Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors – #12 Estefania Marrero Rivera (1809-1890)

After a two week hiatus, I'm back and ready to continue my 52 Ancestor series- which means I have to catch up on past posts I missed. Today I will focus on ancestor #12, a paternal ancestor named Estefania Marrero Rivera (my 5th great grandmother).

Puerto Rican Records [FamilySearch]

When I first learned about the Puerto Rican Civil Registry on FamilySearch I was super excited to extend my branches further back than what the census records had allowed me. When suddenly some of the church records became available I was über excited because it meant I could potentially push the branches even further. I descend from Estefania Marrero Rivera through my great grandmother, Mercedes Marrero Ortiz, who I had previously written about. Here is my line from Mercedes to my 5th great grandmother.

Mercedes Marrero Ortiz --> Antonia Marrero Marrero (mother) --> Juan Marrero Rivera (grandfather) --> Bartolo Marrero (great grandfather) --> Estefania Marrero Rivera (2nd great grandmother)

My great grandmother would have never gotten the chance to meet Estefania but she might have heard stories of her 2nd great grandmother through her own grandfather Juan or even her great grandfather Bartolo who lived up until 1917 (Mercedes would have been around 13 years old at the time of his passing).

As you might remember, Mercedes my great grandmother was from a town called Corozal, Puerto Rico. Her mother, grandfather, and great grandfather were all born in Corozal as well. The family spent their years mostly living between the barrios of Palos Blancos and Palmajero in Corozal. Yet Estefania Marrero Rivera was born in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico- a neighboring town of Corozal to the north-east.

Corozal, Puerto Rico [Google]

Flag of Corozal, PR [Wikipedia]

When you take a look at Corozal's history, you realize that Corozal was founded in 1795 and officially became a town in 1804. Before Corozal became the town we know it as today, many of the lands were part of Toa Alta. Meaning that my Marrero family could have been some of the first families to help populate the newly formed town of Corozal in the early 19th century. Estefania was for a long time the oldest ancestor I had been able to track down with a paper trail due to Toa Alta's church records being readily available online. Look at the record below! This is Estefania's baptism record in the year 1809 in the town of Toa Alta, how I was able to finally break apart and understand this document I will never know! The ink is badly smudged and the words are barely legible, but her entry is on the right hand side, the fourth one down.

Estefania Marrero Rivera- Baptism [FamilySearch]

According to her baptism record Estefania was born on the 3rd of August 1809 in Toa Alta. Her godparents were Lucas Marrero and Catalina Rivera which I'm wondering are an uncle and aunt for both sides of her family since her parents' names are Juan de Dios Marrero and Rosa de Rivera. Estefania was one of five children potentially being the youngest or second to youngest of the bunch. Estefania's parents I think were well known and established in the town of Toa Alta, they were godparents to various children that from my knowledge are not related to me. See below for an example!

Padrinos: Juan de Dios Marrero and Rosa Rivera [FamilySearch]

I also have a theory that Estefania's parents might have been slave owners! Various documents show slaves being baptized and owned by a "Rosa Rivera/Rosa de Rivera" and sometimes "Juan de Dios Marrero", however they never appear together. Here is an example of a slave being confirmed, notice that the slave belongs to Rosa de Rivera and the godmother of the slave was (drumroll please) Catalina Rivera!!

Teresa, slave of Rosa de Rivera [FamilySearch]

Estefania at some point would move to Corozal since all of her children seem to have been born there. Her first child and my 4th great grandfather Bartolo Marrero was born circa 1828 which would mean that Estefania probably moved in her early/late teenage years. No father was listed for her children so all of them took on the name "Marrero" which should have been their maternal name and not passed down, had Estefania gotten married to the father of the children my great grandmother would have been Mercedes Ortiz (insert other Spanish name!). Crazy how certain circumstances can change a family's line. In total, Estefania had five children: Bartolo, Elena, Francisco, and Olivia and all of them lived long lives in Corozal. Estefania passed away in Dos Bocas, Corozal, Puerto Rico from chronic dysentery on the 31st of January 1890.

I wonder if Estefania is related to my 4th great grandfather Juan/José Monserrate Marrero, who is also from the Corozal/Toa Alta area. He would have been born in the early-mid 1800s so he could have been a cousin to Estefania. Only time will tell, hopefully I'll be able to see records from Corozal's church one day!


  1. Hola,

    Perhaps you can help me in my present and most important task.
    I am Jose F.Marrero Gotay, 1953, NYC
    Son of: Jose F.Marrero Morales, 1928,Morovis,PR
    Son of: Jose G. Marrero Marrero, 1895,Morovis & Maria Moralez Miranda, Morovis
    Son of: Jose I. Marrero Santiago, 1849, Morovis& Julia Marrero, Morovis
    Son of: Tomas Marrero, 1822, Corozal & Candida Chevere, Corozal
    This is my last ten years dead end ?
    I would be eternally greatful for any help.

    Jose F. Marrero

  2. Wow, great detail. Estefania was my great great great mother. Her son Bartolo had a daughter named Secudina Marrero, who married Juan Diaz. One of their children was my grandmother named Francisca Diaz who married my grandfather Carlos Negron. They lived in Palos Blanco Corozal.