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


  1. Gaceta is indeed a valuable resource that has finally been digitized! In regards of the first part of the post, in regards of the Torres Galves brothers: the importance of the newspaper post is that it states where they lived at that year (1895), since Hato-Grande was the name at the time for the town that is nowadays called San Lorenzo, which stills belong today to the Caguas judicial district as it was in the 19th century. Who knows if by searching that town you may find records of direct or distant relatives of yours that you may have been looking for in the nearby towns (Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos, etc). The other good hint that provides is that all of those men were called by "don", which would be the Spanish for "Sir" or "Mister", although nowadays it is mostly used to respectfully address an old man ("don") or an old woman ("doña")... that's why whenever you call someone "don José" or "doña María" they will always joke with you saying "are you calling me an elderly? How dare you!", LOL. But at the 19th century, it was a proper form at the time to indicate that the person was honorable, whether it was because it was a current or former member of the armed forces, or because they were landowners, which could have been the case, since in order to be part of those electoral census you either had to be a taxpayer (honoring that phrase, I guess, that sparked the American revolution... "no taxation without representation") or you had to be a member of the government (mayor or councilmen). Maybe the rejection of "don Abdon" as part of that electoral census could've been that he was delinquent on his tax obligations (that's my guess).

    In regards of Francisco, you should also try to search him as "Gimenez Lajara" (I had some successful hits searching him with that spelling), since that surname in the 19th century was written either as "Gimenez" or "Jimenez". By that time, the "J" words usually were written with "g" in Old Spanish... for instance, there's a Puerto Rican 19th century book (available at Google Books for free, by the way) called "El Gíbaro", nowadays spelled "jíbaro" (Puerto Rican countryman), since the words with the current "J" sound, were written with letter "X", such as in "Mexico", that preserves the traditional writing but it is pronounced as "Méjico", and names like "Xavier" that are the current "Javier".

    1. Thanks Angel, all of your comments have been helpful.