Sunday, September 23, 2012

Painting A Clearer Picture

I've gotta say, I've been pretty fortunate when it comes to finding out some random things and getting clues- which then get confirmed. I guess it's because I'm young and still have the older generation around that can answer some of questions, its just finding who knows the answers and hold the key to these secrets.

For example, I was lucky to find a cousin (she actually found me through this blog) who knew where my paternal great grandparents were buried in Puerto rico and even had pictures of them. Had I decided to do this research years later, who knows what the outcome would have been.

Recently, a half grand uncle was able to confirm a line that I've been unsure of since I started researching it. This is my Correa line which I had begun to build but didn't know if it was based off the right person. This grand uncle has a brother who was able to tell me that my great grandfather Manuel Correa Rivera's father was Julio Correa- which is exactly what I had! This goes back to the post about how I ordered my great grandfather's social security application and on it were his parents' names. At the time I was unsure if it was the right man but his signature was nearly exact to the one on my grandfather's birth certificate so I ruled that it had to be the same man. And I'm so glad it was!

Interestingly though there is a tale that Julio's wife was from Spain. From what I have, Julio's wife was Amalia Rivera Rodriguez from Patillas, Puerto Rico. I asked my grand uncle whether Julio had remarried at any point in his life and he said from what he knows of no. None of the records I have point to a second wife so this tale of a Spanish woman is interesting. I wonder if he means Amalia's mother who I posted about with the weird surname of Masantini.

It was nice talking to him because he was able to tell me stories which I hadn't heard. He told me that my great grandfather left for San Juan to look for work. He ended up becoming of the first drivers of the AMA buses in Puerto Rico and stayed at that job for most of his life. Also he mentioned that Manuel and his brother and sisters were left orphaned, which I hadn't realized. Their father Julio died in 1929 and Amalia passed away in 1933. My great grandfather who was 9 at the time of his father's death was the oldest. From the looks of it they were sent to uncles/aunts to be taken care of.

He said that Julio was very tall with green eyes, trigueño (colored) and strong because he was a fisherman like many of the Correas who lived in Salinas. He said that his wife (who might be Amalia) had long beautiful hair, blue eyes and was beautiful. He said the two of them together were an elegant couple. It was nice getting a physical description of them and trying to visualize their appearance. No one mentioned a possible connection to Guadeloupe or Martinique but at the same time he wasn't raised in Salinas, so maybe he never heard the stories.

I was told that there are many cousins and family members still in that area. I would love to go and meet them and find out more about the family! It's funny how a stroke of luck can open all these doors for you. I thought I would have never been able to confirm this line since I virtually knew no one from it. Now I know of two grand uncles and many distant cousins living were the family began. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Series I, Part II: An Ancestor's Story Through Records

The second person I decided to focus on was someone that doesn't have too many documents per se but I'm interested in her life and so I decided to include her here since it is an ancestor I discovered through documents. 

I decided to focus on my 4th great grandmother, Bernardina Sepúlveda Roman, who was born around the beginning of the 19th century in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. She was the daughter of Remigio Sepúlveda and Maria de la Cruz Roman both also from Mayagüez. At one point in her life, probably around her 20s, Bernardina moved to Adjuntas, Puerto Rico where her children would be born. She lived the rest of her in Adjuntas until her death on the 10th of March 1893. Bernardina had married Jose Maria Velez Perez from San Sebastian, Puerto Rico who passed away three years before she did. Their marriage produced a good number of children: Maria Eugenia (1830), Margarita (1834), Ines (1836), Maria de la O. (1836),  Jose Severo (1837), 
Isidora (1840), Maria Remigia (1841), Maria Leonor (1843), and Maria Monserrate (1845) Vélez Sepúlveda*. Jose Severo was my 3rd great grandfather. 

*Thanks a member on one of the genealogical groups I'm in, she was able to help provide baptismal dates for my 3rd great grandfather and his siblings from the church's records of Adjuntas. 

The most interesting part of Bernardina's life I found by accident and was a shock because I wasn't expecting to run into it. In the latter part of Bernardina's life, she was a slave-owner. There's no way to defend it or deny it or do anything I guess except take it in. Around this time it was common practice to have slaves for domestic or labor purposes. I don't agree with slavery and hate what kind of system and treatment of humans it created but sadly nothing can be done except to educate ourselves of this dark past. 

I found Bernardina as a slave-owner while I was searching the Registro Civil de Esclavos, 1872; a registry for slaves taken a year before the abolition of slavery. I've considered that it might be someone else but it matches all of things I have of her to the "T". The same first name which I haven't seen too often as well as being in the same town, Guaynabo Dulce in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico where all her children were baptized were signs that me that this was my 4th great grandmother. 

