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07 January 2017

From Our Manuscript Collection: Joaquin A. Silveira

Joaquin A. Silveira
by Georgia Lupinsky

Have you checked our Manuscript Collection’s searchable database which is available on the California Genealogical Society website? You might find a surname you've been researching and uncover material that will further your research.

This month we highlight the story of Joaquin A. Silveira as revealed in a scrapbook donated to the Manuscript Collection by the Silveira family. Articles within the scrapbook tell how Mr. Silveira built a successful life in the United States and contributed to his Bay Area community.

Born at Ribeira d’Areia, St. George, Azores Islands on October 17, 1873 to a wealthy dairy farmer and his wife, Joaquin Silveira set out in 1891 for California. He arrived in San Francisco with only a ten dollar gold piece left in his pocket, speaking only his native Portuguese. Soon he made his way to Benicia, where he found work on a ranch milking cows.

After a few years in California, he went into the dairy business and began to sell his eggs and butter along a route in West Oakland. In 1906 he opened the American Creamery in Oakland. It eventually became the largest institution to supply dairy products in Alameda County and Richmond on a wholesale and retail basis. In that same year he became a stockholder in the Portuguese American Bank of San Francisco and in 1911 was elected President of the bank. At that time he was the youngest bank president in America.

Next, Mr. Silveira was a commissioner of and primarily responsible for providing funds for the Portuguese Pavilion at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. In 1934 he was awarded the Military Order of Christ by the government of Portugal for his public service and philanthropic efforts in behalf of American citizens of Portuguese birth or descent.  A long-time resident of Oakland, he died May 2, 1947 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

To find out more about our collection, visit the CGS website, select the Databases tab in the upper right hand corner on the home page. Under “Databases Free to All” click on the “CGS Manuscript Collection Index” and a current copy of the database will appear for the reader’s review. The database is organized by:  title, geography, timeframe, description and surname.

If you find a collection that is pertinent to your research, call to make an appointment with a member of the Manuscript Collection Committee or the Desk Duty volunteer to view items, as this is a closed stack collection. We have many wonderful research resources for the genealogy community and look forward to seeing you soon!

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