Starting again…

Okay… so it has been a bit since I have written anything here… I’ll just say… I am a little older and wiser and I can finally reach all the keys on the keyboard.

Genealogically speaking… Daddy hasn’t had any real breakthroughs lately. He has been working on some of his other hobby’s and he has been working an awful lot.

Actually, grandma has been building on the tree a lot… she has found a couple of family members that were members of the parish at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, CA in the 1870’s.

According to an email she received from the parish, my great great great grandparents, Frank Llewellyn White and Nellie F. Rippon were married there on 1 May 1879. As well, my great great great great grandma, Ann Rippon, was also buried there in the cemetery on January 23, 1878. Her son, William Henry Dunn was also buried with her.

Well, thats it for now… I have to sneak back into bed… as mommy and daddy don’t know I am on the computer. =) Talk to you soon.


Daddy took the day off last Friday and made a significant step in finding great-great-great-grandpa Rodrigues.  He found an article on his death in the Oakland Tribune dated June 10, 1927.  First, this was the breakthrough he was looking for… he found the obituary in the June 12, 1927 issue as well.  Second, this date added even more irony to the family tree because daddy was born on the 45th anniversary of gggreat grandpa’s death in 1972.  

A little about the article.  It turns out, gggreat grandpa was killed by a Southern Pacific Electric Train as the family lore has said.  He was killed in West Oakland around the corner from where the family was living… and initially, the officials did not know his identity because he was not carrying any identification.  

On Monday, Daddy ordered his death certificate from the Alameda County Clerks office.  Unfortunately, an email was received today saying that they did not have the record. =/  He sent another email back to them giving them the certificate number in hopes that they will find it with the number… we will see… two steps forward and one step backwards… well, if we don’t get the certificate, he will work on figuring out gggreat grandma Rodrigues’s date of death.  Maybe we will be able to find them that way… 

Narrowing the scope…

I know… I know… it has been nearly two months since my last post…

Daddy had Friday, February 11th off… he works for the County and today was the only holiday that they have off that… it seems, no one else in the world does… Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.  

Daddy went to the Oakland Family History Center and did a little bit of work on finding great-great-great Grandpa.  With the help of an employee at the library, Carol, he was able to narrow down the date of death window for him a little bit.  G-g-g-grandpa’s middle initial was A and it appears that he was the only Manuel A. Rodrigues in Alameda County in that era.  

Before today, the last record that daddy had of G-g-g-grandpa was the 1920 Census in which the family was living on 8th St. in East Oakland.  Today, they found the Oakland City Directory for 1923 in which the family was still living at the same address.  

He also found a more extensive death index than the microfiche at the Oakland Public Library.  I am hopeful that he will find these elusive relatives soon.  =)  

Time to sign off for now… I will try to post more often.  =)

False Alarm…

After looking over the death certificate and I wish daddy had the document scanned… he realized that it is not his great-great grandpa.  First, it said that the person had only been in the United States for five years.  We know that in 1921 he had been here for approximately 15 years.  Additionally, it said that he was a widower, my great-great-great grandmother (his wife) passed away in the 1940’s.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.  

Daddy spent some time talking to grandpa about the problem.  Daddy told grandpa that because he can’t seem to find Manuel (I am only using his first name because I am getting confused with all of the generational translation)  he is going to start looking for my Great-great-great Grandma Mary Rodrigues.  Like her husband, Daddy can’t find any record of where she is buried.  Daddy knows that she died in the 1940’s and grandpa seems to have memories of going to her house in Alameda, Ca when she was very sick.  So… she probably died in 1948 or 1949.  Grandpa was born in 1946 and that would make him two or three when she passed away.  Looking at the death index for the 1940’s with that time range in mind… it narrows the Mary Rodrigues’s down to January 11, 1949 or December 2, 1949.  Daddy will have to look for the obituaries the next time he goes to the Oakland Public Library or the Cal State Hayward Library.  

Well, I must sign off… because I am getting very sleepy very quickly… =)  So… good night.  

Rodrigues Progress…

This will probably be a pretty short post… my tummy is hurting.  

Daddy came home from work with some great news… while he was at work, he received a voice-mail from the County.  It looks like we may have narrowed down my great-great-grandfather Manuel Rodrigues’s death date.  

