My Brava/Azores connection #52 Ancestors 

I recently posted this on the Azores genealogy group on Facebook

My Azores Post

To which I got this reply,

Doug's reply

Doug had found a baptism record for Francisco who was born in April 10, 1799 in Quatro Ribeiras in the parish of Santa Beatris, Terceira. Franisco was the son of Jacinto Coelho de Mello and Joaquina Luiza, who was a natural of Biscoitos, in the parish of Sao Pedro. Francisco’s paternal grandparents were Joam Coelho de Mello and Francisca Marianna and his maternal grandparents were Joam Machado da Rosa and Agostinha da Rosa.

Francisco Terceira

I am only beginning my research of records from the Azores but I have found that the Coelho’s were among the first families to settle in the Azores and the island of Terceira, specifically. There are two branches of the family, descendants of Joao Coelho and Luis Afonso Coelho.

The donatorio, Jácome de Bruges, gave land to these first families. João Coelho was given  Porto Judeu.

João Coelho married Catherine Rodrigues da Costa  in 1456 , after her husband settled in Porto Judeu . They had the following children:

1 – Salvador Coelho, who was married to D. Catarina Martins.

2 – Baltazar Coelho, who married twice, the first with Dona Ana Cabeceiras and the second with D. Violame of Valadão.

3 – Gaspar Coelho married Violante Nunes.

4 – António Coelho, married in Angra do Heroismo with F. Mourato.

5 – Fernao Coelho, who died as a child.

6 – Bartolomeu Coelho, married in Belo Jardim, Victoria Beach Agnes Bridge.

7 – Francisco Coelho, married Maria de Barros.

8 – Margarida Coelho also married Diogo da Ponte.

9 – Nicolau Coelho.

Francisco, Antonio and Nicolau are all common first names in my Coelho family tree.

Bibi had a secret #52 Ancestors 

My great-grandmother, Maria Coelho, affectionately known as Bibi, was one of the most pious women I have ever known. She was a devout Catholic and had a moral compass that was unparalleled. There was no in between with her. You were either right or you were wrong. She demanded that you treat yourself with respect and that you carried yourself with the utmost propriety. In the 30 years that I had the honor of knowing her, I am convinced that she never did anything wrong.

In 1998, Bibi suffered a major stroke. That morning, Vovo, my grandmother, called me to come over and help her with Bibi because she just wasn’t acting right. I was in grad school at the time studying to become a Speech and Language Pathologist and I immediately recognized that she was having a stroke. While she was still able to speak, it wasn’t making much sense. We got her to the ER and I’m with her as the Dr was checking her out. He asked if she spoke any English. I said “No”. Of course, Bibi looks at him and says “Dr, Nobody’s home!”… In perfect English!!!

I had studied in class certain phenomenon that happened with a persons language skills after a stroke, like forgetting their native language and only speaking a second language. So at that point, Bibi had started to speak only English. I had NEVER heard Bibi speak English in my life. There I was worried about my 94 year old great grandmother suffering a major stroke and I’m giggling in the ER in shear disbelief over what I just heard!

By the end of that day, she was stable but not speaking … In Criolu or English. I spent the night with her after and was with her when she woke up the next morning. I asked her how she was and she looked at me and said “Alberto”. Every time she opened her mouth to speak, she said “Alberto”. All I kept thinking was “Who in the world is Alberto?”.

Nobody knew who Alberto was. No one had even ever heard Bibi mention Alberto. Her husband’s name was Avelino. So who was Alberto and why was that the only thing she could say????

To make matters worse, a social worker visited my great-grandmother in the hospital to have some paperwork done regarding a Medical Power of Attorney, etc. She apparently asked Bibi who she wanted to handle her medical decisions and Bibi responded “Alberto”. So later that day, I arrived at the hospital and asked a nurse about Bibi’s condition and she told me she couldn’t talk to anyone except “Alberto”!!!!

Needless to say, I caused a bit of a ruckus and made sure everyone understood that she had Aphasia and could ONLY say that one word.

Bibi’s speech eventually came back and she was back to her normal self in no time. At 94, she wasn’t about to let a little stroke keep her from going back to being our family matriarch. One day, I asked her who “Alberto” was. She never responded but gave me that look that meant I better not ask again if I valued my life.

To this day, every time I look at vital records from Cape Verde, I’m always keeping an eye out for someone named Alberto who almost became my Great Grandmother’s Medical Power of Attorney 🙂

An explanation of DNA testing for genealogy

DNA testing for genealogy has been very popular, lately, as a tool to delve further into ones family tree. In 2011, I had my mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA tested, as well as, autosomal testing through FamilytreeDNA.com.

