Tag Archives: Silver-Roll

The Cooperative Movement is Founded in Panama’s Silver Townships

This is the remarkable Mr. Foster Bournes who, at last reading, had celebrated his 103rd birthday and still going strong

Cristobal Credit Union's Logo upon their 61st Anniversary in 2009

Image of entrance to the Cristobal Credit Coop around 1950

by Lydia M. Reid

Following the important victory in 1947, a few months later Mr. Harold B. Wright, an Afro-American and a regional sub-director with the Bureau of Federal Credit Union attached to the Federal Security Agency headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, was sent to Panama to guide and assist in the organization of this new entity that would establish cooperative banking in Panama. Continue reading

Solving the Riddle of Record Groups 21 and 185

De-mystifying the Silver People’s Records in NARA

As heritage researchers and genealogical investigators, we at The Silver People Heritage Foundation make frequent use of databases that are normally considered fairly easy to access by anyone who has very basic search skills.  We search civil registries (local and U.S. vital records), cemetery records, paid on-line databases, newspaper archives in the local library and, last but not least, eyewitness accounts, if they are able and willing to converse with us. The records relating to our Silver Ancestors, however, have presented some challenges in accessibility as well as in economic approachability. Continue reading

Not an Ordinary Quest

Giacomo Toante, a Silver Man

Giacomo Toante, a Silver Man

By Lydia M. Reid

Over the past year after opening this website we’ve received scores of requests from our readers for information leading to the whereabouts of their long lost uncles, grandfathers, brothers, cousins, etc, – people who came to Panama in search of a better life through employment on the construction of the Panama Canal.  Their requests usually ended, however, in “…and then they just disappeared off the face of the earth.” Continue reading

Who are the “Silver People?”

The Silver People were the first immigrants from the West Indies who were originally hired to work on the Panama Railroad and later the Panama Canal in the Republic of Panama. The original group of “Silver Men,” as most of the workers who appeared on Panama’s shores from 1850 on were men, were from the island of Jamaica. Later, however, after the disastrous bankruptcy of the French Canal Company that initiated the construction of the Canal, the majority of the contracted workers would be from the island of Barbados and the surrounding “Small islands.” Continue reading