Actes d’Individualite, Part Deux

These last several months I’ve gotten distracted with other activities and obligations, which means my genealogy work got moved into the guilt pile of neglected projects I no longer made time for. Well, thank goodness I was invited to present at the Discover Your Roots conference again this year.  Just as it did last year, being forced to immerse myself in the details of my research re-ignited the flame, so I’m back!!!

Up to this point, my most exciting and promising finds have been concerning my maternal grandfather’s Cadignan ancestors from Francois, Martinique. In a previous post I had described the online odyssey that led to the discovery of records listing slaves freed after the emancipation decree of 1848. With just the click of a few buttons 15 Cadignans revealed themselves – and every one of them listed Francois as their birthplace and residence.

It took quite some time, but I deciphered the old French handwriting in the actes to the best of my ability and entered the information into this table.  I was also able to draw up two family trees based on the information in the actes.

Every discovery leads to new knowledge – and more questions. These are the main answers I seek in regard to the actes d’individualite.

  1. Are the Jean Maries of actes 553 and 1487 the same person? (I’m pretty sure they are.)
  2. Are Gertrude and her children related to the other Cadignans, or did the enumerator arbitrarily give two distinct families the surname of Cadignan?
  3. It’s very likely that one of these Cadignans is a direct ancestor of mine.  My great-grandmother Josephine’s estimated year of birth is 1891, which could mean one of these Cadignans was her grandparent (or parent?)…but who?!

Any other big questions I should add to the every-growing list?

No Jumping, Please

Addendum to report #4 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama

I have to say, things have really been moving on the Cadignan end of things. I also have to admit that I may have gotten so excited about the progress I was making I jumped ahead of myself and went running full steam ahead towards a conclusion based on shaky evidence.  I’ll explain. Continue reading

Happy Father’s Day, Indeed

Report #4 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama

In genealogy circles there is much talk about breaking through the “brick walls” in one’s research.

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. Continue reading

Francois and Adele

Report #3 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama

Nearly two years ago Alfonso Vallee Cadignan, one of my grandfather Hilarion’s brothers, passed away. This led relatives to go through his old documents and make an interesting discovery.  Though we had always known his parents’ names to be Simon and Josephine, they were listed as Francois Vallee and Adele Cadignan on Alfonso’s birth certificate. This lead to an automatic reaction of “Who the heck are they?” from the members of my mother’s generation who had never heard their grandparents referred to as such.  In a fairly offhand manner their last living child, Tia Claire, confirmed that these were her parents’ real names.  It was quite a shocking paradigm shift for those of us who marveled over this discovery at the time. Continue reading

Joseph and Josephine

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been in communication with two Cadignans, Christian, who lives in Martinique, and Jean-Pierre, who lives in France.  Christian was the one to point out to me that there are many people with the last name Cadignan in a part of Martinique called Francois.  When I contacted Jean-Pierre I asked him if he was from that region of the island, and he answered that yes, he was born there but now lived in France. (This is the opposite of Christian, who grew up in France and moved to Martinique a few years ago.)  A couple of other Cadignans I’ve had fleeting contact with also confirmed familial ties to Francois.

I have had the most contact with Christian and Jean-Pierre – who did not know each other beforehand- because (a) they can communicate in English and (b) they were very interested in figuring out how and if we are all related. (I figure (a) was a barrier to (b) for the other Cadignans I reached out to.) With a flurry of emails between San Diego, Martinique, and France, we were able to sort out how Jean-Pierre and Christian are related to each other (yes, they are!) and how Josephine could also fit into the family tree.  Continue reading