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! 


  1. Your blog comments are quite interesting. My ancestors also lived in the Corozal-Toa Alta area duringthe 18th and 19th centuries. I am not sure if we share any common ancestors, but I am quite interested in exchanging information with you in English and/or Spanish, given that I have conducted a parallel research and am in agreement with your viewpoint on race and ethnicity. Let me know how I may contact you.

    1. Hi Luis, thank you for reading for blog! Feel free to contact me at I wouldn't be surprised if there was a connection somewhere between our families! Would love to see/hear about your research!