Monday, March 31, 2014

Time to Play Catch Up!

I have been away the last two weeks of this month on spring break and being in China and South Korea definitely did not allow me the time to write about my ancestors and work on my blog. So now I have some catching up to do! I have to post two new posts for the 52 Ancestor Challenge and write hopefully another about finding a new cousin! I also have some reaching out to do, messages to answer and some more (of course) genealogy work to do.

Until then here are some pictures you can enjoy from my 2 week trip to Asia!

上海,中国 (Shanghai, China)

昆明,中国 (Kunming, China)

北京,中国 (Beijing, China)

北京,中国 (Beijing, China)

서울,대한민국 (Seoul, South Korea)

부산,대한민국 ( Busan, South Korea)

Friday, March 14, 2014

52 Ancestors – #11 José de León Correa Carcaño (1778?-18??)

Today's ancestor is a maternal ancestor who I'm kind of stuck on and would love to learn more about! He is my 5th great grandfather and his name is José de León Correa Carcaño.


This ancestor is the earliest documented "Correa" on my family tree so far. Growing up, I was aware of my Correa family as it would have been my 2nd last name had I been born in Puerto Rico, yet I was unaware of the family's origin. I have written previously about this family and all of the information and even misinformation I had on them. Luckily, I was able to crack my Correa brick wall and learn more about my maternal family.

José de León Correa Carcaño was born about 1778 in San Juan, Puerto Rico to his parents Juan Francisco Correa and María Eugenia Carcaño. As you can see, José was born a long time ago and thus would not appear on any census records. So I must rely on church records in order to find out more about my ancestors. José's son and my 4th great grandfather was named Juan Nepomucino Correa Rodríguez and according to records he was born in Coamo yet he lived and passed away in Salinas, Puerto Rico in 1883 – he is the first generation of Salinas inhabitants of the Correas. As you can see we are dealing now with three different towns: San Juan, Coamo and Salinas. This Correa family moved around pretty quickly, within two generations they had covered three towns and finally settled in Salinas probably around the mid-1800s.

San Juan – Coamo – Salinas [Google Maps]


José de León had two marriages and both occurred in Coamo, PR. I was fortunate and lucky to use the microfilms from Coamo in order to try and find José's marriages. Jose's first marriage in 1809 was to Rosa Ortiz, a illegitimate daughter of Luisa Ortiz, both natives of Coamo. With Rosa, to date, I know that José had four children: Antonio, María, Maximo and Juana. 10 year after his first marriage, José married my 5th great grandmother María de la Cruz Rodríguez Ruiz – they married on the 21st of November in 1819 in Coamo, Puerto Rico. Since they lived in Coamo, they most likely married in the Church of San Blás de Illescas, which began construction in 1661 making it one of the oldest churches on the island.

San Blás de Illescas, Coamo, Puerto Rico [Wikipedia]

I'm not sure however of where or when José de León passed away. It is very possible that José moved to Salinas with his son and died there, but it would have to have happened before 1885 as I've checked the books after that year Or possibly José stayed in Coamo and lived out the rest of his life there; I also don't know where my 5th great grandmother María de la Cruz passed away. I'll have to order the church records from Salinas and Coamo again to search and see if I can find their death records. María de la Cruz was the daughter of Sebastián Rodríguez Rodríguez and María de Gracia Ruiz Sánchez, and it seems that both her parents and grandparents were from Coamo as well. Coamo was founded in 1579 and who knows how long my family had lived there! Salinas on the other hand wasn't founded until 1851!

Coamo, Puerto Rico [Google]

What's interesting is that my Correa line's Y-DNA is J1/J1e. This group can commonly be found in the Middle Eastern area which to me is super interesting. What's interesting is that Correa is commonly referred to as a Sephardic Jewish surname and there are males with a J1e paternal haplogroup who are Jewish. Could my male ancestor originally have fled Spain during or after the inquisition? Or was he a male that arrived in Spain from Africa via the Muslim Conquest? So far these are two possible theories, until I can truly document my Correa males with a paper trail or take a more in-depth Y-DNA test I'll have to settle for the hypotheses I have so far.

Haplogroup J1 Frequency [Eupedia]

Hopefully, I'll be able to find out who José de León's grandparents were and hopefully get a step closer to learning more about my Correa family origin. I haven't come across too many Correas in my life (besides my family) and/or in my genealogical search so hopefully finding them in documents will be easy peasy! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

52 Ancestors – #10 Hernán Pérez (1508-1581)

Post #10 already!! Today's ancestor I want to focus on I've talked a little bit about but in a different aspect. I've talked about his origins in my post "Travel Tuesday: Oh The Place I'll Go". This post will discuss more about my 11th great grandfather Hernán Pérez.

