Monday, January 18, 2016

Plotting Puerto Rican Property

Recently in a Yahoo post, a member from one of the genealogical groups I am a member of sent us a link with the ability to search for property your family held/currently holds. This link allows you to search the island for property and then plots it for you showing you the size of the property. Also, there is information such as name of owner and if it was recently purchased it shows you from who it was bought. It seems to be current property and there is no option to see if property was held in the past, so for example, if your family held land but has since sold it the property won't appear as belonging to your ancestors. The only thing I don't really like about the website is that it shows current addresses for people living on the island still. I confirmed this by searching for aunts, uncles, great-uncles, and great-aunts that still live in Puerto Rico; I guess that information is available somewhere on the internet already but I found it kind of creepy to have that information so easily readily available to whoever wanted to search and see it Google Earth-style.

Nonetheless, I think this website can be useful for people searching for property their family has owned and I was told that with the help of those "parcela" numbers you can search at your local Registro de Propiedad to find out more information about the land, such as who bought it and how it was passed down. I personally haven't done this but I hope to do so when I visit the island. I was fortunate to find some property my ancestor owned in Río Prieto, Lares, Puerto Rico. As you can see below, it is highlighted the property that was under his name, equally you can click on the adjacent property and see who neighbors are, sometimes their own siblings and/or cousins.

Land Property in Lares, Puerto Rico

If you click on the blue binocular on the bottom left hand corner there is a option called "dueño" where you can search for your family ancestors who might have held land. Play around with this because for example I searched for my 2nd great-grandfather without his maternal surname and he didn't show up, but when I searched for him with both he appeared. Equally, if you don't find an ancestor trying searching for their wife or the combined searched of them and their spouse to see if any children held the land. Also, there are other options where you can trace the land and mark it on the map and other interesting options. I haven't played around too much with the site and from my understanding it is fairly new so there is a lot to be learned still. 

Hoping to keep digging and find some more property for my ancestors and hopefully when I'm Puerto Rico be able to learn about how and from who the land was acquired! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 Years and 10 Genotypes Later!

As the year 2015 comes to a close, I've decided to do some reflecting on the genetic side of my research! It's kind of crazy to think that it has already been 5 years since I first got my DNA tested with 23andme and currently I am up to 10 genotyped family members!

23andme home page [23andme]

Getting my DNA tested back in 2010 was an amazing and wonderful decision. I remember getting my DNA tested because I wanted to learn more about my family (duh--- right?) but I had VERY little information on my family at that time. I had heard about 23andme on TV and was interested in this test for a project I was interested in going into at the time. Since I had to start my family tree from scratch, I only knew the name of 6 of my 8 great-grandparents, and that was about it! At this point I was 14 years old and still naïve with certain things about genealogy since I had only known about the census records. Testing with 23andme opened many doors, I was introduced to various cousins and especially one (dunno if she reads my blog) who took the time to speak to me about the Puerto Rican Civil Registry, and other records, and how I could further my lines with their use. Since then I have searched other records online, in microfilm, and even in Puerto Rico allowing me to reach the 1600s in some lines and I have also discovered that I have ancestors from Martinique and Guadeloupe! Of course I was able to learn about myself genetically, but finding out about this community was really a refreshing breath of air; I had only known myself and co-worker who were interested in genealogy since no one in my family could be bothered, really.

After I tested myself, I decided I wanted to get other members of my family tested for various reasons (Y-DNA, mtDNA, disease inheritance, etc.) and so I decided to test various members of my family during sales, 9 besides myself including: my mother, father, maternal uncle, maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, maternal great-grandfather, maternal cousin, paternal great-aunt, paternal great-aunt. Sadly my great-grandfather and a paternal great-aunt have passed since they have tested and I am eternally grateful for their contribution to our genealogy.

Testing these members of my family allowed me to see how I have inherited certain DNA from both sides, for example: my mother contributes ~11% of African DNA to me while my dad only gives me ~5% and European-wise I get about ~35% from my paternal side while my maternal side gives me about ~28%, which isn't too different. My native DNA is pretty similar from both sides also as well my Middle Eastern/North African. I have also been able to learn more about the Y-DNA and mtDNA my ancestors carry, so far I've gotten European, African, and Asian haplogroups with African and Asian being only maternal haplogroups. With my grandfather, his J1e could be Jewish/Arab (there is still a debate as to what group it can specifically be attributed to) which is interesting since his last name Correa is popularly known as a Sephardic surname. On the other hand, my great-grandfather has a haplogroup which is commonly found amongst the Irish which was interesting to learn about as well. Also, I have tested another cousin through ftDNA who is a male descendant of my 4th great-grandfather Jean Charles Chaleau and I'm hoping to learn more about his mixed ancestry from Guadeloupe.

