Book of Me, Prompt 19: I Miss My Aunt Julie

This is another entry in the series Book of Me, Written by You.  This entry we are to write about someone we miss.

It would be easy for me to write about my Dad.  He died in 2010.  I’ve written about him extensively on this blog.  So, today I’ll write about his sister, My Aunt Julie.

Aunt Julie was constantly in my life.  She was always over our house visiting.  I remember her at family get-togethers.  She and my Dad were close.

I was the type of child that learned early to stay away from the adults.  I was always off playing with my siblings, cousins, or friends.  I wasn’t the type to be chatting with the adults, even relatives.  I guess I was intimidated.

So, my Aunt Julie holds a special place in my life.  She was the first adult outside my parents that I could really connect with.  I was always chatty with her.  She was one of the kindest, honest, most down to earth people that I ever met.  Someone you didn’t feel had a negative bone in her body.  She was much like her mother, my Grandmother, in that way.  Never heard her say anything bad about anyone.

With today’s modern technology, meeting up on Facebook with relatives, and texting, it may seem odd that the reason my Aunt and I connected was philately.  Yes, stamp collecting.  This was back in the early 1980s.  People didn’t have computers let alone the ability to print postage.

My Aunt was the one who got me interested.  I had pen pals and was somewhat fascinated by the stamps that came on my envelopes.  But, I didn’t start collecting until my Aunt started telling me about her collecting.  Then, it blossomed from there.  We both ordered stamps online and would share what we had bought at our visits.  We bought the same Scott US collectors book, too.

My Aunt and I made a connection.  It was through those afternoon visits that I began to learn some of my Aunt’s life story (some more I learned from my Dad).  And, it was then that I learned that people aren’t black and white.  My kindhearted Aunt loved watching wrestling on TV and once told me she would have liked to have tried out for roller derby.  This same Aunt, my Dad told me, could have been a concert pianist.  How’s that for a variety of interests!

My Aunt died in her 60s of Cancer.  She died right around Thanksgiving. I do still miss her.  But, my memories are happy ones.  She was the type of person who left you feeling better having been around her.


What’s wrong with these ages?

I thought I would do something nice for some cousins this weekend.  As some of the Azorean church records are online,  I thought I would look through them and find some of my great and great great aunts and uncles.  I was able to locate Francisco de Boa Ventura in Sao Jose, Ponta Delgada fairly easy.  This, of course, encouraged me to go further.

Most of these records are not indexed and as one would expect are in Portuguese–a language I don’t really know, but have learned the basics for vital record reading. It is a painstaking process of going one record at a time.  This is fine when someone like Francisco actually knew what year he was born.

But, I’m trying to find Alexandrinha (Jose) Pacheco.  Alexandrinha has two different birth dates and a multitude of birth years.  I have found her born anywhere from 1866 to 1877.  Hey, at least I have the village!  I know she was born in Ginetas.

As I’m looking at the data I have for her family, I begin to suspect something is not right with the numbers.  The family went to Hawaii in 1882.  Alexandrinha is listed as 5 years old in the passport entry. I have her father born ca 1839 and mother born in ca 1841.  Alexandrinha would have been born ca 1876 if the passport is correct.  That would make her mother 35-36 when she was born.  I’m fine with that, although, I am suspicious that there were no other children listed with them.  Portuguese families were rarely small.

Now it gets tricky.  They had two children in Hawaii.  Manoel was born in 1884 and Jacinta was born in 1891.  That makes 14 years between Alexandrinha and Jacinta. That means their mother was 50 when Jacinta was born.

I supposed she could have been giving birth at 50.  What really bothers me is the amount of years before Alexandrinha was said to be born.  I find it hard to believe they didn’t have any children until they were in their mid 30s.

But, there is another problem.  If I am to believe Alexandrinha was born in 1876 and 5 years old when she got to Hawaii, then I must also accept that she was 12-13 when she married Antonio Pacheco in 1889.  Antonio was 35-39 at the time.  That means there could have been as much as 27 years between them.  I know there were older men, young teen marriages between the Portuguese, especially if the man was married before (he was) and he had children (he didn’t as far as I know).  I have seen marriages where the bride is 15.  13 seems very young.

So, now I must think about this.  I’ve already gone through 1876 and 1877 with no luck finding Alexandrinha.  I supposed I could make an attempt at her parent’s marriage certificate, but what year would I look in?  It could be anywhere in the 1860s or the 1870s.

I think for now I should go look for someone else.  Until I have a much firmer set of dates, or an index, this would be like finding a needle in a haystack.




What a whirlwind month for genealogy!

April  was one of my best research months in a long time.  I’ve made some really neat discoveries on my Portuguese and French lines (where are you, Irish?  C’mon, step up!)

Let’s see…

I found that the town of Ogeu les bains, France has Google street view.  I spent a few hours looking around town.  I found the Mazeres house that has existed since the early 1800s (thanks to cousin Jean for the address!)

I found through that my grandfather’s cousin was featured in a project for California that photographed WWI soldiers.  The project was done in 1918.

I found that a group of Pacheco Remigio’s who I’ve been trying to locate for about 5 years have a group on Facebook.

I have no photographs of my grandmother’s cousins.  For whatever reason, she and her sister had nothing on the Bourne’s, Pohley’s, and Burke’s–their San Francisco cousins–despite the fact that their mother and her sisters were very close.  I found that some San Francisco yearbooks are available on  I now know what 5 of her cousins looked like.

I started searching the records for Povoacao, Sao Miguel Island, Azores to see if I could drum up something on my ancestor’s family from the 1770s.  After floundering in the marriage records, I went to the baptismals and found her had two more siblings.

A new cousin from Kilauea took photo of tombstones in the local cemetery.  I know have my great great grandmother’s tombstone photo–and her death date.

And, the same cousin unknowingly sent me a photo that showed my great aunt, Minnie (Ventura) Pacheco Smith as a teenager.

I wonder why genealogy is feast or famine.   At least it seems that way for me.  I either spend months locating that one record to fill a gap in data or it comes in an avalanche of information from all over.

I have work to do now!  I have many records to input and organize.  See that smile on my face?  I’m one happy genealogist.