I was just getting comfortable with the relevation that we had a new surname, Joseph, on our hands, for my great-grandmother. I mentioned in my last post that this new information even led me to a record for one of my great-aunts. But then that record added yet another name to the St. Lucia parade. A Social Security Index record for Tia Clemina (a.k.a. Maria Estebana) listed her mother as “Edelanepe Mondese”, which we can accept as an interpretation of Edelanise Mondesi. But then the father was listed as “Bernard Joseph.” Ahem and pardonez mois, you crazy St. Lucian Panamanians, but WHO? Until now, I had never heard of anyone named Bernard in the family. Not for a first name, for a middle name, or for a last name.
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).
Very recently a whole new surname emerged from the St. Lucian branch of my family tree. Per family oral history, my maternal grandmother who came to Panama from St. Lucia was named Catherine Mondesi but she went by the nickname Edelanise (I’ve also seen it spelled as Edelanive). All of the mentions of her name that I have found in her children’s records had her as Edelanise Mondesi (with very inconsistent spellings for both names). However, discovering the Colomb Mondesi baptism records this summer and some resulting conversations with family members added another name to the mix. I’m still trying to understand it myself, but will make an attempt here to explain.
In my last post I reviewed general information I gleaned from the baptism records I found for my maternal grandfather, Hilarion “Julio” Vallee, and some of his siblings. Now I want to take a literal look at each one to figure out who was listed as their godparents. That can only mean one thing….it’s time for another round of “What the Heck Does That Record Say?!”
Below each image I will share what I’ve been able to decipher in blue. Please let me know if you are able to fill in any of my blanks or have different interpretations to my own! Any red font indicates the input of others added after this post was originally published.
Lucky for us, it looks like the same two people were appointed to be the godparents for my grandfather and his twin sister so we get two chances to figure these ones out. In both records the first godparent seems to pretty clearly be written as Luis Eloise. The next name looks like Juliano in Ursula’s entry but Julian in Hilarion’s. This is a bit confusing because if we take these spellings at face value it looks like these were two men. But somehow I doubt the Catholic Church or my ancestors were that liberal back in 1921. So here’s what I’m thinking: I think the second name is definitely supposed to be the godfather’s name and that is confirmed by the “o” ending in Ursula’s record entry. Sure, O can be easily confused with A, but I think this case is not so ambiguous. The fact that the final vowel was dropped in the second entry also suggests the owner of the name is male. I don’t know enough about French names, but I am wondering if this is a married couple and the first person’s name is actually Louise Eloise. My reasoning is that Eloise looks more likely to be a middle name than a last name, so the surname that appears after Julian/o’s name could apply to both godparents…Or I could totally have this all backwards! As far as the last name, I think it starts with an L or an S; a friend on Facebook suggested that the initial letter may be an S by comparing it to how “Simon” is written. She suggested the full name is Soacre.
Tio Alfonso’s godparents’ names seem to be a little easier to make out. I read them as Ernesto Solomon and Josefina Marcelina. SIDENOTE: You can also see the “marginal information” I mentioned in the last post. It records Alfonso’s marriage over thirty years later.
Tio Homero’s padrino appears to be a Joseph Armand. I really got a kick out of reading who his godmother is: his big sister Simona Cadignan! She was almost 13 years old at the time of the baptism so while it seems a bit young, the uniqueness of her name makes it unlikely it was someone else with the same name.
In last week’s posts I explored the baptism records I recently found online for my maternal grandmother and her siblings. This post will focus on my paternal grandfather and his siblings, the Vallee Cadignans. The table below lists all nine children but shows that I only found baptism records for four of them. In the case of the Colomb Mondesis, the earliest indexed record I accessed was for a 1912 baptism. You would expect all of the Vallee Cadignan records to be indexed since the first child, Simona, was born in 1914. However despite a variety of searches I could not pull up baptism records for the first four children and, most surprisingly, for the youngest. There are a few reasons this could be, but it will take time and a lot more creative searches to figure out why. I figure that either these babies were not baptized (but I doubt it), those particular records have not been indexed yet (which blows out of the water my theory for why I couldn’t find some Colomb Mondesi baptisms), or I need to get even more creative with the versions of their names I use when conducting searches. But for now, this is what we have.