Parental Split View [23andme personal photo]

One thing that has been extremely difficult for me though is using my DNA to find and match cousins. Since Puerto Rican genes have been recycled throughout the years with endogamy and it being such a small island, sometimes it is difficult to see which side of my family a cousin comes from. A lot of the time, the genetic cousins match both my sides and those that I can bring down to a certain side - it's still difficult to pinpoint which of our ancestors match. Things like limited researched genealogies and limited documents on the island make it hard to find cousins through the site for many Puerto Ricans, not just myself. To this day I haven't been able to confirm through paper trail and genetics a cousin who I haven't previously known about on 23andme. Maybe I'm doing something wrong especially since I have so many family members tested, but so far no luck! A lot of it also is two-sided, I can't figure out our connection just with your parents' names or by telling me all of your ancestors are from Spain, but luckily there are cousins who we have been able to pinpoint a specific town and/or certain surnames but we're just missing the actual connection between us two.

I'm definitely grateful for what I have learned throughout these 5 years and 10 genotypes of my family. I have seen my family tree through a different light and especially how diverse my family is on the inside. I'm proud to know approximately how much I carry of each of my ancestors' European, African, or Native DNA and how that has contributed to who I am today. Hopefully DNA analysis gets much sharper and helps to pinpoint better certain aspects of DNA, for example finding African tribes/regions my African ancestors belonged to (AncestryDNA has gotten into this a bit). Equally, I hope to test some more cousins and learn some more about other lines in my family and help to prove/disprove certain theories I've been building with paper trail. 

Finally, testing with other companies and comparing my DNA has been interesting as well. I'm hoping that more cousins test and build their trees so that we can connect and see how we connect through our DNA. There are some cousins who I have confirmed through paper trail and would love for them to test! So don't be afraid... test primos!!

How has genetic DNA changed your perspective on genealogy? Feel free to share! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Languages They Spoke…

This is just a quick post looking at genealogy through another aspect --- linguistic heritage.

When I learn about ancestors, I always try to learn different aspects of their lives, and for me that includes even the languages they speak. Luckily, most of my ancestors spoke Spanish (in some form or another) and is the language I was raised in by my parents. However, there are other ancestors who spoke different languages that came into my family. Those languages so far are Catalan and French (creole as well).


Even though Catalan is very similar to Spanish, it is for sure another language. This language can be found in the eastern parts of Spain near France and on the balearic islands. Now a days, the language is blossoming again with Catalan pride where the language is used in everyday life, school, and government.

Catalan speaking areas of Europe [Wikipedia]

Recently, I found out that Duolingo in Spanish has a course for Catalan, which I had no idea since I usually take the courses for learning a foreign language from English. It has been cool to learn Catalan and see the similarities with Spanish and/or French. I'm not sure how good I'll get with it through Duolingo but I want to have some working knowledge of Catalan. It was most likely the language (or one of the languages) Damián Magraner spoke in Sóller, Mallorca and I would love to be able to converse and/or read in it. Hopefully if and when I return to Mallorca I'll have a good handle of Catalan and use it while I'm there! 

Duolingo Catalan course tree 

French (Creole)

With my ancestors coming from the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, I knew that I would like to relearn French and get much better at it. My goal is to one day head to both of the islands and use my French to get around. Chat with some people about life on the islands and who knows --- maybe even find some long lost cousins! But these islands also speak their own version of French, which are both creoles. From what I have seen it's hard to understand any of the creoles without some kind of base with how their grammar works; even though they are rooted in French they vary enough that not anyone could easily understand some of their words (think Jamaican Patois and English).

Similarly on Duolingo you can learn French which has been fun to relearn a lot of what I forgot from high school. Also, on Amazon I was able to find two books about Martinican and Guadeloupean Creole so hopefully I can learn a thing or two about speaking those languages. 

