Did the de Braga Family Meet the Same Fate as the de Mellos?

I remember when I showed my grandma this photo of her mother-in-law several years ago. Her comments come to me today.  She said “Look at how her eyes droop. That’s from malnutrition. Poor Voe.” Voe being the Portuguese word for grandmother.
My great grandmother Maria de Braga Pacheco Smith

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but it has crossed my mind more than once lately.  I’ve been researching Maria (de Braga) Pacheco Smith’s family in the parish records for Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.  The obitos (death records) don’t provide a lot of information, but they can give insights into families and regions.

I found Maria’s grandfather’s obito first.  He died at the age of 80.  His record says that only two of his children were alive when he died.  A few days later, I found her grandmother’s obito.  She was in her late 70s and her record states that three of her children were alive when she died.  She died after her husband so I need to find out what the real number is.

You may remember my post No More Descendants to Follow in the de Mello Tree that several of the children of Felicianno and Maria de Mello died young.  To date, I’ve found 11 children born, but only two made it to adulthood.  They were from the same village as the de Braga family.  It appears by looking at the amount of obitos that the early 1860s were particular harsh on children.

Is it possible that the de Braga family met the same fate as Felicianno and Maria de Mello’s children?  My research shows that they had at least 10 children.  Two of them had the same name as Maria’s father, Jozimas de Braga, so we can assume those two died.  Will I find seven children who died before they came of age?  I hope not.  But, we never know what the records will reveal.

Perhaps my grandmother was right.  Her mother-in-law’s family was probably poor.  Food may have been hard to come by.  Maria’s aunts and uncles may not have made it to adulthood just like her husband’s aunts and uncles.  I will know when I go back to the records.

If it holds true, I may possible have the shortest Azorean descendant line with only five children out of 21 making it to adulthood and having children of their own.  This is quite a contrast to the Pacheco family in Achada and Fenais da Vera Cruz (aka Fenais d’Ajuda).  Whatever passed through Maia may not have touched those villages.


CCA Finished Uploading Azorean Parish Registers

I got word through the Azores Google Group that the CCA has finished uploading the last parish registers for the island of Sao Miguel to the arquivo website.  The last village added was Ribeirinha.  This means the parish registers for all the Azores islands are now available for research on the web.

Not familiar with the arquivo website?  It consists of a lot of good stuff for genealogists.  The parish registers include baptismal (baptismos), death (obitos), and marriage (casamentos) records.  In addition to the parish registers, it includes some passport records.

This was a massive undertaking.  The CCA archivists are to be applauded for making these records available to all Azorean researchers for free.  I know this disabled researcher who hasn’t been able to get the the FHC in several years is very happy to be able to research from my home.  Though, I may be running out of ink and paper from all the notes I’ve been taking.

I wonder what they will do next?

A big thank you to the CCA!


No More Descendants to Follow in my Mello Tree

When the records for Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island came online, I was so excited.  Finally, I would be able to fill in some gaps in my tree.  One of my hopes was to find out if my ancestors, Felicianno de Mello and Rosa Boteilho, had anymore children that I might be able to trace into the present.

I have been working on death records exclusively.  As I got into the 1860s, a pattern emerged.  One after another the children of Felicianno and Rosa died.  It appears that in the early 1860s some epidemic came through the village.  In 1861 twice as many people died than 1860.  Almost all those who died that year were children.  For Felicianno and Rosa, 1863 was a bad year.  They lost 3 children aged 6 months, 2 years, and 3 years old.

Rosa died in 1869.  Her obito (death record) states that only three of her children were living.  I had known that two of their children had families by the 1880s.  I was holding out hope that the third survived too.

But it is not to be.  Felicianno died in 1884.  He did not remarry.  His obito states that only two children survived him.

I now need to see if my ancestor’s brother, Jose de Mello, and his wife, Maria Joaquina Rosa, had any children who had families of their own.  Otherwise, it appears the end of Felicianno and Rosa’s line stops with my ancestry.  Well, at least I’ve found all those distant cousins on the East Coast from the other lines.