Thursday, October 9, 2014

52 Ancestors – #41 María Paulina Gustavo Lotten (1867-1948)

Yay for writing a new post (and on time!) Today I want to focus on my 3rd great grandmother who I've mentioned multiple times throughout my blog but I wanted to dedicate a section of the 52 Ancestors challenge to her.

My 3rd great grandmother on my maternal side was María Paulina Gustavo Lotten, and boy did it take me a long time to figure out all of that information. Officially, my 3rd great grandmother's should either be A) María Paulina Jean-Charles Lautin or B) María Paulina Gustave Lautin. And I'll explain why!

María Paulina was born on the island of Vieques, a island on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico on the 15th of January 1867, and later baptized on the 14th of February of the same year. Paulina was the daughter of two immigrants who had probably just recently arrived to the island when she was born. Her father was Gustave Jean Charles (also known as Gustavo Juan Carlos/Charles or Juan Carlos Gustavo- know you can see why there are two options for Paulina) and her mother was Julienne Malvina Lautin (also known as Juliana Malvina Lotten). Both were from French islands, Gustave hailing from the island of Guadeloupe and Julienne from the island of Martinique. So far, I've hit a brick wall with searching Gustave's origins on the island of Guadeloupe. I was very fortunate to find Julienne's original town in Martinique, which was Rivière Salée, a section of Trois Bourgs. We know that Gustave was married previously in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe around the years 1851-1865, when his first wife Françoise Jackson passed away from Cholera. Hopefully I'll be able to find out where Gustave Jean Charles was from, whether it be Guadeloupe or another town!

My 3rd great-grandmother was the first born of seven children, as the family traveled the children were born along the way in different towns. María Paulina and Tomás Octavio were born in Vieques, Areopajita and Valentina were born somewhere between Vieques and Fajardo. Dionisio was born in Fajardo, Alberto Fermin in Salinas, and Martina Isabel in Santa Isabela. As you can see the family did some traveling! Finally the family would settle in the southern coast of Puerto Rico in the Salinas, Guánica, Ponce area. My 3rd great grandmother lived and married in Salinas, but later moved up north to San Juan, PR.

María Paulina married in the town of Salinas in 1896 to Manuel Correa Ortiz, son of Juan Nepomucino Correa Rodríguez and Bibiana Ortiz. Together they would have eight children together, my 2nd great grandfather being the 3rd to last born.

It's important to note that my 3rd great-grandmother probably received her name as a namesake from her mother's deceased sister. Julienne was born in 1844 and later a sister named Pauline was born in 1846, Pauline would later pass away in 1855 at the age of 8. I'm pretty sure this is where she gets her name, as a memory and dedication to her mother's deceased younger sister; both born into slavery and freed together with their mother in 1848.

By the year 1940, María Paulina (who sometimes went by the name 'Octavia') is found living alone in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Calle Progreso. Eight years later, on the 20th of September 1948 Paulina would pass away from cardiac troubles.

I wonder a lot about María Paulina and what kind of life she would have lived. Would she have been raised bilingual by her parents? Could she speak French, Martinican or Guadeloupean Créole and Spanish? Her mother would have been 23 when she was born and probably a recent immigrant to Puerto Rico, had she already begun to learn Spanish when Paulina was born? Did María Paulina know much about her parents' origins and about their past lives in the West Indies? Did she raise her own children by speaking créole to them and telling them stories about her parents?

Unfortunately, any of those stories would be cut short from me when my 2nd great-grandfather died in 1929 leaving my great grandfather without a lot of that information if he had any of it at all. I wish I knew more about this family and their cultural ties to Guadeloupe and Martinique. Did the children dream about visiting these islands themselves and seeing where their parents had spent the beginning years of their lives? Did Julienne or Gustave ever what to return? When I found out about this family and my sudden connection to Martinique and Guadeloupe I was completely surprised, flabbergasted, shocked (positively), and every other adjective there could possibly be. How could this information slipped by my grandfather, had his own father had no idea about their créole roots from the French West Indies??

I so far have met one other descendant from the Gustavo-Lotten clan but I would love to see if there are any other children from my other 3rd great-grandaunts/uncles. Were they raised with stories about the French West Indies and maybe kept some Créole words in the families? Maybe they use the names Paulina, Juliana and Gustavo/Juan Carlos in their families? Maybe they have pictures of those Gustavo-Lotten children/grandchildren of the family?