Guides to Créole Martiniquais & Guadeloupéen [Amazon]

Why learn a language?

Even though you might not have any plans on becoming fluent in the language, just learning some of the simple phrases can do a lot for you. It's never a bad idea to try and learn a foreign language especially if you have plans to travel there. Also, seeing as how your ancestor spoke this language it could bring you that much closer to understanding their live and even struggles in a new country. They say when you learn a new language you develop a new personality, so even though your 2nd great grandmother was known as stern and quiet in English, she might have been comedic and quick witted in her native tongue. Also, if you do decide to advance a lot in the language, it can help you read and study records in the original language. By taking French in high school and college, I was fortunate to be able to read records from the French islands and not have to hire a translator, allowing me to delve right into the documents myself and with the help of Google Translator I was able to fill in the gaps of words I didn't know. Having that knowledge provided, for me at least, some comfort knowing that I could at any moment read the documents and analyze them at my own pace. 

Languages play such important roles in our day-to-day lives, so why not take a look at what some of your ancestors spoke when they were around! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

First Puerto Rican MLB player - Hiram Bithorn

Hispanic heritage month came and went faster than I could blink an eye! I wanted to write a post and as you can see never got the chance; but while doing some research I came across someone I had not previously heard about from Puerto Rico and decided to find out some more information about his background after not seeing much about his origin, despite having a surname like "Bithorn". So I decided to do some digging on Puerto Rico's first MLB Player- Hiram Bithorn Sosa.

Hiram Bithorn Sosa [Google Images]

Initially when I saw his name I thought, "Wait… this guy is Puerto Rican? And his name is Hiram Bithorn..? And I don't know anything about him??" As you can see I was just all around surprised. During my time in high school and most of college I looked up and researched a lot about Puerto Rico -- its history, its politics, its linguistics… anything I could get my hands on. But for some reason, I never came across Hiram. I was especially surprised since he was the first Puerto Rican baseball player to play Major League Baseball. I decided to see what I could find out about Hiram Bithorn Sosa. 

Wikipedia told me that Hiram was born in 1916 in San Juan and so I knew where to search for his birth certificate. I was mainly interested in finding out where this "Bithorn" surname came from since I had never seen it in my searches and isn't a common surname. Hiram was born as "Hiram Gabriel Bithorn Sosa", on the 18th of March 1916 in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hiram was the son of Waldemar Bithorn and María Sosa, both from San Juan. His paternal grandparents were listed as Fernando Bithorn Andersen and Tomasa Huicy both deceased by 1916. And through his maternal line, Roque Sosa Reyes from Trujillo Alto and Santos Castillo, deceased. 

Hiram Gabriel Bithorn Sosa, 1916 [Ancestry]

Paternal Family 

Looking at his paternal grandfather's second surname Andersen we can guess sometime type of Danish origin or even Swedish if the person incorrectly wrote "Andersson". Huicy on the other hand I had no lead as to where that surname was from. The more I dug into his paternal family, the more information I found. It turns out that Fernando Bithorn Andersen was a native of St. Croix, at that point a Danish  island, son of a Danish man from Copenhagen and his mother a native of St. Croix. I was even able to find a 1846 census record from St. Croix listing his father, Carl Bithorn (originally from Copenhagen), his mother Elisa (née Andersen) along with his siblings Anna and Eugene. Notice that his name was originally Ferdinand and when moving to Puerto Rico he became "Fernando". We see this a lot with immigrants that come from non-Spanish countries who suddenly become "Juan" instead of John and "María" instead of Mary. 

St. Croix, 1846 Census [Ancestry]

So far I've been able to find one record for a potential baptism for Carl Bithorn in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1805. My guess is that it is the same man since it matches the information we have. 

Carl Bithorn - Danish Baptism, 1805 [Ancestry]

Hiram's paternal grandmother Tomasa Huicy has a different ancestry all together. Tomasa Huicy Marín died on the 24th of January 1889 and was the daughter of Bernardo Huicy and Catalina Marín Molinari. Her father was from Vizcaya, Spain while her mother was a native of Puerto Rico. Her grandparents though, Santiago Marín and Tomasa Molinari, where said to be from Corcega and the Dominican Republic respectively. I tried looking up more information about Bernardo Huicy (potential maternal surname "Ordorgoiti" but I can across nothing about his actual origin in Vizcaya. He was however important in Arecibo with different roles such as a member of the Board of Trustees as well as mayor in the early 1900s. 

