Monday, March 03, 2008

Solano employee M. NORONHA

From: "Katharine F. Baker"

... I'm hoping you can help me find employment records (or any other information) re my great-grandfather, MANUEL MARIA NORONHA (a/k/a MICHAEL NORONHA), who, according to his obituary, was a long-time employee on the "Solano" – so, specifically, I'm interested to know what his job responsibilities were on the "Solano" over the years. From my research thus far, I've learned that:

a) According to the 1880 US Census, he, his wife and their toddler daughter settled in Benicia in 1879 (their second daughter was born in California in 1879) ( erroneously transcribed the surname Noronha as Heremla, but if you examine the photstat of the Census enumeration itself, it's clearly Noronha);

b) According to his obituary in the 5 Dec 1929 Benicia [CA] Herald, "Manuel M. Noronha, pioneer resident of Benicia, passed away at his home in this city Sunday at the advanced age of 84 years. The deceased came to Benicia fifty years ago this month in the employ of the Southern Pacific on the Steamer Solano and was retired from the service fifteen years ago. Mr. Noronha was born on the Island of St. George, Azores, December 16, 1844. In 1864 he left his home to follow a seafaring life..."

c) According to parish records in the Regional Archives at Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, he was in fact born on 16 Dec 1843 (so was actually a year older than he claimed!). BTW. the Portuguese name of his native island is "São Jorge," and Manuel/Michael hailed specifically from the village of Topo on the easternmost tip of the island.

I look forward to hearing ... any research results you can discover re my great-grandfather's employment on the "Solano."

Katharine F. Baker



Benicia Herald, July 16, 1915