Do you have ancestors who came through Ellis Island? Today is your day The significance of April 17th is that more immigrants passed through Ellis Island on this day than any other. The number was 11, 747.
Dick Eastman has written an excellent article about our ancestors passage through Ellis Island. It includes some interesting information about the process debunking some well worn myths along the way. Read “Family Stories and Other Myths” by Dick Eastman.
This tombstone sits on the gravesite of my Great Great Grandfather, Jozimas de Braga at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland, California. His name is wrong and is age is off by a year. At least they were close!
Jozimas was a native of Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island, Azores. He was born 17 Jul 1849 to Jacintho Jose de Braga and Rosa de Medeiros Pacheco.
He brought his family to Kauai, Hawaii, in 1882 after he and his wife, Maria da Conceicao de Mello, signed contracts to work for the Kealia Sugar Plantation. When they completed their contracts they moved to the Kilauea Sugar Plantation.
Maria died around 1900 and is buried on Kauai. Because their were two Maria de Braga’s on Kauai, I’ve yet to figure out which one is mine.
After Maria died, Jozimas moved to Oakland, CA in 1907 on the SS Mongolia. He he owned a house on E. 25th Street (along with everybody else in the family!) By 1910, he had given up ownership of the home. From that point on he lived with his oldest daughter, Maria, my Great Grandmother, and her family. His addition was probably welcome as my Great Grandfather, Theodoro Pacheco, had leprosy and died in 1914.
Jozimas died 14 February 1922 in Oakland, California of senility and old age. He was 72.
In this grave, but not declared on the stone, is Jozimas’ granddaughter, Sophie (Bonita) Guido. She died in 1931 at the age of 25. The wife of Manuel Joseph Guido left behind 3 children under the age of five.
It surprises me that Sophie’s name was not added to the stone. Her parents had done fairly well for themselves financial. Perhaps the affect of the Depression hit the family hard and the best they could do was add her to one of the family plots. I wonder if today anyone even knows the young woman is buried beside her Grandfather.
This weeks genealogy blogging prompt about anomalies brings many things to mind…
My Grandma told me about her red headed brother, John Jackson. John was born three weeks before the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. In the turmoil, John got sick and died.
Fast forward to the 1990s. I’m sitting at a microfilm reader looking for the Jackson family in the census. Hey, what’s this in the 1910 census? Harry Jackson, wife Margaret, son John, daughter Margaret…son John??? After writing down the information, I went to the 1920 census. Harry, Margaret, John, Margaret, Anna, Julia, Violet. There he was again!
I compared what I knew about the baby who died to this John. They were born at the same time in the same place. But, this John lived to adulthood. What gives?
One day I phoned my Grandma and screwed up the courage to ask her. The answer was somewhat baffling “Oh, that was my other brother.” Her other brother? Wait a minute! No one ever mentioned another brother! This brother married someone named Mary and had some kids, though she couldn’t remember.
I did some more research and no other child for Harry and Margaret appeared in records. No death record came up for the mysterious baby John. Even more strange, I found an old insurance policy for my Grandma dated around the 1940s and she listed John as a living sibling.
I began to realize that something was up with my Grandma’s story. I did some poking around with cousins and found out the truth. John did not die as a baby as I was told. John was the black sheep of the family. I could never get what John had done, but I found out he was kicked out of the family. My Grandma killed him off in her memories and to her he died as a baby.
I eventually tracked down his death certificate, not an easy task when you’re looking for John J. Jackson who died anytime after 1930. It appears from the very brief information given that their father (who was also estranged from the family) was the only one in contact with John. He was divorced and their were no mention of kids (though they may have existed). He died of pneumonia at the age of 36 in 1943.
This “anomaly” showed me that even family stories told by people who should know can be wrong. You have to take into account failing memories and possibly reason for changing history. In this case, whatever John did, according to my Grandma he died as a baby. I may never know what it was he did, though I won’t stop trying to find out.