In my last post, I said that daddy did some research and requested three copies of death certificates from the Alameda County Clerks office.  On December 5, 2010, daddy did a little more research and found that great-great-grandpa was not in the 1930 census.  This shows that he probably was not living because he would have been living with my great-great-grandma if he was still alive.  This information widdled out one of the three contenders that daddy requested.  

When daddy received the voice-mail, the clerk said that the Manuel that passed in 1923 was widowed and we know that great-great-grandma was alive into the 1940’s.  Additionally, he was born in Spain.

The last Manuel had a wife named Mary and he was born in Madeira (a Portuguese Island.)  Therefore, it looks like great-grandma never knew her grandfather like she believed.  

November 17 (Genealogy Day 2010)

No, it’s not a National Holiday nor is it a day that is celebrated anywhere else but in my family.  It was celebrated this year on November 17, 2010 by daddy, actually it is every year on November 17.  Why November 17, you may ask?  Well, there is a story behind that… it started many, many years before I was born.  

In the second grade, Daddy met his childhood best friend.  His name was Glenn Mar.  Glenn and Daddy had something in common.  Glenn at a young age was diagnosed with cancer.  Daddy at approximately 2 months old was diagnosed with a birth defect that without a shunt, Daddy would not be alive today… and I guess I wouldn’t either. Unfortunately, on November 17, 1990 (yes, 20 years ago) Glenn lost his fight with the cancer at the age of 17 years, 51 weeks.  Today, November 24, 2010 would have been Glenn’s 38th Birthday.  

In 1996, daddy met a good friend at work.  I am not saying names of the people in these stories becayse they are still living.   It was a rocky start, but they soon became close friends.  A couple of months later, daddy met her father who was a very nice man.  Daddy remembers how much his friend looked up to her daddy.  On November 17, 1997, daddy’s friends daddy passed away of Brain Cancer.  

On November 17, 1998, daddy was living at home with my grandma and papa in Pleasanton, CA.  At about 6:30 a.m. grandma woke daddy up with some bad news.  Sometime early in the morning, my great grandpa passed away in his sleep.  Daddy was upset and what was even worse was that great-grandpa was the third person that was close to daddy has passed away on the same day.  

On that day in 1998, daddy made a decision… daddy has not worked on November 17th since 1996.  (Because daddy took November 17, 1997 to support his friend.)

On November 17, 2010, Daddy had just swapped cars with Mommy when his best friend was driving towards him.  Daddy’s friend stopped in the middle of the street and daddy also stopped.  His friend had some bad news… he said that he was going to have to “put the family dog to sleep.”  Daddy was sad and even more upset when he reallized it was once again November 17.

Oh and one more thing, my great-great-grandpa, Victorino Gomes, my great-grandpa’s dad was born on November 17, 1885.  Yes, my great-grandfather passed away on what would have been his dad’s 113th birthday.  

This year on November 17, 2010, daddy spent the whole day working on our family history.  He decided that he was going to spend the day trying to find out more about my great-great-great grandparents (Manuel and Mary Rodrigues).  

Manuel Rodrigues was my great-great great grandfather and my great-grandma’s paternal grandfather.  According to great-grandma, he passed away when she was about 3 years old.  Great-grandma was born in 1925 and she was three years old in 1928 -1929.  Unfortunately, there was not a Manuel Rodrigues listed in the California Death Index in 1928-1929 in Alameda County, CA.  There is one in Santa Cruz County; however, according to Great-Grandma, he died in Oakland, CA.  

Mary (Agrella) Rodrigues passed away when great-grandma was 18 or 19-years-old.  By those calculations, it was about 1943.

Daddy started out  by going to the Library at California State University, Hayward. Yes, Hayward not East Bay.  The library has all of the Alameda County Voter Registration forms from approximately 1895 through 1921.  Daddy took pictures of all of the Rodrigues forms in the collection.  He hasn’t had time yet to analyze the pictures that he took.  Daddy then went to Oakland.

In Oakland, Daddy first went to the Recorders office and gave them three possibilities for g-g-g-grandpa Rodrigues.  As of today, he has not heard from the recorders office.  

Daddy then went to St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland.  St. Mary’s did not have any possible matches.  He also visited, Chapel of the Chimes (Oakland), Mountain View Cemetery, and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.  None of the Cemeteries had any record of the family.  He had also checked Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland about six months ago to no avail.  

Needless to say, Great-Great-Great Grandpa Manuel Rodrigues continues to be a brickwall for daddy.  If you have any questions or better yet an solutions, please feel free to leave a comment. 

