Hurricane Devastates Soufriere

An important part of my genealogical research involves learning about the places my ancestors came from by learning about their histories, cultural traditions, and contemporary social and political conditions.  As a start, I am posting the following “breaking news” regarding St. Lucia and Barbados.

Not only has a hurricane hit one of my maternal islands of origin, St. Lucia, it has apparently caused the most devastation in Soufriere, the part of the island we believe my great-grandmother once called home.  You can read about what is known of the damage here.

Another one of my islands, Barbados, sustained the most damage.  Even though they the Bajans will have to undergo their own recovery effort, they will also be offering aid to their neighbors that were affected – St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Thomases in the U.S. Census Before Ever Stepping Foot in the U.S. (Mainland)

Over the past couple of years I have come across warnings about the disappointments that come with researching one’s family history.  Having conducted research in undergrad and graduate school, I understand that this process will not be linear and every clue I find will not always be immediately or easily understood or verifiable.  In particular, one thing I have come to understand about the task of answering a research question is that almost every discovery you make will lead to several more questions that need answering.  The following is a perfect example.

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Birth Certificates

As stated in the first post, the purpose of this blog is to serve as a log or journal of my family history research.  Before I describe the first few encouraging steps I have taken on my genealogical quest for knowledge, I feel the need to detail the background information I have gathered informally over time.  I guess that should be expected from someone who is interested in researching her family history – how can I tell you about where I am without describing the events that brought me here?

In the 8th grade one of my teachers arranged a potluck in which each student was to bring in a dish from their culture and explain where it came from. When I asked my mom why our Panamanian family eats fried plantains (pronounced plantin’ NOT plantanes, thank you), she talked about how everyone in Panama eats plantain.  As some sort of afterthought she mentioned that that her grandparents, who were from St. Lucia and Martinique, and my father’s grandparents, who were from Barbados and Jamaica, came from countries where plantain was also widely consumed. 

This was the first time I had ever heard of most of these places in any context, let alone in my own family tree!  Continue reading