Maternal Family

On Hiram's maternal side we see that his grandfather Roque Sosa Reyes was the son of Domingo Sosa Suarez and María Andrea Reyes Betancourt, both from the Canary Islands. María Andrea Reyes Betancourt specifically from the island of Lanzarote. Hiram's grandmother, Santos Castillo Pastrana has been the only ancestor hard to track. We know that she was from Trujillo Alto and passed away before 1906. Her parents were Fernando Castillo and María Pastrana but no idea if they were from Puerto Rico or somewhere else. 

It is interesting to notice that Hiram's family is fairly "recently" Puerto Rican seeing as how 3 out of his 4 grandparents had at least one parent born outside of Puerto Rico. From most of my searches, Puerto Ricans have deep roots on the island through at least one line or one side of the family, so it was interesting researching Hiram and finding his family easily traces out of Puerto Rico to various places such as Spain (Vizcaya and the Canary Islands), Italy, the Dominican Republic, and especially to Denmark. 

This link about Hiram's life gives a very interesting look into his career, life, and even some of what he faced due to his race. It's interesting how during those times, and even now a days, people quickly want to classify someone to a certain box in regards to race. With a name such as Hiram Bithorn, one might not expect a Puerto Rican to walk into the room, but that's the beautiful thing about our small island-- that there is such diversity amongst its inhabitants. 

Bithorn unfortunately passed away on the 29th of December, 1951 at the age of 35 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, México after being shot by a police officer. It was very interesting learning about Hiram his ancestry, and the life he lived as the first Puerto Rican MLB player.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cultural Exchange: An Irish & a Canadian in Puerto Rico [Part 2]

We were able to learn a lot about Martha Elizabeth Derby but what about Stuart Burns? Who was he and what can we learn more about him?

We do know that Stuart and Martha E. left Puerto Rico together in the year 1911 and arrived to New York on the 23rd of March, 1911 by finding their names on a ship manifest on Ancestry.

Mr. & Mrs. Stuart Jost Burns - Manifest, 1911 [Ancestry]

Was the island life too difficult for them (ex: humidity, hurricanes, and economic difficulties)? Or was this just a shotgun wedding on a tropical island and they later returned to the mainland?

Heading up to Canada

Looking for Stuart, I was able to come across a son of "W Fletcher Burns and Henrietta" in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada. This son's name was Norman Fletcher Burns who was born the 2nd of June 1895. Interestingly enough, we were able to learn that W Fletcher Burns was a dentist by profession. He is also listed in a book I found in Google with a Thesis on "Salivary Calculus".

William Fletcher Burns - Nova Scotia Dentist [Google]

With this information we were able to find a 1901 Canadian Census that lists William F. Burns, a dentist, with his wife Henrietta and their four children, one of them listed as "Stewart" born the 31st of January 1878, which I'm very certain is the same man who marries in Puerto Rico in 1909 to Martha Elizabeth Derby. Now we can dig in deeper into the Burns family!

We learn that Henrietta's maiden name was Jost through her death record explaining Stuart's middle name in his marriage record in Puerto Rico. Henrietta passed away the 4th of March 1936, widowed in Ontario, Canada the daughter of James Jost and Ann Burke, both from Canada. With that we find Henrietta Jost living in 1871 with her parents and siblings in Nova Scotia, listed as Methodists.

Jost Family - 1871 Canada Census [Ancestry]

Also in the 1871 Canadian Census we are able to find Fletcher living with his parents Stewart Burns and Susan, both parents seem to be Irish and we see that Fletcher at 22 was already working as a dentist.

William Fletcher Burns later marries on the 24th of October 1876 in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Henrietta Mary Jost and he later dies on the 5th of October 1922 in the same town.

Burns Family - 1871 Census [Ancestry]

I'm not sure however when Stuart/Stewart passed away, we know that it would have to be before 1930 and after 1911 but I have not been able to find a death record. My main question is: Why come to Puerto Rico? What was there for them? Why not venture up to Nova Scotia where Stewart's family was from or stay in Philadelphia where Martha's family lived? It also seems that Stewart and Martha Elizabeth had no children from their marriage since Martha in 1930 is living just with her sister and no children.

