July 22, 2017

Manumitted Enslaved People in Puerto Rico

Most people do not realize that slavery still existed on the island of Puerto Rico well after the United States had freed those enslaved.  In Puerto Rico, slavery ended in 1873 by the Spanish National Assembly.  However, those enslaved were not exactly freed, they had to work for an additional 3 years for those that kept them captive. Those who claimed ownership were compensated at 35 million pesetas for each enslaved person.

Any person that was 60 or older and children under 10, were allegedly set free immediately. I state this as we all know that not everyone was willing to release what they considered their property. This is covered in detailed in many history books covering Puerto Rico. You can search in Google Books to locate free copies of history books online and that have been transcribed to English.

A quick search in PARES, I came across 10 enslave people being manumitted, sometime between 1871 and 1872. I found them by searching for records on Toa Alta. If you do not know what PARES is, I have posted links to many of my pages for different islands. I provide instructions on how to use the website. The source of the record of these 10 enslaved people is: ES.28079.AHN/2.3.1.16.6//ULTRAMAR,5100,Exp.57

To make it more understandable. The breakdown of where to find the record is as follows:

Título de la unidad: "Relación de esclavos emancipados de la isla de Puerto Rico"
Archivo: Archivo Histórico Nacional
Signatura: ULTRAMAR,5100,Exp.57
These individuals were living in Toa Alta in Puerto Rico.  Their names and ages found in this record that were freed are as follows:

Teresa 4 years old
Luisa 5 years old
Maria Cruz is 11 years old
Joaquina is 18 years old
Francisco is 23 years old
Sandalio is 33 years old
Mariano is 38 years old
Wencesla is 38 years old
Patricio is 41 years old

It is quite disheartening to see people forced into slavery. The man that held these people was Juan Pedro Cintron. I went ahead and downloaded the documents and provided the images below.  Note that you can also download the images and zoom in to see if any of them can be ancestors you are searching. These are not the only people you will find in PARES. All you need is Google Translate to be able to review the documents.

I even found licenses of purchasing of African slaves going back to 1519.  Any island under Spanish rule at some point in the past will find records in PARES for their island.





































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July 20, 2017

Guanica Digitized Church Records 1885 - 1944

Guanica, which is west from Yauco on the island of Puerto Rico, was once part of Yauco until 1914. It was then that it established itself as it's own municipality. If you have done research in PARES (see prior posts), then you may have come across records from the early 1500's when Guaynia was the capital of the island. I recommend you read up on the town history to learn where the name comes from and where to continue your search. While the municipality was established in 1914, the below church records start in 1888.  Hopefully you'll locate ancestors in these records.

Baptism Books

Marriage Books

Death Books


Confirmation Books


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July 18, 2017

Agua Buenas Digitized Church Records 1845 - 1938


Prior to the municipality of Agua Buenas being established in 1838 in Puerto Rico, it was once a part of Caguas and you should look at Caguas church records prior to this church being established. The municipality sits just northwest of Caguas.  The reason I mention this is because new researchers think that the towns have always been there as they are today. This isn't the case throughout the Caribbean. The island of Puerto Rico has gone thru some major transitions over time. It is important that you read up on history to avoid struggling trying to find your ancestors.

Index of Books


Baptism Books


Marriage Books

Confirmation Books

Death Books



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July 16, 2017

Adjuntas Digitized Church Records 1812 - 1952

The municipality of Adjuntas is north of Yauco and was established 1815.  The municipality exists off a mountainside.  The area is known for its cooler temperatures and was once part of the Coamo.  The church for this municipality when it was established is San Joaquin.  Most of the Baptism books have Indexes either in the front or the back of the books. The baptism records are complete. I was surprised to not see books for freed blacks or those in slavery.  The digitized church records are as follows:

Book of Baptisms from 1815 thru 1921





Books of Marriages 1815 - 1921


Books of Confirmations 1829 - 1923


Book of Deaths

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July 15, 2017

Manumissions on Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Jamaica

Manumissions is the act in quick a slave owner frees their slaves. When Britian ended slavery, many slaves were manumitted and their masters were compensated for freeing them.Some were manumitted even prior to end of slavery. While there are manumissions records available for Trinidad and Tobago, it will require that you make a trip to your local Family History Center (FHC) to view them.  You can read on how to access a FHC by reading my post Finding a Family History Center for Free Research

These manumission records actually cover three different island countries, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. The cover the time period of 1780 - 1840. In addition, there are records on Indentured Servants that many will want to review. Note that many will be listed by slaver owner's last name. You can use this blog post when you arrive to view them at the FHC.







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Africans captured to be sold into slavery

Bahamas Chancery, Dower, and Court Records 1791 to 1917

Chancery records are actually extremely important in researching your ancestry.  Whether your ancestors are European, African or African descent, or Native American.  These types of records help you in figuring out if the ancestor you seek will be listed.

When it comes to slavery, Africans and their descendants were treated like assets. While they are hard to stomach that ancestors were in this situation, it is part of our history and I personally would like to understand what they faced.  Chancery records tend to contain information about divorces, business disputes, settlements in estates, and dispute over land. These records are also available for the Bahamas.  The following are Chancery records for the period of 1800 to 1859.  They are digitized and available to be view from your home.

Dowers are another good recourse in finding family information as it involves what a widow will or will not attain upon her husband's death or vice versa.  These records start in 1791 and end in 1917.  This is 126 years worth of records.  They are as follows:

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