Sunday, January 17, 2010

Connecting the Dots

I have been working on my grant project, for which I have been gathering information from the East Florida Papers, of which I use the microfilm copy at the Jacksonville Public Library. I have been transcribing the municipal accounts of St. Augustine, Florida, from 1813 and 1814, including taxes paid by shop owners, salaries of some city employees, fines collected, and other such matters. I'm looking for names -- I'm fixing people in place and time and looking for some family relationships. I am finding some preliminary information, which will need to be verified in other records as far as family relationships are concerned. But I have found some instances of three or four people with the same surname. These are generally men, but there were some female shopkeepers in St. Augustine in that period. One of them is listed with the compound surname Pons y Arnau, so I have her maiden name and may be able to find her marriage in the church marriage registers. Unless, of course, that took place somewhere other than in St. Augustine.

I also found a phrase that really has me curious: La viuda de chocolate -- the chocolate widow. Now, what in the world does that mean? Was that one way to refer to skin color? It was written below the name of one of the shopkeepers on a tax list. Sounds to me like a great name for a shop!

But I see the beginning glimmers of family relationships, and this gets me excited. My professor is very excited about my project, and is getting me into contact with some of the names in colonial Florida history.

I'm excited about that!

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