Introduction

Cool old pictureHello! In this blog I will describe my research and findings (or brick walls) as I continue to look back in my family tree. However, my background between my two halves are polar opposites which makes methods, resources, and results vary greatly.

The Irish background and the Puerto Rican background are very different, but I intend to give them as much equal attention on here as possible. The short list of surnames I am researching include but are not limited to: Brouder, Burke, Gelpi, McCabe, Raleigh, Vazquez, Velazquez, and Villamil. If you are out there and find this blog, I am happy to hear from you and share information about these families.

Currently I am waiting for copies of death certificates. I am expecting certified copies for my mother and grandmother, and informational copies for my great-grandparents. Since they all died in the county where I live, it is easy to order from the county clerk/recorder’s office. So easy, in fact, that after all this time of neglecting the simplest task, I finally managed to write checks, fill out the forms, notarize the forms (for the certified copies), and buy stamps to send by mail. The certificates only take 5-10 days for processing so I hope to have them sometime next week.

Another current undertaking are the massive number of family photos. Lately, the ones I am most interested in belonged to my maternal grandmother. She was a quiet lady and my mom hadn’t seen her mother’s photo album until after her opportunity had passed to ask about it. The pictures are from Puerto Rico from the 30s and 40s. My grandmother and her siblings are long gone and the people who are left won’t be around forever. I scanned the photos at a high resolution and cleaned them up a bit with the program that came with the scanner. (The free software isn’t ideal, but with a lot of time and effort the pictures come out well.) My grandmother’s name was Maria Fermina Gelpi Velazquez and she was from Peñuelas…it is a small area compared to some of the major cities in Puerto Rico. The oldest relative as close to that immediate family as possible is still around and I am gathering copies of the photos to send to request any information about the photos. Of all the pictures, I am only sending 100. It seems like a lot of photos, but it really is a variety and why not since I have no idea who most of the people are. Family? Friends? Hopefully this relative is game.

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