Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Race Categories

In Puerto Rico, there can sometimes be a hodgepodge of culture mixing. Besides the typical European, African and Native mix there also happen to be other cultures that have found their way onto the island. From the French and Corsicans, to the Dutch, Italians, Irish and nearby Dominicans and Cubans, and through my research I've even seen Syrians and Chinese! I bring this up because when on certificates they categorize people, they tend to write blanco, negro, trigueño, pardo, mulato, which are the most I've seen. A lot of these are argued about what they mean and when to actually use them so I won't classify them or explain them myself.

One interesting classification of race I came across during my research for an ancestor was 'Indio/ Indian'. My first thought would be India!- but seeing as how Indian took both the Native American and Indian meaning back then I would have to say that it is the former rather than the latter. My g-g-g grandfather, Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera was identified in his death certificate as 'Indio' as well as his parents. Look below:

Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera's Death Certificate

Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera was born abt. 1850 in Corozal, Puerto Rico to Ramón Ortiz and Sotera Rivera, both from Corozal, Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of these ancestors or of their descendants such as my great grandmother Mercedes Ortiz Marrero, daughter of Martin Ortiz Pérez, son of Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera and Blasina Pérez Vásquez. It would be very interesting to see a picture of them seeing as how they were written down as 'Indian' race rather than say mulato, pardo or trigueño. I wonder how 'Indian' they were.

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