Mitochondrial testing is useful in tracing one’s maternal line to its origin. Mitochondrial information is found in our cells and passed from mother to child. This information doesn’t change making it possible to trace our maternal lines.
image
In this chart, the maternal information is passed from a mother to a son and daughter. The daughter can pass the mitochondrial information to her son and daughter but the son does not. In other words, for me to get mtDNA information for my mother’s maternal line, my brothers and I could have taken the mtDNA test. My daughter and my son can take the test to get the same information but by brother’s children can’t because they could pass the mtDNA information on to their children.

Ydna testing is done to trace male inheritance. Only males can take this test as Y chromosomes are only passed from father to son. I can’t get ydna information of my father’s lineage but my brother can.

When these tests are done, you are given a haplogroup designation. This map gives us an idea of the migration and evolution of different mitochondrial lineages beginning with “mitochondrial Eve” from whom all modern humans are believed to be descended from on the maternal lines. Eve is believed to have been born 200,000 years ago in East Africa. While she wasn’t the only female living at the time, all other female lines failed to produce continuous descendants with their mitochondrial DNA. image
Over time, Eve’s offspring began to migrate outside of this part of Africa. With time particular mutations happened within the mtDNA resulting in subgroups. With these subgroups, it’s possible to trace your maternal lines to different parts of the world.

My mtDNA haplogroup is L3b1a. The first genetic mutation of Eve is L0, then L1, L2, and L3. Because I did the full sequence of my DNA I have extra information on my maternal lineage which primarily West African with my coding region (another part of the DNA tested) matches me with indigenous Berbers of Morocco and Egypt.

FTDNA provides you with information about matches on the mtDNA test. In my case, where L3b1a goes back at least 20,000, my matches may be too distantly related to find our exact connection but it gives me more clues on my lineage. Most of my matches are Bantus in places like Sierra Leone, Camaroon, Chad and I even have matches in Syria.

FTDNA offers autosomal testing through their FamilyFinder test that theoretically gives you your ethnic breakdown according to your chromosomes. This information comes from both your mother and father and should reflect the past 125 years or 5-6 generations back. For some population groups, there are filters that help distinguish matches that appear close genetically but in actuality are more distant on paper. Where there are generations cousins marrying cousins as in the case of royal families, etc, there is the possibility that the results reflect information much further than 125 years. In my tree, I have many 3rd and 4th cousins marrying so I’m pretty sure that my Afghani line wasn’t very recent. image
Of my matches on FamilyFinder, some are of Cape Verdean origin, while some people are of Eastern European and Jewish origins. How I match Hungarian, Polish and Ukranians has been a bit tricky but what’s interesting is that we all descend from the same person since we all match on the very same spot on the same chromosome (19). I have African American matches, one of who has only been able to trace one line to an enslaved person around 1860 in South Carolina. The thought that his ancestor was possibly family to someone in my tree is intriguing in that it may be a way to connect to my enslaved ancestors.

Exploring my DNA has been very interesting, to say the least. It’s helped to answer many questions, expand my family tree and to create even more questions. My hope is that questions about “what is a Cape Verdean” can be answered in terms of its history and what groups of people were instrumental in its creation. But most of all, rather than defining Cape Verde in terms of its uniqueness and setting it apart from the rest of the world, it should strengthen our humanity. At the end of the day, we are all connected.

Cape Verdean Veterans of American Wars

A post from a great blog by fellow Cape Verdean history enthusiast, Gerson Monteiro

Cape Verde History Unearthed

In honor of Armistice/ Veterans Day this post will honor Cape Verdean veterans of American Wars.

The Cape Verdean community here in the States should be very proud of all the Patriots it has produced and lost in every American war since the beginning; fighting for its independence, it’s struggle to remain a unified nation and for the abolition of slavery. We have fought with her against fascists and saved millions from death camps all over Europe. We were there in Korea and Vietnam and every other time Americans have been called to serve this country, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is a partially list of the thousands of Cape Verdeans that have served this great nation (info provided by www.thecreolagenealogist.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/cape-verdeans-and-americas-independance-day-just-as-american-as-apple-pie :

Documented Cape Verdean military soldiers in the Revolutionary war for Independence from England were collected by Jose dos Anjos in his research of Cape Verdean military soldiers

James Pease…

View original post 699 more words

#52 Ancestors- Antonio Jose Coelho – Ancestor #5

Early last year, I was fortunate enough to visit the Providence Children’s Museum’s Coming to Rhode Island exhibit that features the stories of real people who immigrated and settled in Rhode Island. One of the people featured is Antonio Jose Coelho, captain of the Nellie May, a native of Brava and an ancestor.

