Early Spanish settlers saw Florida as 'a business opportunity'
|Mateo Simeon Sanchez||1828|
|Mary Frances Solana||1922|
Raised in Jacksonville, with summers spent on the beaches of St. Augustine, Brown likely walked the same streets as her Solana ancestors. "My mother knew we were an old Spanish family," Brown says. When an aunt started doing some research in the 1950s, the family discovered its roots in Florida dated back to 1602.
"I'm always amazed when people refer to Florida as a state of newcomers because there are a lot of us that are still here," Brown says. She works as a software consultant and co-founded the Los Floridanos Society for the descendants of Solana and Sanchez in 1999. Brown says she considers herself of Spanish and Scottish/Irish descent. "I feel like I'm a Floridian -- with a Spanish background."
|Francisco Xavier Sanchez||1736|
|Jose Simeon Sanchez||1797|
|Francis Manuel Sanchez||1820|
|Emanuel Antonio Sanchez||1850|
|Francis Vincent Sanchez||1878|
|Maria Elizabeth Sanchez||1901|
|James Bradford Coker Jr.||1933|
|James Bradford Coker III||1959|
Best known as managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling, Coker is related to both the Solana and the Sanchez families. He was born James Bradford Coker III in Jacksonville but grew up partly in Washington, D.C. As a child, Coker says the only written documentation of his family ancestry lay in a genealogical study written in 1952 by a great-aunt, who was also Linda Brown's aunt.
Coker spent 25 years doing his own research and believes he can trace his roots in Florida back to 1565. He now lives in Fernandina Beach, where most of his neighbors are Florida transplants. "When I go to a party and they ask me where I'm from and I say Jacksonville, and then I tell them I go way back and tell them stories, they are flabbergasted," Coker says.