June 21, 2017

PARES Migratory Movements Database

Spain's archives, better known as PARES, has many surprises.  One of their surprises is their databases that can help many throughout the Caribbean where Spain may have at one time claimed the land.  This database is called Ibero-American Migratory Movements or Movimientos Migratorios.

Many may not realize that this database exists but it is there and I found many people in the database. It can help breakdown that wall for that mysterious ancestor.  So there many ways to use their database with plenty of options. Also your ancestor does not have to have originated from Spain but could have arrived from another country.

Their resources are listed in the image below to give you an idea where the records are coming from.




So to access the database, visit the page by clicking on the image below. It will open in a new window if you are using a computer.


Ibero-American Migration Movements

When you arrive at the website, on the menu, click on Search.  A new window will appear.  In my sample I used "Diaz"  and went to the Place of arrival field. Slowly start typing the country name and a list will appear as shown in the image below.

For my example I selected "Puerto Rico".  Then I scrolled down to the bottom and clicked search. My results were as follows and notice that some include images to the right that you can click to view.

You can continue to play with the different fields to see what other information you can extract from the website. Hope this assists you with searching for those ancestors.

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June 16, 2017

Naguabo Puerto Rico Digitized Church Records

Although Naguabo was founded in 1821, the church records establish that Naguabo has been there prior to 1821.  The baptism and church records go back as far as 1798.  The Parrish was once called Nuestra Señora del Rosario y Glorioso Mártir San Juan Nepomuceno.  Please note that the book numbers are not chronological. I do not know what the priest was thinking about with numbers everywhere, the important thing is the records. The breakdown are as follows for the church.

Libros de Bautismos (Baptism Books)

 

Libros de Matrimonios (Marriage Books)

 

Libros de Confirmaciones (Confirmation Books)

 

Libros de Defunciones (Death Books)




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June 13, 2017

Digitized Church Records for Santa Isabel in Puerto Rico

Personally as far as I am aware, I do not have any ancestors coming from Santa Isabel. However many do, which is why I do not mind sharing the breakdown. Below you will also discover Salinas, the municipality, in the death books.

Libro de Bautismos (Baptism Books)

Libro de Matrimonios (Marriage Books)

Libro de Confirmaciones (Confirmation Books)


Libro de Defunciones (Death Books)



A Linen Market with a Linen-stall and Vegetable Seller in the West Indies - Agostino Brunias (1728 - 1796)

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Digitized Barranquitas Church Records for Puerto Rico

Barranquitas is a municipality that was found in 1803, however the island has been hit with plenty of tragedy since the island has been inhabited.  With the many tragedies, it winds up impacting even the churches.  There have been many instances of fires, hurricanes, and floods. With this, many records are gone with them.

For Barranquitas there are limited church records but hopefully it will help in the research.

Libro de Bautismos (Baptism Books)

  • Libro 1860 (Image 4) - Pages are mixed on the above book so page through the book. There is also an index at the end of the book

Libro de Matrimonios (Marriage Books)



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June 12, 2017

Gurabo Church Records - Online Digitized Records for Puerto Rico

It seems that FamilySearch has been very busy with digitizing church record.  I have been monitoring their records for a very long time and as patience would have it, Gurabo church records for the Parroquia San Jose are now available.  There are many other churches that are also online but this is the first of many that I will publish here to make it easier to find records. This is perfect timing for me as I have a month off from school at the end of July and I am looking forward in finding my African ancestors in these books.  The below links are clickable, so to arrive to the records, simply click on the link. Please disable your pop-up blocker on this website or it may not open.

Libros de Bautismos (Baptism Books)



 

Libros de Confirmaciones (Confirmation Books)


Libros de Matrimonios (Marriage Books)


Libros de Defunctiones (Death Books)


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May 18, 2017

Cuban Digitized Church Records and 1919 Census

While Cuba goes through their changes, including the ability to freely travel to the island, one of the struggles for many is finding resources when researching Cuban ancestry.

Fortunately, the internet has made it possible for many to locate many genealogical records on their ancestors via online databases.While it is easy to find records for Puerto Rico since it is a part of the United States, 50 years of closing our borders has impacted many of our distance cousins that live on this island.

