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

Where Do I Go Now?

*Sighs* I had basically promised my long-lost Cadignan cousin in Martinique, Christian, that I would come visit this July.  And when I said it, I totally meant it.  But now that next summer is around the corner, my financial situation has not miraculously resolved itself in the way the naive Anulkah v2009 had hoped.  It’s hard to justify another big trip just months after going to Panama for the holidays, so I just sent Christian an e-mail letting him know I would not be able to make it to Martinique anytime soon. But I want to make progress in my research, so where do I go now? Continue reading

In Threes

This summer has provided me with a mix of genealogical highs and lows.  I’ve made enormous strides in some very important ways, starting with my trip out east for my grad school graduation.  After parading around Cambridge in my black robe and crimson hood, I headed up to New York for Ayanna’s Jack & Jill’s graduation.  In addition to the usual family fun, I also got to spend some time with my mother’s first cousin, Ann Marie, who has done a lot of family history research over the years.  It was great to connect with another family member who was as obsessed with learning about our family’s roots as I am.  Though my trip to New York was short, it became even more fruitful when Ann Marie took me to meet Tia Dilca, a cute old lady who had been good friends with Hilarion’s sisters. 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