Saturday, February 11, 2017

Another Disambiguation: Three Miguel O'Reillys in St. Augustine!

In 1788, there were three men named Miguel (Michael) O'Reilly in St. Augustine, Spanish Florida.  Their disambiguation was necessary to identify the one who was a witness to the petition of Guillermo (William) Gernon and Isabel (or Elizabeth) MacEnery for permission to marry, filed 17 December 1788.(1)  In his witness statement, the particular Miguel O'Reilly stated that he was 31 years old.  According to the 1793 census, there was a Miguel O'Reilly in St. Augustine who was either married or widowed, with three sons, a businessman or trader (tratante in Spanish).(2)

The most well-known man of the same name was the Irish assistant priest at the Catholic church.  He would have been 36 years old in 1788, the year of the above petition.  He died in 1812.(3)  As a Catholic priest, he was, of course, single.  He can be ruled out.

Another Miguel O'Reilly was a single young man, according to his death certificate, 25 years old at the time of his death, possibly in some sort of industrial accident.  He would have been either 22 or 23 in 1788, too young to be the witness to Gernon's petition.  Nothing else is known of him besides his marital status, his age at death, and his date of death, 28 November 1791.(4)

The third Miguel O'Reilly, the businessman, self-described as above as 31 years old and shown to have children, signed his name to the petition of 1788.  At that time, many men, especially those of importance or substance, added a flourish to their signatures, known as a rubric.  Father Miguel O'Reilly, the priest, had a rubric which was complex, with an ornate flourish at the end.(5)  His handwriting differs significantly from the signature on the petition, and he has already been ruled out.

Miguel O'Reilly the businessman had a rubric which was simple and quick to execute, indicative of one who deals with a considerable amount of paperwork, as seen on his signature on the 1788 petition.  The Miguel O'Reilly who witnessed Guillermo Gernon's petition in 1788 was the businessman O'Reilly.

(1)  Petition of Guillermo Gernon for permission to marry Ysabel Mac-Enery, Matrimonial licenses, Reel 132, Bundle 298R9, #31, East Florida Papers.  (Names are as they are in the document.)
(2) 1793 Census, Reel 148, Bundle 323A, East Florida Papers, f. 135v.
(3)  Michael V. Gannon, The Cross in the Sand (Gainesville:  University Press of Florida, 1965), 116.
(4)  Death certificate of Miguel O'Reilly, Death records, Book 1, 1784-1793, Ecclesiastical Records of the St. Augustine Diocese, Vanderbilt University (online).
(5) For an example of Father Miguel O'Reilly's rubric, see any of the church records, Ecclesiastical Records of the St. Augustine Diocese, Vanderbilt University, (online), between 1784 and 1812.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Disambiguating the Two Francisco Genovars

Among the many pairs or groups of same-named individuals in St. Augustine, Florida, during the Second Spanish Period (1784-1801), there were apparently two men named Francisco Genovar.  They were not father and son. 

Here is how I differentiate them to conclude that they were indeed two separate and distinct persons:

Francisco Genovar, son of Juan Genovar and Antonia Murillo (1)
  • Native of Mallorca (2) 
  • 22 years old in 1786 (3) (therefore, born ca. 1764, Mallorca)
  • Single (4) 
  • Sailor (5)
  • Parents from Minorca (6)
  • Father from Minorca (7)
  • Father from San Miguel, Minorca; mother from Mahon, Minorca (8)
  • Father, Juan, from Mallorca (9)
  • Juan Genovar, father, native of Mallorca (10)
Francisco Genovar (signed his name Yenobart)
  • Literate enough to sign his name (most sailors were not)
  • Occupation unknown
  • Son of Juan Mariano Genovar (or Genovart) and Juana Marquez (11)
  • Parents native of Minorca (12)
  • Had no parents or other relatives in St. Augustine or the province of East Florida (13)

There is no record of a Francisco Genovar in the Golden Book of the Minorcans, the church records of the parish on the plantation of Andrew Turnbull at New Smyrna.  The birth or baptism records of the first Francisco, above, born ca. 1764, would not appear, as the plantation did not begin until 1768.  Age of the second Francisco Genovar, signed Yenobart, is not known.  Juan Genovar and Antonia Murillo, parents of the first Francisco, above, do appear in the Golden Book, as parents of daughters baptized in the New Smyrna parish.  As the first Francisco Genovar's father appears in the 1784, 1786, and 1793 censuses of St. Augustine, and the parents of the second did not, by his testimony and the testimony of witnesses, live in St. Augustine or in the province of East Florida but remained in Minorca, these two Francisco Genovars are sons of different parents, and are two separate and distinct persons.

