Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Emigration/ Migration / Immigration (Book of Me -- Prompt 43)

I bumped into this topic from the Geneabloggers emails which posts prompts (amongst other links) from a blog by Anglers Rest. Pretty much the prompts are created for you to fill out, that way you are building up some genealogical information about yourself as well! I think it's a great idea, especially since we focus so much on the past that sometimes we forgot -- one day we'll be a part of that past! And prompt #43 is a great prompt for me for many reasons, so I decided to give it a go!

Here are the questions for the prompt. I've reorganized a bit to my liking since I want to tackle them in a certain way. 
  1. Have you ever lived overseas from your place of birth? Would you want to? Could you?
  2. Did your ancestors or even a more recent generation?
  3. Do you feel akin to another country from that in which you were born?
  4. If so have you found any ancestral links in your research that perhaps explains those feelings?
The process of emigration, migration, or immigration have always been completely interesting to me -- And I think mostly because my parents are Puerto Rican. When they came to this country they technically weren't "immigrations", yet a lot of the experiences we share are those of "immigrants" (The language barrier, custom/cultural differences, etc.). I never saw my family as immigrants but more so as emigrants. Yet, I can't fathom the courage it takes to uproot your family (or yourself) and completely move away from everything you know, love, and cherish. 

I've experienced living abroad through my experiences from study abroad. I was able to spend a semester in Yaroslavl, Russia as an exchange student. And those four months changed my outlook on life completely. Being disconnected from the outside world (barely any internet to Skype back home properly) and the complete change of culture and language was definitely hard on me. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Russia yet I had the luxury of emails, Facebook, and occasionally Skype. I can't imagine how my mom came here at the age of 18 and her only communication with her own mother was through the occasional phone call and letters (and she 'migrated' in the late 1980s). I definitely think living abroad (even for just a short period of time) definitely makes you a stronger, more independent, and just overall livelier person. Now with my next adventure of living abroad on the way, I'm excited to compare and contrast how living abroad in Spain will be to Russia. Obviously, language, locality of country, and similarities in culture will play a huge role in my "easing" into the country but I wonder how easy it will be in Spain. I actually didn't suffer from culture shock in Russia but will I in Spain? 

Before my parents coming to the USA, pretty much every generation dating back to the 1800s/mid 1700s had been living in Puerto Rico. I can't imagine the jump from (A) to (B) being easy, both in the case of A being Puerto Rico and B being the United States. But also the jump of A being Spain and B being the new territory of Puerto Rico. Did the fears and concerns my family had in the 1980s mirror those of my ancestors in the 1600s/1700s? Leaving family and friends behind for a new land which they had only heard about through stories. 

My fourth great grandparents are currently super, über intriguing to me -- they immigrated (since they were crossing territories of countries) respectively from Guadeloupe and Martinique. I can't even begin to imagine their journey from a land of French/Créole to that of Spanish. A least when I went to Russia I had an idea of what Russian sounded like; I could read, write, and speak in the language pretty well by the time I landed in Moscow. But what about Gustave Jean-Charles and Julienne Malvina Lautin? Where did they muster up the courage to travel from their home islands and make their way to Vieques (a small island of Puerto Rico on its eastern coast). Were they scared they wouldn't fit into the culture there? Had they heard such wonderful stories of Puerto Rico and its people that they had to see, experience, and live it for themselves? 

How well did they 'mold' into the culture when they first arrived and in their first years? Living on Vieques probably wasn't an issue, they must have known some other immigrant families settling themselves in the island. But were they nervous when the appeared before the church in 1869 to get married? Or when they had to baptize and register the birth of their children? Did Julienne whisper songs in créole to Paulina and Tomás as small children? Did she feel the need to preserve her Martinican traditions, words, and mannerisms? Did she lug them from Martinique to Vieques and finally to Río Jueyes, Salinas or did they stay behind in Rivière Salée?

I often wonder and worry that as time continues I'll begin to lose my "Puerto Rican-ness". That I won't teach my children Spanish, how to sing La Borinqueña, or share with them the traditions, customs, and superstitions my family passed down to me. (Never walk with one shoe off and one shoe on, it means you want your mother to die!). Yet, deep down I know (and hope) this won't happen. My ties to the island, my culture, and the way I was raised are too strong and too important to just let go. But yet I still worry -- did Julienne and Gustave feel the same way? In just three generations, it seems that the ability to speak French/ Créole was lost (my great grandfather being one of the few who I was told spoke French). Will three generations after me not care what their 4th great grandfather Luis Rivera talked and preached about culturally? 

