Friday, October 3, 2014

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. 

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