I would have NEVER imagined that by the age of 23 I would be able to say that I have reached far back to an 11th great grandfather. This, of course, was with the help of genealogists who have come before me and have complied a lot of this information. Hernán Pérez is a paternal ancestor who I connect to via my Sepúlveda line, I imagine I have a good number of distant cousins through Hernán seeing as how he is so far back the lines most extend so much outwards from him. So let's get started talking about Hernán!

Hernán Pérez, 11th great grandfather [Ancestry.com]

Hernán Pérez was born about 1508 in the town of Almonte, Huelva, Andalucía, España. That's roughly 482 years between his birth and mine! Almonte as I mentioned in my Travel Tuesday post is a southern city in Spain located in the Andalucia region. Hernán's parents Alonso de Lepe and Catalina de Pérez were most likely also from Almonte and were born in the 1490s. It's very interesting to think about my family in Spain at this time seeing as how this was when Christopher Columbus was around and Jews/Muslims were being told they had to leave Spain. What's interesting about Hernán's paternal side of the family is that it seems they were explores/conquistadores. His uncle, Hernando de Lepe seems to have arrived in 1513 with his brother Alonso de Lepe (my 12th great grandfather) to Americas. There is another record for a Hernando de Lepe traveling in 1565 to Puerto Rico with his wife Juana Díaz and listed as son of Diego, who is also my 13th great grandfather. Could have Hernando traveled back and forth for a bit before deciding to settle in Puerto Rico? My 12th great grandparents moved to Puerto Rico as well (Alonso de Lepe and Catalina Pérez), but what would have made them come to PR? Easily we can say that Hernán was looking for a better life and a new one but what about Alonso and Catalina? Were they Jews who feared the consequences of being discovered? Or were they simply adventurous and looking for a life away from boring, old Almonte? Hopefully I'll be able to find some information about their voyage here and place it into some historical context.

According to various sources and books, Hernán Pérez lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico and worked as an escribano which could mean notary or scribe. Here is a reference from the book Siglo en Blanco about Hernán Pérez and his arrival to Puerto Rico in 1540. It mentions that by marrying María del Rincón (my 11th great grandmother), Hernán was able to ascend the social ladder quickly seeing as how María's was a part of a influential and old well established family in Puerto Rico.

Siglo en Blanco [Google Books]

According to this book, it also seems that "Hernán Pérez arrived in Puerto Rico to answer a petition placed by his uncle who was also a scribe named Alonso de Molina. It states that the next year Alonso transferred his lucrative business in San Juan to Hernán as well as marrying off his step-daughter María del Rincón to him. According to various witnesses, 'their marriage was one of the richest marriages that there was on the island.' The dowry of his wife was large and included, 'more than 100,000 pesos in hacienda, slaves, estancias, jewelry…" this allowed Pérez to ascend the social ladder quickly". [My translation]

So it seems that Hernán had a lot to look forward to in Puerto Rico, I'm not sure if he was aware that a wife would be included in the offer but he probably certainly knew that a job was ready for him upon his arrival. I have a copy of Siglo en Blanco and definitely plan to read it as it'll give me more details in not only Hernán's life but also Puerto Rican life in those times. Paternally, Hernán came from a very interesting family because like I had mentioned his uncle and grandfather was a traveler and probably conquistador. His grandfather, Diego de Lepe, according to various sources had traveled to Brazil/South American coast between 1499-1500. Is this why Hernán Pérez himself and his parents traveled to Puerto Rico, knowing that there were more opportunities for them abroad than in Spain? 

Hopefully I'll be able to go to Almonte and see the town and hopefully learn more about Hernán Pérez and his family. I'm sure I'm walk by one of that family's descendants, a distant cousin, and have no idea they are related to me. As we probably do every day of our lives (depending on where we live)! 

According to a few sources (which I'm blanking on right now), Hernán Pérez passed away the 27th of December 1581 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His daughter, Ana del Rincón, is my 10th great grandmother and she is who ties into the Sepúlveda family. Ana might have been one of the last children to be born seeing as how her birth year is listed around 1580. 

I hope to learn more about Hernán Pérez, his travels to Puerto Rico, and his life back in Almonte!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Oh the Place I'll Go...

