Hey Joao and Candace !!!!!!!!!!Is this it ?Are we going to drop this ?I realize I am the one that has 4 great-grandparents that came from Beira and could be construed to have the most vested interest.However,I do think we all are related in some way.The damn place is not even larger than a little village today and most certainly was smaller at the time of our ancestors ( Although they did move away a lot....maybe the number of houses stays the same).I know it's small.....I was there in 1985 !I just didn't know then that this was my mother's family on BOTH sides' ancestral village.I could kick myself all the way back there !
I propose we join together to figure this out.Each one of us could do the part of the search each does best.The paper search could fall to Candace and myself once you,Joao,got some basic information for us.I am assuming,Joao,you are the only one who speaks Portuguese.I actually have an address of a relative in Beira whose mother was born in Connecticut USA,was a teacher for some years years in Waterford and spoke flawless English.For some reason,she chose to go back to her parents' village and marry and raise a family.None of her children were taught the English language.I have a daughters address.(The mother died in 1999 at,what I understand,over a hundred)
This is what I propose.Joao would call this distant cousin of mine (or write.........if you want I could write the letter in English and you rewrite in Portuguese) and ask:How many families are there in Beira.....how many surnames?Are all people there with the same names related ?For instance,are all the Bettencourt families related or are there several "families"?Who should we contact to get records and where are they?Why did the parish priest tell her there were no records prior to 1910?Did he mean there......or are older records somewhere else,like at Velas ?Or even at Terceira ?
I would be happy to pay for your time and expenses regarding these calls.
I don't know how bright this distant cousin is....but at least maybe she could get Joao to someone of substance who would talk to him.Also,Joao,Candace and I are handicapped by the fact we don't understand some of the customs that lead to so much name changing.Do they do this in Portugual proper ?Is it a lower or upper class custom or does it run across the spectrum of Portuguese society ?In the case of my 4 great-grandparents.......even though there was a lot of name changing.......it seems to be the same groups of names that keep popping up....for the most part.Was it common to look at ancestors' names and and simply choose the one you "like" best?In the states,generally the only people who change their given names (other than when marriage occurs) are usually in the entertainment field (even there it is not as common as it used to be) or people trying to hide.Even the second generation Azoreans here stopped the arbitrary name changing once their parents started blending into American society.
I'm dwelling on the name issue so much because it is what makes it so hard to trace our ancestors.I just think if we all could get some kind of contact in Beira and learn it's history,we would make some giant strides.
Joao,once you get some basic information to us,Candace and I could try to start the tracing process by either working up from the past or back from the present.It may be easier to work from the past.
A bit of news........I thought I might have found a distant cousin in Florida USA but the letter came back marked "not known-no forward address".I'm sure they've passed on.
Also.......Joao,I never received the picture you were trying to send.
Joao,I know you are probably a very busy person as I am and I am sure Candace is.Maybe you don't have time or feel you have other reasons to not get involved.I will understand.I just wanted to start a dialogue about putting our heads together.Thank you for your time,David