Martha Elizabeth would pass away the 17th of July 1950 in Philadelphia, PA. It states the same birthday like the same we saw in Ireland (6th of April 1870), her parents (Thomas Derby and Mary Elizabeth) and that she was widowed at the time of her death. Her sister Rebecca Derby reported the death.

It's very interesting how Stewart Burns and Martha Elizabeth Derby ended up in Puerto Rico for just one census and makes me wonder what made them jump on a boat and head to this little island in the Caribbean far away from Philadelphia and Nova Scotia. There is always much to learn and this is case the question still lingers, why brought these two to the Caribbean -- a question I can definitely ask about some of my own ancestors. 

Cultural Exchange: An Irish & a Canadian in Puerto Rico [Part 1]

It's interesting to see who has lived on the island of Puerto Rico and their lives there. Not everyone that moved to the island stayed, some would hop over to another Caribbean islands, while others (especially in more recent years) would decide to move to the United States to find new opportunities. In an attempt to learn more about the people who have lived in Puerto Rico, either my family or not, whenever I find foreigners I am always interested about their life and how they happened perchance to find Puerto Rico. This post will be about a couple who lived in Puerto Rico in 1910 named Stuart J. Burns and his Martha E. Derby.

San Juan, Puerto Rico - 1910 Census  [Ancestry]

This couple as you can see has origins in Nova Scotia/Canada and Ireland. Searching for their marriage record gave me a bit more information on them. Stuart and Martha Elizabeth were married in San Juan, PR on the 17th of June 1909, Stuart (born about 1878) was the son of W. Fletcher Burns and Henrietta Barus? while Martha Elizabeth Derby (born about 1872) was the daughter Thomas Derby and María (Mary) Elizabeth, and we know that Martha E. had resided in Philadelphia according to this marriage record. With that information we were able to learn about more about Martha Elizabeth and her life before arriving to Puerto Rico.

Irish in Philly

According to records, it seems that Martha Elizabeth was born in Ireland and immigrated with her parents and siblings to the USA where they would settle into Philadelphia, PA. On Ancestry, I was able to find the baptism record for a "Martha Derby" born on the 6th of April 1870 (within the range we had of 1872) in Cookstown, Tyrone, Ireland to parents Thomas Derby and Mary Elizabeth Lytle (same parents' names). 

Irish Baptism - Mary Derby, 1870 [Ancestry]

Cookstown is located in what is today Northern Ireland in County Tyrone as shown in the image below. The town is across the lake "Lough Naugh" and Belfast. Even though Martha Elizabeth was born in Cookstown, according to Thomas' marriage record in 1867, they had been living in Magherafelt, a town not too far from Cookstown and probably the town of origin for Thomas Derby and Mary Elizabeth Lytle. 

Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland [Google Images]

Knowing this information we were able to find an immigration record for the family from Londonderry, Northern Ireland to New York and we can see that Martha is listed her parents with Thomas, Mary E. and other siblings. The family would have immigrated in 1893, when Martha Elizabeth Derby was 23 years old to the United States.
UK Passenger Record - Derby Family [Ancestry]

The next record we would find is the 1900 Census record, which shows us that Mary Elizabeth would already be widowed with 8 children, meaning that Thomas died somewhere between their voyage and this first census the family appeared on. A death record appears for Thomas Derby showing the same address where Mary Elizabeth Lytle had been living with the children (2226 N 12th St) in Philadelphia. I imagine it was difficult for Mary E. to have lost her husband and so early in their lives in America, plus living with eight children could be a burden (luckily the youngest one Frederick was only 13 years old). It states that Thomas Derby died on the 5th of November 1897 at about the age of 59 years old (born about 1838), meaning that Thomas died only 5 short years after arriving in the USA. Thomas is buried in the North Cedar Hills Cemetery in Philly.

In the 1910 Census Mary Elizabeth Lytle is living with only five of her children, as we know Martha E. would be living in Puerto Rico with her husband Stuart Burns, and later in 1920 with just two children. Mary Elizabeth Lytle would later pass away on the 18th of October 1923 in Philadelphia listed as a housewife and the daughter of James Lytle and Martha Mullen, both of Ireland. Interestingly enough, her death also appears in the "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar", meaning she probably left some sort of will. 

