Monday, January 20, 2014

Tragedy in the Family

When researching my family, I have always seen it important to research other branches of the family. While looking into my Charles/Gustave side of the family I came across a cousin who went through some pretty serious tragedies practically year after year.

My 1st cousin 4x removed, Pedro Juan Gustavo Siman (who's last names later would becomes 'Charles Siman') was born in Guánica, Yauco, Puerto Rico on the 6th of April 1904. His parents were Alberto Fermin Gustavo Lotten and María Siman Rodríguez. His father, Alberto, was my 3rd great grand-uncle and his family's branch extends in to Guánica since he raised his family there. My branch stayed in Salinas, which is a neighboring town and to this day I have Charles cousins in the Guánica area who I one day will hopefully get to meet!

In 1910 and 1920, Pedro lived with his parents and in 1926 Pedro would marry. On the 12th of June 1926, Pedro Juan Gustavo Siman married Petra Claudio López in Guánica. Two years later their first daughter, Luz Celeste Charles Claudio was born on the 6th of January 1928. There was another son, Alberto Luis, shortly born after her who's birth certificate I can't find yet and then I have four more children born after Alberto Luis. This is sadly when the family's luck turns for the worst.

Every child after Luz and Alberto Luis didn't make it past a year.

There was Eddie Nelson born 8th of July 1934 and passed away the 15th of July 1934.
Then a daughter Daisy was born on/about November 1935 and passed away the 10th of January 1936.
After, a son named Benjamin was born in June 1939 and passed away on the 23rd of November 1939.
Lastly (from what I have), there was Pedro Juan Jr. born the 25th of May 1943 and passed away on the 14th of June 1943.

Among the reasons for death are: Acute Enterocolitis, Chronic intestinal indigestion, Chronic gastroenteritis, and one death even was said to be caused by congenital syphilis.

What struck me the most was that despite infantile death rates probably being somewhat high at the time, this family didn't really suffer too much from early deaths. Most of the children continued into their late adulthood lives before they passed. And in this case there were back-to-back cases of child deaths. Three of four death causes seem to be connected to virus/bacteria exposure, were Pedro and his wife Petra living in bad conditions or unknowingly had something in the home that was harboring these viruses?

It was very sad to find these records trying to find and connect my family. Did Pedro and Petra have a strained relationship? They seemed to live out their lives together seeing as I haven't found a record for him remarrying. Was the family supportive of the couple and what they were going through? I imagine that it must be expensive to bury four children in the span of 9 years. Did the family blame it on witchcraft? (Sometimes when things can't be explained, many in the Caribbean turn to the idea of someone placing a curse on the family or giving the "evil eye"). Did Pedro and Petra remain hopeful?

I hope that their branch extends beyond my knowledge and that I might one day learn more about Pedro and his wife Petra! 

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