planet, make a trip half way across the world to an island so different from the one she grew up on, and only have a tombstone stone to say she made it.
Twenty years in Kilauea and that tombstone is the only things that says she was there.
Which ancestor or relative would you like to meet? Tell us about them in the comments.