Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making Ends Meet!

Last week I was pretty fortunate to be able to search through the Adjuntas church records which were microfilmed by the LDS. I knew that some ancestors in my family through my paternal side lived in Adjuntas for a while thanks to the Census records.

Adjuntas, Puerto Rico- a town nestled in the Central Mountain Range
Picture: Wikipedia

I knew that my great grandfather, Felix Vélez Mercado, was born in Utuado in 1905 but his parents somewhere between 1911 and 1914 moved to Adjuntas and some of the birth records of Felix's brothers and sisters pointed to their parents being naturally from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. Felix's father, Nicodemus/Nicodemo Vélez Ríos and his wife Domitila Mercado Cruz were a bit of a mystery to me. I didn't have any birth records for them and neither any death record. I knew that they married in 1906 in Utuado, Puerto Rico- but besides that I had nothing.

Utuado, Puerto Rico
Picture: Wikipedia

The Adjuntas church records were able to clear up some things about this side of my family! I was fortunate to find a lot of baptismal and death records in the church documents, which would help to prove some lines and extend others. Nicodemus Vélez Ríos was born in Adjuntas in 1878 to his parents José María Vélez Sepúlveda and Ana Ríos González. I knew that his dad, José María Vélez, was a part of a pretty extensive line of Vélez and Sepúlveda family members that dated back to the 1600s in Puerto Rico and even to towns in Spain. Now that I have confirmed that Nicodemus is the son of José María Vélez, I have been able to solidify that line. Thanks to all the research of those that came before me, I was able to extend some of these lines like I mentioned to the early 1600s. Nicodemus is also the grandson of Bernardina Sepúlveda Roman who I wrote about before, who owned a few slaves in Guaynabo Dulce, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico when the slave census was taken in 1872. My Riós González family is still missing a bunch of ancestors and this is due to the fact that this family probably originated in San Sebastián and those records aren't microfilmed with the LDS so to figure out more I'll probably have to visit the church itself.

My Mercado Cruz line on the other hand had eluded me for a long period of time! Most of the records say that Domitila's father, Cayetano Mercado was born Lares and would end up dying there. Cayetano's wife, Cristina Cruz Pérez was also said to have been from Lares but she was still alive in the 1910 census living in Utuado, Puerto Rico with her daughter.

Surprisingly, Domitila had a few sisters who were born in Adjuntas! Finding the baptism records of these sisters allowed me to extend these lines one generation further. Now I know that Cayetano's parents were Francisco Mercado and María Isabel Cajigas and that Cristina's parents were Francisco Cruz and Gabriela Pérez (she is sometimes written with the last name Gerena). The records state that the Mercado Cajigas family was from San Sebastián while the Cruz Pérez family was from Lares. I've tried to find some of these grandparents' death records in their respective towns as well as in Adjuntas but so far no luck.

I was pretty happy to be able to push the Mercado Cruz line one generation further on the paternal side because I had been struggling with that line for so long now. And hopefully I'll be able to find Domitila's birth certificate which I've also had a hard time locating. Hopefully more will be discovered about this family!

It's also interesting to note that San Sebastián and Lares are actually neighboring towns in Puerto Rico demonstrated below:

Lares, Puerto Rico

San Sebastián, Puerto Rico

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Year in Review: 2012

Since I wrote about my 2013 New Year Resolutions I decided to review 2012 and all of the genealogical achievements, discoveries and even unanswered questions that came with that year. That way I'll have a summed up version of all the posts of that year and can aspire to learn even more about myself, my family and their journey from all parts of the world to make me who I am today.


