VIRGINIA DE FREITAS

Wife of Alfred Sheppard

24 January 1862 - 21 September 1936

 

In the Register of Births in the Town of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, for the Year 1862,

we found the entry for Virginia de Freitas (second from the bottom of the page) in the photo above.

 

Virginia’s parents were Portuguese, Sebastian (Sebastião) and Maria de Freitas née Cairus.  Their names are recorded in the Registers of Trinidad as Sebastien, and her surname as Cairus.  However, we sometimes find clerical spelling errors made at the time of registration, and we wonder about the accuracy of the surname Cairus, as it is not a recognizable Portuguese name.  Could it be that the clerk entering the data in the registry misunderstood "de Caires" and wrote, "Carius" ?  We have seen Sebastien also spelt Sebastian, which is the English name for the Portuguese Sebastião.  

 

Sebastian de Freitas and his wife were immigrants from Madeira.   Records  indicate that Sebastião had arrived in Trinidad with his family in 1846 and continued on to America.   He returned to Trinidad and historian Joanne Ferreira records that he became a founding member of the St. Ann’s Church of Scotland.   She also records Sebastião's generosity in being an early contributor to the building fund of the church.  It is noteworthy that on his daughter’s birth record in the Trinidad registry, he signed his name with an X, and his occupation is "Labourer".  It is admirable and noteworthy that despite his illiteracy,  he was able to contribute significantly to the church’s building fund.  Family stories relate that his wife Maria was a Portuguese/English interpreter for the Courts.

 

 

Virginia with her hand on the shoulder of her elderly father, Sebastien de Freitas.  Her husband Alfred Sheppard, in his Police Sergeant's uniform next to them.