October 15, 2017

Researching My African Diaz and Nunez Ancestors in Trujillo Alto Puerto Rico

So this is the record of my 3rd great grandfather, Angel Diaz Nunez on my father’s paternal side.  He is Manuela’s Diaz’s grandfather.  This line is known to inter-exchange the Nunez with Diaz line. This is because this line is of African descent and Angel Nunez and all of his children and grandchildren were black and parents were not legally married. I suspect that his father’s name was actually Rafael Diaz and not Nunez because he used Diaz on all other records including his son Nieves who is reporting his father’s death. His mother’s name is not Ana but actually Maria Balcanesa Nunez as all records of his children indicate. This happens more often than people realize because these things were not important to them at the time, surviving and feeding their families were. 

It was not until my grandfather, Facundo that they were listed as either pardo or mulatto and kept using Diaz.  He was listed as mulatto because Facundo’s father was white via his father Juan but Juan’s mother was also of mixed race. Juan passed as being white because he had blue eyes based on his WWII registration record. The record reads for Angel reads as follows…

In Trujillo Alto, PR on the 23rd of November in 1912, at 8 in the morning before me, Jose Gonzalez Diaz, in charge of the Civil Registry, appears before me Nieves Nunez, of age, and widowed, of profession of laborer, from Trujillo Alto, and resident of the town of Quebrada Negrito in Trujillo Alto.

That Angel Nunez of 90 years of age, widowed, from Trujillo Alto and resident of the town of Quebrada Negrito in Trujillo Alto, died at 6pm on the 22nd of November in 1912 due to mythic tightness (heart attack), per certification presented.

That the deceased was the legitimate child of Rafael Nunez and Ana Nunez, both adults, married, of profession of laborers, and naturally from San Juan and deceased.  That the cemetery that his cadaver is buried is in Trujillo Alto.

The rest of the document reads off witnesses and then the signature of Nieves Nunez (Diaz).  Nieves dies in 1916. I have many records on this line that supports this document which include civil and church records.

I have a lot of Cape Verde island matches via DNA testing on Ancestry and I am now wondering if potentially it is coming from this line since I do not have many matches to this line via DNA.


Death Record of Angel Diaz Nunez, Libro 1, Folio 144, Number 99, Trujillo Alto Civil Registration in Puerto Rico (www.FamilySearch.org)



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September 29, 2017

How to Locate Ancestors in Church Records

Sometimes as an experienced researcher, you tend to forget somethings are not natural or known to many.  So today, I was asked how to find a family member that is in an index in an actual church book that is digitized online. I decided to post about it in the blog because I realize that although I've provided a prior post, posts do get lost after so many postings so it helps to speak to it again.

So to help others understand, I am going to use Caguas in my example.  So let's start with my post about Caguas.  Click on the below link and it will take you to my post about Caguas.

http://www.genealogianuestra.com/2017/07/caguas-digitized-church-records-1730.html

Now in my example, we will be looking at the Indexes at the top called...

Baptisms Index 1864 - 1880 (Image 58)

Notice that in all my postings, I am always providing an Image number. This is there to tell you where you are in the film. This means that when you click on the link, you will be on Image Number 58.

Not all Indexes are the same. In the particular book for my example, the names are alphabetized and it covers books 11 through 18.  So the first number appearing is the book number next to the person.

At times, some indexes with a number next to a person name represents the folio or page number. Some names may have a “v” next to it like 17v or an "a' like 17A. The “v” stands for vuelto, which means the back of the page.  The "A", also means back of page and stands for "atras" in Spanish.

So looking at the Index, I am selecting Federico Aponte.  His mother's name is Victoriana. According to the Index, he can be found in Book 11 on page 170-A. 

So next we go back to my Caguas post and look fro Book 11. In my post you should see the following entry under Baptisms.

Book 11 of Baptisms of Mixed and Whites 1864 - 1866 (Image 312)

So when you click on the link, you should find yourself on Image 312. Here is where you do a little math.  Take 312 and add to it 171.  This will give you 483.  So in the upper lefthand order above the image, type in 483 over the 312 and hit enter.  As you can see you wound up on page 166.  This is because at times images are repeated due to clarity issues or there are extra pages in the beginning of a book.

So we know that we need to arrive to page 171.  You can either page forward or add 5 to 483 to make it 488.  I entered in 488.  At the bottom of the page, you should see the entry for Federico's baptism.

Hopefully this tutorial will help you in researching your ancestors.  Feel free to share this post and as always, below are instructions to accessing other posts on this website. Happy Researching!
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August 9, 2017

Fajardo Digitized Church Records 1766 to 1946

Fajardo, which was founded in 1760, and is an eastern municipality facing the Atlantic Ocean, has a church called Santiago Apostol. We are fortunate to have these church records filmed since many of Loiza records are gone.  While not all books start in 1766, the death records do, which provides visibility to those who live prior to this year. Just like the bird has a mixture of colors, I found that Luquill records mixed in with Fajardo. Since Luquillo is listed on the FamilySearch website broken out, I am supplying only those records they either don't supply or are hidden and not known. This is a treasure find for some researching in Luquillo.

Books for Luquillo


Baptisms Books




Marriages Books


A mixture of wedding records 1891 - 1923 (Image 1937 through 2112)
Authorized marriage licenses from parents & recognized children born out of wedlock (Image 2115)
Authorized marriage licenses from parents & recognized children born out of wedlock (Image 2239)

Confirmations  Books


Deaths Books


August 1, 2017

Digitized Church Records for Arroyo in Puerto Rico


Before I go into the below records, I need to answer two questions that are being asked by many.