  • Talked about the cousin I was able to meet through my blog. 
  • The release of the 1940 Census!!
  • Discussed the Y-DNA results I got from GeneTree.
  • Got to see for the first time the 1940 Census after its release and found some ancestors.
  • Posted about being able to visit the grave of my great grandparents (Alejandro Rivera González and Mercedes Ortiz Marrero) as well as some great-aunts. 
  • Talked about some potential slave owning ancestors in my family- Juan de Dios Marrero and his wife Rosa de Rivera from Corozal, Puerto Rico).
  • Delved into the topic of race and its perception after receiving my grandfather's 23andme results. 
  • Discussed the 'evolution' the surnames Gustave and Lotten went through in Puerto Rico. 
  • Posted various times about the Finding Your Roots series and its guests. 
  • Began my first series of "An Ancestor's Story Through Records". 
  • Discussed the possibility of "Manolo Correa Rivera" being my great grandfather Manuel Correa Rivera in the 1940 Census. 
  • Talked about 23andme's new ability to break down cousins by maternal and paternal sides. 
  • Did some research on the surname Masantini and its potential connection to Tuscany, Italy. 
  • Analyzed my results from DNA Tribes. 
  • Categorized and discussed the Antonetti family slaves from Salinas, Puerto Rico. 
  • Posted the second part of my "An Ancestor's Story Through Records" series. 
  • Talked about my chat via telephone with one of my great uncles. 
  • Looked at AncestryDNA through the lens of a Puerto Rican. 
  • Discovered a sister to my Gustave Lotten ancestor who was born in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico- would lead to many new discoveries!
  • Probably the best moment in my genealogical year-- discovered documents for a Julienne Malvina Lautin, Eglantine Lautin and Pauline Lautin in Martinique which pretty much coincide with Julianna Balbina Lotten ancestor in Puerto Rico. Learned a lot about Martinique, those ancestors, and what those documents helped show. 
  • Discussed my future plans about learning more about Martinique and my ancestors. 
  • Talked about another Gustave Lotten ancestor I was able to find except this time I was able to find a picture of him, his wife and children due to their applications for a passport being Couldn't believe my luck and considered myself lucky many-a-times. 
  • Analyzed my Ancestry Composition results through the lens of a Puerto Rican. 
  • Discussed my previously unknown connection to the Ashkenazi Jewish population. 
  • Explored my slave roots in Martinique a bit more and how I was able to find Julienne Malvina's birth record. 
  • Explored my slave roots some more but this time focused on the family which owned the Lautin women in Martinique. 
  • Talked a bit about the topic of genetic memory and its correlation to my Martiniquan ancestors. 
  • Lastly, discussed the book Texaco and what I learned from novel. 
In total, I posted 30 times last year which I think is pretty high! Its nice going back and seeing what I felt while discovering those documents and the process I underwent to find what I was looking for. I'm excited for this year to start rolling and for me to start my discoveries!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tracing Eglantine Lautin

Ever since I discovered the document for Julienne Malvina Lautin and her mother Eglantine Lautin (as well as Pauline Lautin) in Rivière Salée, Martinique I can't stop thinking about this family! I was super lucky to find Julienne's and Pauline's birth records in Trois Bourgs despite them being slaves and I also discovered that Eglantine was originally from Africa.

A couple of days ago, after finishing "Texaco" I began to read "Women and Slavery in the French Antilles, 1635-1848" by Bernard Moitt. Despite the fact that this was actually the last book in the sequence of books I purchased, I decided to bump this one up the list because I wanted to learn more about Eglantine's life as a woman on Martinique with the job of a cultivatrice or farmer. The book has been very informative with both statistical information and descriptive information of what their lives would have been like. For example, many field slaves began their work at 5AM and didn't finish until 11PM depending on the cycle of the crops they were tending to. I could never imagine working those hours, especially with very minimal rest in between and the constant stress on my body from lifting, digging, etc. The book is definitely putting a new perspective to what women went through in the French Antilles during slavery and also providing a nice factual background to "Texaco" as well.

The reason I named this post "Tracing Eglantine Lautin" is because I want to do just that; I'll explain:

With the recent advances of DNA tests, we can see where a person's ancestral line originated from through Y-DNA (males only) and mtDNA (both females and males) exams. Since Eglantine was a woman she passed down her Mitochondrial DNA to her female and males descendants, yet since many of her male descendants are deceased by now it is only the females who continue to pass down that line of mtDNA. For example my 3rd great grandmother, María Paulina Gustavo Lotten, would have had Eglantine's mtDNA seeing as how that's her grandmother. Julio Correa Rivera, my great grandfather also had Eglantine's mtDNA; yet because Julio married Amalia and had children with her, they in turn inherited Amalia's mtDNA rather than Eglantine's. So by tracing Eglantine's female descendants I would be able to find what maternal haplogroup Eglantine belonged to. Why is that important you ask? Well, because we know that Eglantine was from Africa, by having the mtDNA tested we would be able to see which haplogroup she belonged to from Africa and potentially even be able to pinpoint a certain part or even ethnic group which she would have belonged to.

