Sunday, November 22, 2015

Maria Bravo Hernandez

My maternal 2nd great grandmother is Maria Bravo Hernandez. According to her social security application, Maria was born on November 11, 1893 in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. 

Maria is the daughter of Ramon Bravo Negron & Pilar Hernandez.  Maria had at least 8 other siblings that I've been able to find records for, but chances are there maybe more that I just haven't discovered yet. Here is a list of siblings I know of:

-Marcelina Bravo Hernandez (1891-1985) 
- Angelina Bravo Hernandez (about 1893- ?) 
- Lucas Bravo Hernandez (1895-1995) 
- Luerccio Bravo Hernandez (1898- ?) 
- Lucrecia Bravo Hernandez (1900-1989) 
- Matilde Bravo Hernandez (about 1905-1925)  

I wonder lots about what Maria's upbringing was like. I know that her father Ramon's paternal line came from Spain a few generations before her. He dies when Maria is about 21, so I assume he was around for all her childhood. Maria marries in 1909 for the first time at the age of 15 to a man that was about 10 to 16 years older than her named Luis Suarez Rodriguez. I've been told that their marriage was in a way, arranged. Maria's parents saw Luis as a respectable man that would be a good provider for Maria. Although I've been told Maria had no romantic interest in Luis, she followed her parents advice & married him. A year later Maria & Luis have twin boys that die as infants. Later on, they have one more son that also dies young at the age of 4. They do end up having two children that make it to adulthood. A son named Ramon Suarez Bravo born in 1912 & then their only daughter together Maria Suarez Bravo born 1915. 

Some time shortly after their daughter Maria was born, they separate. For some reason, records indicate that, Luis & Maria do not legally divorce till many years later. After the split, this is where things become uncertain. We know that Maria moves to a different town leaving both of her only two living children Maria & Ramon to stay with their father Luis. Why she moves out is where things get fuzzy. The story that has been passed down to me is that, Maria had an affair & leaves Luis to start a new life in a new town with her new love. 

No one is sure of why the children remain with their father rather than their mother. There have been different circulating stories as to what happened. Maybe Luis wouldn't allow her to take them. Maybe Maria knew she was not in a position to financial provide for them. Maybe her new companion didn't want the responsibility of providing for the children of another man. Whatever the reason, no one knows for sure, but I've been told that the two children were left behind & census records do show their father Luis raises them.  

Maria's new companion is named Andres Amador Garcia. They move in together & as census records say they are living as a "consensual agreement" rather then a married couple. Andres & Maria have all of their 10 children together before they become legally married in 1947. Why they waited so long to marry is just another mystery to this story. There is also some speculation about Andres & Maria's first child together. She was born in 1918 & family stories say that no one was really certain if this first child was indeed Andres' child or Luis'. However, her death & social security records clearly suggests that Andres Amador recognized her as being his child. 

I also noticed that on all the children's birth records with Andres, Maria is the one giving the information.  She declares herself as a married woman, however she doesn't give any information regarding the father of her 10 children or gives them a second surname. It isn't till her children become married or on their death records that it recognizes them with Andres as their father. However, just as this birth record below Andres is often one of the witness
Here is a list of all of Maria's children with both husbands. 

Children with Luis Suarez Rodriguez
-Leoncio Suarez Bravo (1910-?)
-Luis Suarez Bravo (1910-1911)
-Ramon Suarez Bravo  (1912-2007)
-Barnabe Suarez Bravo (1913-1917)
-Maria Suarez Bravo (1915-2004)

Children with Andres Amador Garcia
- Genara Amador Bravo (1918-1994)
-Ines Amador Bravo (1921-1928)
-Victor Amador Bravo (1922-1928)
-David Amador Bravo (1923- ?)
-Epirmenia Amador Bravo (about 1925-?)
-Mercedes Amador Bravo (1927-1985)
-Domingo Amador Bravo (1929-2005)
-Andres Amador Bravo (1931-1932)
-Maria Rosario Amador Bravo (about 1933-?)
-Antonio Amador Bravo (1935-1997)

My mother met Maria once on a visit to Puerto Rico in 1976. She says she was a short friendly lady that looked like she was in great shape for her elderly age. Maria managed to continue a good relationship with the two children she had from her first marriage. This makes me wonder if leaving them was not her choice. 

Maria Bravo Hernandez's death date is still unknown to me. We believe she died in Puerto Rico in the early 1980's. Something about Maria has always stuck out to me. Especially the part of her life where her & her two eldest children were separated. 

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