One way of determining this is by visiting the archives in Puerto Rico or gaining access to documents that belong to your ancestors. The largest but not the only archive available on this island is the Archivo General de Puerto Rico in San Juan. The location for this archive is at 500 Ave Juan Ponce De León. My understanding is that you'll need a sweater due to the AC blasting cold air to help preserve the records and that you can order a maximum of 3 boxes two days in advance before you can view records. Luckily two individuals did the work of combing through all the records found there as well as at the archives in the Municipalities of Trujillo Alto and Trujillo Bajo; so I didn't have to ensure the cold air.
Last but not least, photography isn't allowed at this archive. Many records have also been taken out of circulation and are no longer available to the public due to the deteriorating state of the documents/books. I believe that if Puerto Ricans in general believe in preserving their history, then we should all DEMAND that records be digitized and made available to the public. Once the records are gone so is the amazing history our ancestors once told; their memory should be held with more value.
There were two genealogist/researchers that did a daunting project (Feliciano Barragan Landa and Teresa Gracia Ruiz) by visiting this archive and others on the island and shared their findings in anarticle the wrote, cited and shared. I can't thank them enough as many of my great grandparents can be found on their list as well as within their article. They also save me and countless others of spending years finding all of this information.
This article unfortunately is no longer in print, however you can request for a copy of it by submitting a request to the Sociedad Genealogia de Puerto Rico; note that you will have to pay for the article. The article provided details of where church books are not available for the time period. It helped close the gap where no records could be found other than being mentioned as parents in baptisms, marriages and death and as grandparents in baptism and from Civil Registrations records starting in 1885..
One of the good aspects of this archive is that they have wills (testamentos) on file that cover the 1800's that lawyers drew up for their clients. No one knows what happened to the records prior to that. We are lucky to see many of the wills for the Trujillo Alto and Trujillo Bajo region available. A great article if you're serious in knowing your ancestors!
Unfortunately the church (Parroquia Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz) caught fire in the early 1800's and the baptism books for white citizens and portion of the books for free blacks and slaves were destroyed. Spain also had rules about the church books. Two books needed to be kept; one for whites and a book for blacks, slaves, and pardos back in the late 1700's to mid 1800's. A portion of the Book 1 of Baptisms for free blacks and slaves survived the fire. You can click here to see what the church looks like today.
The Mormon's were able to take photo images back in the 1990's of many of these books and what was currently available can be found either online via www.familysearch.org or by visiting the Archivo Histórico de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan. The exception is that they do not have copies of all the Defunciones (Death) books or Book 1 for slaves and Book 1 of marriages for Trujillo Alto's church. With the help of fellow genealogists, I was able to attain dates or information from the books that were not filmed to piece together my tree.
Now that I've explained this piece, we can now move onto who I want to discuss, Maria del Rosario Betancourt Falcon. Per my genealogy family tree software; she is my 5th great grand aunt. Her husband, Pedro Juan Mangual Falcon is also my 5th great grand uncle twice and so is she. This is because Pedro Juan's sister Maria del Rosario Manual Falcon is my 5th great grandmother as she married Rafael Betancourt Falcon who I descend from and many with the last name of Betancourt in this region.
I was also able to piece these couples together by using the census records that are available via familysearch.org. I spent many of my evenings in the past looking through microfilms researching these lines along side many genealogist in the region. Pedro Joseph and Maria del Rosario Mangual Falcon parents are Juan Mangual Borras and Casimira Falcon Lin (yes Antonia's sister). This is where my blog post about kissing cousins comes in and many times over throughout this tree. Realize that the Americas where not as heavily populated as it is today. There were but so many people in the world back then.
Juan Mangual Borras wasn't from Puerto Rico but from Palma de Mallorca, Isla Baleares, Spain. So yes here is another Spaniard who has become part of this tree. He married Casimira Falcon Lin on April 29, 1771 (See San Juan's Catherdral book 3 for white marriages, Folio 160 vuelto). I also found that he died in San Juan on November 12, 1811. From this marriage there were a total of 8 children I could find.
I was able to locate 7 children for Pedro Joseph Mangual Falcon and Maria del Rosario Betancourt Falcon. I found that Pedro was born in Rio Piedras on September 3, 1774. His wife passed away on December 24, 1864. Their children were as follows. Although I don't descend from these cousins (1st cousins, 6 times removed) I documented them just in case they wind up on another line on my tree or one of my distant cousins lines:
|Pedro Joseph Mangual Falcon's & Maria del Rosario Betancourt Falcon's children|
|Maria del Rosario Betancourt Falcon|
I also have records on her children but I will leave those for another day for another post!
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