Come With Me On A Journey

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An explanation of DNA testing for genealogy

DNA testing for genealogy has been very popular, lately, as a tool to delve further into ones family tree. In 2011, I had my mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA tested, as well as, autosomal testing through FamilytreeDNA.com.

Mitochondrial testing is useful in tracing one’s maternal line to its origin. Mitochondrial information is found in our cells and passed from mother to child. This information doesn’t change making it possible to trace our maternal lines.
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In this chart, the maternal information is passed from a mother to a son and daughter. The daughter can pass the mitochondrial information to her son and daughter but the son does not. In other words, for me to get mtDNA information for my mother’s maternal line, my brothers and I could have taken the mtDNA test. My daughter and my son can take the test to get the same information but by brother’s children can’t because they could pass the mtDNA information on to their children.

Ydna testing is done to trace male inheritance. Only males can take this test as Y chromosomes are only passed from father to son. I can’t get ydna information of my father’s lineage but my brother can.

When these tests are done, you are given a haplogroup designation. This map gives us an idea of the migration and evolution of different mitochondrial lineages beginning with “mitochondrial Eve” from whom all modern humans are believed to be descended from on the maternal lines. Eve is believed to have been born 200,000 years ago in East Africa. While she wasn’t the only female living at the time, all other female lines failed to produce continuous descendants with their mitochondrial DNA. image
Over time, Eve’s offspring began to migrate outside of this part of Africa. With time particular mutations happened within the mtDNA resulting in subgroups. With these subgroups, it’s possible to trace your maternal lines to different parts of the world.

My mtDNA haplogroup is L3b1a. The first genetic mutation of Eve is L0, then L1, L2, and L3. Because I did the full sequence of my DNA I have extra information on my maternal lineage which primarily West African with my coding region (another part of the DNA tested) matches me with indigenous Berbers of Morocco and Egypt.

FTDNA provides you with information about matches on the mtDNA test. In my case, where L3b1a goes back at least 20,000, my matches may be too distantly related to find our exact connection but it gives me more clues on my lineage. Most of my matches are Bantus in places like Sierra Leone, Camaroon, Chad and I even have matches in Syria.

FTDNA offers autosomal testing through their FamilyFinder test that theoretically gives you your ethnic breakdown according to your chromosomes. This information comes from both your mother and father and should reflect the past 125 years or 5-6 generations back. For some population groups, there are filters that help distinguish matches that appear close genetically but in actuality are more distant on paper. Where there are generations cousins marrying cousins as in the case of royal families, etc, there is the possibility that the results reflect information much further than 125 years. In my tree, I have many 3rd and 4th cousins marrying so I’m pretty sure that my Afghani line wasn’t very recent. image
Of my matches on FamilyFinder, some are of Cape Verdean origin, while some people are of Eastern European and Jewish origins. How I match Hungarian, Polish and Ukranians has been a bit tricky but what’s interesting is that we all descend from the same person since we all match on the very same spot on the same chromosome (19). I have African American matches, one of who has only been able to trace one line to an enslaved person around 1860 in South Carolina. The thought that his ancestor was possibly family to someone in my tree is intriguing in that it may be a way to connect to my enslaved ancestors.

Exploring my DNA has been very interesting, to say the least. It’s helped to answer many questions, expand my family tree and to create even more questions. My hope is that questions about “what is a Cape Verdean” can be answered in terms of its history and what groups of people were instrumental in its creation. But most of all, rather than defining Cape Verde in terms of its uniqueness and setting it apart from the rest of the world, it should strengthen our humanity. At the end of the day, we are all connected.

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A glimpse of a day in the life our ancestors , # 52 Ancestors

A glimpse of a day in the life our ancestors , # 52 Ancestors.

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Cape Verdean Veterans of American Wars

The Creola Genealogist:

A post from a great blog by fellow Cape Verdean history enthusiast, Gerson Monteiro

Originally posted on Cape Verde Unearthed:

In honor of Armistice/ Veterans Day this post will honor Cape Verdean veterans of American Wars.

