Colomb Mondesi Baptism Records

Finding my great-grandfather Simon Vallee’s Panama Canal employment record is not the only exciting discovery I’ve made recently – it just was the one that was so mind-blowing I had to blog about it immediately! The week prior I discovered that FamilySearch added Panamanian Catholic Church records to its ever-growing database of records from all over the world. Since these records are already indexed, I was able to find baptism records for my maternal grandparents and several of their siblings pretty easily. (I think I did not find any records for my paternal grandparents because, having roots in Barbados, they were likely not Catholic.)

There’s a lot to reflect on in the records I’ve found for my French Caribbean ancestors, the Colombs and the Vallees, so I will have to break my findings into at least a couple of posts.  Here we’ll start with my maternal grandmother’s family, the Colomb Mondesis.  Out of the seven children listed below, I found baptism records for the four youngest. Continue reading

DNA and the Diaspora

Last Christmas my younger brother gave me a greeting card telling me that he would pay for a DNA ancestry test as my present. After taking my sweet time to select a testing company, order the kit, and send in my specimen (cheek swabs), I finally received my results. After reviewing the results I called my  mom and told her, excitedly, that according to FamilyTree DNA I am 87% African (85% West African and 2% Other African).

Continue reading

Reactions to PBS Docu-series Black in Latin America

In a Q & A piece about the PBS documentary “Black in Latin America” Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explains that it was more difficult to drum up interest and support in developing this series than he had encountered in previous partnerships with PBS. No matter what one’s personal evaluation of the quality of the series or opinions about the man who spearheaded it, I think we should be extremely grateful that the topic has received a bigger spotlight than it ever has before. 

Given my interest (nee obsession?) with the topic I’m humbly offering my own reactions to the series.  I want to be sure to display my gratitude for the execution of this project by highlighting what was done well as well as offering constructive criticism or just observations about other directions that could have been taken. Continue reading

Hurricane Devastates Soufriere

An important part of my genealogical research involves learning about the places my ancestors came from by learning about their histories, cultural traditions, and contemporary social and political conditions.  As a start, I am posting the following “breaking news” regarding St. Lucia and Barbados.

Not only has a hurricane hit one of my maternal islands of origin, St. Lucia, it has apparently caused the most devastation in Soufriere, the part of the island we believe my great-grandmother once called home.  You can read about what is known of the damage here.

Another one of my islands, Barbados, sustained the most damage.  Even though they the Bajans will have to undergo their own recovery effort, they will also be offering aid to their neighbors that were affected – St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.