I would love to meet some more descendants and share the stories of our mutual ancestors if they don't know the stories already! When I found out I was very excited and I definitely want to visit these islands and walk the streets my ancestors walked. And maybe pick up on some French Créole! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

52 Ancestors – #40 Cayetano de los Santos

I can't believe this is Ancestor #40 already!! Boy has time flown by! I am happy to have finally caught up (yet again) and hopefully I'll be able to continue to post on the regularly scheduled Friday like I had done before. Today's ancestor will be Cayetano de los Santos, my 7th great grandfather.

Cayetano de los Santos, who's surname was shortened to Santos, was my 7th great grandfather via my maternal side of the family. Unfortunately, I don't have documents on him or exact dates but I'm glad to have found him and talk about him nonetheless. Cayetano de los Santos was from, you guessed it, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico! Except this time it's interesting because he's from my maternal side of the family. This means that my paternal and maternal side of the family lived in the same town and in the same time frame as one another. It is also very possible that my parents are related to one another through these ancestors, they do share certain surnames with each other from Toa Alta so who knows if they lead back to common mutual ancestors.

Cayetano would have been born sometime in the early 1700s in Toa Alta, there he would marry Gertrudis Rivera Rodríguez and to my knowledge have three children together. It is very possible and likely that they had other children but being that I haven't found anymore in the church records of Toa Alta I can only for sure say that there were three.

Cayetano and Gertrudis' children would eventually make their way into Corozal, from Corozal they'd make their way into Morovis, then Vega Baja, and eventually back up towards San Juan. The family did a loop of sorts throughout the generations. I can't be sure that Cayetano and Gertrudis died in either Toa Alta or Corozal, it is very possible that just the children moved into the next town and the parents stayed behind. Or also, that they all moved into Corozal together and start a new life there. Until I have further records I can't be too sure about where they died.

Interestingly, I have found a document that could potentially point to my parents' families knowing one another in the town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. My 3rd great-grandfather had a brother named Ruperto Rivera Román born on the 25th of March 1819, son of Joseph de Rivera and Gertrudis Román. The family came forth on the 10th of April 1819 to baptize their son. In the document below you can see who the godparents were for Ruperto:

Ruperto Rivera Román - Bautismo,  1819 [FamilySearch]

That's right! Ruperto's godparents were a Cayetano de los Santos and Gregoria Rivera! It is very possible that Ruperto's godparents were my 7th great grandparents from my maternal side of the family. That would mean that my 4th great grandparents and my 7th great grandparents knew one another! I know that they are pretty far apart, 4th and 7th generation ancestors, but due to child birth, longevity, etc. and how some generations waited longer to have children and thus creating such a big gap. The years do coincide and so do the town and the names; I wouldn't be surprised at all if these were my Cayetano de los Santos y Gertrudis Rivera. It makes me think… could Gertrudis and Joseph have been brothers and sisters? Maybe she was an aunt or someone close to him, a cousin? They both are surnamed Rivera and living in 18th century Toa Alta it is very possible that they had some type of family connection. 

It's very interesting to consider that both sides of my family knew each other 200-300 years ago in a town I had no idea my parents had ancestors in. I think it's very cool to find such documents like this, makes you think about whether our future is already "set" and how things work in life. For example, the lady that I met who my 4th great grandparents were godparents to one of her great-aunts. Life works in very mysterious ways!! 

52 Ancestors – #39 María Higinia Ruiz Ramos (1859-1921)

Moving a little over towards the East from Patillas, we get to Yabucoa where my next ancestor entry will take place! This post is about my 3rd great grandmother María Higinia Ruiz Ramos.

María Higinia according to records was originally from Maunabo, Puerto Rico which makes sense since these two towns (Yabucoa and Maunabo) are very close to one another in the south-eastern part of Puerto Rico. Equally, her husband was also from Maunabo, PR. María Higinia would have been born around 1859, the daughter of Manuel Ruiz and Dorotea Ramos. Around 1875, Juan Bautista Dávila González and María Higinia Ruiz Ramos would have gotten married in Maunabo, Puerto Rico. Their marriage would produce ten children, which includes my 2nd great grandfather Pedro Dávila Ruiz.

By 1910, Higinia and the family were living in Calabazas, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico- the place where at least three generations of my family would be born/live in. María Higinia appear as 'white', married for 35 years and a owner of land on which she worked on. I'm not sure if this was an error on the part of the census taker since it's only María listed as the head but I wouldn't be surprised if she herself worked the land. She is listed as living with two children, and three grandchildren; she was also unable to read or write.

