Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Discovering Foreign Ancestors

At the beginning of this journey, I had one goal besides creating my family tree: to find Spanish-born or foreign born ancestors. I don't know why I thought it important for me to find an ancestor born outside of Puerto Rico, but being that a lot of my ancestors (aka, all the ones I've found so far) were born in Puerto Rico I wanted someone to break the monotony and I guess potentially provide me a place to visit seeing as I love to travel. My elusive great grandfather provided me with an ancestor born outside of Puerto Rico after much searching on his branch.

With the new information I had I was able to find out that Manuel Correa was born in Salinas, Puerto Rico on March 4th, 1920 as Isidoro Correa Rivera, a legitimate child of Julio Correa Gustavo and Amalia Rivera Masantini. Both Gustavo and Masantini are 'weird' names I would say compared to the common ones like Rivera, García, Rodríguez, etc. Unfortunately I haven't been able to crack the Masantini line, so for know I'll focus on the Gustavo line. Manuel's father Julio Correa Gustavo was born on the 5th of August 1895 in Playas, Salinas, Puerto Rico the son of Manuel Correa Ortiz and Maria Paulina Gustavo Lotten (Sometimes she appears as Octavia and her mother's last name appears also through out different documents as Loten, Lotiz, Lotez, Loteis); its hard to make out what exactly it is.

Julio's father was born in Salinas, Puerto Rico around 1862 and his mother somewhere around 1866-1872 and appears to be born in Vieques, Puerto Rico. This is where it begins to get interesting! Maria Gustavo, also sometimes appears as Maria Charles was the daughter of Juan Carlos Gustavo Charles and Julianna Barbara Lotten/Loten/Loteis. Both her parents were born OUTSIDE of Puerto Rico apparently on the island of Martinique. (Sometimes it says Guadeloupe so I don't want to rule out one over the other being that both of them were French territories and still are and very close in geography.) Thanks to Google Maps, I've been able to show how the Gustavo/Charles family would have made their way from Guadeloupe/Martinique to Vieques and then onto the mainland of Puerto Rico.

Gustavo Charles family makes their way to Puerto Rico

There are some things that I've taken into account as I look at this family: 1. Gustavo could have started out as Gustav/Gustaf/Gustave and the "O" was added to give the name more of a Spanish ring to it. 2. "Juan Carlos Gustavo" could have been "Jean Charles/Carl Gustave", again the name could have been changed to fit the Spanish culture in Puerto Rico. 3. Julianna could have been Julienne. 4. "Charles" could have been the actually surname instead of Gustavo and there was a mix-up, seeing as how their children and some future generations jump back and forth between Gustavo and Charles.

Thanks to the power and technology of the internet I have become aware of the "Archive nationales d'outre-mar" which contain French documents from territories such as Algeria, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, and Haiti to name some; the documents are of course in French. Thanks to the 2 years in High School and 1 semester in college of French I was able to look at the documents for Martinique and Guadeloupe. But since I don't know where exactly they're from on what island I haven't had any luck finding them among the available records.

I don't know too much about these islands' history but I am aware that there were French, African, Arawak/Carib influences on the island. Being that the family is written down as 'black' I'm guessing they are a creole family of African and European mixture. It would be interesting to find out exactly where they come from, Gustavo has a sort of Germanic ring to it while Charles sounds both English and/or French. Of course I'm still working on this family branch and maybe one day I'll be able to visit both these islands with more information at hand.

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