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

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