Welcome to my web page

My name is Natália and here is my story, so far...

I am still too young to type this story, so my Dada is helping me with it. Let me start at the beginning. I was born today at 2:05 in the morning of 27 June 2002. I am less than one full day old at this moment. I weigh 8 pounds, 3 ounces (or 3.7 kilos), and I am 20 inches long.

I suppose you might wonder about my name. So here is the how I got it:

My full name is Natália Irén da Rocha Holmes. Since I was born in the U.S. and we don't use accent marks here, my official name will not include them. But it is enough for me to know how they are really spelled in the countries where they came from.

First of all, Natália is the name my parents both decided on. They tell me it was a hard choice. They carefully thought about it and made a list of all names which they might give me. The choices were made from the Slovak calendar which has one name of a saint for almost every day of the year. As it turns out, Natália is both a Slovak name and a Portuguese name, so that makes both my parents happy. It is spelled and pronounced exactly the same in both languages.

Since you can't hear me pronounce it, I will try to show how to do it by using English phonetics. This comes pretty close:

nuh - TALL - ee - uh

It might be obvious, but the English version is Natalie. My parents also like that name, but I won't be called that. One of the reasons this name was chosen for me was that it would not likely be difficult for people to pronounce when they hear it and when they read my name will probably also come close to right way. If they can't pronounce my name, it's no big deal. My mother has a far more difficult time, since the J in Jana sounds like a Y when properly pronounced in Slovak. Only people who know her can correctly say it. I don't expect any troubles like that. But there are always people who can't pronounce anything, even English, correctly, so it will be interesting to see what strange sounds they come up with!

There is no historical or family influence in choosing Natália. It was simply a name which sounds nice, won't cause any problems for people here to pronounce, and is a Slovak name, which happens to be Portuguese as well.

My 2nd given name will not be recognized my most people, but since people don't have to say it, that doesn't matter. After the first name was chosen, the other names were completely up to my father. My mother only cared about the first name and left it to my father to chose anything else for my other names.

My father wanted to name me Julianna, since he likes that name a lot. When he researched our ancestors who were from Hungary, he discovered we have several who were named Julianna. In Hungary the name is not pronounced the same. In the Hungarian pronunciation the J sounds like a Y in English.

After more consideration, he decided to name me after his mother and grandmother. My great-grandmother was born in Hungary and her first name was Irén. And she named her only daughter after her, but her daughter was born in America, so she was given the English version which is Irene.

The proper pronunciation of Irén is like this: EE - rain

But you must roll the R, too. So maybe this is better: EE - rrrain

Normally, my father would have chosen a name from Portugal as my 2nd name. But since Natália was already Portuguese, it was nice to include a name from my Hungarian side. Since Julianna is a name that nobody living today remembers from our family, Irén was chosen to remember my grandmother and her mother, instead.

The next name I was given is also from Portugal. Like my big brother, my father gave us a name which reintroduces our original surname used by my ancestors since the 1500s. It comes from the village of São Bartolomeu, island of Terceira in the island group called the Azores (Açores in Portuguese). As is common in Portugal, the surname used by anyone born today has the likelihood of coming from the maternal side, as well as from male ancestors. That is also the case in my family. My 3rd name is "da Rocha" and here is how it comes down through the generations to me:

Ana da Rocha, born about 1596 in São Bartolomeu, Terceira, mother of
Clara Vieira, mother of
João Brás, father of
Silvestre da Rocha, father of
José da Rocha, father of
Lourenço da Rocha Homem, father of
Manuel da Rocha Homem, father of
Francisco da Rocha Homem, father of
Francisco da Rocha Homem, father of
Manuel Joaquim Leal da Rocha Homem (changed to Holmes), father of
Lionel Joseph Holmes, father of
Douglas Phillip Holmes, father of
Me!

My father thinks he knows the mother of Ana da Rocha at the top of the list. She was probably Maria da Rocha. And there is a very good chance that Maria da Rocha is the daughter of Bartolomeu da Rocha, an important person in the early history of São Bartolomeu.

So you can see that it jumps around as the name is handed down through the generations. If you are not familiar with Portuguese surnames, this is likely quite a mystery. My father says that surnames in Portugal were once much more unpredictable than they are today. The only rule was that if the surname is found in the ancestry of any person, that surname can be used. Sometimes a surname which fell into disuse gets revived in later generations. In my own above ancestry, it seems that Rocha was not used in the generation of Clara Vieira. But it was used by her brother, while Clara was honoring some unknown ancestor whose name was Vieira.

In case you didn't already figure it out, my last name Holmes was originally Homem. When my great-grandfather came to America, he decided to change it to Holmes. At first he didn't want to, but his younger brother Jacinto already changed it and so he eventually decided to go along with the change. I think it was a good choice, since nobody here would be able to pronounce Homem correctly. It has a silent "H" and the ending "em" has the sound similar to "eng" making it similar to: OHM - eng. So my father and grandfather never had to constantly suffer the abusive results of American mispronunciation of our Portuguese name Homem.

After two generations where Rocha was not used in official documents, my father decided to reintroduce it once again for me and my big brother. But my grandfather is the one who started to use Rocha again, unofficially, as the former editor of O Progresso, so that people would be able to recognize him as being Portuguese. Otherwise someone named Holmes would have raised some eyebrows. Then my father decided to do the same thing as the author of so many articles about Portuguese genealogy.

So that's my story, so far...


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3 days old

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4 July 2002

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4 July 2002

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Milanko, Natália, Grandpa, Grandma
12 July 2002

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Portuguese Beach at Bodega Bay 27 July 2002
Baba, Mama, Natália, Dadika, Milanko

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Ahoj Baba! So nice of you to come visit me all the way from Slovakia!
1 August 2002

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15 Aug 2002

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15 Aug 2002

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Natália & Dadika (circa 25 Nov 02)

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10 December 2002

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Christmas is almost here (20 December 2002)

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20 December 2002

In case you didn't already meet my big brother, you can visit his own web page at:
www.dholmes.com/milanko.html


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Sign my guestbook http://books.dreambook.com/natalia-iren/natalia.sign.html