Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(NQR) Genealogy - clarification of a surname

I've long been interested in my family history.  When I became married to Mr. Pirate, I became interested in HIS family history also.

I recently joined a local genealogical  society and one lecture I attended was given by the director of the big LDS Library, which is in a nearby city.  The talk was on how to effectively use the new, updated LDS website for searching.  He mentioned his own researching escapades and, almost as a throw-away line, he mentioned that because one of his lines was Portuguese, he has become an expert on Portuguese research, especially in the Azores.

Oh my .. did my ears perk up at that!  When the meeting was over, I introduced myself to him and asked if I could make an appointment to meet with him to learn how he did his Portuguese research.  He was exceedingly gracious and an appointment was set up.

I had (3) lines to research: two on Mr Pirate's paternal side and my own paternal line.  We actually struck out on all three lines because I don't have a whole lot of information to go on.  The one line for Mr. Pirate that I had the most information (birth year, town and island) resulted in a cruel and bitter defeat:  although the island & town DID have records online, their earliest started in 1844.  My guy's birth year was 1841.   ::cue sounds of disappointment::

When we were poking around on the other line for Mr. Pirate, I mentioned that we shouldn't be looking for the Rodgers surname because in 1915, my guy changed his name.  I brought a copy of the affidavit attesting to that and showed it to the director.

The affidavit said, ".... on November 17, 1915, Manuel Pereirada Rozas also written and known as Manuel P Rodgers ... "

My mentor took one look at that and immediately said that "Pereirada" is NOT, most emphatically NOT, a name.    (Parenthetically, I've asked one of my Portuguese friends about "Pereirada" and she said that she wasn't aware of a name like that.)

I kinda looked at him and said, well .. this is what I have  (thinking .. what, are you dumb or something?  That's his name *right there*.  It says so!).  But I didn't say that out loud; it would have been rude, ya know.

He continued on, saying, it looked to *him* that the spacing was wrong ... that the person writing down the information wasn't hearing it correctly and so typed it incorrectly.   He was sure the name was really .... Manuel Pereira  da Rozas.    !!!!!!!  Oh. My. Gosh.  That makes SO MUCH SENSE.

Pretend you're Manuel.  You have a Portuguese accent.  You might be fluent in English because you've been in this country for decades, but you still have that accent.  Now, say your name.  Manuel Pereira da Rozas.  Slur the Pereira and da together .. what does it sound like?  Pereirada.  Bingo.

So, the family name, way back when, wasn't simply Rozas .. but  da Rozas.    Not that it makes any huge difference to my research, but we now know the family's true surname.   That alone was worth the trip to the LDS libary.   I tell ya, I was one happy camper!

I've also been doing some very cursory research into the pronunciation of Portuguese names.   It sure isn't like Spanish, I tell ya.  For example .. Manuel.   In Spanish, it's "man-well".  Not so in Portuguese.  Portuguese words break out EVERY vowel into its own syllable.  In fact, "Manuel" in Portugese is actually "Manoel" and is pronounced "man-oo-el", close to Spanish but not the same.  It's extremely difficult for me to avoid a Spanish interpretation of the names.  :-)

I've been so jazzed about this small insight that I felt compelled to let the Entire World know.  :-)

I'll get back to quilting in a bit.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. That's a great bit of sleuthing. Pereira da Rozas makes way more sense for a Portuguese name. I would question the use of the "Z" in Rozas though. Brazil is really spelled Brasil--"S" between two vowels sounds like "Z" which I remember from childhood. And yes, Portuguese has quite a different sound and pronunciation than Spanish...while people who speak Portuguese generally readily understand Spanish, the opposite is seldom the case.