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?

Back to Reality

I was blessed enough to have visited Panama three times over the last three years. With each trip I set high family history research goals that were never met.  The last two trips were for the weddings of two of my dear cousins, which also drew relatives from far and near to Panama City.  These vacations were thus high on family “now” time and low on family history time.  After this last trip, I have finally learned a lesson: a family fun trip simply does not equal a genealogy research trip – at least not for me.  Research must be the main event and not a sideshow for me to really make any significant progress during a trip to Panama.  Once I get my money right (or at least “righter”), I can plan more seriously for productive trips to Panama, Martinique, and other destinations for my family history research that is separate from any other large family gatherings or events. 

Back from Panama

My trip to Panama over the holidays was packed with two straight weeks of family parties, amazing food, a gorgeous wedding, and more.  I didn’t expect to get a great deal of research done given that most of my Vallee-Colomb relatives would be in Panama City for Kathy’s wedding.  But I did get something done, thanks to my seemingly unending quest to get my cedula (Panamanian identification card). During this trip I paid a few visits to the Registro Civil, the government agency that records the births, deaths, marriages, etc. of the country’s inhabitants.  While we were at the Registro I was able to obtain some vital records pertaining to my grandparents.  I got certified birth, marriage, and death records for my grandparents (pictured below), but unfortunately there was not anything on file for any of my great-grandparents. 

The information on the birth certificates confirmed the birth date and place information I already had for my grandparents.  However, Hilarion’s birth certificate carried a misspelled version of his mother’s first and last names (Josephines Codigan instead of Josephine Cadignan).  Nana Tere’s mother’s first name also appeared in a different form than I had seen it before, being spelled as Edalanise instead of Edelanive.  This, combined with the fact that she was known as Katherine/Katarina within the family, leaves me pretty dang clueless as to what her given name really was. I take all of this as useful data that will guide my ongoing research. 

Back on track

The next, most pressing thing on my task list is to conduct a phone interview with Carol, whose business card is pictured above with the certified vital records.  My mom introduced me to this cousin of hers while we were in Panama.  Unlike other members of her generation, Carol has kept in touch with some of our Colomb relatives in St. Lucia.  And luckily for me, she has purposefully gathered quite a bit of information about the Colombs over the years.  I recently acquired a device that enables the recording of (landline) phone conversations for another project I am working on.  I can’t wait to put it to use for my genealogy research!

Back to ancestry.com

While I sort all this other stuff out, one place I know I can go to is Ancestry’s Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes webpage.  I’ve been logging in everyday this week and will continue to until the contest ends in April.  Among other goodies, like being able to consult with expert genealogists, I could (ahem, I mean, WILL) win $20,000 in travel money.  So if I play my cards right, the next stop on my genealogical journey may consist of a world-wind tour of all three of my islands!  And I’ll finally get to meet my cousin Christian. 🙂

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