Report #4 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama
I think I just crushed through my first brick wall! As I described in my last post, Tio Lucho and I went through a box of old documents towards the end of my trip in Panama. Among these documents was one legal sized, yellowing sheet of paper that represents my most important genealogical research discovery to date. My grandfather’s brother’s birth certificate was a goldmine of new information. The most precious peices of information in Louis Vallee’s birth certificate are reviewed here.
“Es hijo de Francois Isambert Vallee, cocinero, martiniqueño, y Josephine Cadignan, de Vallee, domesticos, martiniqueña.”
Besides providing confirmation that Simon’s given name was Francois Isambert, we also learned that he was a cook.
“Abuelos paternos: Theodore Vallee y Victoire Bapin. Abuelos maternos: Joseph Cadignan y Matilde Josephe.”
Not only did we learn a little bit more about my great-grandparents, but now we have names for my great-great grandparents. This is my first instance of getting anything concrete about their generation! First of all, it provides confirmation about the nature of our connection to present-day Cadignans in Martinique. The fact that Josephine’s father’s name is Joseph lines up perfectly with the oral history passed down to Cadignans in Martinique to this day. When I first made contact with some Cadignans on Facebook they had quickly learned from the older generations that there had been a couple of sisters, daughters of one Joseph Cadignan, who had left Martinique for Panama. We reasoned that my great-grandmother Josephine must have been one of those two women. While I felt quite optimistic that these Cadignans were my Cadignans, I wouldn’t let myself get excited until I had evidence. Given how rare this surname is and that my use of social networking to find Cadignans with ties to Martinqiue led to a group of people who all seem to descend from one particular set of siblings, I feel confidently and comfortably convinced that my Joseph is their Joseph, and that we are all family.
So how are we related? There are two Cadignans, Christian and Jean-Pierre (I call him JP), that I have had the most contact with. Christian’s great-grandfather Francois and JP’s great-grandfather Augustin were brothers. My great-great-grandfather Joseph was their brother! It wasn’t until several days after we found Louis’s birth certificate that I realized that we had discovered this document and discussed the logical inferences about my great- and great-great-grandfathers on…Father’s Day. Seems fitting, no?
There was also one other major piece of new information in Louis’s birth certificate, this time concerning Josephine herself.
“Asi lo declara Josephine Cadignan de sesentidos anos, madre…Panama, seis de marzo de mil novecientos cincuenta y tres.”
For whatever reason, this birth certificate was issued in 1953, well after Louis’s birth on August 25, 1915. A 62-year old Josephine was present at the time in order to give testament that her son was born on that date. We can use this information to estimate that she was born around 1891 and was around the age of 24 when she gave birth to Louis. Did you hear that? One more brick just hit the floor. ***Please see a subsequent post for a correction regarding this last peice of information.***