Daddy’s interest in Genealogy

My great-grandmother, Barbara May Townsend Smith (March 1, 1923 - March 6, 2009) began researching our family tree many many years ago.  Daddy has a lot of letters from relatives, histories from different family members, books from different lines of the families, and many more interesting tidbits.  Daddy is currently working on putting all of the familial relations into Family Tree Maker in order to organize all of the information.  

When daddy was a teenager, he remembers visiting great-grandma’s house in Hayward, CA.  Back then, the computer was just beginning to show up in homes.  According to one of my grandfather’s, she had one of the first home computers built by a company called I.B.M.  (sorry got sidetracked) Anyways, great-grandma spent many hours working on the genealogy and entering it into her computer.  They did not have a family tree program back then so she entered all of the information into Wordstar, a program that is similar to Microsoft Word, but much more “basic.”  Because it was so many years ago, the data is lost and daddy has had little success retrieving it.  Therefore, Daddy has been manually entering the information from a couple of the books.  

One of the books is the Erwin Family Tree.  The very first generation in the book is Arthur Erwin (Mar 1726 - 9 Jun 1791).  He is one of my ggggggggggreat-grandfathers.  He has entered all of the people from this book into the family tree program already and there are about 2000+ of them.  

Another family book is one authored in 1886 by Charles Henry Jones.  The name of the book is Genealogy of the Rodman Family ( My great-great-great-grandmother, Viola Eliza Rodman is the second youngest generation in the ten generations of this family dating as far back as 1620.  Viola is on page 210 in the book.   

There are other books that daddy “inherited” from great-grandma Smith and with time, those too will be entered into the family tree; however, with just our family ass it is today and as much as has been entered of these two books, there are 6,313 people entered into the database thus far.  =)  I think that is pretty cool.  =)  

With the time change, I am pretty tired so I must be headed off to bed.  Good night and happy family tree climbing.  =)  

A Halloween Birthday

Halloween is a birthday for two people in my family.  My second oldest cousin was born about two decades ago… give or take.  But I am not going to talk about him… 

My great-grandpa David Charles Smith was born on October 31, 1919 in Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington, USA.   He is the second youngest child of Eudell Revere Smith (21 Dec 1875 - 12 Oct 1951) and Mary Blanche Morton (10 May 1885 - 3 Nov 1980.)  He passed away on December 15, 1996.

Daddy spent a lot of time at Great-Grandpa Smith’s house while he was growing up.  During his Junior High and High School years.  They had a computer at their house and one of the things that dad used to do to spend his time was play on the computer.  While it was in the 80’s the technology was not even close to what it is today and the only game they had was a typing program.  Needless to say, it taught him the basics.  

Great Grandpa worked for Kaiser Aluminum in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  One of the things he used to do was inspect the different railroad yards for the company.  

I will talk more about him later… 

Branches in the Tree (Surnames)

Of course, my dad is really writing this blog; however, he hopes that some day I will take it over.  

Today’s topic is my familial make up… I am a mix of some interesting nationalities and that is the topic that I chose to talk about today.  

My mother is 100% Japanese.  She is first generation from her mother’s side of the family and her father’s side of the family has been here since the end of the 1800’s.   

My dad is 1/2 Portuguese, and 1/2 Scotch Irish, Welsh, English, French and German. The Portuguese relatives in my family came to Hawaii in the 1890’s and to the United States in 1906 and 1923.  The other side of the family (the rest of the nationalities) began to come to the United States before the U.S. was the U.S.

Some of the surnames in my family include Sakamoto, Nishida, Tsutsui, Townsend, Erwin, Smith, Kennedy, Gomes, Rodrigues, Cabral, and Lopes to say a few.  

Great-Grandpa George Gomes

Great-Grandpa George Gomes (22 Feb 1925 - 17 Nov 1998)  His first name is George, and there is a story for that.  Great-Grandpa was born the youngest of eight children to Portuguese immigrants on February 22, 1925 in Oakland, CA.  At the time, his parents (Victorino Gomes (17 Nov 1882 - 29 Jan 1852) and Maria Jose de Sousa (15 Sep 1885 - 6 Jul 1966)) had run out of names after naming the previous eight children, seven of which were boys.  The parents left it to the children to come up with Great-Grandpa’s name and of course they chose George.  