Mary Elizabeth 'Lytle' Derby - Probate Calendar [Ancestry]

The next time we see Martha Elizabeth is in the 1930 Census record listed in Philadelphia with her sister Rebecca Derby and Martha E. is listed as widowed. What happened with Stuart Burns and their marriage? Why did they end up leaving Puerto Rico? Or did she leave alone?… [To Be Continued] 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Another Mystery Solved?

As you can tell by now I've been away for a while but I'm happy to say I have finally completed my last semester and I officially have my Master's degree! But enough about that, more importantly I am here to update something I have been searching for a LONG time now and I think I have finally come to the end of that search. I've had many searches and brickwalls throughout my genealogical years and some have been tough, for example like searching for my ancestors in Martinique and Guadeloupe. This mystery though has been with me since the beginning of my searches in 2004 and even from before when I was being told tales of my ancestors; but today (hopefully finally) I have written proof on the father of my ancestor José Avilés Magraner.

For those who have been reading for my blog (many thanks and I hope you are enjoying my posts!) you know by know the mystery that surrounds José Avilés' father. And for those of you who don't a quick recap: José was said to be the son of a Spaniard who lived in Río Prieto, Lares and that his said surname was "Magraner". After searching for some years through various records, I was able to bring it down the potential father to Damián Magraner or one of his brothers who owned land in Río Prieto, Lares. I deduced that Damián had to be the father for multiple reasons: 1) My 2nd great grandfather and his brother Lorenzo both carried the surname Magraner after their mothers, 2) There were tales in the family about the relationship between a Spaniard and a Puerto Rican woman that produced José, 3) My ancestor worked Damián's land, therefore there was some sort of connection there already in place, and finally, probably the most important 4) Both José and Lorenzo named a son "Damián".

Now the problem lied in proving this relationship. In NO document that I have does Damián appear as the father of the children. This I ended up deducing had to deal with the fact that Damián was a married man back in Sóller, Mallorca to an Antonia Morell Pons and that a man of his status could not recognize bastard children. I was pretty convinced that Damián was the father and even traveled to Sóller, Mallorca while I was abroad to learn more about Damián, his family, and his life on the islands (both Puerto Rico and Mallorca). But I left with no real clue, still with just coincidences and theories in my head. But recently I discovered a single document that could finally piece it all together!

Recently I learned about the "U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007". At first glance I thought it was just the SSDI but when I typed in the search engine family names, I was getting information that the latter didn't have. For example, the Applications and Claims Index sometimes provides names of parents which the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) does not do. So I wondered, could these new documents shed light on my Avilés Magraner ancestors? At first, I started searching just for José Avilés Magraner with both surnames and just one, but I couldn't find anything. I actually have been having a lot of trouble finding his SSDI and death date since no one in my family is too sure when it was. My next best thing was Lorenzo Avilés Magraner who I did have a death record and date for, so I decided to give it a shot. My first results gave me a Lorenzo Avilés from Lares, Puerto Rico and I figured it definitely had to be my 2nd great grand-uncle.

Search for Lorenzo Avilés Magraner [Ancestry]

Even though it didn't mention a Magraner surname, I figured I should just click on it and see what the results would yield. There were the odds that nothing would come back besides his name and his birth and death date, so I crossed my fingers. Keep in mind that I've been constantly faced with a blank spot in the section of "father's name" so I really didn't expect anything new. Except this was the FIRST time that I was thoroughly surprised and completely elated. This time there WAS a father's name! And it mentions exactly who I thought it was: Damián Magraner!

Granted there is always room for error, and that goes without saying for everyone, not just me when dealing with names and genealogy. But I'm happy to FINALLY see a name for a father and that it was the one who I have been betting my money on this whole time. I've ordered Lorenzo's Social Security Application (form SS-5) and I'm hoping that there it does mention Damian Magraner as his father. I really am glad that I now have a record which mentions Damian as the father! I guess I can officially say I have a third great grandfather from Spain and that the tales that were told had some truth to them! 

I would still love to find an Avilés descendant and test their Y-DNA to hopefully one day find a Magraner descendant and see if they match up, this would truly be the only way to once and for all close shut this mystery. Until then, I'll wait for Lorenzo's social security application and be happy with how far I have gotten.

Take a look at those documents, you never know if they can answer some questions for you as well! Just remember the years are from 1936-2007! Happy hunting!