20140313-002649.jpgCaptain Antonio Jose Coelho

The first time I actually came across his name was while I was searching for my great-great grandfather with the same name who I knew visited the United States many times before he died in 1917 in Brava. I also knew that he lived and worked in Providence. My great-great grandfather had a wife and children in Brava so I wasn’t exactly excited to see an Antonio Jose Coelho married and living with his wife and two kids in Providence! A word to the wise- always pay attention to birth dates! My Antonio was born in 1879 while Capt. Antonio was born in 1851… And both are ancestors of mine.

Capt. Coelho is said to have first arrived around 1866 which may have been on a whaling ship. My Coelho ancestors in Brava include a very long line of mariners.

20140312-221041.jpg
In this naturalization record from 1891, Antonio identifies 1866 as his arrival date in the United States.

He was married to Maria de Jesus d’Azevedo, also from Brava and had two sons, Joaquim and Cesar, all of whom followed Antonio to the United States between 1894 and 1897.

20140312-223218.jpg

20140312-223005.jpg
According to this 1900 census, Maria is quite a bit older than Antonio but both have 25 as the age they were when they first married. This, then, had to be Maria’s second marriage. In 1900, they were living on Traverse St. The 1910 census shows only Antonio, Maria and Cesar living together. Joaquim disappears from the records and I have not been able to locate him. He may have died but it is also possible that he returned to Brava or perhaps took up the family trade of whaling.

Antonio purchased the Nellie May from John Waters from Newport, Rhode Island and sailed the ship carrying people and goods from the States to Brava in 1892 and again in 1893 when a series of mishaps resulted in the captain of that voyage, Jose Godinho, beaching the ship to have it classified as abandoned and then purchase it himself at auction. Antonio fought two years, making appeals to Presidents Cleveland and McKinley, to get his ship back. Antonio died at the age of 92 without any compensation. During his life in Fox Point, Antonio was a well-known figure, helping many in the community with housing and employment and serving as an interpreter. (Excerpted from Cape Verdeans in America: Our Story, ed. Raymond A. Almeida. Boston: Tchuba-American Committee for Cape Verde, Inc., 1978. Boston. Based on original research by Michael K. H. Platzer and Dr. Diedre Meintel, with additional information collected by Cape Verdean community scholars.)

Antonio Jose Coelho Genealogy

Generation 1
Antonio was born on May 7, 1852. (Records have him born anywhere between 1851 and 1853.) He was the son of Joaquim Jose Coelho and Maria de Senna from Sao Joao Baptista, Brava. He also had a brother, Bernardino.

Maria de Jesus d’Azevedo was born around 1842 in Sao Joao Baptista and was the daughter of Antonio de Jesus d’Azevedo and Genoveva Tavares.

Generation 2
Joaquim Jose Coelho was the son of Francisco Jose Coelho and Claudina Maria da Graca.
Maria de Senna was the daughter of Francisco Ribeiro and Rosa de Senna

Generation 3
Francisco Jose Coelho was the son of Manuel Jose Coelho and Domingas da Graca
Claudina Maria da Graca was the daughter of Manuel Jose Gomes and Maria da Graca.
*Francisco and Claudina were married on June 17, 1811 and they were 2nd cousins, probably on their mothers’ sides.

Generation 4
Manuel Jose Coelho married to Domingas da Graca and parents to Francisco Jose Coelho.
Manuel Jose Gomes married to Maria da Graca (first cousin of Domingas da Graca) and parents of Claudina Maria da Graca.

#52 Ancestors- The Day Brava Died; The Heroes of the Mathilde

Teotônio quickly made his way to Ma Culinha’s house next door with a telegram in his hands. It had already been months since her husband, Joao Arcanja, boarded the schooner, Mathilde, with no word until that day, January 2, 1944. Joao Maria Nunes sent the telegram from the United States notifying everyone that the Mathilde still hadn’t reached its destination. Her worst fears were realized. As word spread from Cham de Sousa to every corner of the tiny island, Ma Culinha mourned the death of her husband and the island mourned the deaths of many of its bravest souls.