In the 1930 Census, the family was living in Oakland at 9305 Holly Street.  My Great-Grandfather’s only Sister, Mary Gomes (27 Apr 1912 - 15 Jun 1989) lived in the home until her death.  Daddy remembers going to her home as a child and spending time there while Great-Grandpa fixed things for his sister.  Daddy still has silver dollars given to him by Aunt Mary when he was a young boy.  

Great-Grandpa was educated by the Oakland Unified School District.  Daddy knows that he went to elementary school in Oakland, however, he is not sure of the exact school.  He also know that he attended Elmhurst Junior High School.  Sometime between 1937 and 1939, Great-Grandpa met Great Grandma (GG) at Elmhurst.  They graduated from Junior High School and attended Castlemont High School.  They married in January of 1943 at the age of 17-years old.  They were married for fifty six years.  

Great-Grandpa enlisted into the United States Army on 18 Jun 1943, five months and nine days after his marriage to GG.  Six months later, in November of 1943, my Great-Aunt Judy Gomes (30 Nov 1943 - 21 Sep 1999) was born.  They had two more children in 1946 and 1949.  

In 1949, Great-Grandpa, began building a new home in Castro Valley, CA.  The home was built on the back of GG’s parent’s property.  The home was completed in 1950 and was built at a total cost of approximately $5000.00.  It was initially a two bedroom home.  It was also apparently a kit home.  However, in the typical Portuguese Fashion, the home was quickly customized and a bedroom and another bathroom was added.  Additionally, a carport and workroom was added.  GG still lives in this home and is the oldest and longest living resident on our street.  

In the same year, Great-Grandpa was hired by a local grocery store as a truck driver.  He drove for Safeway Grocery Stores for 35 years.  During his tenure at the company he was known for having an outstanding safety record.  His brother was also employed by Safeway Grocery for approximately the same amount of time.  In 1985, approximately three weeks before he retired, his truck was parked in a local parking lot.  As was the norm for the truck drivers in that time period, he had left his truck running with the door locked and someone broke into the truck and stole the rig.  The trailer was later found in Oakland and the rig was found in Richmond, CA.  He was suspended for the final days of his employment.  There is more speculation to this story, but we will let that rest.  

From his retirement in 1985 until his death in 1998, Great-Grandpa and GG spent many years traveling in the fifth wheel camper driving all over the Western United States.  They also traveled the world, both on cruise ships and by air.  They went to Europe on numerous occasions and Portugal.  

Great Grandpa passed away peacefully in his home on 17 Nov 1998.  Ironically, it would have been his father’s 113th Birthday.  He was also the third person that was close to daddy to pass away on that day.  Daddy has not worked on November 17th ever since.  

I read my post from last night and thought I would expand a little on the title of this blog. The beauty of family history is that it is a blending of two families, at least in recent history. The fun part is figuring out where the families came from and what part of history did they play a part in.

For example, my first cousin four times removed is a lady named Jennie Gerome. Jennie Gerome married Lord Randolph Churchill and they had a son… Who became the Prime Minister of England from 1941 - 1945 and 1951 -1955 Sir Winston Churchill. That is just one of the people that I, errr my dad, errrr actually my great-grandmother has linked to history through her many years of research. I plan on expanding on how my family tree has blended in the recent past and how I am the most recent fruit on my daddies branch of our tree.

The Beginning

It’s been a week since dad attended the Family History Expo in Pleasanton, California.  It was his first such seminar and he says that he learned quite a bit.  One of the sessions he attended discussed genealogy blogs.  Thus, the reason for this new blog.  It was presented by Thomas MacEntee, the Geneablogger.  It was a good session and he said he learned a whole lot from Mr. MacEntee.  

I have not quite decided how I am going to write this blog.  I have a whole bunch of ideas going through my head right now… so I think I will let it develop a little.  

Here is a little taste of my history… not necessarily genealogically oriented for now.  This is my third blog.  My first blog was one that I started when I was just four days old.  You see, I was a preemie and we used the blog format to keep the communication lines open with family members and friends so that mommy and daddy could concentrate on taking care of me.  Well, it worked… I am here and doing very well at two and a half years old.  The second blog that I started was going to be a genealogically oriented blog as well; however, the name was a little long and obscure so we abandoned it for now… and so here we are with the third blog.  =)  

Unfortunately, it is past my bed time and I have to get some sleep so I can play and learn at school in the morning.  So I will sign off for now.  

Oh one more thing… the name of the blog is blended twigs genealogy.