February 19, 2017

Slavery In Brazil - the African Holocaust

One of the harsh realities that we face is knowing how much the Roman Catholic Church ignored in the abuses and deaths that many Africans and their descendants were dealt. It is the ultimate holocaust that no one discusses nor views it as such; the African Holocaust.

The exception to this of course is those who recognize what occurred and those that face the outcome of it every single day. The destruction of a rich African culture spanning over 500 years with slavery being abolished just over 100 years ago.  It is still felt today as Africans and their descendant still face oppression throughout the world.  It is human savagery that went unchecked that started with a religion that chose to look the other way.




So how does this play into ancestry? Many ways. Many of these same Brazilian Africans are genetic cousins that connects to many of us throughout the Caribbean, South American and the United States.

I also have matching genetic cousins who descend from enslaved Africans from the southern United States.  Nothing like throwing a bucket of cold water onto your tree and reality.

While I know which lines on my paternal side descend from Africans, I have yet to figure out exactly who were the ones on my maternal side as I have inherited African DNA from both my parents. I have luckily determined that I have a line on my maternal grandmother that is of African descent but I need to continue drilling further down.

In my search I came across this collections of enslaved people photos of Brazilian Africans.  Brazil was the last in the Americas to emancipate slavery in 1888:



Understanding what our ancestors faced is very important so that we can document correctly and share with our families and our future descendants.


And finally a video of how Africans lived in Brazil:


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February 2, 2017

US Virgin Islands - Census and Land Records

A wonderful individual on Ancestry by the username awiewall provided me a link to many records available about the islands that were once under Denmark.  Thank you again awiewall for sharing this information.  

The islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas were sold to the USA in 1916 under the Treaty of the Danish West Indies for US$25 million in gold. Since then, these islands have been part of the USA.

There are many projects underway in having records index for the islands. I'm hoping that those that are researching the US Virgin Islands will consider assisting in the projects. 

The records on this website include Census records going back to 1841, land records, copybooks of letters to the King, military muster rolls, police proceedings, court rulings, and other miscellaneous records.


The project is under way at the following link:

https://cs.sa.dk/collection/3?locale=en

You can see the collections by scrolling down.  As the website states in the intro screen, once records have been indexed they will be made available for all at https://www.virgin-islands-history.org/en/ at no cost. I recommend that you visit both websites to help you with your research into your ancestry.

St. Croix Sugar Mill 1800's
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January 31, 2017

Video Tutorial: Looking at Digital Records on FamilySearch

If you have written to me and I have not responded, it is not that I am ignoring you.  It simply means that I cannot keep up with the questions being asked. So knowing how frustrating it can be in researching your ancestry, I created a quick tutorial on how to view digitized records.  Yes a long time ago I was right there with you in frustration but hoping that I can assist in removing some of it.

Keep in mind that the video is done on collections I am very familiar with but that this applies to all records on Familysearch.  So if you're looking in Jamaica, Barbados, or even Brazil, you'll be able to easily navigate the images.

I recommend that you have to separate windows if you are on a computer to follow along. If you're on a mobile device, you may have to watch it a couple of times before venturing on your own.  Just know that the video will remain on the website. 




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How to Find Ancestors on Family Search Website

I get many private messages on how to find records.  I wanted to post a video that will help everyone to find records no matter where your family is from.  The below video is the first that provides you with instructions on searching on the website. It is meant to be basic so that you can get comfortable with the website.

There are many that enter the world of genealogy and tend to feel lost.  I know that feeling as I started off this way years ago. I wanted to take away the frustration for many.  I hope this video helps you along with the many other videos I plan to post.



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January 26, 2017

Digitized Brazilian Slave Church Records

One of the struggles with those who descend from enslaved Africans in the USA is trying to connect the dots to determine where you came from.  One pattern I have noticed in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America is that religion was the key controller of documentation. I am posting images for those who are not aware they exist and are no longer under copyright since they are extremely old. All images are from the 1800's in Brazil.

Slavery in Brazil by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1834–1839)

The Roman Catholic Church was known to document every person via baptism, marriages and deaths.  This included people who were made slaves and there was nothing good about the slavery that occurred to our ancestors.  Believe me that they fought just as hard for their freedom just like we would today so don't think otherwise.

Today I get many requests about African culture and where to find records which is why I make it a point to post these records.  I too have many questions as I now have African cousins on both my paternal and maternal side.  It seems that people from Gambia are testing the most as I now have a Gambia cousin who is 100% African on both sides.

I was able to determine what line my Gambia cousins are coming from on my father's side and tonight I was able to determine the same for my maternal side.  Without a doubt the Gambia cousin is coming from my maternal grandmother.  I am still researching to determine if this Gambia cousin comes from my grandmother's father, which is Cartagena, or from my grandmother's mother, which is Rivas.  Either way the Gambia cousin is definitely from my maternal grandmother. I hope as I continue to build my tree I can place this person on my tree.

I had completely forgotten that there are actual church books that are available online and are digitized by Vanderbilt University for Brazil. The access is free and you do not need student access.  You will need to use Google Translate as the records are in Portuguese.

1824 Slave Market in Rio de Janeiro Brazil - Children Being Sold

For Antonio de Sa, there are 2,745 images to go through.  The books start off in 1761 and ends in 1861. There are many other regions and churches so Antonio de Sa isn't the only collection.  Just scroll down to view more records.


This collection has baptisms, marriages, and death records for both Africans and African descents enslaved as well as those that are free.  There is also books with Wills and Obituaries for both slaves and freed blacks so these images are a great resource to do research if you're looking for ancestry in Brazil.




Slave Ship on Way to Brazil in 1800's
Most important there are other posts on this blog for Brazil so don't think that this is the only post.

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Cemetery Records for Caguas in Puerto Rico

Familysearch has kept themselves busy converting microfilmed images into digitizes records.  Although it seems like a simple task, it really isn't and the process is very long and requires expertise.  These records are then made available on their website.

So last night before calling it a night, I saw that more records have become available online for Puerto Rico. This is a great thing as many people from the Caribbean have taken on wanting to know their ancestry.  We no longer live in the world of now but in a world of wanting to know how we got here.

The collections contains cemetery records from 1900 to 1910 and then records from 1942 to 1990.  The 1900 to 1910 will be a great source of information as many Puerto Ricans died during that 10 year period after Hurricane San Ciriaco in 1899 made landfall in Guayama, which is southwest of Caguas and cut across the island leaving destruction and death behind.  

Caguas, Puerto Rico 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane Damage
The hurricane killed 3,369 people and this figure does not include the many that died following this devastation. It manage to destroy the island's coffee crop as it hit prior to picking season which led to poverty. The next 10 years we see many dying from anemia, cholera, and starvation. Many children died but also many children were left as orphans. You will find this as you dig through records.

Cementerio 1º Books:

Cementerio 3º Books:


Registry of Cemetery 

Arecibo, Puerto Rico 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane Damage
Most important there are other posts on this blog for Puerto Rico so don't think that this is the only post.

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