52 Ancestors: The Longest Migration

This is week 6 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  The theme is So Far Away.  I decided to write about my great great grandfather, Jozimas de Braga, who had the longest migration of them all.  I should note that my great grandmother, Maria (de Braga) Pacheco Smith, his daughter, also had a similar migration path.  His migration may be more remarkable.  Whereas Maria was a child when she first left her village, Jozimas was 33 years old.

When I think about my Azorean ancestors and the journey they took from their homeland to Hawaii and then to California, I am in awe.  These are  people who spent their entire lives on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores.  In fact, they most likely spent most of their time in one village. Their ancestors were from those same villages. My great great grandfather, Jozimas de Braga, has roots in the village of Maia going back to the 1600s.  His wife, Maria da Conceicao de Mello, has ancestors who were married in Maia in 1590.

It must have taken tremendous courage for them to sign those sugar plantation contracts in 1882 and get on that ship with three small children in tow.  Even harder to leave one of their children behind “just in case”.

This is a snippet of his sugar plantation contract signed in 1882 and completed in 1885.


Hawaii was some mythological place many miles away.   They had to travel around South America up to San Francisco and then to Honolulu just to get there.

This wasn’t the only migration that Jozimas de Braga made.  His wife died in 1902 and he never remarried.  He had spent almost 25 years on Kauai.  He made a good life for himself.  Yet, when his son-in-law needed to escape Hawaii to avoid deportation (he had leprosy), Jozimas packed up his belongings and migrated once again.

It is said the ship they were smuggled upon went to Japan first.  Then, it made it’s way to San Francisco.  Jozimas and his daughter’s family got off the ship and headed for Oakland, CA.  I don’t believe the side trip to Japan.  All I know is Jozimas arrived in San Francisco in May 1907 on the SS Mongolia.

Thanks to my Bonita cousins we have this one photograph of Jozimas.  It was taken in Chular, Monterey Co., CA about 1915.

jozimas de braga enlarged

That wasn’t the last time he picked up roots.  In 1914, he headed with his daughter and her family to Spreckels, CA.  She was recently widowed.  Perhaps she needed a change of scenery or needed to be closer to her family.  It may just be that she had three teenage sons and a seven year old to take care of and the work which was plentiful on the Spreckels Sugar Beet Farm.  Jozimas returned to Oakland sometime after the 1920 census 1920.  He moved back to Oakland and died in  1922.

Jozimas, who had spent his first 33 years in one village made not only one migration, but three.  He crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, and then Pacific again.  He went from the Azores to Hawaii to California.  He then went from Oakland to Spreckels and back to Oakland.  He restarted his life multiple times.

I can’t imagine what that must have been like to pick up roots like that.  Hawaii was so far away.  Then, to live there for over two decades and leave again, it must have taken tremendous inner strength.  I’m fairly sure the first migration was by choice.  The second, I’m not so sure.  I’d like to think that his bond with his children who left Hawaii for California was so strong that he decided to be with the family in his later years.  I guess I will never know.


This is Jozimas de Braga’s tombstone at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda Co., CA.  He is buried with his granddaughter, Sophie (Bonita) Guido.


Were my relatives deported?

I’ve looked up many cousins in the Ellis Island immigrant database.  I’ve viewed many ship manifests.  Every now and then I see something I’ve never seen before.  Such was the case with the ship manifest for the Carreiro family.

Luiz Carreiro, his wife Francisca Julia da Conceicao Pacheco (aka Remigio Pacheco), their five children Maria, Jose, Manoel, Luiz, and  Jacintho, and Luiz’s mother, Maria do Espirito Santo Carreiro, were on the ship the Reginia d’Italia which arrived at Ellis Island on 2 May 1910.  Their final destination was Fall River, Massachusetts.

The ship manifest held a plethora of information including who they were going to meet in Fall River, MA, as well as information on Luiz’s brother and Maria’s son living in Maia, Ribeira Grande on  Sao Miguel Island in the Azores chain.

What I didn’t expect to see was a word that was stamped by all their names on the ship manifest:  DEPORTED.

I have never seen this before on a ship manifest.  I guess the family was refused at Ellis Island and set back to the Azores.  But why?

I decided to check to see if the family showed up in census records in the US.  The ship arrived after the 1910 census, so that wouldn’t be any help.  Searching for Luis Carreiro by exact name and Soundex turned up nothing in the 1920 census.  Same with the 1930 census.

I had information on his daughter, Maria.  She married someone named Andre Serpa.  I do not know if they came to the US.  Searches in the 1920 and 1930 census pulled up nothing.

It appears that my relatives were part of few who were turned away at America’s shores.  I wonder what happened when theywere designated for deportation? Would any type of paperwork exist explaining why they were sent back to the Azores?  This is a whole new research area for me.  I’m not sure if this is worth pursuing, but I’m curious about it all the same.

If anyone knows how deportations were dealt with, I’d sure like to hear about it.  If nothing more than to understand what the experience may have been like for this family.



FamilySearch Adds California Passenger List Records

This is a good day for Hawaii researchers! :D  As many of you realize, there was considerable travel between Hawaii and California from 1890 onward.  Many of our Portuguese relatives migrated to California.  Many traveled back and forth between Hawaii and California visited family.  So, these passenger list records are very important.

The records can be found under California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953.  This corresponds to the NARA microfilm number M1410.  The records cover ships arriving in San Francisco, California.  Each group includes a list at the beginning of the group that lists the ships included and the date of arrival in San Francisco.

Please note that there is no index to this collection.  Unless you have a lot of free time on your hands, you will need to know at least the month and year of arrival in San Francisco.

Although many of these records are also available through ancestry.com, you need a subscription to access them.  The familysearch.org database gives researchers another option for located these valuable records.

I have done research in these records.  Not only did I find families migrating from Hawaii to California, I found several instances of relatives going back to Hawaii on vacation.  I also found what looks like older family members going back to Hawaii to bring younger members to California.