So today, I will share what can be found.  Unknown to many, Vanderbilt University maintains a collection of church records which are available to view online. The university offers degrees in Latin Studies and maintains many maps, manuscripts, and books on Cuba and other Latin countries.  Vanderbilt's church collection for Cuba contains records from the 1500's to the 1800's for the following churches.  After clicking on the links below, simply scroll down to arrive to the church books.  If you are of African descent, you will be surprised to discover your ancestors are also in the books, include ancestors that were enslaved.  The first church is in Matanzas and the remaining are all in Havana (scroll down the page until you arrive to your church):


Some of the books have been transcribed.  You can find them by clicking here.

Vanderbilt University contains some collections that will assist you in your genealogical research.  The following collections are military records which include "pardos" meaning brown complexion. The collections will each open in a new window:

1919 Census

Vanderbilt has a digitized copy of the 1919 Census for Cuba (click on it to open in a new browser).  This book contains many names and is in a book format.  You will find a detailed list of people who were census personnel and enumerators for districts.  You will have to page through to get through the book to get to the names.  Hopefully you can spend time reading it to understand how people lived during that era.  The book also contains some images from around Cuba.

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May 14, 2017

Understanding Your X Chromosome DNA

When it comes to DNA, I am either asked privately or see posts asking why Ancestry shows an individual further related than what the person appears on GEDMatch. This has to do with how Ancestry's Timber software analyzes the DNA file.  Timber has been known to remove centimorgans (cM) where chromosomes are bunched together (clustered) which can lead to removing relatives from your list.

I have seen this occur with people who are distant related but I have documentation that they are indeed related via records. This phenomenon isn't just my tree but many other people complaining about the same issue.

The best option is to download your raw file from Ancestry and upload it to GEDMatch to further analyze your DNA.  While learning to use GEDMatch may seem hard at first, it actually isn't. If you need help, there are many groups on Facebook, many blogs that will help you along the way, and plenty of YouTube videos.

There are also wiki pages associated to each of the options selected on their website.  Just remember that this website is free and ran by many volunteers.  There are additional tools available that you can use at the cost of  $10 per monthly.  However, learn more about the website before taking on too much.
Getting to what I want to discuss, X Chromosome, note that you should not be relying solely on X to identify relationship once you are in GEDMatch.  The individual should be matching you on other chromosomes. 

Lately I am seeing posts of "I have an X match", does that mean we match via a particular parent? The answer is yes and no.  It all depends if you are male or female. Below is an illustration of how we inherit X as a male and hope with the visual it will clarify the answer to the question.

Note, we are not discussing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in this post; that is another discussion. This is to keep the discussion as simple as possible and the illustrations have been over simplified to help you along.



Males have a Y chromosome and a X chromosome.  Males can only inherit Y chromosome from their father and a combination X chromosome from their mother.

Females have two X chromosomes. Females inherit an exact copy of their father's mother's (paternal grandmother) combination X chromosome and a combination X chromosome from their mother. 


Combination X from your mother mean that you do not get an exact copy of one of her X chromosomes, it is just as random of inheritance as it is for your other 22 chromosomes (called autosomes).

So for example, I have two half sisters, we share the same mother.  Our shared amount of X chromosome DNA is different from one another. With one sister I share 94 cM and the other I share 64 cM. However, they are two full sisters, so they share an exact copy of their father's DNA and a portion of our mothers, between them they share 196 cM.

Below is an illustration of what I stated before, note that you can inherit many combinations from a mother but I left this very simple; you can click on the image to blow it up from a computer.

Males can inherit many different combinations from their mother and pass an exact copy down to only their daughters.  So every female is walking around with an exact copy of their father's mother's combined X DNA.




Most importantly, you should not assume if a person only matches you on X and not on any other chromosome, that you are related.  It is not a reliable way of determining relationship.  I hope this clarifies many questions on X. 

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March 28, 2017

Ancestry's Genetic Communities for DNA - My View

So today I login to discover that Ancestry has implemented its new feature, Genetic Communities. Immediately I noticed that I belong to one community and wanted to see how they came about this.

In looking at the layout of what it states, it tells me that I am genetically connected to those in Puerto Rico on the eastern side of the island. Really now?

So what do I have to say about it? FAILURE!

Here is why.  First, it is based upon who has tested.  I am half Puerto Rican and half Dominican.  Of that half Dominican, one eighth of my great grandparents is of Middle Eastern descent.  Why doesn't it associate me to Dominican Republic? Here is why...