Since I trace colateral lines when I do genealogy, it was easy to just check my tree and find who was a female descendant of Eglantine Lautin. I'll post them here so hopefully through the graces and cosmic wonders of genealogy I'll be able to find one of them still alive or even their daughters who would be willing to help me out!

By way of María Luisa Alvarado Correa (daughter of my 2nd great grand-aunt, Senovia Correa Gustavo) and her husband Marcelino Santana:
  • Carmen Francisca Santana Alvarado
    • Born: 8 March 1929, Rio Jueyes, Salinas Puerto Rico
  • Ana F. Santana Alvarado
    • Born abt 1930, Salinas, Puerto Rico
  • Raquel Santana Alvarado 
    • Born abt 1935, Salinas, Puerto Rico
By way of Francisca Correa Gustavo (my 2nd great grand-aunt, sister of Senovia) and her husband Juan Bautista Velasquez Negron:
  • Inocencia Velasquez Correa
    • Born: 14 September 1921, Jobos, Guayama, Puerto Rico
This one is a long shot since I don't know anything more recent, but still none the less a female descendant of Eglantine

By way of Marie Boudré Lautin (my 4th great grand-aunt, daughter of Eglantine herself) and the child's father Gaëtan Cellia:
  • Lucie Cellia Boudré/ Lucie Boudré (she was born out of wedlock):
    • Born 1 June 1873, Rivière Salée, Saint Esprit, Fort de France, Martinique
Equally, the only potential Y-DNA carrier of the potential father (who appears as Pedro in Puerto Rican records) to Julienne Malvina, that is if they share the same father would be: 

By way of Jean Lautin (my 4th great grand-uncle, son of Eglantine herself) and his wife Cunégonde Mérida:
  • Jean Gualbert Lautin Mérida
    • Born 12 July 1890, Petit Paradis, Saint Esprit, Fort de France, Martinique

Hopefully I can discover more about the Lautin family through a genetic aspect, which I think would be very cool to learn their stories through genes!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year- New Genealogical Resolutions

A New Year Is Here!!

As the new year rang in, I thought about all the things I want accomplished in my life throughout 2013. But I also thought about the genealogical resolutions I would make for this upcoming year. So I decided to come up with some resolutions and wishes (in no particular order) for my genealogical adventure this year! I came up with 13 resolutions +1 for good luck, just in case :)

Resolutions for 2013:
  • Discover more about Jean Charles Gustave (Juan Carlos Gustavo), like whether he was from Martinique or Guadeloupe, his parents' names, his background, etc. 
  • Extend my branches in Puerto Rico further back. 
  • Learn more about my ancestors from Martinique and their lives. 
  • Speak to more relatives and collect more stories about my ancestors. 
  • Discover more about myself and my family through DNA. 
  • Connect with more genetic cousins on 23andme and AncestryDNA.
  • Find out more about my 2nd great grandmother Amalia Rivera Rodríguez (Masantini). 
  • Find out more about José Avilés and whether his father really was Damià Magraner from Sóller, Mallorca. 
  • Look through more Puerto Ricans records at the LDS Family Center. 
  • Learn more about my Correa family and their J1/J1e paternal ancestry. 
  • Try and figure out my parents' family connection to one another. 
  • Find out more about Jewish genetic connections in my family. 
  • Read more about the history of Puerto Rico and Spain and their contributing cultures . 
  • Discover a new set of ancestors from outside of Puerto Rico. 

Hopefully these resolutions will inspire you to find something new, discover more about yourself or to dig deeper in your family tree and genealogy! There are still 363 days for you to get started :)

PS- Thank you to everyone that has viewed my blog, so far 3000+ views! Hopefully I've helped answer questions or spark interests in your own genealogy! Happy 2013!!