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 []

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!


  1. Impressive. How long did it take you to find your 11th great grandfather? That's some serious digging. I'm so far from that but hope to be close one day.

    1. Once I found my 4th great grandmother, she came from a well documented family on the Western side of the island. She was the one who connected me back to my 11th great grandfather. I myself thought I'd never get there but little by little! I had been doing research for at least 8-9 years before I found him!

  2. Luis,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks Jana! Greatly appreciate it! Enjoy your weekend as well, loving your blog BTW!

  3. Wow, I wish I can go that far back, so far I'm back to my 3rd great grandfather...all that I know is that his name was Maximino Perez in Adjuntas PR. I love reading this blog btw, it's nice to see other's researching as well