One of my most aching family history research questions comes from a desire to know if my great-grandparents knew each other in their home islands or if they did not meet until after migrating to Panama.  So many questions: Did they grow up in the same town? Did they marry in the Caribbean or in Panama?  Heck, did they marry at all? Did they travel to the isthmus together or separately? Were they truly in love or were their relationships more a result of circumstance or convenience…or maybe even coercion? Two sets of great-grands from Barbados, one set from St. Lucia, and another from Martinique; I’m sure at least one of their stories has an element of at least one of those.  But I don’t know yet. Continue reading

Helping Hands

I got a virtual helping hand from Luis and David, who found records for over 30 Cadignans and other Martinique ancestors.
I got a virtual helping hand from Luis and David, who found records for over 30 Cadignans and other Martinique ancestors.

As 2012 came to a close little did I know that Luis, who found my great-grandmother Adele’s birth record, enlisted the help of his friend David to find tons of 19th and early 20th century records for Cadignans in and around Le Francois, Martinique.  Luis had met David, a French man of West Indian descent who is apparently very familiar with the records, when he was  doing his own Martinique research. Around New Year’s I received several messages from the both of them with links to various birth, death, and marriage records for many Cadignans and Vallees and their spouses.  I’m still trying to sort through all of it so I can get it straight in my head and my PAF database.

Luis and David also pointed me to a family tree posted by another genealogist that is based on these records and, I presume, the actes d’indivualite.  It starts with Marie Louise, my sixth great-grandmother, and extends for several generations. My direct family line ends with Adele, who disappeared from the Martinique document trail when she left for Panama, never to return.

As I sort through the records I will start posting the images and discussing what they tell us.  More to come!

Diaspora on My Mind

I started this post a couple of nights ago when I absolutely could not fall asleep. I think the blame was split between the great documentary (The Neo-African Americans) I had seen earlier that night and that blasted extra espresso shot I agreed to let the barista pour into my vanilla latte a couple hours before that.  I’m not sure how to divvy up ownership of the blame (fifty-fifty is too simple) but the result is that, for whatever reason, my brain was dancing to the drums of my favorite obsession, black identity and the African diaspora, when it should have been dreaming of the ancestors. A television show I had watched a few days before also showed up to the the meeting in my mind so I figured that maybe if I unloaded some of the things going through my head it’d let me get some zzzzz’s.  (And hey, it wouldn’t hurt to add a post to my poor, neglected blog.) In this post I’ll focus on the season premiere of Who Do You Think You Are? 

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