Wednesday, August 20, 2014

52 Ancestors – #29 Valentin González Quiñones (1828-1907)

With this post of my 29th ancestor I'll have concluded the posts from July!! I'm definitely very excited to get into my posts for August and then line up my next ancestors for the next months to come. So without further ado, here is my 29th post about my 3rd great grandfather Valentin González Quiñones. (Note: I've rearranged the posts a bit, so this technically isn't the last post for July anymore but that's still okay :D)

Valentin is another one my 3rd great grandfathers, distant yet so close like Buenaventura Ortiz Rivera. Because Valentin was born in 1828, he comes from an older line in my family (aka a family that waited longer to have children), he seems much more distant than Buenaventura. Valentin was born according to a record I found in his marriage consanguinity record (more to come on that in a bit) on the 13th of November 1828 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Even though he was born in Corozal he spent the remainder of his life in Toa Alta and that's probably because at that point the towns were in limbo between together and separate entities. Valentin is the son of Juan González and Isidora Quiñones, who sometimes appears as María Vásquez on other records. Valentin's birth record is mentioned to be in the "pardos y morenos" section of the books in Corozal.

I was able to find Valentin's marriage record thanks to the FamilySearch Toa Alta church records and it shows that he married my 3rd great grandmother Feliciana Mojica González on the 12th of September 1863. What's interesting is that Feliciana was 15 years his elder, who had five previous children and was widowed. In their marriage record it mentions that they were "2º grado de consanguinidad" which means that they were related to one another. At first I was kind of indifferent about it, I knew it was common in Puerto Rico for endogamy to occur and I didn't really know how the grados worked so I wasn't too creeped out by it. But it does make me think: Was this some sort of arranged marriage by the family to save Feliciana's status? Or maybe Valentin's status? He wasn't coming into this marriage as a widower like Feliciana was but he was also 35, an old age for the "average" couple having children in colonial Puerto Rico. I knew that Feliciana's mother was Juliana González and figured that the relationship had to be through that surname since Valentin didn't have Mojica in his tree.

When I visited Puerto Rico last summer, I headed to one of the offices where records are stored wanting to find consanguinity records for Toa Alta. Luckily, they did have the years I was searching for and the lady kindly pulled the records from the back room before I arrived to have them ready. I arrived, gave in my ID to have it photocopied, and started looking through the files. I was very discouraged at first because I had searched all the marriages within the 1860s with consanguinity records but didn't find a Valentin marrying a Feliciana. Towards the end of my search I looked in another packet that wasn't that set of years and found the record (almost giving me a heart attack from the excitement!). I was too excited, I actually had found the actual consanguinity record of 1863 for my 3rd great grandparents.

What the record pretty much stated, in short, was that they were related and there were witnesses that came forward to attest to their relation and their wanting to get married. In order to respect the Dioceses of San Juan I'll put some of the transcriptions of what the records say in stead of the images, which rereading them now is very interesting:

"Valentin González natural del pueblo del Corozal y vecino de este partido de Toa Alta, soltero e hijo lego [legitimo] de Juan y de Isidora Quiñones difuntos ante V.I. respetuosamente dispone: que habiendo tenido la desgracia de vivir en el concubinato con Feliciana Mogica [sic], hija lega de Valentin y Juliana González, natural y vecina de Toa Alta y viuda de Remigio Mogica, descando?? ponerse en estado de gracia alejándose para siempre de aquella mala vida, sin que en su concepto […] el 28 de enero 1862, por haber hecha diligencias antes del tiempo allí preferido para con aquella dispensa del parentesco de consanguinidad en segundo grado, cuyas diligencias no tuvieron efecto en atención a la insuficiencia de sus […] según la consta el noble padre cura de este pueblo de Toa Alta y a los testigos de que intentan valorme para que justifiquen…" [bold added by me for emphasis]

The words I highlighted myself because it seems like the church had no problem calling out Valentin and Feliciana on the sins they committed by having 1) having sex without being first married and 2) with someone from the same family in such a close range of cousins. Looking at it now, my 2nd great grandmother Laureana González Mojica was born out of wedlock in 1855 when Valentin was only 27! It is evident that they applied for the ability to marriage because they wanted to remove themselves from that bad life of disgrace in which they were living in, which the church called concubinage. Seems very extreme to me, but in the mid-1800s in a very Catholic-centric Puerto Rico I can image how serious it really was. Even today, we can feel the influence of the church on the island and in the Puerto Rican culture.

The records goes on to state: "Sí saben que Juan González y Juliana González difuntos fueron legítimos hermanos, primer grado, si de Juan procedió el pretendido Valentin y de Juliana la pretendida Feliciana, primeros hermanos y segundo grado." 

Here we see that their parents Juan and Juliana were brothers and sisters therefore making Valentin and Feliciana first cousins (of the second degree consanguinity). Various witnesses came forward to attest their relationship and consanguinity, for example: Facundo de Rivera, Alejo de Rivera, Joaquin Rodríguez, and Severo Camacho. These "de Rivera" men are probably related to me somehow through my 4th great grandfather Joseph/José de Rivera. The most important witness of them all was José María González, hermano mayor del pretended… al referido hermano Valentin." So here we see that his older brother José María González came forward for his little brother's marriage.

Valentin lived a relatively long life, until the age of 78, when he died of cirrhosis on the 3rd of July 1907. Valentin was still living in Toa Alta (the barrio of Río Lajas) and Feliciana had recently passed away three years before him.  His daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, was still alive and still living herself in Río Lajas. Again, I can only retell the information that the records have provided me. I can't tell if he was happy in his marriage with Feliciana, whether they chose to marry each other or whether it was a move by the family to protect themselves from something. I'm not sure how aware the family was of this marriage and that they were fairly close cousins, I'm not sure if it was something they talked about. And I really do wonder around what circumstances this was all happening!

This post was rather long winded and no pretty pictures to distract you guys but I do hope you've enjoyed hearing about Valentin and probably a somewhat (from what I imagine) difficult life he might have had. 

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