In my quest to wrap my head around the “name game”, as I call it, I searched online for information on naming practices in my heritage islands and the Caribbean in general. I came across a few articles, but none excited me more than “Naming Customs in St. Lucia” by Daniel J. Crowley. The article was short but still very helpful because it spoke directly to quite a few questions, both old and new, that have been rolling around in my head. Here’s what I learned, Q&A style.
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.
Early on the morning of June 12th I stepped into a long line to check in for my flight with the Panamanian airline COPA. I was surprised the flight was so full. The only business COPA does out of LAX is a daily back-and-forth between Los Angeles and Panama City, so I was fairly puzzled as to why there were so many people and so few of them were Latin Americans. I mean, it’s not the holidays, it’s not tourist season, in fact, it’s rainy season! What I failed to realize was that June 12, 2014 was the first day of something that’s kind of a BFD in every other country in the world, the FIFA World Cup. I quickly learned the three guys in front of me and the two guys in back of me, and many of the other passengers, were headed to Brazil via Panama. Continue reading
Somewhere in the family DNA lies the talent for things musical. While I did not demonstrate overwhelming proof of it during those few years I played the clarinet in middle school, my younger brother Igmar has definitely gone much further ever since he discovered his love for the trumpet. His music has taken him all over the country and world, including destinations as exciting and far away as Shanghai and Paris. This weekend he will be performing with a fellow Berklee College of Music alum, Esperanza Spalding, at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival.
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
During one of many aimless and seemingly endless web searches (you know, click on this link which leads you to this link where you discover another link…) I came across a genealogy site called CousinConnect where you can submit queries in hopes of connecting with others researching the same surname. I took all of two seconds to type up and submit a couple of queries, knowing from previous experience not to expect a response any time soon, if at all. The query contained everything I know about the Colomb line of my mother’s family, which as you see below, is not much at all.
“My great-grandfather Louis Joseph Colomb/Columb left St. Lucia and immigrated to Panama in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Unfortunately I do not have any other information about him at this time.”
That was it. I sent my message off into cyberspace and resumed feeling unsuccessful in my search for new information about my predecessors.
Connecting the Dots
Now let’s fast forward a few months to March 27, 2010 when (drumroll, please) a response arrives in my inbox! It read as follows: Continue reading