Vallee Graves in Panama

Report #1 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama

Last month, in just a matter of days, I went from having no idea when my next trip to Panama would take place to having a ticket booked for a ten day trip in June. The main purpose of this trip was to do genealogical research. This and my next several postings will report on what I accomplished. Continue reading

Hilarion

Today Tia Mirna sent an email out to the family reminding us that today is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, which I’m sure led each of us to take a moment to think about his legacy.  This post, the first ancestral profile I’ve put together for this blog, is my own little way of honoring the only grandparent I never had the pleasure to meet. 

Name: Hilarion Vallee Cadignan

Date of birth: Oct 21, 1921

Place of birth: Panama City, Panama

Occupation: Carpenter

Date of death: May 18, 1959

A few random facts:

  • Hilarion had two nicknames: Achilo was his French/Martinican nickname, Julio was his Spanish nickname.  I don’t think anyone called him Hilarion.
  • He was a fluent speaker of French patios, the language of his Martinican parents.
  • He was a fluent speaker of English, the language of the larger West Indian community and the Americans who ran the Canal.
  • He was a fluent speaker of and was literate in Spanish, the national language of his birthplace.
  • He was born a twin.  Sadly, the other baby did not survive.
  • He was a looker, if I don’t say so myself! 

There’ll be much more to come about Hilarion in future posts.  For now I invite my family members to add any other interesting facts or stories the rest of us may not know about him. For the rest of you, I’d love to hear a favorite story about one of your grandfathers.

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