At the time of the registry she had only 4 slaves that belonged to her. It's also interesting that she was the one who was noted as the owner rather than her husband who was still alive at the time. Maybe since the number of slaves was small see oversee them while he did something else like tend to overseeing the farm. Just as I did with the Antonetti slaves I'm going to list the names of them here except I'll add the physical descriptions attached to them. 

LORENZO: Natural from Puerto Rico, registered in the barrio of Guaynabo Dulce. Son of Ramon and Felipa. Age: 4 years 2 months. Stature: Growing. Color: Light mulatto. Hair: Black. Eyes: Black.  Nose: Flat. Mouth: Big. 

JUAN: Natural from Puerto Rico, registered in the barrio of Guaynabo Dulce. Son of Geronimo and Felipa. Job: Laborer. Age: 22 years. Stature: Regular. Color: Light mulatto. Hair: Apasado (?). Eyes: Brown (Pardo).  Nose: Regular. Mouth: N/A. 

MARIA TOMASA: Natural from Puerto Rico, registered in the barrio of Guaynabo Dulce. Son of Pedro Jose and Teresa. Job: Laborer. Age: 26 years. Stature: 5 feet 8 inches. Color: Black. Hair: Pasa (?). Eyes: Black.  Nose: Flat. Mouth: Big. 

FELIPA: Natural from Puerto Rico, registered in the barrio of Guaynabo Dulce. Son of Martin and Petrona. Children: 3- Manuel Jesus, Juan and Lorenzo. Age: 40 years. Stature: 6 feet. Color: Yellow mulatto (Mulato Amarillo). Hair: Black Apasado (?). Eyes: Black.  Nose: Short. Mouth: Small. 

As we can see, Bernardina owns Felipa along with two of her children. I wonder if the others named mentioned such as Ramon, Geronimo, Pedro Jose, Teresa, Martin and Petrona were all once slaves of Bernardina before they passed away. I wonder what kind of lives they lead. With only three laborers I can only imagine they didn't have such a big plot of land. Did they live in the same house? How were they treated? Were Juan and Maria Tomasa allowed to interact or play with Bernardina's children who were similar in age as them? Interesting that Felipa is noted as a yellow mulatto, was she part Taíno? Did Puerto Ricans use yellow to describe natives? How were things after slavery was abolished? Did they use the last name Sepúlveda and stay in contact with Bernardina and her family? Was Bernardina and her husband prominent member of Adjuntas' society?

There's obviously a lot of unanswered questions that I can not begin to unravel. Maybe they left behind a will that could lead me to more clues about their lives. Hopefully a trip to Puerto Rico will teach me more about my ancestors and the kind of lives they lived. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Antonetti Slaves in Salinas, Puerto Rico

So being home all day bored leads you to a lot of genealogy. So a couple of days ago, I decided to write down all the slaves the Antonetti family owned according to the 1872 Central Registry of Slaves which can be found on And boy did they have a good number of slaves; 97 to be exact that were registered! It seems that these brothers might have owned some type of sugar or coffee farm/plantation which was were these slaves were keep, probably a prominent family in the area. I decided to jot down the names, where they were from, their parents' names if they were mentioned, their age, a guesstimate for the year they would have been born, their profession (which was mainly just laborer), the names of their children if they had any and their martial status (which most were single), and lastly the page they were found on.

Just a few side-notes:

  • You'll notice that some are highlighted yellow and that's because they were found on the 1910 Census still alive. 
  • The list will probably keep evolving and changing in some type of way. Whether that be including more concrete dates or names, I'll probably go back to add more details about who these slaves were. 
  • Some names appear with an "@" followed by another word. My theory is that these might be other names the slaves went by. From the looks of it, some had other names they were known by. I could easily be wrong, so if someone knows what it stands for please do tell!
  • The list is not ordered alphabetically but by who their parents were. This way the children appear together as best as they could so that I can start developing a pattern of who was who's offspring and what not. 
  • Some names might be followed by a (?), this means that the name wasn't really clear and so I took a stab at what it most resembled. 
Here's the list!

DNA Tribes Update

With the recent DNA Tribes SNP analysis/ update special (which is currently still going on), I decided to get my mother's and my analysis updated to included the newer populations such as: Andalusia Spain. Germany and Austria, Greek Mixed, Italy General, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia General, Serbia and Croatia, Southern Italy and Sicily, Assyria and Tibet. The main ones for me of importance were the European populations seeing as how I don't have Middle Eastern/East Asian ancestry (at least that I know of!). Here are the results of an example Puerto Rican and what the results would look like. Just a side-note: Since I tested with 23andme, I was able to use that raw DNA information for DNA Tribes to analysis. And so I want to show you the changes from the old analysis to the new one using my results as an example. I'm going to add snapshots of my results from both the old and the new to show you the differences. I will post the old results on the top and the new results on the bottom. 

