Resolving Lost Children in My de Braga Line

Boy, my blogging has been slim to nothing lately.  I apologize but a huge project with a deadline was dumped on me at the end of August and I couldn’t do anything else.  I’m still in the midst of it.

Of course, right in the middle of this project, the records I’ve been waiting on all summer came online.  These are the records for the village of Maia in Ribeira Grande on the island of Sao Miguel.  I’ve already worked through Achada and Fenais da Vera Cruz my other main villages.  I had researched in Maia in the late 1990s.  But, when arthritis hit my neck and shoulders I couldn’t sit at a microfilm reader anymore.  I’ve waited some 15 years to pick up where I left off.

So…I have been sneaking peeks at the death records in between the work I’m supposed to be doing.   This is one record set I never got to research.  I remember when I first started working in Maia people persuaded me from wasting time on them as they found them to be of little value.

However, now that I’m going back to them, I realize death records can answer many questions for me.  The most obvious is putting ancestors to rest.  That is one box on the family groups sheet no longer blank.  But, I have more important questions like “Did my gr gr grandparents leave any other children behind?”  “Did their cousin bring all his children to Hawaii?”

For the first question, I already knew that Jozimas and Maria (de Mello) de Braga left their son, Seraphim behind.  What about Jose and Jacintho?  I now have the answer.  Both boys died as babies.  It makes me think how much more difficult it must have been to leave Seraphim behind knowing they may never see him again.  They’d already buried two of their children.

I came to the same result with Diniz de Braga’s son Jose.  Off and on, I have searched for him in Hawaii hoping there was another de Braga line to trace.  But, it is not to be.  Jose also died as an infant.  It ruins any chance of more relatives from that line, but it is a final answer to the question.  I no longer have to search.

The records for Maia in this era are impressive.  I’ve worked in other villages and they are not as detailed.  These give the parents of married people (absent in some other villages).  It also lists how many children the person had–something I have not seen in other villages.  I suspect since this is the 1870s the records are more detailed.  I expect to see less when I go backwards.

Two questions resolved in just one week.  I like when genealogy works that way!



My Relatives At Work: A Labor Day Photo Series

I posted this series in 2012.  Since I haven’t written anything on Labor Day I thought I would repost it.  Happy Labor Day Everyone!


Yesterday, I got the idea to search out some photographs of my relatives at work.  I turned it into a series of blog posts to honor them on Labor Day.

While it’s easy to notice the contribution to our country by those who have made money, we often forget that they would not have gotten there had it not been for the laborers, seamstresses, bricklayers, construction workers, accountants, field workers, office workers, and others who labored daily to build up business.  Just like everyone else, my relatives played their part in making America what it is today.


These are the blog posts telling you all about what my ancestors did for a living…

Manuel Bonita and Joao Pacheco SmithWestinghouse Electric, 1938

Anthony Correia and Anton “Dean” SouzaLaborers at the Sugar Plantation

Charles and Brigitte (Breilh) MazeresThey Owned Laundries

Lorraine (Pacheco) MartinWomen Working in Factories

Jose Pacheco (aka Joe P. Smith)One of the Highest Wage Earners

Anna (Jackson) ShellabargerMy Grandma was a Working Woman

Frank Milton ShellabargerBefore He Became a Painter and Writer

Happy Labor Day, Everyone!

Remember to celebrate your relatives and the work they’ve done!



The Azores DNA Project Needs Your Help


Many people don’t know about the Azores DNA Project.  It is one of the groups developed via’s website.  Azoreans who have their DNA tests done can then join the group.

The purpose of the group is to help Azorean genealogists (whether you are Azorean or one line of your tree is Azorean) connect with other genealogists, work to overcome brick walls, and help overcome the surname practices of the Azoreans. Those who hit a pai incognito (father’s name not given), have one of those families where the parents and the children do not have the same surnames, or are stumbling over female ancestors who are only reported by their religious name can benefit from adding their DNA results to the project.  As more and more Azoreans test, patterns will be seen and it may be possible to overcome these obstacles.

The group is comprised of volunteers who I’m sure many of you know and have run into in online groups.  They spend a great deal of time educating the rest of us on how this whole DNA thing works.  Their patience seems tireless as we all try to understand how each test works.  You can see some of the work they compiled at the top of the project page.  Just click on Y-DNA or mtDNA in the menu bar to check it out.

The Azores DNA Project lives on donations.  Their goals is to get as many people with Azorean roots (that includes us Portuguese Hawaiians too!) as possible to test.  The more that test, the best matching can be done.  Thus, they donate some DNA tests each year to those who cannot afford the cost.  That money comes from the general fund which is entirely made up of donations.

Donations keep this project alive.  If you would like to help out, you can find more information at the Azores DNA Project page.   The link to donate is at the bottom of the page or you may click on it here.  Be sure to select Azores Island, Port so the money is allocated to the correct geographic project.

If you’d like to see some of the things the project is working on, once on the project page, click on the Y-DNA Results tab or the mt-DNA Results tab.  You will see some of the ways they are using DNA results to bridge the gap to genealogy research.

If you are thinking about having your DNA tested, you should order through the Azores DNA Project which automatically adds you to the project.  The Family Finder test, aka Autosomal test, is the one that most family historians will benefit the most from (It’s the test I took!)  And, if you have had your DNAtested  through FTDNA, consider joining the group.  The more individual results in the group the more it will aid genealogists.