Thomases Buried in Corozal

Report #2 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to PanamaExactly a week after visiting the Vallee graves I returned to Corozal with my father’s cousin, Enrique, who showed me where my paternal grandfather’s siblings and their mother are buried.  Sadly, the cemetery is not well cared for and the state of the grave sites range from kinda bad to deplorable. Continue reading

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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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

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