Hopefully, living in abroad in Spain will give me some more insights. Remind what it is to be in a land that isn't your own (no matter how similar they might seem). I wish to learn more about the immigrants who came from El Puerto de Santa María, from Huelva, and from Pastrana and made their way to Puerto Rico. To learn the stories of those who came from unknown towns to the beautiful island of Borikén and settled there. To learn the stories of those who against the odds made the various towns of Puerto Rico their home, their nest, their humble abode. Did other people in my family move to Puerto Rico without knowing Spanish? Or maybe those of different religious backgrounds into a Catholic territory? 

I don't know where I'll end up -- where I ultimately will set up my own nest and home. But I do hope that wherever that may be (either here in the USA or else where), that I bring along my heavy yet important Puerto Rican bags. That I open them up, air out the contents inside, and let them breathe old yet new life into my home. That my children and grandchildren will run around saying "Bendición papi, bendición abuelo". That most importantly, they'll know and care what it feels like to be Puerto Rican. Because I know I definitely do!

Monday, June 23, 2014

52 Ancestors – #25 Juan Francisco Sánchez Flores (1855-1916)

I'm kind of late adding my 52 Ancestors post for the week, but not too late! Today, my post is about my  3rd great grandfather Juan Francisco Sánchez Flores.

When I first began to search for my 2nd great grandmother Anicasia Sánchez Arvelo, I knew pretty much nothing about her. Luckily, she appeared on the census along with her father, mother, and her husband. Francisco (sometimes he just went by his middle name) here was listed as Sánchez Martínez, and was listed that way in many other records.  Francisco is listed as being married for 25 years as of 1910, employed on a sugar farm and could not read or write.

Francisco Sánchez Flores – 1910 Census [Ancestry]

Juan Francisco Sánchez Flores is stated to be from Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Quebradillas is located on the north-western shore of the island. The town was originally founded in 1823 by Felipe Ruiz; possibly Francisco's parents were one of the first inhabitants of the newly created town.

Quebradillas Flag [Google]

Quebradillas, Puerto Rico [Wikipedia]

It wasn't until I searched for Juan Francisco's children with his wife Juana Arvelo Vera, did I find new information both on him and his background. One of their daughters was born in 1892 in the town of Utuado, Puerto Rico. On this record I was able to find out that Juan Francisco was actually surnamed Sánchez Flores and that his parents were Blás Sánchez Martínez and Micaela Flores Valentin. I was also able to learn that Juana Arvelo's parents were Manuel Arvelo and Luisa Vera. I was very excited when I bumped into that record in Utuado because for so many years I had known so little about Francisco and Juana. To date I have been able to track down five children: Marcelino, María Agustina, Anicasia, María Aurora, and María Francisca Paula Sánchez Arvelo.

The way this family moved around was very interesting (and also gave me headaches trying to track them down!). Records point to the families beginning in two different towns, Quebradillas (Juan Francisco's town of origin) and San Sebastián (Juana's town of origin). Now, instead of moving into one of their respective towns, one of their daughters was born in Adjuntas while another was born in Utuado. The family then in 1910 appears to be living in the barrio of Coto in the town of Manatí! That's five different towns in the span of 3 generations! Which I feel like isn't too common from the research I have done so far. Many families seemed to have decided to stay rooted in their towns of origin of jump one town over. Take a look below at all the different towns they were living in!

Migration around Puerto Rico [Google Maps]

So far I was able to find three siblings to Juan Francisco: a sister named Lorenza, another sister named Ruperta and a brother named Basilio. They, unlike Francisco, didn't go to far off -- Lorenza lived and passed away in Quebradillas, Ruperta passed away in Lares, and Basilio passed away in San Sebastián. Unfortunately, I don't know much else about Blás Sánchez and Micaela Flores. I only know that they were deceased by the year 1887 according to records, both seemed to have died in Quebradillas. I hope to one day visit Quebradillas and San Sebastián and poke my head around the towns, discover their respective histories, and how my family ties into them. Hopefully I'll get to learn more about Blás and Micaela along the way as well!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ancestry.com Introduces the Puerto Rican Civil Registry

Puerto Rican Civil Registry [Ancestry]

Recently, Ancestry released the Puerto Rico Civil Registry within their records. Even though I have been using these records for five years now, the Ancestry version of these records allowed me to something I was previously unable to do: Search records by a inputting names, places, and dates option like most of their records. I was skeptical at first that it would work. Could Ancestry really have most of these records cataloged and searchable when even FamilySearch doesn't? I was happy that my answer was YES, it was very possible and real. Ancestry also released a guide to using the Puerto Rican records which is extremely helpful for those who might not speak Spanish as a first language but would love to delve right in to using the records. 

