Vadney and my grandmother were married to two first cousins and were best friend. She was born and raised in Jamaica. My mother told me that grandmother’s friend Vadney, had four sons.
My mother used to tell me that when she was a child, Vadney would sometimes come and ask mother to spend the day with her. Sometimes when Vadney came to pick up my mother, she would ride the bus with her. When she got to the terminal Vadney would stay on the bus and ride it again. This would go on for several trips. During the bus ride, Vadney would sit silently, staring out the window with such a sad look on her face. My mother thought that Vadney suffered from depression.
Genealogy is one of my hobbies, so one day I decided to do a report on the family of Vadney and her husband (my grandfather’s cousin). By doing this, I could also extend my own family tree. My first step was to do a search on the FamilySearch website to see if I could find birth certificates for each of Vadney’s 4 sons. By doing this I could make sure that the names and the birth dates of the boys agreed with what was on their birth certificates.
When I finished my search, I found that Vadney was the mother of 8 children, not 4. I read the names to my mother who told me that that could not be right. She told me that Vadney had only the four boys. My mother would know because she was very close to them growing up. I named off the names of all eight children to my mother, but she said she knew nothing of the four extra children; two boys and two girls. The records showed that all eight children were born very close together, about a year apart.
I had the birth records for all 8 children who were born to Vadney and her Chinese husband, whom I will refer to as L.S. I thought that maybe the other four children died shortly after they were born. Unfortunately, I could not find their death records since FamilySearch has not yet published all of the death records for Jamaica. So, I decided to search for their names on Google.com to see what I could find.
When I Googled the names of the children, I was surprised to see the names of two of Vadney’s first four children on the Ellis Island website. Apparently, the ship stopped at Ellis Island in the United States on its way to Hong Kong. When I checked the passenger list for the ship, I saw the name of an adult with the same last name as the young children. This adult was the listed as the guardian for the children. It appears that L.S., the Chinese born father of the children, was sending them to Hong Kong where his family would raise the children in the Chinese culture.
The fourth child, a boy, was only 9 months old when the first 2 children left. I assumed that he was too young to make the trip. However, the following year, almost to the day, he was registered at Ellis Island, in transit to Hong Kong and traveling with his father, L.S. The baby was 1 year and 9 months old. It must have broken Vadney’s heart to have all of her children taken away from her and taken to another country. I’m sure she knew that she would never see her children again.
Aside from the birth certificate, I haven’t found any additional records for their first born daughter. I think she will eventually turn up either on a death certificate, or a passenger list, passing through Ellis Island en route to Hong Kong.
Vadney was pregnant when her husband took the 4th child away and brought him to Hong Kong. Baby #5 was born three months after Vadney’s husband took her fourth baby away. On his trips to Hong Kong, L.S. never stayed long because he had a business in Jamaica to take care of. Babies 6, 7 and 8 were born in quick succession in Jamaica.
My grandmother would have known about the first four babies. She and Vadney were best friends and lived within walking distance of each other. Vadney and L.S. stayed married for more than fifty years until he died.
One fascinating piece of information I noticed during my research was that on the birth certificates for each of Vadney’s last 4 babies, a note was attached which stated “No certified copy of this entry of the birth is to be issued, except on the order of a court”. Who had this notation added and why was it put on the birth certificates of these last 4 children? I’m not positive but I think that Vadney finally had enough and would not allow her husband to take away any more of her children and send them to Hong Kong. She could not bear to lose anymore of her babies. She probably went to court to make sure that her husband could not get a birth certificate without a court order. If L. S. could not get a birth certificate, he could not get a passport for the last 4 children. With no passport, Vadney knew that no one would take her children out of the country. Vadney never saw her first 4 children again. She was going to make sure that this same tragedy did not happen to her last 4 children as well.
This article was written and submitted by Marcia Dixon