I have been a follower of Baba’s for several years and I know he helps lead us to where we are supposed to be. I just completed a trip to Spain with my father. This is a trip he’s wanted for nearly 60 years. His father (who was born and raised) in Spain died when my Dad was only 17. They weren’t very close and I felt my Dad had some regrets and questions that that went unanswered until last week. My Dad always expressed interest in trying to find my grandfather’s birthplace and to search for any possible family. He was told that his father had only 2 sisters. One had married and had only 1 child. He was told they immigrated to South America shortly after his own father came to the U.S. in 1926. The only bit of info we had was from the immigration and naturalization papers to the U.S. which had full name, birthday and place port he departed from and the ship. The town (Cernande), didn’t even register on any Spanish maps, however it did show a postal code. This was our only clue as to where my grandfather was from.
The day after we arrived in Galicia (NW Spain), we drove to the area where this postal code was. It was beautiful countryside with many mountains and lush valleys. We were close, but couldn’t find a sign. I stopped to ask an old man on the side of the road. He not only heard of the town, he drew us a map! We were only 3km away. We found Cernande! A very small village with 1 road and only about 10 houses. The locals were suspicious of us and I explained why we were there. They listened and made some suggestions, but didn’t think any relatives still existed. This didn’t matter to my Dad as he found the town and this was more than enough.
As we left we noticed a very old church and stopped there. We found 3 burial plots next to the church. 3 plots were of people with the same last names and were about the same age as my grandfathers 2 sisters and only nephew. Perhaps my grandfathers 2 sisters never left Spain? We now had to search further and were led to the parrish priest in a larger city a few km away. We spoke to a priest who needed help understanding english. He asked a church “helper” to assist. Miguel turned out to be a very important person who managed to translate for us and took us to the priest we needed to see. The priest took my grandfathers papers in order to verify baptism records and agreed to make an announcement in mass the next day about our family, why we are here and if anyone knows about any possible relatives. Every moment since asking that old man by the road seemed like a “Sherlock Holmes” mystery that was being solved “piece by piece”. I knew we were being divinely lead and simply sat back and let go. The next morning before mass, one of the people we met in Cernande approached me. She said she “might know someone who is related” and will take us there. The priest made his announcement and the locals were very supportive. The old lady took us to the nearby city where we met Miguel. He was like a guardian angel, with us nearly every step of the way. We arrived to the apartment and a man answered. My father and I explained (through Miguel) why we were there and he called down his wife and told here that we very well could be relatives. She had verified that she was the daughter of the man buried at the church (the only child of my fathers aunt). She said she has 3 living siblings.
To Miguels shock, one of the siblings was a very good friend of his. Think we weren’t divinely lead? She said her grandmother and great aunt talked about their brother (Domingo Ramon Perez Costa) and they were told he went to S. America. They never knew he went to the U.S. and had a son (my Dad). This was all coming together quickly and we all met later that day. One of the surviving children took us to the house where grandfather was born and raised. They even had a legal document which gave my grandfather permission to leave Spain all those years ago. The name and signature matched. This was all so unbelievable! We would have been satisfied to have seen the town, but to find living relatives?
This week of unraveling the mystery deeply touched my Dad. He thanks them and cried. They all cried and happily accepted and welcomed us to the family. The only bit of doubt was that my father never knew his grandparents names. We were told that my great-grandparents names were Francisco Perez and Maria Costa. The next day we went to the county gov’t office and the clerk found our family in the town registry. On a handwritten page from this ledger, my granfather’s birthdate, name and his parent names were given. The names matched! We had found our family. This was such a miracle!
I had planned a Tarpanam for my grandfather before any of this took place. I didn’t know any names of any previous ancestors, however the photo copy from the ledger provided names back (4 generations)! The last day included a beautiful Tarpanam just before sundown in the Atlantic off the shore of Galicia Spain. This journey brough such peace to my Dad and also to my Grandfather and his ancestors. Thank you Baba for helping us be “divinely lead” to a peaceful, loving resolve. Eddie Perez