The island was in the grips of some of the worst years of drought and famine. Most of the world was focused on WWII and shipments of goods from the United States had come to a halt. A group of 51 men decided to take a chance and make the voyage across the Atlantic to America. It was the only hope for hundreds of families who were starving to death. Some of these men were American citizens who were answering the call to serve in the military for the United States. They were willing to risk their lives in an old schooner if it meant survival for their families.

No one knows exactly what happened to the Mathilde after it set sail from the port of Feijão d’Agu. There are stories that the ship was already in such disrepair that it started taking on water as soon as it set off. Others claim that the ship was seen somewhere off the the islands of the Caribbean. Lost ships were nothing new, unfortunately, in Brava’s history but this was especially brutal because these men were some of the islands best and brightest. They were mariners, merchants, island administrators, husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

Ma Culinha was my great- grand aunt – my great-grandmother, Bibi’s, sister. The two sisters supported each other as they were now both widowed with children. My grandmother was already an adult but Ma Culinha’s 5 children were still very young. Her youngest daughter was born shortly after her husband’s ship disappeared.

The story of the Mathilde has been documented in terms of the toll it took on Brava’s population but it was something else to read the account of the telegram from America being opened in my great grand aunt’s home in the book by Artur Viera; Mathilde, Viagem do Distino (Mathilde, Voyage with Destiny). I imagine that Bibi was there when the telegram arrived at Ma Culinha’s house as she lived next door. I knew the both of them, grew up with them, and never really knew the grief that they had to endure.

I had heard the story of Ma Culinha’s husband but it wasn’t something that was really talked about much. Our family had survived the drought and made its way to America. Their children’s children were living the American Dream and thoughts of starvation and death was something we never fathomed. What happened to those men was nearly forgotten to us if it weren’t for the efforts of people like Mr Vieira to ensure they weren’t forgotten.

Today, the names of these men are listed on a memorial located near the chapel at the port in Feijão d’Agu.

20140306-233200.jpg

The Mathilde was constructed in São Vicente and purchased by Abel and Daniel Ramos (Silva) from the town of Cova de Rodella.

20140306-233600.jpg

20140306-233609.jpg

Captaining this voyage was was Henrique Duarte Rosa, also known as Henrique de Lola, from Lem and Antonio Faria Balla, known as Toi de Nino.

20140306-234849.jpg

Domingos Jose da Silva, known as Senhor Ramos, a business man from Cova Rodella, sold each passenger their ticket, along with three of his sons, Daniel, Abel and Jose, who accompanied him on the ship.

20140306-234611.jpg

20140306-233507.jpg

Artur Viera includes a list of the passengers of Mathilde in his book. What I like about his book is that he uses the nicknames of these men along with who their family is. It seems to give life to the names on the pages and makes them real. Many of the names actually identify who their ancestors are. For example, Aurelio de Maria Vitoria, is Aurelio son of Maria, daughter of Victoria.