Puerto Rican Record and Research Guides [Ancestry]

I was blown away with the records I was able to find in under 10 mins flat. I was able to find: a great grandfather's death record, his infant son's death record, my 4th great grandfather's from Guadeloupe death record, and a pair of 3rd great grandparents' death records from my maternal side (I probably found a couple more but these were the biggest finds). Some of these records I had searched high and low for YEARS trying to find their records within the towns we thought they died in. For example, my 3rd great grandmother actually died in Guaynabo and not Cataño as we previously thought and her husband in Vega Baja and not in Manatí. My 4th great grandfather from Guadeloupe, Gustave Jean Charles actually died in Ponce in 1891 and I had thought he had died in Salinas with clues from other records. 

Last weekend, I did a marathon search for probably six hours straight researching my own family lines as well as collateral ones. What is great about this search is that if you type in both parents' names but no first name for the child, you could potentially find new family members. For example, I wanted to see if my grandfather Felipe Rivera Ortiz had any other siblings of which I had no idea of. I typed in "Rivera Ortiz" into the search bar for the surname and then added "Alejandro Rivera" as the father and "Mercedes Ortiz" as the mother, then I could parse through the results and see who matched the information I placed. Check out the results below: 

Searching Rivera Ortiz siblings [Ancestry]
Rivera Ortiz Siblings [Ancestry]

From the the top 10 results, here you can see that 7 of them were right on the money. Since I wasn't raised with my grandfather, I didn't have a full list of his siblings either living or deceased. I had information here and there from what family members knew, but from this list I was able to add another five siblings which I didn't know previously existed. Unfortunately, many of them died shortly after birth for various versions from malnutrition or stomach issues such as gastroenteritis. These search options allowed me to extend my family a bit more and really learn more about my great grandparents. It seems that during their first years together in La Perla and in San Juan things were rough since many of their children didn't make it to adulthood, probably from the difficult economic times they were facing. Even though I don't have stories from my grandfather, I was able to get a peak into the life of my paternal family. 

I am super grateful for Ancestry's upload of these records and I know that it will only get better from here. I'm still searching for some records and definitely won't stop until I have them in my hands! I actually just found my great grandfather's death certificate as I write this post just by playing around with the search options! Which you occasional have to do to find the record you are looking for, especially if something was spelled incorrectly or written wrong with the record or transcription into Ancestry. 

These records on Ancestry have given me more life and also has many my subscription to Ancestry much, much more meaningful! And I did't think I'm the only Puerto Rican that feels that way! Thanks again Ancestry, now to just wait for those church records and I'll be the happiest camper of them all! :)  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

52 Ancestors – #24 Juana Negrón Chéverez (1820-1920)

Juana Negrón Chéverez was my 4th great grandmother through my paternal side of the family. Juana is the woman from which my great grandmother, Mercedes Ortiz Marrero, receives her maternal haplogroup. Here is what I know about Juana!

Corozal, Puerto Rico [Google]
Juana Negrón Chéverez was either born in one of two towns, Corozal or Toa Alta. She is from the part of my family that migrated towards Corozal as the town separated from Toa Alta. I'm guessing she was born in Corozal because I haven't been able to find her in the baptismal records of Toa Alta. According to her death record, she was born about the 1820s. She could have been born a little early than that or maybe a little later, she I don't have a birth or baptismal record for Juana I can't be certain of how old she was when she died. Her death certificate says she was 100 years old and died on the 11th of November 1920 in Palos Blancos, Corozal, Puerto Rico. A lot of my family lived in the barrios of Palos Blancos, Dos Bocas, and Palmarejo, which lie on the western side of Corozal -- closer to Toa Alta and even Naranjito.

Juana Negrón Chéverez was the legitimate daughter of Juan Negrón and María Chéverez. The surname Chéverez has always been of an interest to me and also appears on my mother's side of the family - from the Toa Alta/Corozal area as well. The surname is sometimes associated with Taíno natives, such as Varin Chéverez Chéverez who was said to be a full-bloodied Taíno Indian from the town of Morovis. I'm not sure how many full-bloodied natives there were after the original population began to dwindle once the Spanish arrived. I do, however, know that the Taíno are being kept alive through our DNA and our maternal haplogroups. Juana Negrón Chéverez carried a native haplogroup from her mother María Chéverez and is still being passed down today to descendants of Juana Negrón Chéverez.