The Cape Verdean community here in the States should be very proud of all the Patriots it has produced and lost in every American war since the beginning; fighting for its independence, it’s struggle to remain a unified nation and for the abolition of slavery. We have fought with her against fascists and saved millions from death camps all over Europe. We were there in Korea and Vietnam and every other time Americans have been called to serve this country, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is a partially list of the thousands of Cape Verdeans that have served this great nation (info provided by www.thecreolagenealogist.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/cape-verdeans-and-americas-independance-day-just-as-american-as-apple-pie :

Documented Cape Verdean military soldiers in the Revolutionary war for Independence from England were collected by Jose dos Anjos in his research of Cape Verdean military soldiers

James Pease…

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A glimpse of a day in the life our ancestors , # 52 Ancestors

In 1937, Mario “Marty” Rose, a Cape Verdean American from New Bedford filmed his trip to Cabo Verde and produced what is probably the first film ever made in Cape Verde. He set sail with Captain Benjamin Costa aboard the schooner, Stranger, owned by the da Lomba Family of New Bedford. This film was shown by Mr Rose and the Seamen’s Memorial Scholarship Fund in the 1940′s.

The significance of this film can not be overstated as it gives us a visual glimpse into how our ancestors lived. The footage of the men aboard the ship at the port in New Bedford reflects the daily activities of our ancestors preparing to leave port on whaling ships for whatever corner of the earth yielded the coveted whale oil. As the men set off, Mr Rose includes a clip of some rough seas and violent looking waves that was surely common on any voyage across the Atlantic and further testifies to courage our ancestors demonstrated each time they made these voyages.

They arrived in São Vicente and travel over to São Nicolão filming various aspects of island life. But for me, the moments in Brava, about 20 minutes in, were the most emotional to watch. In 1937, my maternal grandmother, Vovo, would have been 14 years old and living with my great-grandmother, Bibi, in the home built by her and my great-grandfather, Avelino, who died in Waterbury, CT just 8 years prior. My maternal grandfather, Raimundo, was 20 years old and living in Tome Barraz. His mother would have been living in Onset, MA for about 19 years at that point and his father Marcelino, was back in Lomba Lomba after spending many years in New Bedford.

My paternal grandparents were newlyweds having gotten married in July of that year and living in Figueral in the same home with her mother, Anna, while my great-grandfather was living and working in New Brunswick, NJ with his brother João. My father would be born two years later. The house that would be later owned by my great-aunt, Albertina, is shown in the port of Furna, as a large group of Brava men work to put a ship they had just finished building in the water. Those men pictured could have been the same ones who boarded the schooner, Mathilde, 6 years later.

Mr Rose filmed a wedding procession from Campo to Nova Sintra showing beautifully dressed men and women following an equally beautiful but somber couple to the church to be married. A group of men with guitars and violins escorted the group to and from playing mornas I’m sure I’ve heard before. I can imagine my grandparents walking the same paths in their wedding clothes with other members of my family following as the same musicians played a morna. Another procession depicts the da Lomba family burying one of their female family members.

Watching the feast on Emancipation day commemorating the abolishment of slavery in Cape Verde took my breath away. In the footage it looks like a group of men, women and children, who may have been descendants of the slaves freed in 1876, are seen eating canja at a long table flanked by whiter-skinned people with smiles. The gentleman at the head of the table looks like so many Cape Verdeans I’ve known in my family and in my community. It’s difficult not to feel some ambivalence and maybe outright abhorrence toward the “benevolent Portuguese Government” who footed the bill for this “magnificent feast” of chicken and rice soup while looking into the faces of our ancestors who endured slavery in Cape Verde. I can’t imagine that hundreds of years of slavery could be forgiven over a bowl of canja.

Mr Rose was right when they wrote that Bravenses frowned upon the “Sabe Colinha”, a dance brought to the islands by our African Ancestors. I’ve actually done this dance before when a popular artist, Gil, came out with the song, “Maria Julia” in the 1990′s. You see a group of people in a circle surrounding people pounding on tamboros as a black woman with an lenço on her head sings and claps. You can almost hear her singing;

“O Sabe Colinha!
Colinha manda rufa na portal figuerinha!
Quel qu’e suju, bu da cachor,
Quel qu’e limpo, bu da’M de meu!”

The film then shows various aspects of life for Cape Verdeans in New Bedford and Cape Cod. We see ordinary people taking part in normal activities, along with lawyers and business people in the community. There’s even a wedding! Except these people could be seen smiling through out whereas it would have been considered impolite to do so in Cape Verde.

You can’t help but pause as the film begins showing some of our ancestors as they crouched in the cranberry bogs for pennies a bucket. In the 30′s and 40′s, my great-grandmother, Joanna, could have been among the women hunched over on their knees, in the hot summer sun, picking cranberries or blueberries. Her children and grandchildren would have accompanied her on many of those days to help the family. My great-grandfather, Jose and his cousin, Anibal, were working on the same railroad tracks shown in the film. Seeing these people who could have been and probably were my own relatives made feel all the more appreciative for the life I have because of them.

