Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cousin connection

Something amazing happened recently. 

Over the weekend I was able to visit New York City & while I was there I was able to connect with cousins on my Dad's side of the family that we didn't even know existed. We found each other on Ancestry.com & over several messages back & forth were able to link our families trees together through one common ancestor. Primitivo Rodriguez is my paternal great grandfather originally from Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He was married twice in his life time. In his first marriage he has 5 children, one of the 5 is named Angelina Rodriguez Davila. The cousins I discovered in NY are Angelina's descendants. In his second marriage he has 2 sons, the oldest being Antonio Rodriguez Torres, my grandfather. 

It was exciting to alone make a connection with someone that knows & remembers so much. It was even sweeter to have the opportunity to meet them all. I met up with my Dad & together we went to meet this new part of our family lost for so long. 

I wasn't sure what to expect & seeing how this was NYC, I knew we were taking a risk meeting strangers that could potentially drug & kill us. However, not once did I get a bad vibe. I felt so strongly that these people were exactly whom they said they were & lucky for us my gut was right. We were welcomed with cheerful open arms & talked for a few hours. I learned so much & tried to remember as much as I could from the stories & names I listened to. 

Aside from this they also had photos. I have longed to see photos of them. I have often imagined what they might look like but now I had a real-life photo of what Angelina Rodriguez Davila & what her 2 daughters look like. 
 Angelina Rodriguez Davila

Isn't she beautiful? She looks so classy & elegant. I love this photo of her! This is the only surviving photo of Angelina. I also can't help but notice that she has the same exact nose as her younger brother Antonio, & it's the same nose my father has. 

Here is Angelina's life in a nutshell, according to all the records I've found. Angelina was born on DEC. 18, 1896 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. She is the second daughter & 3rd child born to Primitivo Rodriguez & Manuela Davila. At the age of 3, Angelina's mother dies.  At age 16, Angelina marries a man named Jacobo Gómez Ruiz. At the age of 17, her father remarries for the second time. When she's 22, her oldest sister Petrona dies. I assume they must of been close because Petrona names 2 of her daughters after both of her younger sisters. Angelina has two daughters in Puerto Rico. Sometime after this, their family moves to Brooklyn, NY where she lives for several years. Her husband dies in 1967. In her old age, she meets a man named Manuel Diaz, who is her companion. Towards the end of her life she becomes ill with Alzheimer's. She then moves back to Puerto Rico, where she spends the last of her days before she dies in Arroyo, Puerto Rico at the age of 78.

Her 2 girls spend most of their lives in NYC.  

Her first daughter is Nicolasa Gomez Rodriguez Her first name is changed to Jacqueline soon after moving to NY. Towards the end of her life she lives in Oklahoma.

The second daughter is Juana Gomez Rodriguez. Her first name is also changed when moving to NY to Jennie. I was told this was to avoid the racism that was heavy in those days. Supposedly, the name changes were to give them a better chance of blending in. 
Can't tell you how happy this makes me to be able to peek into these small windows into my family's past. Hoping that together these new cousins of mine & I can uncover more.

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