We are the Josephs, I think

As you know, I was super excited to find baptism records for my grandparents and some of their siblings. But I was (am) also super frustrated that I have not been able to locate records for others.  In the case of my maternal grandmother’s family, I could not find baptism entries for the three oldest Colomb Mondesi siblings: Jose Julio (nickname: Jill), Maria Estebana (Clemina), and Maria Sebastiana (Fide).

But the baptisms I did find turned out to be quite valuable as they allowed me to uncover some new information.  As I explained in my last post, a new surname, “Joseph,” has come into the mix. First, my mom told me that her mother was enrolled in school under the surname Joseph. Then a cousin, Fide’s daughter, tells me that I may have more luck searching with that surname for her mother’s baptism. I was a little flabbergasted that I’d spent all these years on family history research and somehow this had never come up before. It was still kind of hard for me to wrap my head around, but it couldn’t hurt to go back and re-run the searches using the “Joseph” surname. Unfortunately, I had no luck. No matter how creative I got with name spellings and combinations, I did not find any more Colomb Mondesi baptism records  (I explain here why I think it is unlikely this is because they were not baptized. I suspect they are just not indexed yet).


However, the search was not a total dead end! Searching for “Maria Joseph” did turn up a U.S. Social Security Index record that turned out to be for Clemina! This record exists because she immigrated to the U.S. and applied for a social security number. I would never have found this information if I had only searched under Colomb and/or Mondesi because the only surnames she had listed were Joseph and her married name, Pritchard. The representation of her mother’s first name was probably the most impressive corruption of Edelanise I have seen to date, but it was still plausible that it was referring to my great-grandmother. Most of the other details, such as date of birth, birthplace, race, and date of death, all matched what we know about Tia Clemina. The fact that she used the Joseph surname provides more evidence that this pattern that started to emerge with her siblings’ baptism records was a real thing.

But there’s always more, isnt’t there? The name listed for her father made no sense to me. Where I expected to see “Louis Joseph Colomb”, or something close to that, was written Bernard Joseph. Um, what??

Ma. Estebana Pritchard Soc sec index

So now Joseph is appearing as a surname for my great-grandfather, rather than my great-grandmother? And Bernard? Where did that come from?!


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