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Tag: naming practices

Josefa de Mello wasn’t a Mello at all: Or, Why You Can’t Trust Portuguese Surnames

Josefa de Mello wasn’t a Mello at all: Or, Why You Can’t Trust Portuguese Surnames

Curious thing about Portuguese surnames.   They are inconsistent at best and downright frustrating most of the time.  Surname research is out of the question because you can’t depend on any consistency.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that Josefa de Mello’s surname turned out to be completely different than the name on her son’s marriage record. Why I Couldn’t Find Josefa de Mello in the Parish Records Let’s take a walk into the Azores Islands parish records, shall we? Joam de…

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We are not all related

We are not all related

I hate to break the news, but genealogically speaking we are not all related.  Oh, sure, depending on what you believe we have Adam and Eve or Lucy in our past.  But, when it comes to genealogy research connecting us all is impossible.  Even connecting everyone in the same town of village would be hard to do. I’m reminded of this each time I see a post on one of the forums I participate in.  It goes like this “I…

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I thought that was a Native American name!

I thought that was a Native American name!

Often times while researching, I’m humbled by my lack of knowledge of word roots and naming traditions.  Several years ago while working in Azorean records, I came across a name that made my laugh.  Geronimo! I don’t know why, but I really thought this was a Native American name.  There is the famous Apache, Geronimo, after all.  I never stopped to think where the name might have originated from.  His birth name was Goyaale.  According to Wikipedia, the name Geronimo…

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What did that V stand for?

What did that V stand for?

When searching through social security death records I noticed something peculiar.  Many of my Portuguese Hawaiian male relatives born between 1880 and 1910 had middle initials.  I found this peculiar because the Portuguese didn’t use middle names. What was even stranger was when I asked their close relatives about the middle initial.  It seemed they had an initial but no middle name. I was speaking to my Mom’s cousin one day and asked him about his stepfather, Anthony V. Correia. …

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