|Mombacho Volcano as seen from Granada|
I was in Nicaragua from December 7th to the 12th site seeing, and researching at the archives in Granada, Nicaragua. It was a fabulous trip! I loved it there. Beautiful scenery, lush and green. Exotic animals, such as the loud howler monkeys I heard while touring a volcano. Warm weather. It was in the 90's during the day and the 70's at night. Beautiful Colonial adobe architecture in Granada. I stayed one night in Managua and 4 nights in Granada. My mother, Edna Forgey-Kapple, was born in Granada, Nicaragua to a Nicaraguan mother and a US Marine father.
I had very little information about the Nicaraguan side of my family. The only info I had came from my grandmother Graciela Del Castillo's death certificate, some information about the siblings of my grandmother, and a will she made which named a cousin. The will didn't give the degree of cousin he was. I matched a great-granddaughter of this cousin, Francisco Alvarado Granizo, at AncestryDNA. Until the recent addition of the total cM numbers at AncestryDNA I didn't know how much DNA we shared with this cousin, because this cousin has not uploaded to GEDmatch. I share 24.7 cM's and 1 segment, and my mother shares 20 cM's on 1 segment. This shouldn't be. I think this reflects the problems with AncestryDNA's Timber filter. I don't place that much confidence in the cM numbers, which tends to be on average 7 cM's different than everyone else due to the Timber filter and phasing. According to AncestryDNA we are 4th to 6th cousins of Francisco Alvarado Granizo's Great-Granddaughter. I didn't know of any surnames shared in common? No Alvarados or Granizos that I knew of. But my family history for my Nicaraguan family only went back to my great-grandparents and their children, and their children's spouses.
I had no idea that my first day in Granada, Nicaragua was a National Holiday in Nicaragua. It's called La Purisima. It's the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. I guess I'm not that good a Catholic because I had no idea. I couldn't do any research that day due to the fact the archives were closed for the holiday. I had a great day anyway though. I went on a Colonial Homes tour and attended part of the Immaculate Conception feast mass, which was followed by a several blocks long procession with the Statute of the Virgin which included music from a band. I agree with a Youtube comment "Mary is Nicaragua and Nicaragua is Mary."
I had heard these celebrations can lead to a week long closures of government offices. I lucked out and the Municipal Archives opened the day after the Holiday. I was thrilled. It was very hot in the Archives room which didn't have any air conditioning. I melted. There is definitely some of my DNA on the records at the Archives because perspiration was dripping. They had double doors open which did bring in a breeze. The tropical plants outside the door looked nice, during my breaks I looked out at them. I was also serenaded by lovely piano and violin music from the next room. I recognized Yankee Doodle being played at one point. The Archives is located in a public cultural center. Ballet Folklorico was also danced outside in the courtyard. My Grandmother definitely danced there also, because this center was a theater when she lived in Granada.
|Nicasio's signature and personal |
flourish or rubrica
I was also able to solve a mystery regarding my grandmother's father. Someone named the wrong Nicasio Del Castillo as her father. I was thinking that Nicasio, who was President in 1856, would have been way too old to have been her father. That was a correct assumption. From the 1882 Census I found out that there was a younger Nicasio Del Castillo who was only 16 in 1882. The correct age range to have been my grandmother's father. His father was Francisco Del Castillo. According to a niece of my grandmother the Nicasio who was her grandfather, and my Grandmother's father, was the son of a Francisco. The 1882, 16 year old, Nicasio's father was Francisco. Francisco was an attorney. My grandfather Nicasio was also an attorney. I'm so glad my mother told me her grandfather was an attorney because this profession seems to have been passed down in the family. According to other documents I've found Nicasio, the President, was the father of Francisco and the grandfather of my Nicacio Del Castillo Granizo. The elder Nicasio is listed next to Francisco on the 1882 Census and was 66 years old then. According to other documents he probably died in 1884.
My entire trip was a success. I was able to add 3 new ancestors to my family tree and another surname. My Nicaraguan line tree still looks sparse, but is quite good by Nicaraguan standards. Due to record losses family trees are generally short. I'm hoping to return to Nicaragua in the near future with a Y DNA kit. Hope I can find a male Del Castillo to take the test. Y testing could take my Del Castillo tree back to 1600's Seville, Spain.
The Director of the Arts Center Dieter Stadler , who is Austrian, asked me if I came to Nicaragua solely to research in the Archives. Would I travel over 3,000 miles just to look at a couple of Censuses? Probably... I also wanted to see the place where my Mom was born. Visit the church she was baptized in.
I'm praying for Nicaragua, as my mother did. When ever there was a disaster my Mom would say it hurt her because that was her country. Now I feel like it's my country too. Before my Mom passed away last August I told her I planned to visit the place where she was born. It's a beautiful country with friendly beautiful people. Tourism is helping this very poor country. I'm hoping to see continued progress when I return.
|I have a PDF and paperback copy of the catalog|