Where It All Began

This is somewhat old news…but at least it’s new to you!  Since this blog is a research log and I’ve caught a new wind in updating it, I’m catching up on some entries.  Here, I visit the Panama Canal, where my family story in that part of the world began.

Puente del mundo, corazon del universo

When shopping for souvenirs in Panama, you’ll find keychains, decorative plates, coffee mugs, and all the other usual suspects emblazoned with the phrase “puente del mundo, corazon del universo” (bridge of the world, heart of the universe).  Continue reading

Where Do I Go Now?

*Sighs* I had basically promised my long-lost Cadignan cousin in Martinique, Christian, that I would come visit this July.  And when I said it, I totally meant it.  But now that next summer is around the corner, my financial situation has not miraculously resolved itself in the way the naive Anulkah v2009 had hoped.  It’s hard to justify another big trip just months after going to Panama for the holidays, so I just sent Christian an e-mail letting him know I would not be able to make it to Martinique anytime soon. But I want to make progress in my research, so where do I go now? Continue reading

Unfinished Business

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.  You know you’ve done a horrendous job of maintaining your new blog when you forget the URL and the password!  In the two months (yikes!) since my last post I have, in the odd moment, said to myself in a panic, “Oh, my blog! I need to update it.  I need to update it regularly!  I’ll do that tonight.”  Then NADA.  Thinking back on when I started this blog is almost laughable – how excited I was when I first created the blog, of all the time I spent crafting those first posts, of how this was going to be the thing that really got me working on my research on a constant and frequent basis.  That lasted for, oh, a couple of weeks!  Then NADA.  Continue reading

In Threes

This summer has provided me with a mix of genealogical highs and lows.  I’ve made enormous strides in some very important ways, starting with my trip out east for my grad school graduation.  After parading around Cambridge in my black robe and crimson hood, I headed up to New York for Ayanna’s Jack & Jill’s graduation.  In addition to the usual family fun, I also got to spend some time with my mother’s first cousin, Ann Marie, who has done a lot of family history research over the years.  It was great to connect with another family member who was as obsessed with learning about our family’s roots as I am.  Though my trip to New York was short, it became even more fruitful when Ann Marie took me to meet Tia Dilca, a cute old lady who had been good friends with Hilarion’s sisters. Continue reading

Joseph and Josephine

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been in communication with two Cadignans, Christian, who lives in Martinique, and Jean-Pierre, who lives in France.  Christian was the one to point out to me that there are many people with the last name Cadignan in a part of Martinique called Francois.  When I contacted Jean-Pierre I asked him if he was from that region of the island, and he answered that yes, he was born there but now lived in France. (This is the opposite of Christian, who grew up in France and moved to Martinique a few years ago.)  A couple of other Cadignans I’ve had fleeting contact with also confirmed familial ties to Francois.

I have had the most contact with Christian and Jean-Pierre – who did not know each other beforehand- because (a) they can communicate in English and (b) they were very interested in figuring out how and if we are all related. (I figure (a) was a barrier to (b) for the other Cadignans I reached out to.) With a flurry of emails between San Diego, Martinique, and France, we were able to sort out how Jean-Pierre and Christian are related to each other (yes, they are!) and how Josephine could also fit into the family tree.  Continue reading

Facebook Leads Me to Le Francois

About two months ago it occured to me, out of nowhere, that I should google some of my surnames and see what popped up.  I didn’t want to bother with my Bajan last names since they are all very “English” and thus too widespread for such an open-ended search to yield anything specific about my Thomas, Lewis, and Beckles family lines. I had googled Vallee a couple times in the past and not found anything very useful. 

Then it occurred to me, what about Cadignan, my other Martinican surname? I don’t know anything about French names but it seems a bit more unique than Vallee. Google eventually led me to Facebook, which led to the following update e-mail I sent out to my extended family on 6-29-09. Continue reading