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.

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