Juana Negrón Chéverez at one point, probably in Corozal, married her husband Juan/José Monserrate Marrero. I have been able to trace so far four of their children: María, Rosa, Casimira, and María del Carmen. I am a descendant from Rosa Marrero Negrón. Her husband must have passed away before 1885 according to many of the records I have found, which means that Juana Negrón Chéverez lived many years as a widow without her husband (a little over 35 years!)

Juana's long life means that she was able to see the island of Puerto Rico go from a Spanish colony to that of a U.S. territory. She would have been around her 70s when the island was handed over and she then she lived another 22 years under United States rule. I would have loved to hear her stories of being under both Spanish and American rulings of the island. I can't wait to start collecting stories from the older generations about living in Puerto Rico! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

52 Ancestors – #23 Manuel Santos Marrero (1814-????)

My 23rd post will focus on my 5th great grandfather Manuel Santos Marrero. Manuel is from my mother's side of the family and finding him was interesting for a few reasons. At first, when I began to trace the Santos family, I started with my my 2nd great grandfather who was born in Morovis. His mother was apparently also from Morovis, but his grandfather was from Corozal. Since my 4th great grandfather José María Santos Avilés was from Corozal and born about the late 1830s-1840s, I knew that Manuel Santos Marrero was probably from Toa Alta. I was able to find Manuel's baptism record in Toa Alta.

Manuel Santos Marrero was born on the 26th of September 1814 and later baptized on the 10th of October of the same year. His godparents were Anselmo Colón and Rosalia Marrero. Very possibly Rosalia is related to Manuel through his mother, Bernarda Marrero -- possibly an aunt to Manuel. Manuel's parents were Antonio Santos/de los Santos and his wife Bernarda Marrero. He would have most likely been born at home and later taken to San Fernando Rey to be baptized. The church began its construction in 1752 and was finished by 1826, meaning that when Manuel was baptized the church was somewhere in its construction phase. I really want to visit this church someday!

Parroquia San Fernando Rey–Toa Alta, Puerto Rico [Google]

What's interesting to me is that Manuel was from Toa Alta, which is the town my paternal side of the family predominately comes from (via my Rivera family). When I found out that Manuel Santos Marrero was born in Toa Alta, I couldn't believe it! His family and my dad's ancestors were living in the same town in the late 1700s – early 1800s. The Marrero surname can be found in my family as recent as my great grandmother Mercedes Ortiz Marrero. My paternal 2nd great grandmother herself was surnamed Marrero Marrero and so I have two Marrero lines on that side of the family living in Toa Alta. Very possibly my parents could be related to one another through these families from Toa Alta. 

Manuel would marry Ferminia Avilés Pérez and have 5 children: José María (my 4th great grandfather), Carmen, Antonia, Clara, and Manuel. Ferminia herself also is from the town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. I'm not sure whether Manuel and Ferminia would have married in Toa Alta or in the town of Corozal, Puerto Rico. It seems that all of their children were born in Corozal according to various records they appear on. 

Manuel himself was 1 of 9 siblings: Antonia, Francisca, Juan, María Josefa, Bartolome, Manuel (5th great grandfather), María Ramona, and Francisco. They themselves were all born in Toa Alta as well, the earliest birth occurring in 1802!

Until I'm able to access Corozal church records before 1885 I have a lot of information missing for certain ancestors pertaining to their births, marriages, and deaths. I have heard that you can view the books but you have to get permission from the church and obviously be in Corozal to view them. One day… one day!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

52 Ancestors – #22 Damià Magraner Morell (1847-19??)

Today I want to focus on an ancestor who could potentially be or not be my 3rd great grandfather. The reason I decided to add him to the 52 Ancestors series is because I would like to work out the kinks of this theory. Whether it was possible for him to be the father of my 2nd great grandfather José Avilés Magraner and his brother Lorenzo, or if I'm just pulling straws here trying to make strange connections. Here is what I know about Damià Magraner, his connection to the town of Lares where my family lived, and how he could potentially be my 3rd great grandfather.