María Higinia Ruiz Ramos - 1910 Census [Ancestry]

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate most of my ancestors from Yabucoa on the 1920 census, this includes María Higinia. I'm not really sure why this is, they were living in Puerto Rico and never traveled outside the island, they even appear on the 1930 census living in the same town and barrio so it's not like they moved somewhere else. Nonetheless, there is a gap there missing of information on who was where and did what in the 1920 Census. 

I do know however that María Higinia Ruiz Ramos passed away on the 24th of September 1921 in Calabazas, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. It took me a long time to find her death certificate. I had searched multiple times in Yabucoa and Maunabo but I had no idea when or where she died. Her husband on the other hand died in 1933 and was widowed by the time he passed away, so I had a short range of years for her... but still nothing! It wasn't until Ancestry uploaded the Civil Registry that I was able to type in names and play around with the settings that I was able to find a "María Ramos" passing away in Yabucoa. It turns out that this was my 3rd great-grandmother! For whatever reason, her first surname "Ruiz" was dropped on this document, but it does state she was the wife of Juan Bautista Dávila which helped to prove this was her. 

Her cause of death was kind of interesting/shocking to see. It states that at 10 in the morning of the 24th day of September of 1921, María Ramos asphyxiated (underwater). It doesn't, however, state if this was  on accident or on purpose. She would have been around 62 years old, so I can see this happening as a horrible accident but it doesn't state whether it was home or at a nearby river. I don't have anymore details than what is written on the death certificate and I haven't heard any stories of this as well in my family. I don't think my family even knew about this ancestress, let alone the cause of her death. 

María Higinia Ruiz Ramos - Defunción, 1921 [Ancestry] 

This is the third direct ancestor to die from something that was not of natural causes/ or a sickness. It's a bit morbid to find these death certificates and see sometimes the horrible ways someone passed away. For example: my 2nd great-grandfather, José Miranda Santos, who unfortunately hung himself at about the age of 50. It is however important to learn about the birth, lives, and deaths of each of my ancestors - the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

I have pretty deep roots in Maunabo, dating back to the early 1800s/late 1700s so I would love to head down there and see the area; as well as with Yabucoa which is one town over. I really need to head to Puerto Rico and discover these towns and barrios that my families were from… I'm seriously itching to do it in the near future!! Hopefully I'll collect more stories, see the lands they lived & worked on, and even meet some distant cousins!

52 Ancestors – #38 Cruz Rivera Collazo (1860-19??)

Okay, finally moving our way out of Toa Alta (just for a bit, since I have some more Toa Alta ancestors in the near future to write about). On this post I want to focus on my 3rd great grandfather, Cruz Rivera Collazo - another man of much mystery!

I was first introduced to Cruz's name when I came across my great grandfather's birth record in 1920. It mentioned that his maternal grandfather was Cruz Rivera, mestizo, native from Patillas (where he currently lives in 1920) and his wife Luisa Masantini, native of Patillas and deceased (another ancestor of much mystery!).

Cruz Rivera & Luisa Masantini [FamilySearch]

Cruz Rivera, appears on the 1910 census with a daughter named Amalia Rodríguez who I'm pretty sure are my Cruz Rivera and Amalia, since Luisa's surname was also "Rodríguez", this further solidifies that Cruz Rivera Collazo, born about 1860 and living in barrio Guardarraya, Patillas, Puerto Rico is my 3rd great grandfather.

Cruz Rivera Collazo - 1910 Census [Ancestry]

Since his daughter married in 1919 and was living in Salinas, we find Cruz Rivera living in Patillas with his grandson, Felix Santiago y Rivera, son of Amalia but from an unknown father. Both times we see Cruz listed as single, since he never officially married Luisa and unable to read or write.

Cruz Rivera Collazo - 1920 Census [Ancestry]

Unfortunately, that's the last time Cruz officially appears on a record for me. It is possible that he moved to Salinas and lived the rest of his life there, but I haven't been able to find a "Cruz Rivera Collazo" in census records past 1920; I did find a Cruz Rivera living with a cousin surnamed Santiago in Salinas, potentially related to Felix's father. However, I don't have conclusive evidence that it's the same man. I also have no idea what Cruz's parents' names were. Since Amalia was born out of wedlock, I have found a record (which I think is her baptism) that only lists a Luisa Rodríguez but no Cruz Rivera. This was pretty common for children born out of wedlock, to list one of the two parents and sometimes a father would "recognize" their child in the record. We know Cruz is the father from records, yet we don't know who the parents Rivera and Collazo are. I'll have to keep searching for more information and ties to try and figure this out, I haven't even been able to find brothers and sisters for Cruz who might help fill in some gaps.