(1) 1786 Census, Reel 148, Bundle 323A, East Florida Papers, folio 22v.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid.
(5) Ibid.
(6) Ibid.
(7) 1784 Census, Reel 148, Bundle 323A, East Florida Papers, p. 26
(8)  Baptism of Francisco's sister, María Antonia, abstracts of baptismal records, 1784-1792, typed manuscript at the St. Augustine Historical Society, page 21)
(9) 1793 Census, Reel 148, Bundle 323A, East Florida Papers, f. 111r
(10)  Witness statement of Juan Geonvar, Petition of Juan Gianopoly for permission to marry, Matrimonial licenses, Reel 132, Bundle 298R9, #33, East Florida Papers.
(11)  White Marriages, Book 1, 1784-1801, Ecclesiastical Records of the St. Augustine Diocese, page 136, entry 152, Vanderbilt University (online)
(12) Ibid.
(13) Petition of Francisco Yenobart for permission to marry, Matrimonial licenses, Reel 132, Bundle 298R9, #110, East Florida Papers.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Genealogy Life

From Randy Seaver's Genea-musings, here is tonight's challenge.

Tonight's rules:

How much genealogy and family history work do you do, on average, each week?  What tasks do you routinely perform every day, every month, every year?

Share your genealogy life in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or google+.

These days, my family genealogy has taken a back seat to my work as a historian, researching the people and families of St. Augustine, Florida, during the Second Spanish Period (1784-1821).  I am taking a historical and genealogical approach to my subject.  Most days, I am still translating the marriage permission petitions filed by people who did not have qualified relatives in St. Augustine or nearby who could grant them the required permission to marry.  I have finished the rough translations, the first pass-through, and am now working on the smooth translations.   They are about halfway done.

This project will, I hope, be published in a book.  That will probably come in a year or two.  The book will include these translations, commentaries on them based on the law that was in force at the time, how these petitions reflect the implementation of that law in St. Augustine, extracts from the actual marriage records from the Catholic diocese, and background and discussion of the law.  Most of the latter will be drawn from my master's thesis.

The book is part of my effort to delve into the relationships between the various ethnic or national groups that made up St. Augustine at that time.  Work has been done on the Minorcan population of St. Augustine, and the African-American population, and the British, and the Spanish, but no one has really inquired into how these groups interacted and were inter-related.  That is what I hope to accomplish, and it will probably span several books.

I have just upgraded my Legacy genealogical software, which I will be using to enter the data I am gathering on the people of St. Augustine during the subject period.  I think Legacy will help greatly in analyzing these data.

I have also done some translation work on old Spanish documents for a couple of clients, though I usually do not do client work.  One also, however, does not turn away such paying work when it lands in one's lap!

I have already amassed two file cabinets full of dossiers on people who lived in St. Augusting during the Second Spanish Period.  I characterize myself as the J. Edgar Hoover of old St. Augustine!

So my own family history has languished in the process.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

C is for Coast Guard

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge for genealogy bloggers.

When my husband joined the Coast Guard in 1970, we thought he was the first in his family to do so.  Many years later, when his father died in 2004, we discovered in some family papers he had, that this was not the case.

My husband's father and grandfather had also served in the Coast Guard, as temporaries during World War II.  They were port security personnel, patrolling the port of Jacksonville.  It is rather indicative of my father-in-law's lack of communication with his son that he never mentioned that he had been in the Coast Guard.

So, rather than being the first, my husband was part of a three-generation tradition in the family!

But the story does not end there.

While he was in the Coast Guard, one of his duty stations was in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He did a variety of things, as everyone in the Coast Guard is called upon to do.  He inspected a nuclear plant.  He was in charge of safety and security for sailboat races.  He was the local command's liaison with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian organization dedicated to providing help and support to the Coast Guard through public instruction in boating safety, courtesy examinations of pleasure craft, search and rescue, patrols, and in other ways.

I saw how much fun he was having, and decided I wanted to be part of it, too.  Due to some misunderstandings, it wasn't until we were back in Jacksonville, after my husband had transferred from active duty to the Coast Guard Reserve, that I managed to enlist in the Coast Guard Reserve.  I took the oath on 3 February 1976, entering as a yeoman third class.  During my years in the CGR, I went from yeoman third class to a commission, as a lieutenant junior grade.  I had to stand down before I made lieutenant, because I had developed osteoarthritis and could no longer carry out my duties. 

And before that, he and I had also joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary!  We had a 17-foot open runabout, a beautiful little boat with a lot of get-up-and-go.  We did search and rescue and patrols in that boat, and had a great deal of fun in doing so.

We definitely are a Coast Guard family.