I have a family tree on Ancestry associated to my DNA kit.  My tree is more built out on my Puerto Rican side of the family with some lines going back 13 generations.  My tree currently has a total of 6,779 people on it.  I actually descend from the Taino's on that island and the first settlers along with Africans that were enslaved and brought to the island.

I can also say the same thing about my Dominican ancestry, I simply have not added the generations until I can confirm the individuals are truly connected correctly since my tree is public.  However I have many people on that side of the family on my tree. The balance of people who have tested shows that many Dominicans have not tested so the volume is much less. It is also telling since people that reach out to me are 3 times more likely to be descendants from Puerto Rico.

What Ancestry basically did was look at those that match me, look at their trees (which I have done), and then looked at my tree and said, "Yup you belong to the eastern portion of Puerto Rico".   I did not need their help in that aspect, I figured this out all on my own via documentation. The towns are listed on most of those that I have been able to locate birth, marriage, or death records that speaks to where they are from.

However what Ancestry truly needs to do is provide a chromosome browser and permit their users to use the tool to determine connections. Currently users have to download kits and upload to GEDMatch to confirm and determine relationships. This only works if everyone does this, which they do not.  So Ancestry, stop wasting money on features that are of zero use to many users and provide what we have been demanding; a chromosome browser.

Ancestry Genetic Communities
Nice try but it failed majorly on what I expected. If I pull an example from one of the many kits I manage, which has a limited tree, I get a different result as shown below.  Epic fail on Ancestry's part, better off spending money on a chromosome browser. A waste of money and development.

Genetic Communities 2

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March 11, 2017

Caguas Puerto Rico - Censo de Almas 1886 to 1889

I located this census for Caguas while going through digital images. They have been online since the civil records were made available and I guess I never noticed it and potentially many others.

It is found on the same films as the civil registration records for the region but cannot be seen if browsing through Caguas' digital images.  The census is list below by towns.  Simply click on the town you want to view below and it will open in a new window on your computer.



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March 4, 2017

San Benito de Patillas Baptism Records 1890 to 1917

While not all of the church records for Patillas, Puerto Rico are available online at the time of me writing this post. There are some that are available and should hopefully help some of you who are searching for an ancestor. The collection has approximately 2,300 images to review.

I find that locating your ancestor in church books is much more likely to occur during this time period simply because people were more likely to get their children baptized versus registering the birth in civil records.

The church records only cover the baptisms from 1890 to 1917, hopefully the rest of the books will be available online soon.  Please note that the priest or whomever was documenting baptisms in these books were adding baptisms that potentially belong in a later book and could have ran out of room in a book so they added it to the end in older books with empty pages. 

Most importantly, you will find children being baptized when they are older.  I see children born in 1906 being baptized in 1908.  Never skip reviewing an entire book or two when looking for your ancestors.  The books are as follows and I've broken down the film to make it easier for you to locate the beginning of each book. As always, all links will open in a new tab or window but this page will remain while viewing from a computer.









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February 26, 2017

Slave Voyage Database & Slave Registers for British Colonies

The database contains a list of slave records for the following islands or countries. Do not be surprised if you have done your DNA to discover cousins from Sri Lanka or Mauritius as you can see from the below list that enslaved people were take there too:

  • Antigua (1817-1818, 1821, 1824, 1828, 1832)
  • Bahamas (1822, 1825, 1828, 1831, 1834)
  • Barbados (1817, 1820, 1823, 1826, 1829, 1832, 1834)
  • Berbice (Guyana today)  (1818-1819, 1822)
  • Dominica (1817, 1820, 1823)
  • Grenada (1817-1834)
  • Honduras (1834)
  • Jamaica (1817, 1820, 1823, 1826, 1829, 1832, 1834)
  • Mauritius (Indian Ocean)  (1817, 1819, 1822, 1826, 1830, 1832, 1835)
  • Nevis (1817, 1822, 1825, 1828, 1831)
  • Sri Lanka (Ceylon) (1818-1832)
  • St Christopher (1817, 1822, 1825, 1827-1828, 1831, 1834)
  • St Lucia (1815, 1819)
  • St Vincent (1817, 1822, 1825, 1828, 1831, 1834)
  • Tobago (1819-1834)
  • Trinidad (1813, 1815-1816, 1819, 1822, 1825, 1828, 1831, 1834)
  • Virgin Islands (1818, 1822, 1825, 1828, 1831, 1834)
Ancestry also points out what they do not have but that you can located them at the UK National Archive in paper format.  You can check with the website to determine if they are available for download. They are as follows and the information below I retrieved it from Ancestry:
  • Jamaica (pieces 193, 206-208)
  • St Christopher (pieces 261-263)
  • Grenada (piece 264, 266)
  • Dominica (pieces 359-363)
  • Nevis (piece 369)
  • St Lucia (pieces 382-390)
  • Demerara (pieces 391-436)
  • Berbice (pieces 441-446)
  • Montserrat (pieces 447-451)
  • Bermuda (pieces 452-455)
  • St Vincent (pieces 494, 496)
  • Mauritius (piece 566, 571)
  • Cape of Good Hope (pieces 652-662)
Most importantly, I pointed out in my prior post that the UK National Archive has many resources for you to research.


