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! 


  1. Researching past census dates sounds so intimidating. Congrats on getting as far as you have. How difficult was it to find the births, marriages & children of these ancestors?

    1. Hi Diana, because Salinas and Coamo have had their church records copied by the LDS church so I was able to get records through them and view the towns. It really depends on the town and the records.