Monday, May 16, 2016

Rita Torres Rotger 1858–1945

I recently discovered my paternal first cousin 3x removed. Her name is Rita Torres Rotger (sometimes mistakenly spelled as Rolger). Although, a distant cousin, Rita is important to me for a few reasons. The first reason is that, after I discovered her on a 1910 census, this lead me to a relative of Rita's. I wasn't sure how they were linked but, it was easy to notice we had matching information about Rita & her parents on our trees. I sent this person a message & soon later I was greeted with many photos & stories about Rita & her descendants. What a treasure! This is really what contacting people on is all about. Exchanging & sharing information so that we can help one another slowly put faces & stories to each name on our tree. 

The person I came into contact with is Rita's great granddaughter Candi. Candi even had photos of Rita to share with me. I just love old photos. Especially if the old photo is connected to me somehow, which is why this one is so very special to me. It's also the oldest photo of an ancestor I now have.
This is Rita Torres Rotger born Feb. 21, 1858 in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. Rita is one of ten children born to Victoria Rotger Caldas & Francisco Torres Villafana. Her father Francisco is my paternal 4th great grand uncle. 

Here is what I know about Rita & her family.  The 1910 census tells me that around 1892, at the age of about 35 Rita marries Miguel Francisco Chiques Marti. (his first surname, originally spelled Xiques, Miguel changed the spelling because no one could pronounce it correctly). Miguel is a widower from Caguas, Puerto Rico & Rita would be Miguel's second wife. Caguas is the town where Rita moves & starts her own family with Miguel. Together they have two daughters. The oldest is Mercedes Chiques Torres born 1893. The second daughter is Rosa Maria Chiques Torres born 1900. How cute are these two sisters?
Records indicate that unlike some of my other ancestors, Rita & her parents were more privileged for this time. Census records show that they could read & write. The younger ones were bilingual & could also speak English. Census records show them living with servants & by the photos you see they dressed nicely & owned jewelry. Besides many photos, when Rita passes at the age of 86 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, she leaves behind two sets of silver flatware that have an "R" engraved on them.One set was her everyday ware & the other her formal flatware & a pair of her fine linens that also carry her embroiled initials. Below is a photo of Rita & her husband Miguel. You can tell by their clothes this was sometime down the line when she is older & fashion has taken a change. Rita's name has been passed down to every generation after her.

Friday, May 13, 2016

La Gaceta de Puerto Rico

I learned about something not long ago that has really come to value in my research. The Library of Congress has digitally uploaded newspaper articles from a newspaper that ran on the island called "La Gaceta de Puerto Rico". The articles run as far back as the mid 1800's to early 1900's. The link to this can be found by clicking here
It took me a minute to figure out how to navigate their site but, now I have it down.  Once you are on the website, under state choose "Puerto Rico" & in the  search engine besides that enter a name into the search option. I searched many names & found two that have articles about my specific ancestors. 

The first one I found was this one below on my 2nd great grandfather Juan E. Torres Galves & his younger brother Jose Antonio Torres Galves. 
The Translation reads: 

Don José Ramírez Alonso, Judge of first Instance of the City of Caguas and its judicial party

I hereby notify: that don Nicolás Quiñones Cabezudo, neighbor of the aforementioned (city) has filed a motion requesting the recommendation or inclusion of the neighbors of Hato Grande, don Zenón Muñoz Lopez, don Dionisio Gonzalez Lopez, don Eleuterio Lozada y Millán, don Abdón del Valle Rosario, don Juan Eugenio Torres Galves & don Jose Antonio Torres Galves in the electoral census, and since this petition was accepted, with the exception of don Abdón del Valle Rosario, the publication of this intention is ordered, so that the aforementioned constituents or anyone who wishes to oppose the inclusion, may appear to verify it within ten days after this edict appears on la Gaceta Oficial.

In Caguas on the 26th of August 1895.

I was pretty excited about finding this. I'm not positive as to why my 2nd great grandfather & his younger brother were selected to be among those on the electoral census. It must have had some value to it since it was published. Maybe it will be something I can find out later on by researching more about the towns history. 

The second article I found is about my great grandfather named Francisco Jimenez Lajara. 
 Translation to this one is: 

Don Inocencio Gomez, whose whereabouts are unknown, so that within 9 days he should show up before the court to make a declaration in the criminal case against Francisco Jimenez Lajara for injuries to Don Antero Tarazona.
Given in Caguas on the 27th of October 1884.

I couldn't find any more information about the criminal case they are referring to in this. I wish I knew more, but for now it looks like he harmed another guy bad enough for some reason that lead to criminal charges. 

Neither one of these articles tells me more then I already knew about either of them, but's another peek into their lives. Another small glimpse into what life was like for them. I still have more names I want to search for.  

For anyone researching their ancestors in Puerto Rico I would recommend searching La Gaceta. You just never know, whether big or small, the mention of their name can be so helpful