09 August 2011

Curacao to Panama, the Fidanque Family

According to a family tree that was donated over thirty years ago to Malcolm Stern, the earliest mention of the name of Fidanque occurs in 1634 when the name appears in the records of the Altona cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Hamburg. The family tree of the Fidanque family begins with Benjamin Fidanque who died in Curacao in the early part of the 1700's.
The tree, compiled by Elias Alvin Fidanque, is a beautiful work that tells the story of a family whose influence spreads from their beginnings in Amsterdam through many parts of the world, including, Curacao, Panama, Costa Rica, Jamaica, St. Thomas all the way to New York. As one reads the information on the tree, it becomes very important of the great service this family has provided to others for many generations. A few examples, as taken from the text on the tree include;

  • Abraham Haim Fidanque, who died in 1813 in Curacao, was one of the original founders of the Curacao Burial Society (Hebra) in 1783, and many times President and Treasurer of Congregation Mikve Israel in Curacao.

  • Jacob Fidnaque, of whom it is said: "He never lost a friend or made an enemy" served Congregation Beraha Hashalom in St. Thomas as Reader and Sexton from 1828-1837.

  • Joseph Fidanque, who died in Panama on February 5, 1933, was Reader and Minister to Congregation Kol Shearith Israel, in that city.

  • Benjamin Delvalle Fidanque, who died in New York City on February 23, 1937, likewise served his people as Vice President of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York.

All generations have shown that service to others takes priority over their own needs. This is shown in a beautiful quote left for members of the family and should be read by all. It states "

We have a worthy heritage to sustain: Acceptance of ourselves; identification with our God; loyalty to our faith; service to our fellow-men."

This family tree, built through service by an incredible family, can be found on microfilm through the Family History Library (Film # 1013428). The records have also been added to the Knowles Collection- Jews of the Caribbean and will be available after the next update.

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