Abel Silva- married to Natinha Aurora, from Cova Rodella
Antonio Faria Balla (Toi de Nino) – married to Anna daughter of Mr. Carlos,
from Santa Barbara
Antonio de Lelo (Totoi)- married to Candida Henrique Quilota, from Cova
Rodella
Antonio de Niche- single, from Vinagre
Armando Anahory Azevedo- married to Jovina, from Nova Sintra
Augusto Nina Lepéu- single, from Cova Rodella
Aurélio Maria Chico- married to Lotinha, from Cachaço
Aurelio de Maria Vitoria- single, from Tras de Cova
Avelino Lopes – married to Eugenia de Jalca, from Nossa Senhora do Monte
Basilio Bicha, from Nova Sintra
Belmiro Libana- single, from São Pedro Lém
Daniel Silva- married to Laura Madalena, from Cova Rodella
Domingos Jose Silva, married to Dominga, from Cova Rodella
Francisco Anahory Azevedo-single, from Nova Sintra
Guilherme de Bita- single, from Lem
Henrique de Anna Carolina- widower, from Lomba Cumprido
Henrique Duarte da Rosa- married to Benvinda, from Lem
Jack Manuel Cochila- single, from Nova Sintra
Djila- from Cova de Joanna
Joao Arcanja- married to Carolina (Ma Culinha), from Cham de Sousa
Joao Henrique Silva- married to Maria Dominga, Cova de Joanna
Joao de Julia- married to Pequena Marcelino, from Cova Rodella
Joao de Sao Pedro, from Lem
Joazinho Julia de Laia- single, from Cova Rodella
Joaquim Henrique Velinha- single, from Vinagre
Joaquim Joao Sena – married to Alés Teofilo, from Nossa Senhora do Monte
Joaquim Nunes- from Mato Grande
Jose Djedjedja- from Pai Luis
Jose Faria Balla- from Santa Barbara
Jose Henrique Silva- single, from Cova de Joanna
Jose Joao Fernandes- married to Bibi Henrique Quilota, from C. De Joanna
Jose Silva- Cova Rodella
Laurindo Teixeira Balla- from Nova Sintra
Mano Gelina- single, from Campo Baixo
Mano Mariquinha Frisina- single, Lomba Cumprido
Manuel Mundinho- married to Rosinha Maria de Nana, from Paùl
Manuel Joao Fernandes – married to Aida de Cheta, Nossa Senhora do
Monte
Mario (the ship cook)- from Boa Vista
Nando Julia Nonó- single, from Mato Riba
Napoleão Julio Silva- single, Cova de Joanna
Nuno Palmira- married to Bai, Cova Rodella
Paulo Joao Fernandes- single, from Clara Goncalves
Pedro (ship cook)- from Boa Vista
Rapazinho nha Nacia, married to Bibi Rosinha, from Tapume
Raul Rodrigues-son of Marcellino Rodrigues, from Fogo
Roberto Baina (Boboy, born in the US), single, Nossa Senhora do Monte
Silvestre Pires-Nossa Senhora do Monte
Tchany de Djudja- married to Junina, daughter of Mr Ramos
Tómas Faria Balla – married to Alice de Mina Pulutcha, from Vinagre
Zeca de Manuel Lai- married to Bia nha Tancha, Cova de Rodella
* third captain only known by the surname Rodrigues.

Joao Arcanja and Ma Culinha’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in and around Massachusetts today as do many of the descendants of these brave men. I would love to hear their stories. If anyone knows of them, please feel free to comment or message me directly.

-Viera, Artur, Mathilde, Viagem do Destino, 2nd Edition, 1995

#52 Ancestors – Ancestor #3 – Finding Avelino

I can still remember the day when my uncle announced he was naming his new son “Avelino” after his grandfather. I was twelve and I remember imagining the years of torment my new cousin was going to have to endure. Avelino!?! Why?!? Why would my uncle name his only son AVELINO? Why not James? And who was this grandfather? I didn’t know anything about him.

My uncle reminded me of a picture I had seen a thousand times of a young couple in a frame in my grandmother’s living room.

20140305-221101.jpg
Avelino Barbosa Rodrigues and Maria Coelho Rodrigues

This started my search for Avelino. My great-grandmother, Bibi, didn’t speak much about her husband in all the time I knew her. Except for a few stories here and there, we really didn’t know much about this man who my little cousin was named after, except that Avelino was born in the town of Pai Luis (Father Luis) in the parish of Sao João Baptista in 1900 and died in Waterbury, CT in 1929.

20140305-192328.jpg

On the 25 of August, 1901, in the chapel of Santo Antonio in the parish of Sao Joao Baptista, a boy named Avelino, born in the city of Pai Luis on October 27, 1900, was baptized. He was the legitimate son of Rufino Rodrigues and Isabel Barboza. He was the paternal grandson of Jose Rodrigues and Guilhermina da Graca and the maternal grandson of Arsenio Barboza and Henriqueta Coelho. His godfather was Joao Antonio Alfama, a married merchant who lived in Povoacão, São João Baptista. His god mother was Maria Goncalves, a single woman from the town of Fundo. His godfather’s signature is at the bottom of the certificate.

On the upper left corner, there’s a notation under my great-great grandparents names. It refers to this record being extracted on 9/2/1917. I believe my great grandfather might have needed his baptism record which would have served as his only means of identity because he was coming to America. My great-great grandfather, Rufino, was a mariner and traveling back and forth between America and Brava. Rufino was living with his brothers, Manuel and Benjamin in Providence where they would have mingled with my great-grandmother’s father, Antonio Coelho. Bibi had told me that their fathers were friends and arranged their marriage.

My great grandfather’s time in America isn’t very clear. He was living in New Britain, CT for a time where he, his brother, Arthur, and cousin, Ernest, ran a store. Toward the end of 1922, after exchanging a few letters and pictures, he arrived in Brava with a white wedding dress complete with a veil and white shoes to marry my great-grandmother. They were married December 31, 1922

20140305-201020.jpg

Bibi told me the story about the day Avelino left for America on the schooner Volante just a few months after they were married. I can’t recall whether she said the ship left from the port of Furna or Feijão d’Agu but I do remember how she sounded as she described watching the ship disappear over the horizon. It was the last time she saw him.

