Thursday, December 6, 2012

Early Christmas Miracle!

Two days ago I got a really nice Christmas miracle. Ironically or coincidentally,  every time I help someone out with something genealogical, I get, or rather gave myself, something back in return. I never do anything expecting something back, rather I love genealogy and love providing help whenever I can squeeze myself in. I do believe everything happens for a reason and there is some sort of system of Karma set into place in our world. But enough about that, and onto genealogy!

A couple of days ago I was chatting with my grandmother about her dad's family. My great grandfather is still alive at 90 years old but due to his health he isn't very knowledgeable about genealogical queries. I was looking into one of his dad's sibling's family who relocated to Vega Alta from Vega Baja. [This isn't too important but provides the background]. So I attempted to find some children born in Vega Alta with the last name Calderon and came across something completely different by chance. Another spark!

I came across someone born with the surname Charles! Seeing as this name isn't too common due to its foreign introduction, I decided to track down the person's birth certificate. On the child's birth certificate, it stated that her father was from England and her mother from Vieques, Puerto Rico. Seeing as how Vieques is where my Charles family most likely passed by, I decided to follow up on Jorge Charles, the father of the registered child. Typing Jorge Charles into the Ancestry search bar gave me something very interesting.

Ever since I discovered my Charles/Gustave(o) family I've searched these surnames throughout the various census records, family trees available and another other possibility where they might pop up. Yet, for whatever reason something new appeared yesterday. A passport registration appeared for a Tomas Charles. My heart jumped!! If this man was somehow related to me, then there would be a picture attached and I could get a glance of a child of Juan Carlos Gustavo and Juliana Lotin.

Looking at the Passport Application so many things jumped out at me: Tomas Charles was born in Vieques, his profession was a carpenter, he was living in Guanica before heading out to La Romana, Dominican Republic before his re-entry into Puerto Rico and lastly his deceased father's name was Gustavo J. Charles. I was beyond sure that he was a 3rd great granduncle. Many things matched and overlapped with the information I previously had, but I needed more solid proof.

Luckily Tomas re-entered Puerto Rico to reside, providing me with his wife's name as well as his childrens'. I headed over to the Yauco and Guanica records to find information to help me prove his relation to me. The main record which I'll talk about is his marriage record to Ramona Cortes which mentions his last names as Charles Lotin! Here we see the surname which appears first in 1885 as Lotten and here in 1918 as Lotin. Interestingly since most of the other children (or rather the writers) by this year were providing very different variations. I'm glad to see that Lotin is SO close to Lautin which to me proves that there was just a small discrepancy between the Spanish and French spellings. Here is a clip of the marriage certificate:

Tomas Charles Lotin, and his parents listed in the marriage certificate
Here we also see that his father appears as Juan Charles, natural from Guadeloupe and his mother Juliana B. Lotin, natural from Martinique. I wonder why Juan appears sometimes from Guadeloupe, did he arrive from Guadeloupe to Martinique and then later they traveled to Puerto Rico? Or was there just some confusion on some of the information? So much to still discover about him!

So he definitely is related to me! Also, Tomas was still living in Puerto Rico in 1910 so he appears in the census and interestingly enough a nephew is listed as Jose Rosado Charles. So turns out there is another sister named Alejandrina who also lived in Ponce and had this child with Pedro Rosado!! Alejandrina most likely died between 1897-1910 seeing as how Jose was living with Tomas in 1910. 

Back to the passport! So now that I had my confirmation I could accept this new branch to my tree. And with it came pictures which literally were a gold mine! I was able to look back five generations to how my ancestor's sibling looked phenotypically and also giving me a small glance into how Maria Paulina Gustavo would have looked like. 

Tomas' description in the passport goes as follows: Age: 48 years; Stature: 5 feet, 8 inches; Forehead: High; Eyes: Black; Nose: Large; Mouth: Large; Chin: Round; Hair: Black-grayish; Face: Round. And finally here is his picture!

Tomas Charles Lotin
I couldn't believe it and as I stare at the picture I still can't. If you look at my profile picture you can see that I'm pretty light, actually very light. I'm able to tan and get some color and it can be noticeable, but it takes me being out under the sun to tan. But nonetheless, a lot of people probably wouldn't believe that this was a relative of mine by blood. Yet if you look at my grandfather and then his father (Manuel Correa- who's picture is here in the blog), you'll notice that each generation further back gets progressively darker and not just 'native' darker but African darker. Also, his wife registered for a passport and his children were photographed as well so it shows another generation closer to me. Here it is: 

[Family Charles Cortes] Ines (left), Hipolito (top), Juan (bottom) and Ramona (right)   
You can also see that Ramona is much lighter than Tomas yet their children are pretty dark, Ines darker than Juan and Hipolito.

I'm to happy to have extended my Charles/Gustavo Lotin family collaterally to include 6 children in total. So far I've only found one death certificate so there's still a lot of searching to be done! I'm hopeful that I'll found some cousins along the way you can add sometime to these families. I'm just waiting for another little miracle to happen ;) 

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