This film is a treasure for Cape Verdeans and Cape Verdean-Americans. Mario “Marty” Rose filmed this over 80 years ago and it was recently posted on youtube by his grandson, Derek Rose, a writer who now lives in New Zealand and gave his permission to attach this video. Please tell your family and friends about this great piece of history. Share this with as many people as you can so that we can all learn about our culture as we take a glimpse of a day in the life of our ancestors.

Thank you Marty and Derek!

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#52 Ancestors- Antonio Jose Coelho – Ancestor #5

#52 Ancestors- Antonio Jose Coelho – Ancestor #5.

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#52 Ancestors- Antonio Jose Coelho – Ancestor #5

Early last year, I was fortunate enough to visit the Providence Children’s Museum’s Coming to Rhode Island exhibit that features the stories of real people who immigrated and settled in Rhode Island. One of the people featured is Antonio Jose Coelho, captain of the Nellie May, a native of Brava and an ancestor.

20140313-002649.jpgCaptain Antonio Jose Coelho

The first time I actually came across his name was while I was searching for my great-great grandfather with the same name who I knew visited the United States many times before he died in 1917 in Brava. I also knew that he lived and worked in Providence. My great-great grandfather had a wife and children in Brava so I wasn’t exactly excited to see an Antonio Jose Coelho married and living with his wife and two kids in Providence! A word to the wise- always pay attention to birth dates! My Antonio was born in 1879 while Capt. Antonio was born in 1851… And both are ancestors of mine.

Capt. Coelho is said to have first arrived around 1866 which may have been on a whaling ship. My Coelho ancestors in Brava include a very long line of mariners.

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In this naturalization record from 1891, Antonio identifies 1866 as his arrival date in the United States.

He was married to Maria de Jesus d’Azevedo, also from Brava and had two sons, Joaquim and Cesar, all of whom followed Antonio to the United States between 1894 and 1897.

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According to this 1900 census, Maria is quite a bit older than Antonio but both have 25 as the age they were when they first married. This, then, had to be Maria’s second marriage. In 1900, they were living on Traverse St. The 1910 census shows only Antonio, Maria and Cesar living together. Joaquim disappears from the records and I have not been able to locate him. He may have died but it is also possible that he returned to Brava or perhaps took up the family trade of whaling.

Antonio purchased the Nellie May from John Waters from Newport, Rhode Island and sailed the ship carrying people and goods from the States to Brava in 1892 and again in 1893 when a series of mishaps resulted in the captain of that voyage, Jose Godinho, beaching the ship to have it classified as abandoned and then purchase it himself at auction. Antonio fought two years, making appeals to Presidents Cleveland and McKinley, to get his ship back. Antonio died at the age of 92 without any compensation. During his life in Fox Point, Antonio was a well-known figure, helping many in the community with housing and employment and serving as an interpreter. (Excerpted from Cape Verdeans in America: Our Story, ed. Raymond A. Almeida. Boston: Tchuba-American Committee for Cape Verde, Inc., 1978. Boston. Based on original research by Michael K. H. Platzer and Dr. Diedre Meintel, with additional information collected by Cape Verdean community scholars.)

Antonio Jose Coelho Genealogy

Generation 1
Antonio was born on May 7, 1852. (Records have him born anywhere between 1851 and 1853.) He was the son of Joaquim Jose Coelho and Maria de Senna from Sao Joao Baptista, Brava. He also had a brother, Bernardino.

Maria de Jesus d’Azevedo was born around 1842 in Sao Joao Baptista and was the daughter of Antonio de Jesus d’Azevedo and Genoveva Tavares.

Generation 2
Joaquim Jose Coelho was the son of Francisco Jose Coelho and Claudina Maria da Graca.
Maria de Senna was the daughter of Francisco Ribeiro and Rosa de Senna

Generation 3
Francisco Jose Coelho was the son of Manuel Jose Coelho and Domingas da Graca
Claudina Maria da Graca was the daughter of Manuel Jose Gomes and Maria da Graca.
*Francisco and Claudina were married on June 17, 1811 and they were 2nd cousins, probably on their mothers’ sides.

Generation 4
Manuel Jose Coelho married to Domingas da Graca and parents to Francisco Jose Coelho.
Manuel Jose Gomes married to Maria da Graca (first cousin of Domingas da Graca) and parents of Claudina Maria da Graca.

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