I'm really loving these geneablogger prompts and one of today's prompts fits perfectly well with a post I wanted to write! Inspired by Dr. Seuss' book title "Oh the Places You'll Go", I decided to talk about some traveling I actually want to get done!

I'll be spending the next year studying in Spain to complete my Masters degree which is a dream come true (I'm praying to all the Gods out there that everything goes well and I get my all paperwork done!). With spending the year in Spain, this will be a perfect time to try and reach some cities where I know I have some ancestors from. My family lived in these towns a little over 400 years ago, but it'll be amazing to walk the same streets they did and see potentially some of the same things they did as well. I'll talk about some cities below I really want to visit (and hopefully will get to post about sometime next year!)

El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz, Andalusia, España)

This is one of the main towns I want to get to in the south of Spain, in the Andalusia area. The town El Puerto de Santa María is a port city not to far from Cádiz and is important both in a historically aspect to me because it was the town Christopher Columbus departed from on his second voyage to the new world in which he "discovered" Puerto Rico! Legend has it that the town was named after a Greek official who lived there after escaping through the straits of Gibraltar and thus the town was named "Menestheus' port". There is so much history to the town, from Moors to Phoenicians and Romans! I really want to walk along the ports of the town and look out into the ocean. When my ancestors left, did they think they would return or even have an idea as to where they were headed? I have no idea if they came straight to Puerto Rico or by way of another Spanish territory but I am very excited to visit the town and potentially learn more about their lives there. My ancestors from El Puerto de Santa María are Miguel Martin de Miranda and his wife Ysabel Rodríguez who were both born about the mid-1620s, they are my 10th great grandparents via my maternal line. Here are some pictures of El Puerto de Santa María!!

El Puerto de Santa María [Google]

Castillo de San Marcos [Wikipedia]

La Playa (The beach)!! [Google] 

Iglesia Mayor Prioral [Wikipedia]

Almonte (Huelva, Andalusia, España)

Here is another southern town on the list; many Puerto Ricans have ancestors from the south which explains our accent! Almonte is also located in Andalusia but in the province of Huelva which actually isn't too far from El Puerto de Santa María (Google shows a 2 hour-ish drive from Almonte to El Puerto de Santa María. Almonte seems to be more of an inland town compared to Cádiz, for example, but Huelva itself is also a port city not too far from Almonte. According to Wikipedia, in the 2010 census the city had only a population of about 23,000 located within the municipality. I haven't found too much information regarding Almonte but there is evidence of the Bronze Age that has been discovered in Almonte which means it has been inhabited for a very long time now. Almonte, like El Puerto de Santa María, probably had a mix of Roman, Phoenician and Moor influence to it as well as probably Sephardic. My ancestor from Almonte was Hernán Pérez (who I'll be writing about for my next 52 Ancestors post!). Hernán would be my 11th great grandfather and seems to have migrated without a family or wife to the Caribbean. Hernán was the son of Alonso de Lepe and his wife Catalina de Pérez, notice that he took his mother's surname. Back in those days, last name traditions weren't set in stone and so if a mother's surname or even grandparent's surname held more status they could have chosen to go with that surname instead of the father's. If my research and connections are correct is seems that my 13th great grandfather, Hernán's grandfather, was Diego de Lepe who traveled along the coast of Brazil in the 1500s. Hernán Pérez himself was born about 1508 in Almonte and died in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1581.

Almonte, Huelva, Andalusia, España [Google]

Ermita del Rocio [Google]

Iglesia Parroquial [Wikipedia]

Villa del Chinchón (Reino del Toledo, España)

This town known simply as Chinchón today is an autonomous Community of Madrid. The church in the town dates back to the 15th-16th century with houses from that era as well. Here we see another influence of Muslim and Christian society mixed together from history (probably not as much as found in the south).  In 2006 the population of Chinchón was only that of 4,943!! Back when my ancestors lived in Chinchón it was part of the Kingdom of Toledo but as Spain began to unite its kingdoms, Toledo was swallowed up by the new collective of kingdoms under the name of España. Chinchón, like Almonte, has a history dating far back, in this case to the Neolithic era. My ancestor from Chinchón was Pedro Maldonado, my 11th great grandfather through my paternal side of the family. According to the research conducted by genealogists who came before me, Pedro Maldonado was born about 1523 in Chinchón to his parents Alonso Maldonado and Elena de Torres both from Chinchón and born about the early 1500s. Pedro is said to have arrived in 1549 on the boat "San Andrés" with its captain Cristobal de Alonso. Pedro Maldonado also appears to have passed away in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1594. If I am able to visit Chinchón, it will 465 years since he left his town! Here are some pictures of Chinchón!

