This may be why I can’t find the marriage

This weekend I decided to redo the work another researcher did for me on Francisco de Medeiros and Josefa de Mello.  The town of Maia isn’t on the Azores Archives website yet, so I thought Povoacao was as good as any place to research.

I found their son, Joao de Mello’s, baptismal record first.  Then, I went searching for his brother, Apollinario.  Found him relatively easily.  It helps when you already have the dates.

I wanted to see if they had any more siblings and began to work backwards from Apollinario.  I started at 1767 and got back as far as 1762 before calling it quits.  6 years between children with a Portuguese couple seemed too many years.  I decided to look for the marriage.  As both couples and the children were from Povoacao, it was as good as place as any to start as any.

I went from 1767 back to 1762 without a nibble.  I started to suspect maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So, I went to my database to verify and the first thing I realized was Apollinario was born in Maia, Ribeira Grande, not Povoacao where he was baptized.  That seemed weird to me.  These people didn’t travel all that much.

I couldn’t make out mention of Maia on Apollinario’s baptismal record.  What did jump out at me was “Nossa Senhora da Graca”.  This was not the church I was working in.  So, I followed the line.  It told me that Josefa de Mello was from the parish of Nossa Senhora da Graca and the village of Porto Formoso!  I did a quick check on Jose’s record and sure enough, it said the same thing.  She wasn’t from Povoacao after all.

This leaves me with a quandary.  I have one parent born in Povoacao, one in Porto Formoso, both children baptized in Povoacao, but one might have been born in Maia.  Sigh…where do I look for the marriage?

I think I’ll go back a year or so in the Povoacao records.  Then, if nothing comes up, I will switch to deaths and see if I can find their death records.  Though, it might be better to see if their are any other children born to this couple listed in the baptismals after Joao in 1771.  I know that both died before 1796, but that’s a wide range from 1771-1796 to be looking for a death record especially without an index.  I could look for Francisco de Medeiros’ baptismal record, but I’m a little leery.  I found two other Francisco de Medeiros’ having children baptized at the same time as Joao and Apollinario.  Since I don’t have the names of Francisco’s parents, I can’t determine if any record I find is for the right person.  The records for Porto Formoso and Maia are not online yet, so I can’t go that route either.

This may explain why I haven’t found a marriage record.  The couple might have been married in Josefa’s village.  And, they may have even been married where Apollinario was born.  Looks like I have my work cut out for me.  At least I figure out the discrepancies before I went through the records twice.



You never know who will have your family’s photos

This week I was reminded of the importance of networking on the web.  It’s not a term you usually see associated with genealogy.  But, we have to reach out on forums, blogs, message boards, and whatever sources we have because you never know who might have the tidbit of information you need or a forgotten photograph that you’ve never seen.

This week I was sent the photograph below…

wedding of mamie and john correia minnie ventura smith manuel ventura with them

It is the wedding photo of Mamie Ventura and John Correia, ca 1918.  The person who sent it to me is a new found cousin and is related to the Correia’s.  As I was reading the notes I made an astonishing discovery.  I immediately recognized Mamie’s brother, Manuel Ventura.  But, I would have never guess the young woman on the left was my own great aunt, Minnie (Ventura) Pacheco Smith!

I have one photo of her take maybe 5 years after this one.  It is Manuel’s wedding photo (to Isabella Pacheco de Braga).  All the other photographs of Minnie come from the 1930s and 1940s.  You can imagine how excited I was to get this one from her teen years.

The person who had this had no idea of my relationship to Minnie.  When she sent it on, she was filling in my gaps on the Correia family.

It makes me wonder how many photographs might be sitting in dusty boxes in Hawaii or California that have my relatives pictured.  I suspect it’s many.  By 1970, my great aunt, Maria (Pacheco Smith) Souza/Correia, her second husband, Anthony Correia, and my grandmother, Anne (Jackson) Shellabarger, were the only ones left from that generation in the Pacheco Smith clan.  My Grandma had cut ties in the 1960s.  I am sure most of the Pacheco and de Braga cousins have forgotten about this side of the family–especially those in Hawaii who probably hadn’t heard the surname in decades.

This makes me want to redouble my efforts to find cousins.  As each year goes by we lose another part of a generation.  There are fewer and fewer people to pass down stories and there are even fewer who can name the people in old photographs.  It becomes even more important to compare what we have so we can save whatever there is of our heritage.


Found my Grandfather in French Military Records

I met a man through a cousin who met him on GeneaNet.  He is our distant cousin. He actively researches our family tree and is an excellent ally for all things genealogy in France. This weekend he informed me that France has put up a new military database, Registres de Recrutement Militaire.

The records give the name of man, his birth information, parentage, and residency. Then, there are sections for various details about his military service.

I put in some surnames and found a couple of relatives. I was intrigued by two who were in the US at the time that their records were written. This intrigued me. As family lore goes, my grandfather left France in 1907 so as to avoid military conscription. Could there be a record for him in this database?

It’s a little tricky searching. You have a field for name which is entered last name first without a comma. Then you can put in a year of conscription or service. I first entered Lassalle Jean and received way too many entries. I didn’t know what year my grandfather might have been conscripted. I started with 1907 as that was the year he left France. I didn’t find a match. I tried 1908 and then 1909. Bingo! I found him.

militaire lassalle jean crop

I wasn’t sure how to interpret the information in the service section.  The word “Insoumis” means absent or rebellious.  I asked my French cousin about this.  He believes that it means absent from service, but not always as part of a rebelli0n or for political reasons. In essence, my grandfather was a draft dodger.

Ironic, isn’t it?  He left France to avoid military service then 10 years later the United States got him anyway.

According to my cousin, the French military would continue to try to contact him.  They would stop if he became a US Citizen.  If he went back to France before he gained that citizenship, he could have been imprisoned.

This record has important information for my research.  Note that it gives his address in America.  Was he obligated to be on record or did his parents provide the address?  As to my research, my grandpa arrived in 1907 and then we lose him until he is drafted for World War I.  Though the information was on his immigration record, I could not make out the address or the name of the cousin he was going to stay with.  Now I have something to work with.  In fact, I did a little work in Oakland, California City Directories and came up with this.  I am not surprised to find that my grandfather was working and living at a French laundry.  There were many relatives from Ogeu les bains, France, his home village, who opened laundries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

oaklandcity dir 1907 leclerque ma grandpa lassalles cousin he stayed with crop

M.A. Leclerque is the cousin listed on his immigration papers.  This surname has not come up in conjunction with the Lassalle family tree.  I now have another mystery to solve.

I’m grateful for this record.  It proves Grandpa’s own story that he left to avoid military service.  It also gives me a new avenue to research as I try to piece together the story of his early years in America.