The Volante arrived in New Bedford on May 18, 1923. My great grandfather is listed as a crew member of the schooner. It says that he had shipped out of New Bedford in October, 1922, that he was 22 years old, a seamen, could read and was about 5’7″ and 140 lbs.
>

20140305-215836.jpg

Immigration of Cape Verdeans to America pretty much came to a halt around this time due to legislation on immigration. Avelino never went back to Brava and Bibi and my grandmother couldn’t come here as easily. In 1924, Avelino and his brother, Arthur, moved from New Britain to Waterbury. In 1925 he started work at the Chase Metal Works, a brass factory in the heart of Waterbury. The money he made from his work was sent to Brava along with building materials to build a home for his family in Cham de Sousa.

20140305-204256.jpg
Our family home in Cham de Sousa

I believe it was meant to be a two story, “sobrado” style home. But before the house was finished, Avelino was killed in an accident at the factory.

20140305-204601.jpg

Avelino Rodick (Rodrigues), 29, of 189 Orange street was almost instantly killed yesterday afternoon at 3:45 o’clock at the Chase Metal Works. Rodick was squirting water from a hose into a revolving tumbling barrel when the hose caught on a nearby barrel and dragged the worker between the barrel and it’s foundation. Rodick was knocked unconscious and died shortly afterward, according to the coroner, John T. Monsani, who investigated.
The man’s left chest was thoroughly crushed. The body was removed to the Lunny funeral parlor on Central Avenue, from which place it will be removed to his home this morning. The funeral will take place Wednesday morning from the home to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, where a mass will be celebrated at 9 o’clock. Burial will be in Calvary cemetery.
Mr Rodick is survived by his wife, Maria; a daughter, Rosinha, his parents, Mr and Mrs Rufino Rodick; a brother, Arthur of Waterbury; a brother and sister at the Cape Verdi islands. He has lived in the city for the past five years and was employed at the Chase plant for four years

Some years ago I had a chance to meet a cousin who was Avelino’s step nephew and lived in the same home when Avelino died. He told me he remembered Avelino leaving for work, as usual, that morning only to return a few minutes later. He watched him go to his room and pick up a small picture of my grandmother, look at it for a while and placed it in his coat pocket. My cousin remembered this because he always felt like my great-grandfather had a feeling that something was going to happen and wanted to see his daughter’s face one more time.

85 years, 1 daughter, 6 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-great grandchildren later I wanted to tell Avelino’s story. It was the house he built that gave shelter to our family for two generations before they finally came to America in the 1960’s. The money that was paid from the accident at Chase Metal Works was what sustained our family during some tough times in Brava. We never met him but his life affected ours in unimaginable ways.

I began searching for Avelino in earnest when I lived for a short time in Waterbury after graduate school in 1998. I spent hours in the library looking for an obituary unsuccessfully. I was living the same city but could never find anything to tell me what happened to him. It wasn’t until ancestry.com came a long a couple of years ago that I found one index entry for Avelino’s grave marker showing that he had died in 1929, something I didn’t actually know before. I contacted the Waterbury clerks office where they explained that records that old were in storage and not as easily accessible and would take a while find. I contacted all the cemeteries in Waterbury that would have had burials around 1929. It took a while but was finally given information on when he was buried but they had no information on why he died. I contacted all the churches that would have been in service at the time only to be told that all the records were transferred to the archdiocese of Hartford. The archivist there told me that they had no records dating back to 1929 for any churches that would have served the Portuguese community of Waterbury. So, on a whim, I contacted the very same library I had spent many hours at nearly 15 years prior. I explained to the librarian what I had been through trying to find my great-grandfather and she immediately found a city directory showing where he worked.

The next day, I received an email with the article above explaining, finally, what happened to Avelino. I cried as I read what had happened to him the day he was killed.

None of Avelino’s direct descendants had ever visited his grave. So on a trip back home from Massachusetts one day, I took a different route back to DC that went right through Waterbury. I drove to Calvary Cemetery to visit Avelino.

On a small hill under a tree I found his simple gravestone.

20140305-214316.jpg

And I said, “Thank you”.

I wish I can go back to the day I complained about my uncle naming my cousin, Avelino. I understand now why he wanted to honor him by passing his name down to his only son.