Damià is the Catalan spelling for the name Damián giving us some hints as to his origins. From records in Puerto Rico, we can tell that Damià was originally from Sóller, Mallorca - an island of Spain, on its eastern coast. Mallorca is considered one of the Balearic Islands also known as Islas Baleares in Spanish and Illes Balears in Catalan.

Spain & Balearic Islands [Wikipedia]
Mallorca, Balearic Islands [Wikipedia]

Backtracking a bit, there was always a tale in my family about a Spaniard arriving to Puerto Rico during the time of war. He settled in the town of Lares, specifically the barrio of Río Prieto. There he would meet my 3rd great grandmother a "native Taíno woman". He would father my 2nd great grandfather but never officially recognizing him, therefore he would take on his mother's surname of Avilés. José would later attach the name Magraner as his second surname.

After hearing this story, I wanted to search the Magraner family in Lares and try and find José's father. Since José and Lorenzo were born out of wedlock, there was no way to know for sure if the story was correct or not. Even now, the name of Magraner could have been simply a false attachment of who he thought was his father.

While visiting the AGPR (Archivo General de Puerto Rico), I decided to look for records of Lares. There I found a census record from 1897 -- I specifically wanted to find my Avilés family there and also see what Magraner man could potentially be the father of José and Lorenzo. Even though José and Lorenzo had two other sisters and a brother, they were the only two who took on the surname Magraner and mentioned in the census records that their father was from Spain. Their sister María Isabel who was born in between José and Lorenzo also could have been a Magraner daughter but she passed away at the age of 4. Potentially another daughter born named Ysabel about 1899 could have been a Magraner daughter but that time frame is iffy for a few reasons.

I was able to find a Damián Magraner Morey (Morell) living in Río Prieto, Lares, Puerto Rico in 1897 as an owner of land and a home. There were a few other Spaniards listed living with Damián who probably immigrated to work the lands of Puerto Rico and find new opportunities. My 2nd great grandfather and his siblings were born in the years 1891, 1892, 1894, and 1899. Their other brother was born in 1904 and passed away the same year. Damià was said to have immigrated to Puerto Rico circa 1863, meaning that he was living in Lares, Puerto Rico for about 28 years before José was born. I'm not sure however if he migrated back and forth between that time.

Damià Magraner Morey [sic] – 1897 Río Prieto, Lares, Puerto Rico

Damià however wasn't the only Magraner to live on the island and also not the only one from his family. So far I have been able to trace three others brothers arriving to Puerto Rico from Mallorca: Nicolás, Cristóbal, and Gabriel. Two of the three (Nicolás and Cristóbal) also appear to be living in Río Prieto on early census records. If my records are correct, Gabriel Magraner Morell passed away on the 5th of May 1871 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Interestingly, when you search for Damián Magraner Morell you can find a few things on him online. For example, a search on Google Book for Damián Magraner gives you a few hits of landing owning in Lares, Puerto Rico. In a book titled "Congressional Serial Set", there is a mention of Damian Magraner owning land in partnership with Nicolas Magraner, Cristobal Magraner, María Magraner; all from Spanish nationality living in Spain and their property is located in Lares. 

Congressional Serial Set [Google Books]

This book is interesting because it was published in 1918. It seems that the Magraner brothers moved back to Spain during the time of the Spanish American War, which is a bit different from what the story in my family says. Recently while I was speaking to my great-aunt about the Magraner connection she mentioned that her grandfather's father, the unknown Magraner, was said to have been married at the time he had his relationship with my 3rd great grandmother -- who was said to have been a Taíno woman, but likely she was mixed and just had prominent Taíno features. In the 1897 Census record, it does mention that Damian was married. He never appears in any of the census records past the 1897 record I found and we know that Puerto Rico was handed over to the United States in 1898, which means he probably migrated back to Sóller sometime in between 1897-1900 (I say 1900 because I don't have the exact date he migrated back). However, another search for Damian Magraner gives me a result to a Catalan written article about elections during the "second stage of restoration". From my understanding, it seems that Damian was voted as the president of a local party.

Damià Magraner Morell (president) – 1901 [Google]

My guess is that Damià had a strong connection for his homeland of Spain and Mallorca, ultimately pulling him back when the territory of Puerto Rico was handed over in 1898 to the USA. However, it seems that by 1917 he and his siblings were still owning land in Río Prieto. The plantation was named "Hacienda de Café Margarita de Magraner". I had never heard of this place until I began searching for the Magraner family. What interest me, however, is how José and Lorenzo acquired land in 1925. Could parts of the hacienda been broken up and José and Lorenzo received some land? José had 10 cuerdas and Lorenzo 8 cuerdas which they both began using in 1925 and it seems that they had many coffee trees. I don't know however how they really acquired the lands, whether just through hard work or through a will which included them as heirs to plots of land. I don't know when Damià died so I can't be sure of anything.

