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.

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