Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paying my Respects

Early I posted about how my dad's cousin found me online through this blog (technology is awesome!). She was able to provide me with pictures, stories and more information about my dad's side which I had no previous knowledge about. It's so crazy to think that just 2 years I had no idea about my dad's paternal side of the family. The information I had stopped with his father and before that there were many gaps, my dad only knew his grandmother's name and not much more. By asking my dad's older sister to see if she knew anything, she was able to tell me the name of Mercedes' husband's name (Alejandro Rivera Gonzalez). This allowed me to find even more information about Alejandro and Mercedes and currently I have the Rivera family traced back a Pedro Rivera Roman born in Toa Alta on August 1st, 1821 and who died on January 11th, 1870. His parents are Jose (Joseph) de Rivera and Gertrudis Roman (who I mentioned before as a free person of color). Hopefully one day I'll learn more about his parents and who they were.

So since I was going to Puerto Rico for Spring break I knew that I HAD to go see the tomb, in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis, a cemetery located near La Perla and El Morro; places I pass so often when I visit Puerto Rico. I knew the tomb was located near the wall near the ocean (thanks to my cousin's picture) but I didn't know exactly where. After some searching I asked the office where last time the lady was of no help. I mentioned the names to him in the tomb and he told me the last names Rivera Ortiz sounded familiar so he sent me over to Section 2. There I was finally able to find the tomb and confirm the tomb with the picture I had. Here's the tomb, finally after so many years I was able to find it and pay my respects to my great grandparents and two of their children: 

Rivera Ortiz Family Tomb

Familia Rivera Ortiz
Thanks to my cousin's brother the tomb is in tip-top shape and the stones haven't be weathered down like some of the other ones which is very sad to see. Kind of crazy to think my great grandparents were buried here this whole time and I had absolutely no idea. Hopefully one day I'll be able to travel around Puerto Rico and try and find other tombs of my family members. There are currently two I know of that I want to visit: one of my mother's grandmother and the other of my mother's aunt who passed away as a child. Not everyone likes cemeteries and even though tombs can't whisper to you secrets or information, this is literally the closest you'll get the person which gives you a sense of connection and family. 

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