Slaves in Vale do Paraiba Sao Paulo (Brazil) 1885

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Researching and Finding Ancestors in Barbados

Just like many of the other Caribbean islands, Barbados has a rich history where today you can find information online which includes records.

First let me start with what is currently digitized or even indexed online. A wealth of information is maintained on familysearch.org's website.

The first obvious are databases that contains many different islands and many years.  They are as follows:

Caribbean Births and Baptisms 1590 - 1928
Caribbean Deaths and Burials 1790 - 1906
Caribbean Marriages 1591 - 1905

There are also specific databases for Barbados only, which are:

Barbados Baptisms 1739 - 1891
Barbados Marriages 1854 - 1879
Barbados Burials, 1854-1885

And there is the database that not only lets you search for your ancestors via a searchable database but it permits you to browse the images.  This is useful if you have a name that can potentially be misspelled:

Barbados Church Records 1637 - 1887

There are Slave Register records but you'll have to pay for access to them by having an international subscription to Ancestry.  The slave register covers from 1817 to 1834.  There is also a duplicate set that is held by the UK National Archives.

And speaking of the UK National Archives, I highly recommend that you use their search engine. They maintain many records pertaining to the Caribbean and your ancestors that were on the islands. In one of my quick searches, I was able to locate references of Africans being liberated due to illegal smuggling slavers having them onboard their ships. This was due to the activities I discussed in my post about the African Holocaust.  Their website permits you to either view online or download the records to your computer.  Here is another link to UK National Archives.

In reference to what familysearch has available, you can order from the catalog to view at a local Family History Library the 1715 Census for Barbados.

There is the population of the island of Barbados from 1679 to 1680 that is also available on the same film as the 1715 Census.  So if you order the film, you actually get both.

For the year 1638 "Census", there is a digitized book called The Narragansett Historical Register available via familysearch which contains a list of people on the island that had more than 10 acres of land.  You can find them on pages 282 through 288.  To get to page 282, at the top of the screen you should be at 1 of 710 pages, remove the "1" and enter in 305 and hit enter.

Another great source is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Voyages website. Here they contain over 36,000 Voyages. I plan to list this one on a separate post so that it can be found by everyone researching their African roots.

I came across another website that should help you in your ancestry research for Barbados ancestry.  You can find it on creolelinks.

My last link is for Barbados' government website, where they have publications.  

As I find more resources, I will post to the website. Please look at other posts even if you do not believe they pertain to you as you may discover other information that may help you with your research. Best of luck on your research!

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February 21, 2017

African Holocaust and the Impacts to Our Ancestors

One thing I have noticed in my research in genealogy is the close to nonexistence of research of African ancestry over the years. Today more are interested as their DNA is providing a visual into their past; African ancestry.  People are now looking to find and understand and are faced with the ugliness that is kept out of history books.

I have hit a brick wall in finding my African ancestry until more records are made available online. I'm luckier than others in the sense that I will be able to trace through church records since the Roman Catholic religion was the only religion on the islands my ancestors lived on. I celebrate my African ancestry because they were forced to be my ancestors and I have nothing but pride to know that I descend from them. However, I have issue with horrible treatment thrown at them and find myself wanting to know so much more about their lives.

