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!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Super exciting. Look forward to reading more about Spain when you get there. Sounds so fun.