December 14, 2014

Rafael Betancourt Falcon - First Male Survivor - Second Installment


So I previously introduced Rafael Betancourt and if you haven't read it, just click on his name and it will take you to my previous blog post about him. This blog and prior blog posts have links in the text that I've added for further reading. Whether you descend from the Betancourt line or not, these are great historical discussions to have with your children. I've provided them so that our children can learn more about Puerto Rican history. It is in part to these websites that I've been able to maneuver through many of the records.

On April  17, 1797, Puerto Rico was in the midst of dealing with the English once again invading the island which we know as "Fijo de Puerto Rico"; click on link to learn more. In 1803 my 4th great grandfather Miguel Bayala Gero was sent to Puerto Rico under "Fixo de Puerto Rico" to assist in securing the island due to unrest in the Caribbean. I previously wrote about Miguel and you can find info about him in my blog.

The invasion of the English via Cangrejo which is Santurce today I'm sure worried many of the families living on this island.  In the middle of this turmoil women were still tending to homes and bearing children. There was constant conflict that we never hear about unless you start to read up on Puerto Rican history and occurrences in the Caribbean as well as throughout the world during this time period.

In the same year of 1797, Rafael's wife, Maria del Rosario gave birth to their first son Juan, who was born in the town of Loiza on January 26, 1797. He was baptized in Parroquia San Patricio on February 19, 1797 just two month short of the invasion. Below I've provided the image of the page to his baptismal record.

Juan Betancourt Mangual Baptism in 1797

Loiza is believe to be named after the only female Taino Cacique in Puerto Rico (Boriquen) named Yuiza; click on the link to read more on her and the naming of the town. San Patricio was built in 1645 and is still the town's Roman Catholic Church today. The church held many ceremonies over the centuries but due to weather, insects, etc many of the church records are permanently gone. Today, we are left with the earliest available record of baptisms occurring in 1792; this means we've lost 150+ years worth of historical records.  Gone are the marriages, births and death records to many of the citizens of this era. It is in Loiza was where the Betancourt, Falcon, and Mangual lines initially settled and although some remained there today, most moved further inland to the Carolina and Trujillo Alto regions.  Unfortunately we don't know if the Fijo de Puerto Rico was the cause of many moving inland or if it was due to land becoming available. I'm sure that the safety of their wives and children came to mind to the men on the island.

If it were not for the many census records, military records, testamentos, limpieza de sangre, dispensa and many baptism, marriage, and death records in the newer generations, we would be left guessing on our ancestors and the history. Putting together all of this data is a lot of work and very time consuming. Being able to read some of these documents is even harder as it all depends on the level of care given in writing and documentation. Yes there were priests who wouldn't even bother documenting an event and other times documentation of it twice because they couldn't remember if they took care of it and some just had horrible writing skills.  So through these records I've managed to piece together and find 10 of their 11 children. I hope to be able to add their 11th child one day. So based on using many resources and arriving at ages via census records, they are as follows:

Children of Rafael Betancourt Falcon & Maria del Rosario Mangual Falcon
As noted in the above image with the backdrop of a beach in Loiza, two of their sons, Jose Francisco and Juan Francisco are twins.  Every time I found one of their children in the records, I felt great being able to reconnect this family that eventually migrated south to towns such as Quebrada Grande in Trujillo Alto. I mentioned how Rafael had 145 cuerdas in his possession and to own that many animals meant that they were not a poor family. Trujillo Alto is where the Betancourt family meets another Betancourt family that migrated from another island in the Canary Islands; Lanzarote and eventually these families unite through marriages. From the above 10 children, each proceeds to have their own families and lead to the families we know today. I'm sure the 11th child also had children;  I just need to locate that connection.

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