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Category: Portuguese Hawaiian Roots

Caucasian But Not White: Race and the Portuguese in Hawaii

Caucasian But Not White: Race and the Portuguese in Hawaii

How would you define your Portuguese ancestors who went to Hawaii?  You might start by calling them Azorean, Madeiran, and Portuguese.  You would call them Caucasian, wouldn’t you?  But, would you call them White?  Those who controlled Hawaii’s business and political interests in the 1870s did not.  The Portuguese who went to Hawaii were officially classified as “Caucasian But Not White”. How is that possible?  Aren’t Caucasians White? In order to answer those questions we need to transport ourselves back…

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Why Portuguese Surname Research Doesn’t Always Work

Why Portuguese Surname Research Doesn’t Always Work

The desire to link people of the same surname from the same region is strong.  After all, how many families with the same surname in a small Portuguese village? The problem is that Portuguese surnames are fluid, they evolve, they come out of thin air (or so it seems).  Five children might use five different surnames and only one of them reflects the surname of either parent. While there are naming patterns that influenced different eras, they are guidelines not…

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10 Reasons Why You Can’t Find Your Portuguese Ancestors

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Find Your Portuguese Ancestors

Genealogy is challenging. Portuguese genealogy has challenges all it’s own.  Have you fallen into these pitfalls and misconceptions along your research trail?  If so, you’re not alone.  I bet we’ve all made similar mistakes.  The important thing is to learn from them, then learn how to get around them. Let’s see this list of 10 reasons why you can’t find your Portuguese Ancestors and see if we can all get passed them.      1. You think they were from…

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Problem with Names Part 4: Inconsistency!

Problem with Names Part 4: Inconsistency!

This is part 4 of the series the Problem with Names in which I discuss some of the difficulties surrounding Portuguese names.  In this article, I tackle inconsistency.  It can be the more confusing part for many genealogists to learn that their ancestor wasn’t all that hung up on their name or the spelling. The Compound Surname The main culprit of inconsistency is the compound or compound surname. Many Portuguese immigrants used compound surnames such as “Souza Medeiros”. To them,…

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The Problem with Names Part 2: Latinization

The Problem with Names Part 2: Latinization

For many early Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii, their main contact outside of the plantation was through the local Catholic Church. For many genealogists, church records may be the only way to identify links back to the “old country”. When researching, you must be aware of the many name variations or you may miss your ancestors. One problem exists with Catholic Church records–they’re written in Latin. Like most, my knowledge of Latin is limited to the study of word origins in…

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