As far as it goes, this tombstone at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland, CA, is pretty simple. Only one person is buried here, my Great Uncle, Antao A. Souza.
Antao was born 12 Feb 1890 in Kilauea, Kauai Co., HI. He was the sixth child out of thirteen born to Francesca de Mendonca and Augusto Souza. He was baptized in St. Stephen’s Church in Moloa’a, Kauai Co., HI on 2 Mar 1890.
The pronounciation of Antao is Anton. Anton is the spelling he adapted as a young man.
Anton left Hawaii before he reached the age of 18. He was a farm laborer in Soledad, CA in 1910. Then moved on to King City by 1914. There he was an engineer on a sugar beet plantation.
On the 4th of July, 1914, Anton married Maria, the daughter of Theodoro Pacheco and Maria de Braga at St. Joseph’s Church in Oakland, CA. Anton and Maria had their wedding then went home to King City. It wouldn’t be long before Maria’s mother and siblings would move a short distance away–to Spreckels, CA, after Maria’s father died in December of 1914.
Their marriage had trials from the start. Maria gave birth to a boy, Theodore, in 1915. He died of cholera at the age of 2 months. They tried again and had another son, Alfred, in 1916.
Sometime around 1918, Maria gave birth to a daughter, Christine. Christine died of what my Grandmother referred to as “milk fever”. She recalled her as a beautiful baby with rose petal lips.
On Anton’s WWI draft registration card dated 1918, the couple is noted as living in Chualar. He worked as a steam engineer on the Spreckels Sugar Beet Plantation.
Anton and Maria moved back to Oakland by 1920 perhaps to get away from the sadness of the loss of their daughter. They move to the only street that the Pacheco’s and their kin seemed to know about, E. 25th Street.
Maria got pregnant one more time. This time everything went well. She gave birth to another son in 1924 and named him after the first son that they lost.
When they moved back to Oakland, Anton no longer did agricultural work. He was a fireman and engineer on the ferry boats that went from Oakland to San Francisco. By 1942, he worked for Southern Pacific in Oakland.
Anton’s life was brief. He was diagnosed with cancer around 1940. He succombed to it in 1945 at the age of 55.
Anton was known by many names in his 55 years on Earth. Antao Souza, Anton Souza, Antone August Souza, Tony A. Souza. But the name that everyone knew him by was “Dean”.
How did he get the nickname “Dean”? His nephew, Donald Jordan Smith, had a speech impediment. Since these folks were Portuguese and spoke the language fluently, they used many of the Portuguese terms to refer to each other. Anton was Donald’s godfather or “padrinho” in Portuguese. Donald couldn’t pronounce that long word, so he started calling him “Dean”. The name stuck and the couple known as Nanny and Dean were forever etched in everyone’s minds and hearts.
This photo was taken just before Dean passed away. From left to right: Theodore Pacheco Smith, Alfred Souza, Joao “Bohne” Pacheco Smith, Antao “Dean” Souza.
Many of the first wave of Portuguese immigrants carried very little if any documentation with them. They were most likely poor and illiterate. The people in Hawaiian taking information from these immigrants usually had no prior knowledge of the language. Portuguese enunciation was different from what they were used to. Also, the recorder wasn’t always sure what to do with the de, da, and d’. They often blended these with the rest of the name. Because of this, the recorder often relied on phonetic spellings of names. This lead to some pretty creative name variations. You’ll notice this especially in the pre-1910 civil records and the 1900 and 1910 US Census.
Here are some examples of some variations. Note that these names have variants within the Portuguese language itself. Those listed are to give you and idea of what you might see in Hawaiian records and is not a comprehensive list of all variations.
Alexandrina – Shandrina, Santalina, Lexandrina, Sandarina, Sandrina
Apolniaro – Pulunaro
Georgiana – Jorgina
Gertrudes – Stuiz
Guilherme – Whilhelm, William, Willie
Jacinta – Josinta, Jacintze
Jacinto -Jacinth, Josenth, Jocinth, Josento
Joao – Joa, Joas, Juau, Jo, Juan, Joam
Joaquim – Jorquin, Jockin, Joachem, Joacim
Joaquina – Jockina, Juakina
Leanor – Eleanor, Nora
Maria – Malia
Sebastiao – Cebastion, Sebastinan
Sezoro – Casar
Amaral – Maral
d’Arruda – Ruda, Darud, Darudda
Botelho – Boulterlho, Buttelo
Braga – Brugga, Bragas, Brag
Ferreira – Freira
Freitas – Frates, Freits
Medeiros – Maderos, Mideras, Mederios, Madeiro
Moniz – Munis, Manis
de Ornellas – Dorneilho, Dornellance, Dornel
Pacheco – Pusheco, Parcheco
Paulos – Palles
Pavao – Pavon, Pavong
Pereira – Preira, Pierera
Reis – Rees, Raes
Remoaldo – Ramol
Quintana – Kintara
Souza – Susa, Suza
Teves – Tavas
Texeira – Terceira, Tacheira, Teshere
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