So once again I went to the National Archives of Santu Spirtu, this time looking at naval records BEFORE the birth of Antonio Barbara in Bone, Algeria. I was looking for the journey of the couple Giuseppe Barbara and Rosa nee` Vella to Bone, Algeria. I searched through tomes and grimoires, even enlisting the help of my father - but it was all in vain.
I left the idea for a while...
Then I discovered that the National Archives held another source of information: the Passport Register. While the naval records would have contained information about lots of irrelevant stuff and people (I remember finding a record of a Mexican man landing in Malta), and possibly multiple times for the same person, especially crew, the Passport Register would have only one entry for Maltese persons requesting a passport - and to travel by ship, one would need a passport. This information was also better available: in PDF format, so I could search the records without damaging and old invaluable book. I had 80 pages to search in, and I found something 20 pages on.
I found a record of a certain Rosa Barbara requesting a passport, together with.... wait for it... her daughter Antonina Barbara! Apart from the absence of her husband, which would have gone there before his family, the existence of an elder sister for Antonio was a welcome news!
On my way back home I wondered what could have happened to Antonia. Would she have helped her mother raise her two younger brothers? Would she have returned with them back to Malta, or would she have found love, married and brought up family in Bone, Algeria - would there be descendents, relatives of ours, still living there? Would I be able to make contact?...
All this fizzled away when I rechecked the CAOM records and found out that she had died in 1836, before Tony's birth in 1837 and Antonio's birth in 1838 - they hadn't even met!
- in 1836 the daughter Antonina dies
- in 1837 the son Tony is born
- in 1838 the son Antonio is born
- in 1839 the father Giuseppe dies
Imagine Rosa's tragic life: going abroad with a daughter and husband, and returning back with only two sons...