Here's to hoping that I'll be able to crack this brick wall soon and find out more about my ancestors in Patillas! Patillas is on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and the barrio in which Cruz and Amalia lived in faces out to the Caribbean Sea! I would love to visit Patillas one day! Also Patillas is about 2-3 towns away from Salinas so I wonder how Amalia and my 2nd great grandfather met! Here is a picture of where Patillas geographically is on the map of Puerto Rico as well as its barrios. 

Patillas, Puerto Rico [Google]

Guardarraya, Patillas, Puerto Rico [Google]

52 Ancestors – #37 Gertrudis Román (1790-1844)

I'm going to keep this ball rolling and continue posting about my ancestors. So here's post 37 about yet another ancestor from Toa Alta, my 4th great grandmother Gertrudis Román.

When I first discovered Gertrudis through the Toa Alta church records I was really excited, being the wife of my 4th great grandfather, Joseph de Rivera, it made her a part of the oldest set of ancestors on my direct paternal lineage.

I started digging deeper into the records searching for their death records, I was fortunate to stumble upon a "Gertrudis Romana" who I'm pretty sure is my 4th great grandmother. It states… "al cadaver de Gertrudis Romana [sic] como de veinte y seis años viuda de José Rivera, pardos libres". 

Gertrudis passed away on the 29th of December 1844, having already been widowed of her husband José Rivera. Her age is listed as "26 years old" which would mean she would have been born about 1818 which I know is incorrect. This is the only little bit of information that is very inaccurate, and for now I do believe this is my Gertrudis Román but it does bother me a bit that it's so wrong. Very possibly, her age was guessed at the time of her death. She could have been in her late 40s and someone gave a wrong age and that's what was written down. I'm not sure if there was another Jose Rivera and Gertrudis Roman couple in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico at the time (at least I haven't found one) so even though the age is wrong I believe firmly she is my 4th great grandmother.

What's interesting is that it states she is a "pardo libre", and the fact that it's in plural probably means it was referring to her late husband as well. I have talked about this term before in other posts, how "pardo" for a while was a term used to describe people of color in Puerto Rico and later the term "trigueño" kind of substituted this word, sometimes the word 'mulato' was used as well. However, there is some debate to what the "pardo" mix actually entails. I'm under the impression (and agree with) the belief that pardo was a term used for mixed Spanish and native Taíno people. It is also very possible that it was used for mixed Spanish and African people (and possibly for someone of all three). We know for sure that José Rivera would have been a descendant on his paternal side from a European man seeing as he (and I) are I2a1*, a European haplogroup. This is the first time I noticed on the record that it was in plural and that it could be a reference to the husband. Potentially both José and Gertrudis were mixed free people of color in the Toa Alta society and married because they were in the same social class.

Gertrudis and José would have nine children in total, from what I have so far! I'd have to look and see how they were identified in terms of "color". In my 3rd great grandfather's death record there is no note of his color, probably because the entries were much shorter during the time period he passed away in. None the less, it's very interesting to see my 4th great grandmother listed as "pardo libre", I would love to do some more research into that term and see what kind of life - whether they enjoyed certain privileges or hung in between two worlds - and how this category would impact their lives and that of their children. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

52 Ancestors – #36 Isabel de la Fuente

Okay, finally getting into my September ancestors! I can't believe that this is ancestor #36, so let's get started! This will be about my 5th great grandmother Isabel de la Fuente.

Isabel is also another ancestor from the town of the Toa Alta who I don't have clear years of birth and death due to her being only present in church documents. Isabel, like Juan de Dios Marrero, was most likely born in the early 1700s since her first child I have documented is in 1809. Isabel after a while dropped her surnamed to just Fuentes, which was common amongst those who had compounded or longer surnames; you see the same thing happening with the surname de la Torre/Torres. Isabel's husband was Paulino Vásquez and together I have been able to document 14 children - that's a lot of kids! From the information I have children births span across 50 years!! Paulino and Isabel passed away after 1828, where and when I don't know. What is interesting to note are the godparents of the children for Paulino and Isabel. Usually, a godparent is someone close to the family - either a family friend or uncle, aunt, cousin, etc. There are various couples who have come forward to become the godparents of the Vásquez Fuentes children, and amongst them there are various Fuentes individuals. Here are the list of godparents I have been able to accumulate for their children, listed by year of baptism:

