Sunday, October 07, 2007

Opening the Old Box

For those of you who don't know, I've been trying for months to get my European Citizenship through Portugal. My dad'side of the family migrated to Brazil in 1920 and accourding to the Portugal's law I can get my citizenship if I can prove my great-grandfather was born there.

I gathered all the documents I could find and everything the consulship asked me and I sent it to them, waiting for the answer. If they found the old man the citizenship would be on my hands and if they couldn't I'd try it through another country.

This week I've got an email from Portugal's Consulship informing me that they couldn't find my great-grandfather's birth certificate. That sent me to another trip through the dusty old documents to find something that can help them to find the man.

I had no idea my grandma had so many old papers in those boxes. Those documents helped me to recreate my family'story.

My great-great-grandfather and my great-great-grandmother were both born in 1890 and got married in 1917 the same year my great-grandfather was born. In 1919, because of the poverty that fell over Portugal after war, their ranch wasn't enough to feed them all plus a new baby. So, they decided to abandon their land and all they owned and came to Brazil.

On the ship, the baby got sick and died and so my great-grandfather was the only child that arrived in Brazil in 1920, his little sister's body was thrown in the ocean.

Anyway, in Brazil they worked just fine, but unfortunately for me they didn't register at the consulship. They just got their Foreign ID and their permission to stay here permanetly. Nothing else.

Looking through the documents I found two rarities that came from Portugal: The first is a declarations that my great-great-grandmother wasn't coming to Brazil to hide from Potugal's government, that she never commited any crime. And the second document is a certificate that my great-great-grandfather was given a passport and permission from Portugal to leave the country.

The following picture is the family and some kids from their relatives. The baby is the one that died in the ship and the boy in the bike is my great-grandfather. The adults are his parents.

When they arrived here both got their Foreign ID. Obviously the document is in portuguese. This is my great-great-grandmother's.

This is my great-great-grandfather during The First World War.

These are both my great-grandfather and my great-grandmother (was was Brazilian) in the first years of marriage. He died in 1989 and she died in 1999. She was awesome, she had a secret recipe that nobody can cook.

I've found tons of old pictures and eventually I'll post them. I think it's fascinating to reconstruct their story. Meanwhile, I'll see if the consulship will use these documents.