Silva Family Genealogy Research Log

A blog to help me not to ask "now where did I find that?"

Emailed the PGHS

In a previous post I mentioned that the Portuguese Genealogical Society of Hawaii had a pamphlet that I wanted to get a hold of.  I have emailed the PGHS and we will see what comes of it.


Searched 1940 Census for John Silva

I searched the 1940 Census for my great grandfather.  I knew the enumeration district the family was in during the 1930 census.  Using this information I was able to page through the scanned images and I found him.  The link is here:

It is interesting because it looks like his 14 year old son was the respondent.  I was extra lucky because my great grandfather was one of the few who were asked supplementary questions.

I am very excited by this find and will need to take some time to parse the document.

People of Porto Santo: New Genealogy Search Tool

I am proud to announce a new resource for those who are doing genealogical research for Porto Santo.  The People of Porto Santo project has just been launched!  It allows people to search the baptismal and marriage records by name and sorts it by the relevance. Try it now at:

Most common first names of the Porto Santo da Silva Family

I have been working with the Arquivo Regional da Madeira’s databases and was able to put together some stats on the most common first names of the da Silva family in Porto Santo.  The following table summarizes the top 5 names with the counts in parentheses:

Ranking Female Male
1 Maria (73) Manuel (55)
2 Júlia (14) João (41)
3 Rosa (7) José (29)
4 Catarina (6) António (22)
5 Luzia (6) Domingos (10)
All Others (119) All Others (90)

Maria is the most common female name of the da Silva of Porto Santo and Manuel is the most common male name.

There is also more variety in female name than in male names.  These top 5 names represent 64% of all male names and 47% of all female names.

I came to this conclusion by analyzing a database of baptismal records for children whose father has the surname of da Silva.  I assumed that records with a surname other than da Silva preceding the da Silva  (i.e. Simão de Melim da Silva) were not da Silva’s.  I classified the names into male and female categories.  I also counted records with two first names in the first of the two (i.e. Domingas Maria counted as Domingas not Maria).

Paulo da Silva and Ana de Vasconcelos

I was recently searching the Arquivo Regional da Madeira’s judicial proceedings database and came across something interesting.  I searched for records containing “%da Silva” in the Inventory Author/Accuser field and Porto Santo as the parish.  At the bottom of the first page of search results I came across this record for Paulo da Silva and Ana Joaquina.  I recognized this couple as Paulo da Silva and Ana Joaquina de Vasconcelos.

I wondered if I hadn’t found their marriage records because it was not under de Vasconcelos.  I searched for “Ana Joaquina” as the wife and Porto Santo as the parish and sure enough I found their marriage record.  They were married in 1826.

I hopped over to the baptism records and searched for records with the father as Paulo and the mother as Ana and the parish as Porto Santo.  I didn’t want to limit any last names.  The first three search results are children for this family.  Here are the search results:

Son (*) Father (*) Mother (*) Parish (*) Date (*) Book (*) Leaf (*)
Paulo Paulo da Silva de Melim Ana de Vasconcelos* Porto Santo 22-03-1835 987 40 VIEW
Manuel Paulo de Melim Ana Joaquina de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 25-07-1830 986 59 VIEW
Maria Paulo da Silva de Melim Ana Joaquina de Vasconcelos* Porto Santo 20-05-1827 985 104 VIEW

So we have Paulo who is my ancestor and his two siblings.  The data all are plausible given a marriage date of 1826.

Now going back to the judicial proceedings we have this record which lists Paulo da Silva Melim and “Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos, sua segunda mulher.”  At first glance it appears the Paulo remarried.  However this is not the same Paulo.  If you view the baptismal record of his son Paulo, it is clear that he married in 1886.   A quick search of the marriage records turns up a result  Paulo da Silva and Maria Antonia de Vasconcelos married in 1886.  The second judicial proceeding is for his son.

Escolástica dos Santos?

A couple of posts back I mentioned searching a film that I requested from the Family History Library.  Well today I spent a couple minutes extracting information from the records.  I was looking at the marriage record for Antonio de Melim to Margarida de Castro.  In this record, it states Antonio’s mother is name Escolastica dos Santos.  This was news to me.  I never found that last name before for Escolastica, so I began looking into Escolastica.

