Thursday, May 22, 2014

52 Ancestors – #21 Juana Arvelo Vera (1872-1912)

I'm posting early since I won't have a chance to write this weekend! Today I want to focus on my 3rd great grandmother Juana Arvelo Vera. She is another ancestress I don't know much about and hope to learn more as I continue my research.

Juana's estimated year of birth is 1872 according to her death record, she is also said to be a native of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. At the time of her death in 1912 she was about the age of 40, living in Coto, Manatí with her husband and categorized as "white" and her cause of death is listed as "anemia". Fortunately, Juana lived long enough to appear on the 1910 Census record. She appears to be living in the same household as José Meléndez Morán (my 2nd great grandfather), his wife Anicasia Sánchez Arvelo (one of Juana's daughter), and her husband listed as Francisco Sánchez Martinez (who actually was Francisco Sánchez Flores). Both Francisco and Juana are listed as mulato, along with everyone else in the household.

Juana Arvelo Vera- 1910 Census [Ancestry]

From the 1910 Census record, we can tell that Juana and her husband Francisco married around 1885 and had 5 children in total, 3 of who were still alive for the 1910 Census. So far, I have only been able to identity four out of the five children: Marcelino, Agustina, Anicasia, and María Aurora. It seems that Juana and her husband did some traveling since she was originally from San Sebastián and he from Quebradillas, one of their daughters was born in Utuado, and finally they ended in Manatí. We also know that Juana and her husband were unable to read and write, along with José and Anicasia (remember many low-income farming rural families really had no need for higher education back then). 

It's also very interesting to think that Juana and Francisco would have been in their late 20s when the Spanish American War broke out and Puerto Rico was handed over to the United States in 1898. How would have Juana and Francisco felt? Did they side with Spain or the US? Or where they unfazed by the change of hands between the two countries? It's very interesting to think about, especially with recent events in our own history such as the issues between Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia. 

Juana also is one of my only ancestors to carry a non-native maternal haplogroups. Juana through her mother Luisa Vera was a carrier of U5b1b1b, which can be found in Europe, Northern African, and the Near East. Luisa Vera herself is said to have been born in San Sebastián and would have been born roughly in the mid-1830s. I have no idea so far how the maternal haplogroup was introduced into our family and from where. 

There is much to learn about Juana Arvelo Vera, her life, her husband, her children and her background. Hopefully one day I can get my hands on some baptismal records from the church in San Sebastián and begin to ravel the mystery behind the Arvelo Vera family! 

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