Thursday, June 19, 2014

Petrona Rodriguez Davila 1893-1917

Today I wanted to write about my grand Aunt. I can't help but feel drawn to her because of all the death that comes so many times into her short life. Her name is...

Petrona Rodriguez Davila

It is clear to see that Petrona understood pain and loss. She is the oldest child of 5 to Primitivo Rodriguez Cuevas & Manuela Davila. Petrona was born in Gurabo in December 1893. At the age of 7, Petrona's mother dies. I imagine being the oldest she helped raise her younger 4 siblings. 

In 1909 a few days after her 16th birthday Petrona marries a man named Nemesio González Rodriguez, who is also from her home town of Gurabo. After 2 years of marriage they have their first child together, a girl named Carmen González Rodriguez born February 7, 1911 in Gurabo. According to Carmen's death record this baby girl of hers only lives to be 18 days old. I'm still trying to make out the cause of death. 

In 1912, Petrona has a second daughter named Angela González Rodriguez, she dies as well at 2 months old. Another daughter is born in 1916 named Antonia González Rodriguez. Antonia like her two sister before her, also dies as an infant, at 4 months old. This makes a total of 3 baby girls born to Petrona & Nemesio that die as infants. Sadly my grand Aunt Petrona dies too in 1917, a month before her last baby daughter dies. At the young age of 24 years old, Petrona leaves this earth. According to her death record the cause of death is "fiebre gastrica" which in English is translated to  typhoid fever.  . 

I was so sad that my family line ends for Petrona's family with the death of her last baby girl, but then I found Petrona's husband's World War 1 registration card. This card provided a big clue for me. 
Above you can read that this was recordered in July of 1917. This date would be after Petrona & all her 3 babies die. Yet, Nemesio says on the first page of his card that he is widowed with 1 living daughter. So I searched & searched some more & found her. I missed it because Petrona is recorded as "Petra", which I assume was probably her nickname. In February 15, 1914 a fourth daughter is recorded that makes it to adulthood, her name is Basilia González Rodriguez born in Caguas. I was also able to find Basilia's death record, she dies in Caguas, on November, 13 1949 at the age of 35. 
Her death record indicates that she was married at the time of death to a man named Juan Baez Rosario. With the name of her husband on her death record I was able to locate a marriage record for them. Basilia marries Juan at 18 years old on January 9, 1933, also in Caguas. The 1940 census record shows they had one son together. I have not been able to find his birth record yet but it's very possible he could still be alive. Their son's name is Juan Báez González, who would of been born about 1934. I am hoping that perhaps one day I will be able to connect with these long lost cousins of mine. 

It kills me to see so much death take place in one small family. I can only imagine that loosing his wife & 3 daughters must of been extremely hard for Petrona's husband Nemesio. Then becoming a single-father I'm sure was not easy. I tried to track him down in census records to see if I could find what happens to him next but I was only able to find him for sure in 1930 & then again in 1940.  He is remarried, in both census to 2 different women. Basilia is shown living with him in 1930.

It's heart-breaking to think that Basilia looses her mother at the tender age of 3, along with loosing all her siblings. I wonder who helped raise her? Who was her mother figure? Did this cause her to be close with her father Nemesio? 

Then I think of Petrona, I think of how devastating it must of been to loose 2 of her daughters & then die realizing that you are leaving 2 of your babies behind. What a sad way to leave, knowing you are not done raising your young family. Wondering what will happen to them next. Luckily one of her daughters lives on, what a blessing. My heart is so full for this grand aunt of mine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New release of records from Puerto Rico

In case you haven't heard the good news, this week announced they have just released a collection of more then 5 million vital records from Puerto Rico.  

At first, I assumed it would to be exactly like Family So technically it is the same thing, the same records are found in both spots now. What makes it different from Family Search is that it's already organized & categorized using a search engine that filters the information of the specific person you are searching for. There isn't always a "shaky leaf" that appears with hints like other records do. You have to look specifically through this search engine, link here. This new method of searching eliminates having to search through indexes, page numbers & book numbers, which sometimes can be SO time consuming. already has done much of the work for you. It's wonderful & a huge time saver.  I briefly got on there today, typed in a last name & already found 3 new records for ancestors in my family tree. If there was ever a good time to start your family history, it is now. What a blessing it is that people took the time to manually go through all of these civil books & electronically organized them for us. I am so grateful for this & excited to see what more I will find.

Click here to read more about the new records available & to learn how to search for them.
Civil registration began in Puerto Rico in 1885
We’ve just launched a new collection with more than 5 million vital records from Puerto Rico. - See more at:

Matias Pabellon 1830-1925

In honor of Father's day coming up this weekend, I wanted to write about my 2nd great grandfather. He is the patriarch of my Pabellon family line. His full name according to his death record is Matias Pabellon. 

Matias is so interesting to me for many reasons. I will start with the most recent info. I found for him. According to his death record Matias was born in Gurabo in 1830. He was born to a black mother named Isabel Ramirez who was also from the town of Gurabo. This is all I know of his mother. 

His father is Juan Maria Pabellon, a former black slave. Juan & Isabel have 8 children together that I know of. All of these 8 children were also bond in slavery, which leads me to believe that their mother Isabel was too. 

