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 immigrants from Madeira, 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.


Records  indicate that Sebastião had arrived in Trinidad with his family in 1846 and continued on to America.   He returned to Trinidad and it is recorded that he was among earliest Portuguese Presbyterian refugees in Trinidad who contributed to the building fund of St. Anns's Church of Scotland.


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  that despite his illiteracy,  he was able to contribute to the church’s building fund.  Family stories relate that his wife Maria was a Portuguese/English interpreter for the Courts, though that has not yet been proven.

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.