8 Continental Zones

Here we can see some slight changes on the continental zone percentages. As we can see, with the lower continental zones such as Asian (South/East/North) I scored 0.00% on both the old and new and the update includes Northeast African which I also scored 0.00%. We see though that my European percentage goes from 45.79% to 56.4%. While my Middle Eastern drops from 24.74% to 12.4%, which is significant drop. My guess is that there was a shift of what was considered Middle Eastern and the populations were spread out more. My Sub-Saharan African goes up a bit by about 1% and my native as well. 

24 World Regions

Here we can see the break-up of Europe, Africa and Asian into what is called the 24 World Regions. Notice how my Baltic-Urals Region jumps from 5th place to 2nd place and my Arabian goes from 3rd to 9th. It seems that my highest contributor from Africa come from both Western Africa and Northern Africa which are both historically true to my background. With the importation of Western Africans for slavery and the Northern African conquest of lower Spain, both are contributors to the ancestry which I carry. Interestingly, my great grandfather matches a person on 23andme's ancestry finder with all 4 of their grandparents born in Morocco. I would love to find out how I connect to that person!

Native Populations

This new section called Native Populations was very interesting to me. I obviously take these results with a grain of salt but nevertheless they are very interesting. As you can see here, I included the first 14 countries listed in my Native Populations section. Interesting, England is ranked first at 12.5%, for reasons I don't know. I have no known English ancestry but it could be very possible (my mom's native population ranks England second at 5.7). Next you can see Spain which makes sense, then Aymara from Bolivia which is a native population- my guess is that since there are no pure native genes in the Caribbean from the Taino, the native tribes from South America are the next best thing to gauge a Native American population. Then we have Russia and Poland which is very interesting because I do get cousins on 23andme from these countries. Followed by some more countries. On the DNA Tribe analysis it mentions: 

"This portion of your report identifies ancestral contributions to your genome from native populations. These mixture percentages do not indicate percentages of nationality or ethnicity. Instead, mixture results below express geographical signals of ancestry based on the populations sampled in our database. These genetic signals can reflect present day ethnicity, as well as more ancient links between populations through shared origins, migrations, and trade contacts."

All Populations

Next we have All Populations which includes Diasporic populations. Similarly they mention: 

"This portion of your report identifies ancestral contributions to your genome from all world populations in our database, including modern populations that have mixed and migrated within the past 500 years."
As we can see Puerto Rico is correctly placed as #1 at 55.8%. Then we see England, Russia, Poland, Aymara, Brong, Mozabite along with others which appear from the Native Populations. I wonder how accurate the use of the Brong, Bantu, Kaba (tribe of the Sara people) and Hausa people are for me. Can these tribes point to locations where slaves were brought from to the New World? It's a very interesting question and I wonder if one day I'll be able to point to places in Africa where my ancestors were brought from. 

World Grid

Here we can see as DNA Tribe states:

"This portion of your report illustrates your total genetic similarity to a world grid based on native populations in our database. Locations on the grid that are genetically more similar to you are mapped in red (most similar), orange and yellow; locations less similar to you are mapped in purple (least similar), blue and green. This map illustrates the full spectrum of your world genetic relationships."

As we can see the grid shifts a bit from showing Southern Europe to sort of Mid-Central Europe as close populations. Nothing too serious I would say, just a shift based on the native populations section they've added which probably pushes me up a bit due to the English population that ranked so high. 

European Populations

Here we can see the European populations and their similarity to me. Interestingly, my top 5 were Tuscany Italy, Spain, Finland (huh?), France and England as my top five. Most of these made sense except for the Finnish part. The new top 5 European Populations are Greek Mixed (hmmm...), Basque Spain, Poland, Portugal, and Andalusia Spain. These make a lot of sense except for the Greek and Polish I would say, but hey there are a ton of branches on my tree that I have yet to fully explore so who knows what genes I'm carrying from around the world!

List of All Populations

Here is the last one I'll add, I don't want to give everything away ;) I included the top 20 all populations. As we can see both list Puerto Rico as #1, again correct. And then we start getting some interesting results! Browse and check out the top 20! 

I guess I'll never be sure from exactly where some of branches originated from, whether that be in or out of Spain, or even in out of Puerto Rico but hopefully I'll be able to tell you more about where they were from. Hopefully you found my results such as interesting as I did! And remember not every Puerto Rican is the same, some as for example the other profile which I mentioned above, shows completely different populations from the ones I've listed. As I've mentioned before, a lot of different populations contributed to Puerto Rico's history and so there is a vast range of makes us.