When slavery was abolished in the US, slavery sadly continued on the island of Puerto Rico for an additional 8 years. it wasn't untill March 1873, that Puerto Rican slaves were declared free. This would of made Matias 43 years old at the time slavery ended. Seeing how he was black I tried to locate records for him on the only slave census taken for Puerto Rico in 1872. With the help of another genealogist I was able to locate what I'm sure is Matias. 

His surname is spelled differently as "Pavillon", also his age does not match what was recorded on his death record but I still feel convinced this is him. I only wish there was a way for me to validate it more. 

Sometime in the late 1800's, Matias fathers 10 children with a woman named Maria de los Santos. You can learn more about Maria here. I'm not positive that Matias & Maria ever legally married. If they were both slaves as I predict they were, it is possible that their marriage was never documented. What I do know is, that Matias officially recognizes all of these 10 children to be his. If they were not married, this speaks big of him. This was a time when many illegitimate children were born for reasons such as adultery or father's not wanting the financial responsibility.  So really giving all these children his last name & claiming them as his own is a big deal. 

On the 1910 census Matias is found living in Gurabo all by himself. However, he is living next door to one of his sisters & her family. He declares himself single, black, working in a sugar cane field & as many at his time, illiterate. 

By 1920 Matias is still in Gurabo, but now living with his son named Ricardo Pabellon Santos. Ricardo is married at this time & has 7 children of his own. I image the living conditions in their home must of been very tight with 10 people in what I assume was a small house. I'm not sure how close Matias was with all his children but seeing that he lived with his son again towards the end of his life shows me that they must of had some what of a good relationship. I'm sure Ricardo wanted to help his elderly father, who in 1920 is still shown as working.

What is also interesting about these 2 census records is that both times Matias includes a second surname which is Ramirez. "Matias Pabellon Ramirez" would traditionally suggest that his father is a Pabellon & his mother a Ramirez. Although no where else (that I've located yet) is his name documented with both of these surnames, this just validates to me that this is the same Matias as the one found on the slave census record. 

Matias dies at the age of 95 in Gurabo in October 1925. The death record indicates that no one living had knowledge of who his grandparents were, so his family line ends for me here.

Matias lived such a long life. I only wish he left more behind for me to learn more about him. In all my searching, I found one other possible clue into his life. I found what I thought was a random birth record, it caught my eye because the father is named Matias Pabellon. However, the mother is not Maria. It's another woman. I know from my searches that there is no other Matias Pabellon in the town at the same time.  Could this be why him & Maria split? Did he have another family on the side? This would explain why Matias is found living alone in the 1910 census? I will have to do more digging to confirm it.

I'm so glad I even know about Matias. Sadly his life stories & name had passed away with him some time after his death because my father has no recollection of him. I discovered Matias all on my own via census records. What a life he must of lived. What a story he must of had. I hope to one day be able to piece more of it together. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Felipa Pabellon de los Santos 1884-1969

Felipa Pabellon de los Santos
 is my great grand Aunt. 
Felipa is the older sister of my great grandmother Petra.
The first time I even knew of Felipa was when I saw her listed on the 1910 census. She is listed as single among the 7 other living children from Maria de los Santos & Matias Pabellon. 

Sometime after 1910 she marries a man who is a bit older then her by the name of Jose Perez. I received this clue by finding a Catholic church birth record for one of their children together. In 1913 they have a daughter together named Juana Perez Pabellon. 

I also found a death record for 2 children Felipa & Jose Perez have together.  One in 1916, another daughter of theirs named Fundadora Perez Pabellon dies at 2 years old from colitis. Then a son the year after in 1917 named Francisco Perez Pabellon dies at one month old also from colitis. 

After this I'm not sure what becomes of her husband Jose Perez. I haven't located any death records for him yet but by 1920 Felipa appears as married on the 1920 census with a man named named Jesus Monserrate. What's very unusual is that I found a birth record for Felipa's daughter named Salvadora who is born in 1923 & her father is named to be Jose Perez but in 1920 Felipa is not shown living with him & possibly married to someone else. Did they get back together sometime after this census was taken? It is not likely but  possible.

In the 1930 census there appears to be another twist. This census shows Felipa in a new relationship with a man named, Balbino Colon Reyes. From this point on they are stated as living in a "contracto consensual". In 1930 Felipa is also living with 4 of her children from her previous marriage which are:
Justo Perez Pabellon (birth 1909)
Conception Perez Pabellon
Emilia Perez Pabellon
Salvadora Perez Pabellon (birth 1923)

Felipa & her new partner are both working. He works in a Sugar cane plantation while she works in a tobacco one.  

By 1935 & 1940 it doesn't look like much has changed for them. They all still live together in Juncos, except by 1940 Felipa has a new daughter-in-law whom I assume is Justo's wife named Rosa. 

I found a death record for Felipa. According to her death record she was born in Juncos in 1884. Her husband is stated as being Balbino which makes me wonder if they ever legally got married. Felipa dies in December 1969 in Juncos at the age of 85. 

I'm so curious about this aunt of mine. I am very interested in her companions & wonder if Jose really did father all of her children. I also wonder what happened to Jose & then to Jesus.

I wonder how both her deceased children came to die of the same digestive disease. Was it poor living conditions or food poisoning? I wish I knew more about her & her children. I recently made a connection with someone on that maybe one of her descendants. I really hope our information matches so that I learn more about her life.