Why do I believe that Damià is the father of José and Lorenzo? A couple of things match up for me that make it a bit more than coincidence that Damià could be the father. Not only do both José and Lorenzo claim to have a Spanish father, Damià does appear to be living in Río Prieto in 1897. Interestingly, José and Lorenzo both give the name "Damián" to one of their sons. Damián Avilés Vargas was born in 1920 both unfortunately passed away a day later, and Damián Avilés López was born about 1939. Damián definitely isn't too common of a name on the island back in the days and I have rarely come across the name while searching records. Could they have given their sons the name "Damián" in honor of their own father? 

Damián Avilés Vargas – Defunción 1920 [FamilySearch]

Damián Avilés López – 1940 Census [Ancestry]

Unfortunately, I have no records to directly tie Damià and José together. There is always the possibility that another Magraner man fathered my 2nd great grandfather or even that he just took the name on for whatever reason (though this doesn't happen too often from my understanding). I would love to visit Sóller, Mallorca and find out more about Damián and his time in Sóller after returning. Maybe he left behind other descendants in Mallorca that still live there now? Hopefully some time in the near future I'll be able to test a male descendant of the Avilés men from my family to find out more about their Y-DNA, and potentially find a connection a Spanish family/man surnamed Magraner. This however would take a lot of time, research, and of course money. Hopefully, one day I will be able to solve this mystery once and for well -- whether my 3rd great grandfather really was a Spanish man from Mallorca who traveled to Lares, who owned land, and who would eventually migrate back to Mallorca to serve his home country during its time of need. Or if not a Magraner descendant, then a descendant from what man?!

Fun Fact: "Magraner" means pomegranate tree in Catalan!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

52 Ancestors – #21 Juana Arvelo Vera (1872-1912)

I'm posting early since I won't have a chance to write this weekend! Today I want to focus on my 3rd great grandmother Juana Arvelo Vera. She is another ancestress I don't know much about and hope to learn more as I continue my research.

Juana's estimated year of birth is 1872 according to her death record, she is also said to be a native of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. At the time of her death in 1912 she was about the age of 40, living in Coto, Manatí with her husband and categorized as "white" and her cause of death is listed as "anemia". Fortunately, Juana lived long enough to appear on the 1910 Census record. She appears to be living in the same household as José Meléndez Morán (my 2nd great grandfather), his wife Anicasia Sánchez Arvelo (one of Juana's daughter), and her husband listed as Francisco Sánchez Martinez (who actually was Francisco Sánchez Flores). Both Francisco and Juana are listed as mulato, along with everyone else in the household.

Juana Arvelo Vera- 1910 Census [Ancestry]

From the 1910 Census record, we can tell that Juana and her husband Francisco married around 1885 and had 5 children in total, 3 of who were still alive for the 1910 Census. So far, I have only been able to identity four out of the five children: Marcelino, Agustina, Anicasia, and María Aurora. It seems that Juana and her husband did some traveling since she was originally from San Sebastián and he from Quebradillas, one of their daughters was born in Utuado, and finally they ended in Manatí. We also know that Juana and her husband were unable to read and write, along with José and Anicasia (remember many low-income farming rural families really had no need for higher education back then). 

It's also very interesting to think that Juana and Francisco would have been in their late 20s when the Spanish American War broke out and Puerto Rico was handed over to the United States in 1898. How would have Juana and Francisco felt? Did they side with Spain or the US? Or where they unfazed by the change of hands between the two countries? It's very interesting to think about, especially with recent events in our own history such as the issues between Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia. 

Juana also is one of my only ancestors to carry a non-native maternal haplogroups. Juana through her mother Luisa Vera was a carrier of U5b1b1b, which can be found in Europe, Northern African, and the Near East. Luisa Vera herself is said to have been born in San Sebastián and would have been born roughly in the mid-1830s. I have no idea so far how the maternal haplogroup was introduced into our family and from where. 

There is much to learn about Juana Arvelo Vera, her life, her husband, her children and her background. Hopefully one day I can get my hands on some baptismal records from the church in San Sebastián and begin to ravel the mystery behind the Arvelo Vera family!