I will try to write what I remember about the organizations my family joined in
The oldest organization I found was the UPEC. This was a men only organization
and I was told that it began because there were families where the husband died
and there was no money to bury him. There were "donations" by his friends to
bury the deceased. This made sense that a group of men began a "lodge" and
each member contributed a monthly fee that was used to bury when the member
In addition to the UPEC there was the IDES (also began with only men). Again,
being raised in an immigrant family, I understood the competition that was part
of what I felt was the Portuguese. Friends from the same Azore Islands stood
together and had separate "festias" to celebrate their traditions.
The UPPEC, (women only) was the organization my mother and her family joined.
In Hayward, CA, the rivalry between the UPPEC and the SPRSI was something I saw
as a child. Even to the point that the best friend of one of my aunts rose to
be the "Supreme President" of the UPPEC while her mother was active in the
SPRSI. There was a lot of issues that caused some families to show their
hostility about some of their friends and relatives that did not participate
together in one or the other "lodge."
There was a time in the UPPEC (I don't know about other lodges) where "only"
women of Portuguese descent could join. That did eventually change.
So, getting back to lodge records. In Hayward, I had a "connection" to the
Supreme Council when it moved to an office in Hayward. My aunt, Esther Sobral,
was the Supreme Treasurer. And, my daughter's godmother worked in the office.
When I began to try to find ancestors places of birth, I looked at some of the
UPPEC death records and found that some, not all, listed more than Portugal or
Azores as their place of birth.
Because at that time, there were so many people I met that had no idea they
needed the village, not just the island, where their ancestor was born to
search the church records. Until 1900, the Catholic church ran the country.
There were no civil records. So, needing to know what village and church a
where person was baptized was the only way to begin to confirm their birth.
I was able to index all the death records for the UPPEC that had not been at
the house where the very first records were burned in a fire. Over a period of
4 years, I did so and when the UPPEC merged with (if I remember correctly) the
IDES, UPEC, and some others.
At that time, I was told that I would not be able to do any further indexing
because of "privacy" issues. So, I have in the database the deaths from 1909
I believe that the SPRSI records were taken by the Luso organization when they
merged with that organization. There were other smaller Portuguese Lodges, I
just can't remember all their names.
Hope this helps.
Celeste Perry ccgran...@yahoo.com
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