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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where are my Roman's? - Part 1

Roman is a somewhat common surname.  Heck, I know someone with this last name even today.  I know another who has indicated that the Romanov name is one of their family names.  I too have a version of this surname in my line.  It is Romaine.....or is it Rohmann, Romain, Rohman, Roman, or what?

As one can tell, I am either lost in the suffle of trying to locate my "Roman" family line or maybe, just maybe, I am hot on the trail of my "Roman" family.  Now, that does sound rather funny to an extent.  I type my family surname as Roman and put it in quotes because that is how everyone in my family pronounces/pronounced my great grandmother's maiden name.  Even Mary Elizabeth Romaine McGuire said "Roman".  She was born in the U.S. and had no accent by the way.  How did they spell their surname?  That is a bit of a mystery.

What I have found and can discern from official source records is that, as usual, when spelling can really count, people just don't get it correct.  So I'm off researching a line where I am flying rather blind into the abyss ahead.  Oh, but sometimes I do get a little creative and hit on a way to gather up some genealogical "ammo" to trace a family line.

I have literally read the definition of the surname Roman online several times.  It means "someone who comes from Rome".  I never would have guessed.  Sorry for the sarcasm here but it does seem obvious.  I have found many variations of this name - Roman, Romain, Romaine, Rohmann, Rohman, Romanov, Romano, St. Romaine, St. Romain, Ronan, etc.  Depending on what part of Europe or Eastern Europe that your family originates, determines what form the name of Roman has taken for your family.

I had a priest on the phone one day tell me that Romaine is a French name.  He was based in Brooklyn, New York.  He seemed to be onto something but I have never heard back from him.  He was going to look up the church records for St. Louis Parish of Brooklyn.  It was the "French" Catholic church for the area.  It was absorbed into another church in Brooklyn and then another.   St. Pat's in Brooklyn said that they do have St. Louis' church records though.  I guess I need to make a journey there someday.  It sounds like a bunch of McGuire's go to that church even today in Brooklyn.  Maybe I'd find some Romaine's too.  You never know.

So am I hot on the trail of my Romaine's?  It's pretty slow going.  I do have so much more to discover.  I've found my McGuire's.  I have to believe that they knew the Romaine's, if not pretty well.  It can be hard to discover ancestors in New York City and the Five Boroughs of New York City.  Some records don't really differeniate the "Five" very well while others are specific.  Thank goodness my Dad taught (or rather had us memorize) this information when we (me, my sister, and even my mother) were younger.  I still get it confused at times and I wonder if my sister still has it down pat.   At least, I know the difference between the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  Then, there's Long Island (includes Brooklyn and Queens).  I've been to all in some way shape or form. 

Moving on with my Roman's.  How should I spell their surname?  My great grandparents marriage certificate has the surname spelled as Romaine for both Mary E. Romaine and her father, Joseph Romaine.  I've also found my granddad's baptismal certificate with Mary E. Romaine and a sponsor as John Romaine listed.  The marriage certificate is from 1903 and the baptismal certificate is from 1908 (from St. Louis Catholic Church).  It seems obvious to me that the family was definitely using the spelling of Romaine for their "Roman" name.  If that truly is the French way of spelling it, then are they French?  I still don't know.

To be continued........................

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