Monday, November 17, 2014

52 Ancestors – #44 Alejandro Rivera González (1883-1958)

So I'm not gonna lie -- this is kind of a cheat post! Before the 52 Ancestor challenge was created I had gone about doing my own little series back in 2012 (has time flown by that fast already?), in which I would focus on ancestors' stories via the records I had of them. I started with Alejandro Rivera González and probably added a few more before I officially decided to go and join the 52 Ancestors Challenge bandwagon. So if you want to read some more about Alejandro's life click here  to see what I already knew about him through the records I had. I'll give a quick overview just in case the other post is too long or not worth reading (don't worry, no judging is happening here!). I want to add more to his story which I'll be doing here by closing any ends of the story which I previously didn't have information for and might have now!

Summary: Alejandro Rivera González was born in Toa Alta in 1883 to his parents Manuel de Jesús Rivera Díaz and Laureana González Mojica. Alejandro would marry three times throughout his life, his last wife being my great grandmother Mercedes Ortiz Marrero. In total, Alejandro would father 16 children in total from his three marriages. He was also a short little fellow of 5'4" :) who could read and write and owned land in Toa Alta before moving to the barrio La Perla in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

New Details: 

His first wife's death: With the release of the Puerto Rican Civil Registry on I have been able to track down certain death certificates extremely quickly or with much more ease than through FamilySearch. Fortunately, I was able to find Brigida Hernández Vélez - Alejandro's first wife's death certificate. Brigida passed away in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on the 28th of June 1913 to gastroenteritis. This would mean that Alejandro would lose his wife on the 28th of june and his last son Pedro from Brigida on the 16th of July 1913. I imagine this must have been extremely hard on Alejandro, losing his last born child from his first marriage and wife only a month apart.

Alejandro's death: Like the record above, I was FINALLY able to find Alejandro's death certificate by playing around with the settings of the ancestry Puerto Rican Civil Registry search. I was able to find out that Alejandro Rivera González passed away on the 5th of June 1958 in Puerta de Tierra, San Juan, Puerto Rico. For whatever reason, he was incorrectly written down as "Alejandro Rivera Marrero" even though his mother is correctly listed as "Laureana González". I imagine this was a mistake caused in confusion with the surname of my great grandmother and his wife "Mercedes Marrero". It says he worked in "obras públicas" which I really don't know what that means; he worked in that "field" up until 1951. Interestingly, the person who registered the death of my great grandfather was my own grandfather Felipe Rivera Ortiz who was probably still living with the family when his father passed away. His cause of death is registered as "senility", as well as fallo cardiaco "a heart attack", and derrame cerebral "a stroke". He was buried one day later on the 6th of June 1958 and thanks to my cousin I now know exactly where he is buried. I was very happy to have found his death certificate since it puts a close on his life and what happened to him and when/where he died. It's also interesting to put into perspective that my grandfather lost his dad at 22 which must have been hard on him, his dad was much older than a "typical" dad was in those days in Puerto Rico but still I imagine they had a close connection.

I would love to meet descendants of the siblings of Alejandro and maybe compare photos (if any are available) of them to see how they each inherited genes from their ancestors and how they similar/different. It's so interesting to see that my great grandfather was a pretty short man when I myself measure 6'0". Hopefully one day I'll be able to learn more stories about his family, his parents and maybe even what life was like for them back in Toa Alta and maybe find out what brought him to San Juan after living in Toa Alta for so many years. 

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