1809- José María Ferré y Rosa Fuentes 
1811- Pedro Ferrer y Bárbara Martínez
1813- Marcelino García y Eugenia Fuente
1816- Fermin Fuentes y Juana Quiles
1817- Juan Angel Quilez y María Vásquez
1818- Marcelino Fuentes y Gregoria Fuentes
1820- Julian Fuentes y Juana Quiles
1823- Juan de la Fuente y Gertrudis Vásquez
1824- Manuel Ortiz y Cayetana Rosado
1826- Juan de la Fuente y Feliciana de la Fuente
1828- Remigio Vásquez y Juliana López

As you can see there are quiet a few Fuentes/de la Fuente godparents, both men and women. I haven't been able to tie them to Isabel de la Fuente so far. Julian Fuentes for example appears in my family tree as the son of Joseph Luciano Fuentes/de la Fuente, potentially this is someone in Isabel's family whether an uncle or even her father. I can't be too certain until I have Isabel's death record or some mention of grandparents for the Vásquez Fuentes children where it lists their grandparents. Truly, I wouldn't be surprised if all of these Fuentes godparents were related by blood to Isabel, it would definitely explain why she and Paulino chose them as godparents.

Again, Isabel probably died in Toa Alta but I have no record yet to prove that. Based on all the information I have of her I only know that must have been after 1828 (officially), there are a few 1840-1850 children born to Paulino and her but since they aren't officially documented with birth/baptism records I'll only go off the last official one I do have. One can only hope to extend their lines further, myself included! 

52 Ancestors – #35 Juan de Dios Marrero

My 6th great grandfather is a man of both very little and very interesting information. By FamilySearch uploading Toa Alta church records a while back, I was able to extend my once unknown paternal line far back; Juan de Dios Marrero being part of this family. My great grandmother, Mercedes Ortiz Marrero, is related to Juan de Dios Marrero (but it's not where she gets her maternal Marrero surname from).

Juan de Dios Marrero was mostly likely born in the early-1700s, seeing as how most of his children were born at the beginning of the 1800s. We don't know Juan's parents' names or if he/they were originally born in Puerto Rico, but I would imagine that Juan himself was. Juan de Dios Marrero was married to Rosa de Rivera and so far I have been able to trace six of their children in the Toa Alta/Corozal area. I only know that Juan and wife Rosa died sometime after 1818 but I haven't been able to find their death records in Toa Alta just yet. Who knows if they potentially died in Corozal? Also, potentially Rosa de Rivera might have some connection to my own direct paternal Rivera/de Rivera which were also in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico around the same time.

Juan de Dios Marrero and Rosa de Rivera, I have mentioned before somewhere in my blog. They were probably active members of their community seeing as how they served as godparents for other families. In 1809, they appeared as the godparents of Juliana Martínez Vázquez. Since both appear together I'm pretty sure these are my 6th great grandparents. Also, Juliana's family is tied into my family in Toa Alta somewhere far back probably marrying a descendant of the Rivera-Marrero family which also helps to strengthen the case that these are them.

Bautismo - Juliana Martínez Vázquez [Ancestry]

My interest lies in Juan's wife Rosa de Rivera, mainly because I have found records of slaves belonging to a woman of the same name. It is very possible that there was another woman of the same name who owned slaves in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico; but seeing as how we are talking about the early 1800s about a town that was founded in 1751, I wonder how many Rosa de Riveras there actually were. The only thing is that there is no mention of a Juan de Dios Marrero, could Rosa de Rivera have handled the affair of the slaves for the family? I won't know for sure until I have a clearer document but for now I do believe that it is very possible. Here are two slaves baptized/confirmed in Toa Alta mentioning their slave owner as Rosa de Rivera:

Teresa, esclava de Rosa de Rivera [Ancestry]

Joseph Bonifacio, hijo de Marcelina, esclava de Rosa de Rivera [Ancestry]

Hopefully I'll be able to find more information on Juan de Dios Marrero and his wife Rosa de Rivera. Potentially these Rivera and Marrero ancestors are tied to my other Marrero and Rivera lines of the same town. Especially in a time when endogamy was much more likely, I wouldn't be surprised to find cousins marrying each other either on purpose to "keep lines pure" or even by mistake. I'm not sure if there are any older documents for the town and church of Toa Alta but if there are I would sure love to see them!