Hilarion y El Cristo Negro de Portobelo

Today my mother’s father Hilarion “Julio” Vallee

would’ve turned 90 years old so I just wanted to take a quick moment to say, “Happy birthday abuelo!”

His birthday happens to fall on a day that is very important to Catholics in Panama and is also ardently observed by many followers outside the country as well.  October 21st is El Dia del Cristo Negro de Portobelo. People form all over the country journey to the small town of Portobelo to pay homage to the statue of a Black Jesus (one of many found in Latin America) that has resided there since 1658.  When he was alive, my grandfather was among the many that would make this trip each year.

Unfortunately, Hilarion did not live past the age of 37.   I wonder, would a 90 year old Hilarion still have been making that pilgramage? Judging by how sharp and feisty some of my oldest Medicare clients are, I can definitely say it’s a possibility we can not rule out!

A few fun facts about El Cristo Negro de Portobelo:

  • El Cristo Negro de Portobelo is the saint for singers.
  • None other than the queen of salsa, Celia Cruz, was known to join this pilgramage on occasion.
  • Another great salsero, Ismael Rivera, recorded “El Nazareno” in honor of El Cristo Negro de Portobelo.

You can go here for a short news peice on this year’s gathering at the church of San Felipe in Portobelo.

Photos II

A continuacion! More pictures from Tito’s album.  Let’s see what else we have here…

Looks like a bridesmaid gig for my mom and a couple of her primas.

Mom (Julia), Berta, and Danitza (?). Familia, whose wedding was this?

I wonder whose house they are standing in front of in the picutre below.

Not sure who the little girl with Tia Isa is.

So glad some of these pictures give the year and names!

Carmen and Berta (I totally have to start calling her Betty now) with their older cousin Lydia, apparently in 1954.

Who are most of these people, where are they, and what are they doing?

The second woman to the left is Rita and the second woman to the right is Julia aka mommy.

Another precious memory of Tia Ilka.

A family picnic?

Looks like Celia is feeding Rolondo something while Martita digs into her own plate.

That’s it for now. Thanks again, Lydia and Tito, for the memories!

Photos I

Months ago I purchased my first ever Groupon. For just $40 I was entitled to $100 worth of digitized pictures. Though I didn’t have any old family pictures at the time , I knew this was a great deal worth buying into.  Plus, I figured that once I had spent the money I would actually get myself to work on obtaining old photos to have scanned. And that’s just what happened.

As the June 15 deadline to use the Groupon neared I remembered having looked at an album full of old family pictures at Tito’s house last Thanksgiving.  These pictures originally belonged to his mother, Lydia, who is first cousins with my mother (on the Colomb-Mondesi St. Lucia side). Mere days before the groupon expired I borrowed the album and sent some of the pictures away for digitizing (I didn’t thinking I would have enough on my account to have the entire album).  Continue reading

No Jumping, Please

Addendum to report #4 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama

I have to say, things have really been moving on the Cadignan end of things. I also have to admit that I may have gotten so excited about the progress I was making I jumped ahead of myself and went running full steam ahead towards a conclusion based on shaky evidence.  I’ll explain. Continue reading

Actes d’individualité

A few nights ago I resumed an online investigation that, to this point, had been a wild goose chase. I was simply hoping to find a contact from whom I could request records from Martinique, as I did when I requested records from St. Lucia. What I ended up finding was even better. I happened upon a blog that pointed me towards the website for La Banque Numérique des Patrimoines Martiniquais. I’ll quote from my fellow geneablogger Anne Morddel to explain just what can be found at the BNPM website: Continue reading