Monday, August 18, 2014

52 Ancestors – #28 Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera (1850-1925)

I'm kind of on a roll here so I'm going to continue with my 28th post about my 3rd great grandfather Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera!

It's kind of funny to think about a 3rd great grandfather. I was fortunate to meet two of my great grandparents and my father meet his great grandfather (My second great grandfather) – so in reality a third great grandfather isn't actually that far removed. I unfortunately don't have any stories or knowledge of Buenaventura; he passed away in 1925 when my great grandmother would have been in her late teens. I unfortunately didn't get to meet her and I wasn't raised around her son (my grandfather) so therefore another chain is broken. Kind of sad that I didn't hear too many stories of my ancestors but thankfully with records I can start to reconstruct some of their lives and pass on what I've learned about them!

Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera would have been born around 1850 in the town of Corozal, Puerto Rico. Corozal is the same town my great grandmother Mercedes Ortiz Marrero was born in herself and I have various other ancestors/extended family who lived there, many via the town of Toa Alta. Very possible that Buenaventura was born in the town of Palos Blancos since that is where he stayed the rest of his life. He was one of nine children and was the son of Ramón Ortiz and Sotera Rivera Pacheco, unfortunately I don't have Ramón's second surname since it seems that he passed away before 1885. Buenaventura's siblings include: Felipa, Manuel, Ramona, Francisco, Juan, Estanislao, Estevan, and Isabelo (the last three I haven't been able to find documents for yet).

Somewhere around 1869, Buenaventura would marry my 3rd great grandmother Blasina Pérez Vásquez (also spelled Vázquez). Very interesting name Blasina, I hadn't heard it until I found her in my tree. Buenaventura and Blasina also had a big family themselves, 10 children in total so far, including: Santos, Clemencia, Martin, Mercedes, Isidro, José, Juan, Buenaventura (Jr.), María, and Julia. Martin Ortiz Pérez was my 2nd great grandfather and I was fortunate to hear a few stories about him from my great-aunt before she passed away.

It's interesting to note that in 1910 the family was listed as living in Palos Blancos, Corozal, Puerto Rico and all as mulattos. There is a house guest named "Petra Figueroa" living with them. Buenaventura according to the census lived in a farm which he owned and worked on. No one in the house was able to read or write, so I'm proud to see that Buenaventura owned his own farm (and he is the one only on that sheet to be living on a farm!) Next to Buenaventura's house on the next page of the census was listed Manuel Ortiz Rivera his brother who also owned a farm, could they have inherited some type of land from their parents?

1910 Census - Corozal, Puerto Rico [Ancestry]
1910 Census - Corozal, Puerto Rico [Ancestry]

Later in 1920, the last census Buenaventura would appear on shows him still living in the barrio of Palos Blancos, Corozal, Puerto Rico. This time there is a new daughter listed named Mercedes and this time there are three house guests or boarders with the last name López. I'm not aware of any López ancestors on that side of the family but potentially they are some cousins or the neighbors children whom they let live with them. The family is still listed as mulatto and unable to read or write, it's interesting that none of the children were sent to school yet the children listed are girls so who knows if that's the reason they were never sent (of course, there is the possibility or rather the reality that they probably lived in poverty and couldn't afford education for multiple children). On the census out of the 25 people listed on the page, only three are able to read and write. Two are siblings, Juan and Casimiro, aged 13 and 10 respectively and the other, another Casimiro, is 14 years old. Again we see that he is living on property he owned and was working de su cuenta which pretty much means of his own accord. I'm guessing he sold and grew whatever he wanted and felt was necessary; according to the census it seems he grew mostly coffee!

1920 Census - Corozal, Puerto Rico [Ancestry]
1920 Census - Corozal, Puerto Rico [Ancestry]

Buenaventura would later pass away at the age of 75 passing away from "Enterocolitis Enteritis Crónica". What's interesting to note on his death record is his identification of race. His race is placed as "Yndia". At first I thought "Indian?!? as in from India?" But with the names Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera I was pretty sure that he was not from the country of India. My next guess was that he most likely looked very mulatto or pardo that they identified him as indio. I haven't seen this categorizing on many records and really can't think of any other in my family besides this one. Checking the next few records I did find a few more "raza india" individuals, so I'm guessing that for the man writing down the information he used three classifications: blanca (white), negra (black), and india ("indian/native"). 

Raza India [FamilySearch]

I wish there was a picture of Buenaventura to see how "native" he really looked. I do have a picture of his granddaughter (my great grandmother) and she definitely has some color to her. When Blasina, Buenaventura's wife, passed away in 1945 she was categorized as mulata. So I do wonder how much Taíno ran through their blood, or even African at that! So thanks to the power of documentation I have been able to learn about my 3rd great grandfather. Hopefully I'll be able to meet some descendants of Ramon Ortiz and Sotera Rivera Pacheco, as well as Buenaventura and Blasina, who can share more information or even pictures with me!

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