Sunday, June 7, 2015

52 Ancestors – #52 María Inocencia Avilés (1876-1903)

Finally, ancestor #52! Took me a while to get here and I didn't finish how I had wanted to on time but I'm glad to be on this post none the less! This post seems like a full circle for me since the tale of this ancestress is what sparked and fueled my interest at the age of 14 when I began all of these genealogical searches. Therefore, this post will be dedicated to my 3rd great-grandmother, María Inocencia Avilés.

María Inocencia Avilés (from now on just Inocencia Avilés), was from the town of Lares, Puerto Rico where a branch of my paternal family resided for about 3-4 generations. Inocencia was born about 1876 probably in Río Prieto where her children would be born, and equally like her children, Inocencia was the product of a unwedded parents. So, we only know Inocencia's mother name which was María Avilés Hernández, native to the town of Añasco, Puerto Rico. Inocencia in our family lore was a pure Taíno women who had the son of a Spanish man who was visiting the island during the time of war. The story, which I'm still trying to pick apart and separate truth from fiction, could have some truths to it after all. From my research, José Avilés' father could be Damián Magraner Morell, a Spanish man who my ancestors worked for in the 1900s in Río Prieto, Lares, Puerto Rico. Only DNA can confirm this connection to the Magraner family and the tale of Inocencia being Taíno. So far we know that Inocencia had to be some type of mix, seeing as how her death record she was reported as 'blanca'. Of course, records are never always correct but DNA can definitely help point us in the right direction.

Recorded children for Inocencia currently stand at 5 children: José, María Isabel, Lorenzo, Isabel, and Juan; the first four possibly children of Damián while we have no idea who Juan's father was and Juan died as an infant, only 3 months old.

Unfortunately, I don't know too much about Inocencia's life since she died at a fairly young age, at about the age of 27, due to Anemia. If Inocencia's age is correct in her records, that would mean that she was about 14-15 years old when she had her first child, my 2nd great grandfather, José Avilés. Which is kind of crazy since she was a young, unwedded girl so I imagine there was stigma attached to her fairly quickly for what occurred. And if Damián really is the father to José then it paints a different picture for me of who he was as a man.

None the less, I would like to learn more about Inocencia, her life in the mountain town of Lares, her interaction with the Magraner family and what it might have been like for her during the Spanish-American War. She would have been fairly young when Spain gave over the island to the USA and it would be interesting to see what a young person at the time would have thought about this change.

I'm happy to have done the 52 Ancestors Challenge since it gave me a chance to revisit certain ancestors I hadn't looked into in a while, and learn more about who they might have been as people during their respective time periods. 

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