Chinchón, España [Google Maps]
Plaza Mayor & Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción [Wikipedia] 

Panoramic shot of Chinchón [Wikipedia]

Pastrana (Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, España)

This is the last town I'll write about because this post already has a lot going on! Pastrana is another northern-central town where I have ancestors from. The town is located in the province of Guadalajara which is an autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha (I know, so many names to remember!!). The town is mainly known for being the location of the imprisonment of the Princess of Éboli after a court scandal in 1573! The original name of the town given by the Romans was "Paternina" and events in this town date back to 180BC when Tiberio Sempronio Graco destroyed the "ciudadela carpetana". My ancestors from Pastrana were Pedro Fernández and his wife Ysabel Ruiz who were born in the early 1600s, and they moved to Puerto Rico (whether together or separately I don't know). Their son and my 9th great grandfather was named Pedro Díaz Muñiz de Pastrana who held the title of Alférez on the island. He was born about 1645 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and probably died there as well. Thanks to the work of genealogists before me, I probably would have never been able to find some of this information, or it would have taken me some time! Photo time!! 

Pastrana, España [Google Maps]
Palacio Ducal de Pastrana [Wikipedia]

Chapel in Pastrana [Wikipedia]

Panoramic shot of Pastrana [Wikipedia]

There are many towns missing that I would love to visit! I would love to visit Sóller in Mallorca where my 2nd great grandfather was probably from. I would love to visit the Basque country as I probably have ancestors from there as well. And of course, there are the typical Córdoba, Sevilla, Segovia, etc. in Spain. And if I'm somehow able to tie my Guadeloupean roots to a place in France, then I'll have a place to visit there as well! I'm super excited to set foot in some of those towns and hopefully feel some sort of connection while I'm there via my ancestors. Oh the places I'll go!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sibling Saturday: Family Twins Ernesto and Ernesta

I haven't used any of the Geneablogger blog prompts yet since I've been busy with the 52 Ancestor Challenge, but I think today is a great day to use one and you'll see why.

Today is my great grandmother's birthday, as well as her twin brother's! Unfortunately, my great grandmother and her brother have passed on and if they were alive today they would have been celebrating their 91st birthday. They were both born today, March 1st in the year 1923 in the town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. Their parents were from Morovis and how/why they gave birth to their twin children in Cabo Caribe, Vega Baja is beyond me. (I recently talked about this in a post about Ernesta's mother Ramona Rivera).

Ernesta Miranda Rivera [Personal Family Photo]
The story of their birth is an interesting one! My maternal grandmother tells me that when Ramona Rivera Rivera was delivering her child, they were unaware that it was a set of twins. Back in the days in Puerto Rico, many childbirths occurred at home due to inaccessible to centralized hospitals and the low socio-economic status of many working class families. The story goes that Ramona gave birth first to Ernesto and after his birth there was another placenta. When they cut open the placenta, inside was my great grandmother Ernesta. Quickly googling the phenomena, it is scientifically possible - it is known as "intact amniotic sac" and according to an article it is "ultra rare". I'm not sure how true this story is, their birth certificates don't mention anything of the sort yet at the same time I wonder how birth certificates would actually even mention birthing stories on documents. 


Ernesto Miranda Rivera [Personal Family Photo]
My great grand-uncle Ernesto Miranda (pictured left) worked as an ambulance driver. I actually don't know too much about Ernesto, I have that his wife's name is Angelina Rodríguez and that they had two sons together. Ernesta (our family calls her Ernestina) moved to San Juan as well as her brother but I wonder if the family just drifted apart, whether on purpose or by mistake. According to a social security record I found, it seems that Ernesto passed away in 2010 in San Juan, which actually wasn't too long ago. My maternal grandmother remembers talking and meeting Ernesto but we really don't have too much on him and his life. I have this picture thanks to some searching I did in my grandmother's closet while looking through my grandfather's things. In the photo album he had, there were many pictures of his mother and some of his uncle and cousins from his maternal side of the family.

Hopefully I'll learn more about Ernesto's life one day! Especially since he was my great-uncle, which is pretty close genealogically speaking. In Puerto Rico, we still would have called him tío just as I do with my other great-uncles and great-aunts (tía).