Her husband’s name (according to the same record) is Pedro de Melim.  A quick search on the Arquivo Regional da Maderia’s (ARM) using “Pedro%” as the husband and “Escolástica%” as the wife and “Porto Santo” as the parish returned only one search result.  It is:

Husband (*) 


Wife (*) 


Parish (*) 


year (*) 


Book (*) 


Leaf (*) 


Pedro de Melim de Vasconcelos 


Escolástica da Conceição 


Porto Santo 








Well there’s another surname.  I am reasonably sure this is my ancestor’s marriage record in their data base.    I then looked in the ARM’s baptism database searching for “Escolástica” for the son [sic] field and “%Santos%” as the father.  This search also returned only one hit:


Son (*)



Father (*)



Mother (*)



Parish (*)



Date (*)



Book (*)



Leaf (*)






António dos Santos de Oliveira Júnior



Maria da Encarnação



Porto Santo









101 v.º



Hmmm.  So Escolastica dos Santos could be the daughter of Antonio dos Santos and Maria da Encarnacao (which could be da Conceição?).  If she is the same as Escolastica the wife of Pedro de Melim she would have been about 22 years old when she was married.  Antonio Pedro was christened in 1823 so Escolastica would be 29.  This is possible.  The youngest sibling of Antonion Pedro de Melim that I have found was christened in 1835.  Escolastica would be about 41 years old when this child was born.  This definitely needs to be looked into further.  If this Escolastica dos Santos is the same Escolastica the mother of Antonio Pedro de Melim, then I have just discovered another generation.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2010. That’s about 17 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 4 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 49 posts.

The busiest day of the year was September 21st with 51 views. The most popular post that day was Concerning the origin of the da Silva surname.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for genealogy research log, world war 1 registration card, world war 1 draft registration cards, world war i draft registration card, and da silva meaning.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Concerning the origin of the da Silva surname January 2008


Did I find Manuel Soares’ World War I Draft Card? February 2008
1 comment


Searched for João da Silva in’s World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 January 2008


SS KUMERIC January 2008


Research To Do’s January 2008

More Children Found for António Pedro de Melim and Margarida de Castro

I was going through the film images for António Pedro de Melim’s marriage to Margarida de Castro and searched the Arquivo Regional da Madeira’s Baptismal Records.  I searched “António Pedro%” as the father and “Margarida de Castro” as the mother.  The search returned 13 hits.

Son (*) Father (*) Mother (*) Parish (*) Date (*) Book (*) Leaf (*)
Lucrécia António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 11-04-1862 6262 10 VIEW
António António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 07-02-1864 6264 6 VIEW
Lucrécia António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 02-07-1865 6265 22 v.º VIEW
António António Pedro de Vasconcelos Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 24-03-1869 6269 7 VIEW
Anacleto António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 07-06-1872 6272 15 v.º VIEW
José António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 15-06-1876 6276 25 VIEW
Venâncio António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 21-06-1846 988 169 VIEW
Augusto António Pedro de Vasconcelos Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 10-03-1850 989 63 VIEW
Jesuína António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro* Porto Santo 04-06-1848 989 23 VIEW
Rufina António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 27-09-1852 989 120 v.º VIEW
Júlia António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 17-07-1859 990 132 VIEW
João António Pedro de Melim Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 15-01-1854 990 16 VIEW
Maria António Pedro Margarida de Castro Porto Santo 09-11-1856 990 75 VIEW

The newly found children were Antonio (chr. 24-03-1869), Augusto, and Maria.  I probably missed these children because of the variation on the father’s name

Searched Film and Found Another Generation

I searched the film that I ordered from the family history library.  In preparation for the film I had taken a chronological list report and noted the marriages that had occurred within the year range of the film.  Armed with this list of 7 marriages and a night where my wife volunteered to watch the kids (thanks honey), I made my way to the local family history center.

I was really excited.  I eagerly began my search.  The first item on the microfilm had the cover of the book photographed.  I thought I should probably note the name of the book that is on the spine.  I also noticed a little sticker with a number on it.  I thought to myself that it was probably the numbering system in the archive.

Then things became confusing.  I could not find one of the marriages.  My first marriage record was Pedro de Melim and Escolastica Drumond’s in 1915; which was the earliest year of the microfilm record.  There was an index and I couldn’t find Pedro’s name.  I wondered if the index was incorrect, or if I made a mistake.

I searched the Arquivo Regional da Maderia’s (ARM hereafter) marriage database to double check the year.  1915 was right.  Then I noticed the database listed the book and leaf (which I take as a bad English translation of the Portuguese word for page).  I noted that down thinking the book number might be the number on the little sticker.

I quickly repeated this for my other records then I hit the film.  It turns out that Pedro de Melim’s marriage record was in a different book (I guess 1915 was split between two books).   That explains why he was not in the index.  I was a little sad that I wasn’t going to see his record, but glad I had figured out the secret of the sticker.

It was easy to find the other records.  I searched Roberto Luis de Castro’s marriage to Rosa Maria de Sao Jose in 1825 (book 995 page 89), which was the second item on the microfilm and found another generation.

Roberto Luis de Castro’s parents are Antonio Luis de Castro and Margarida de de Vasconcelos.  A quick search of the ARM’s baptismal records turned up 3 other children: Antonio de Castro (chr. 10 Nov 1785), Domingos de Castro (chr. 22 Dec 1788), and Escolastica de Castro (chr. 6 Mar 1793).  Time was short so I skipped his wife’s side of the family.

I quickly searched three other records and scanned all four using the on-site microfilm scanner.  I have some new information to parse through and add to my database.  I still have two other records to search out.

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