Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Ancestors – #31 Dolores Santiago Burgos (1859-1929)

Today's post is about my 3rd great grandmother Dolores Santiago Burgos -- a lot of recent posts from my 3rd grandparents' generation!

Dolores Santiago Burgos was probably one of the first ancestors I found when I began researching my family. Because my grandmother knew the name of her parents and grandparents, this allowed me to easily search the census records for my ancestors on my maternal side of the family. I knew that my 2nd great grandmother Francisca Orozco was married to my 2nd great grandfather Pedro Dávila and they lived in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico (we knew however that Francisca died in the early 1940s because my grandmother never got the chance to meet her). I searched the census records for Yabucoa, specifically in the barrio of Calabazas, and found them in the 1910 census. Luckily my 2nd great grandmother was still living with her parents so this allowed me the chance to learn the names of my 3th great grandparents (Dolores being one of them). This 1910 census would later also become an important piece for making a connection to a cousin of mine who found me on

1910 Census - Yabucoa, Puerto Rico [Ancestry]

With the help of the Puerto Rican Civil Registry on FamilySearch I was able to find Dolores' death record and also with the help of the microfilmed church records of Puerto Rico I was able to find Dolores' and her husband's (Benito Orozco) marriage record in 1876… which was pretty awesome to find!

Dolores in many of the records appears as either mulata or trigueña, I imagine that Dolores had some color to her! Dolores and Benito had eight children in totally and sadly I don't have any photos of any them, but I do have a photo of my great grandmother! From the research I have done, it seems that Dolores was an only child (which isn't too common in the 1800s in Puerto Rico). Many families had a number of children, anywhere from three to an upwards of ten, so for Dolores to be an only child is interesting and a bit strange to me. My spidey-sense tells me that there has to be more of them, but many there really aren't. None of the less, Dolores was the daughter of Manuel de Santiago and his wife Juana Burgos.

Dolores is also interesting to me because she is the carrier of my maternal haplogroup, C1b4 -- commonly referred to as a native haplogroup. Probably one of Dolores' distant ancestresses was a Taíno/Arawak woman who lived in the southern part of Puerto Rico and later mixed in with the people who came to populate the island. Many people think (and are taught) that the Taíno were wiped clean off the island of Borikén due to disease and slavery but the narrative is now changing with the help of DNA. It seems that over 65% of Puerto Ricans carry a native maternal haplogroup, which would mean that many assimilated into the changing culture rather than dying off. However, there aren't many male haplogroups (if any) on the island, which would mean that either the males were more likely to be killed or that the European paternal haplogroups overpowered in number and over time the native Taíno haplogroups began to disappear. I am proud to carry a piece of my history in my blood and to show that the natives are still with us, flowing through our veins and our culture.

Dolores passed away in 1929, already a widow of Benito Orozco. She was buried in Yabucoa, but unfortunately I don't think her grave would be around because she was most likely buried in the public town cemetery and the headstone (if there was any to begin with) is probably long gone by now. None the less, it would be nice walk through the barrio of Calabazas and visit the cemetery in Yabucoa to pay my respects to not only Dolores but also to my other ancestors who lived and were buried there. Without them, I wouldn't be here in the first place! 

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