Newton’s Law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This couldn’t be truer when we look at the African Holocaust that spanned 5 centuries. The complete destruction of the African family not only happened on the continent of Africa, but on the Middle Passage and if the enslaved Africans reached the destinations once bought. Millions of Africans were torn away from their motherland in order to die at sea and be thrown overboard. The results is the loss of connection to our ancestors and true culture. While many dishes connect back to our ancestors, it wasn't known until we started digging; an unspoken truth.

It is believed that shark migration patterns also changed as these creatures recognized that these ships were a source of food with the throwing overboard of the sick and dead, those that led revolts, and those that committed suicide; approximately 1.8 million African ancestors in the sea.


William Bosman author of A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea, Divided Into the Gold, the Slave, and the Ivory Coast (1705), wrote...
I have sometimes, not without horrour, seen the dismal Rapaciousness of these Animals; four or five of them together shoot to the bottom under the Ship to tear the dead Corps to pieces, at each bite an Arm, a Leg, or the Head is snapt off; and before you can tell twenty they have sometimes divided the Body amongst them so nicely that the least Particle is left; nay, not so much any of the Iutiails; and if any one of them to come too late for his share, he is ready eat up the others, and they attack one another the greatest violence in the World; and their Heads and half their Bodies above surface of the Water, they give one another forcible blows that they make the Sea a to tremble.
However one thing that is not discussed openly or not often enough, what occurred after the United States enacted the Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 Act that went into effect on January 1st, 1808. This act permitted slave trading within the United States but not permitting importation of slaves from outside of the United States. This act was driven by the successful revolts that occurred on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic) where our enslaved ancestors/genetic cousins, fought and successfully won their freedom in 1804. Another thing that this successful revolt led to was that United States slave owners became more strict and brutal towards the enslaved people.


This Act led to smuggling of slaves which also led to more deaths. Slaves were chained to metal balls that were thrown off the ship via a hatched door to avoid being caught with slaves aboard.


It was cheaper as these Slave ship owners viewed Africa as a non-stop resources for more Africans. They dumped Africans overboard to avoid being fined or captured.

Importing of slave would eventually be called piracy under another Act passed in 1819 called the Era of Good Feelings. Anyone caught would be given the death penalty or arrested and was enforced by the US Navy. This led to more African deaths off the shores of the United States and today it believed that is why there is such a high volume of sharks in the Carolina region.

The same thing was occurring in other parts of the world:
Last Tuesday the smallpox began to rage, and we hauled 60 corpses out of the hold.... The sights which I witness may I never look on such again. This is a dreadful trade...... I am growing sicker every day of this business of buying and selling human beings for beasts of burden... On the eighth day [out at sea] I took my round of the half deck, holding a camphor bag in my teeth; for the stench was hideous. The sick and dying were chained together. I saw pregnant women give birth to babies whilst chained to corpses, which our drunken overseers had not removed. The blacks were literally jammed between decks as if in a coffin; and a coffin that dreadful hold became to nearly one half of our cargo before we reached Bahia... Richard Drake, Revelation of a Slave Smuggler, 1860.

Over on the continent of Africa, Britain was enforcing their Blockade of Africa which outlawed British ships from transporting slaves, this also began in 1808. Britain’s Royal Navy established a presence off the African coast to enforce the ban and were called the West Africa Squadron. The ban included other countries but the United States refused to allow British ships interfere with American ships.Many were thrown off ships off the coast of Africa to avoid seizure of their ships or arrests.

Hope this post help others in understanding what happened to our ancestors as this is just the beginning of the struggles of our African ancestors and the African Holocaust that people refuse to recognize. This story doesn't end here and it is simply a minute view into what Africans faced.

Resources: 

  • E2BN - East of England Broadband Network. (n.d.). Suppressing the Trade. Retrieved from The Abolish Project: http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_155.html
  • Bly, A. T. (1998). Crossing the lake of fire: slave resistance during the Middle Passage, 1720-1842. The Journal of Negro History, 83(3), 178+. Retrieved from http://db24.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db24.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=lincclin_spjc&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA54994009&asid=8f2a9d054c54098479d4d04873a1388d
  • Coughtry, J. (2009). The Journal of American History, 96(1), 205-207. doi:10.2307/27694775
  • Senie, H. (2009). The Journal of American History, 96(1), 205-205. doi:10.2307/27694774
  • Wolfe, B. Slave Ships and the Middle Passage. (2013, January 29). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Slave_Ships_and_the_Middle_Passage. 

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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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