I am not the holder of these church records. They are maintained by FamilySearch. While the records are available on their website, currently they are not easy to navigate until they make their changes which will take them a while as they are concentrating on digitizing their records. I have many years of experience navigating their website so I fully understand how to jump around and find the books I seek.  There are many others who have the same level of experience on their website. I supply the breakdown for those that are new, don't know how to navigate the website, or those who would rather have a link to the book for easy access.

Another question pertains to available church records. Not all churches in Puerto Rico were filmed by the LDS as the Roman Catholic Church closed access to their records. Note that if the church is not currently in the catalog then it never will be. You can Google to find out why this is the case. 

Moving onto Arroyo, it is a municipality that sits between Guayama and Patillas and was founded in 1855.  If you are seeking records prior to this time, I recommend that you look at Guayama as it would have been part of that region prior to being established.

There are only 3 films on church records available for this municipality.  The records are as follows:


Baptisms Books


    Confirmation Books


    Marriages Books


    In Book 3 of Marriages, it is noted that at the end of the book is a record for 1906.


    Death Books


    Although the catalog noted records for 1920 - 1921 in death records, I could not locate them.



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    July 30, 2017

    Digitized Ponce Church Records 1835 to 1948

    Ponce was established in 1692 and had settles prior to this year.  While churches did exist prior to 1836, it is the earliest records that were filmed for the region.  I cannot say if books prior to this date exist and if they do, they were never filmed.  Most importantly, Ponce has a large connection to the Independence of Haiti during the revolutionary years. It pays to read the history as it will potentially lead to connections if you notice cousins via DNA from Haiti.

    After breakdown the film images for Caguas, I do not believe that Ponce would be as bad. While the number of films are 16, it is no longer intimidating to me as I go through the films. One lesson here is that you take your time as you go through the images.  When I discovered the books for the town where my Bayala line came from, I went through pages quickly trying to find every Bayala.  It was not until as time progressed in my research, I realized that many of the records I sped through were actually many of my ancestors. Names such as Silverio, Betancourt, Diaz, Delgado, Aleman, Soiza, and Mangual.  It is why I say to all, slow and steady will get you what you seek. You just never know who you just passed over.

    While going through the civil records for Ponce makes me cringe at the task, I must say that the church records for Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe are not so bad. I know many have been waiting for this, but remember, go back to what you know before reviewing these records to ensure correct year. I give every generation of parents 20 to 30 years. So if your ancestor is born in 1900, you can look for their parents between 1870 and 1880 baptism books.

    Books of Baptisms Indexes


    Includes Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths  


    There are some 1836 records in this mix.  I did not look for them due to the large volume of records. However, they are within the following books.



    Baptisms Books


    It seems that the priests were forgetful in recording baptisms or ran out of places to post baptisms records and simple placed the record at the end of any of the books; it is very random.  So while FamilySearch states that years are missing, that is not the case.  Here is what I found going through some of the books. I recommend that each book is looked at thoroughly at the end as there are straggler records in many.

    In Book 1, that covers 1850, there are some misplaced baptism records ranging from 1836 to 1882 in the back. They start on Image 80.

    In Book 8, that covers 1858 - 1859, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1858 - 1872 in the back. They start on Image 2219.

    In Book 16, that covers 1869, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1869 - 1921 in the back. They start on Image 236.

    In Book 30, that covers 1886 - 1887, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1885 - 1921 in the back.  They start with Image 2112.


    One of the seven sacraments, Confirmations, did not happen all the time as baptisms do. So while FamilySearch states there are missing years, that is not the case. I recall sitting in St. Pascal Baylon Church's rectory going through the books as the priest let all the teens rummage through the rectory as part of our curriculum for Confirmation.  At the time, I believe Confirmations were being done either once a year or every other year. Our group consisted of 20 of us. So disregard the statement of missing years in the catalog since not everyone who is Roman Catholic would do their Confirmation.

    Confirmation Books


    Marriage Books


    While all of the Death books have indexes, for whatever reason, the photographer didn't take images of the indexes. Only those marked below have images of the indexes of their perspective book.

    Death Books




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    July 28, 2017

    Joseph Vaguizu - An Infant Slave in Puerto Rico

    I've edited this post with the following...

    I want to thank the source of this record,  an individual who is collecting records for Toa Alta. I wanted his okay before putting his name out there. I cannot thank Angel  Perez-Galarza enough for providing me with numerous images on those that were enslaved. This record is one of many he sent my way.

    I have posted about this record on Facebook but decided to post it here. Here is a record of a woman who was enslaved.  It clearly states that she is a black slave. Her name is Martina Vaguizu. This is a name that I have never come across in going through church records for Puerto Rico. I also did a search to see if I could find this last name today and could not find it. I found the last name on one record in Argentina.  This leads me to believe that Martina was sold again and sent to live in Puerto Rico as her slave captors did not share her last name. However, that is not why this record has caught my attention. I have seen many Africans and blacks whether enslaved or freed being baptized.

    The record is not even about Martina per say, but about her son Joseph de la Mercedes Vaguizu.  Joseph is being baptized in the church in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico on the 17th of October, 1824.  Joseph de la Mercedes was born on the 24th of September, 1824.  This makes Joseph only 23 days old.  This is normal for any baby born during this era to be baptized under 30 days of age. However, what I do not consider normal is that this infant is a slave.

    Here is where things go really wrong for me as I never seen any church records documenting the following. Apparently the slave holder decides to advise the priest that the child is being gifted to his daughter to be her slave. So yes, the child is being taken away from his mother to be raise as a slave in another home to serve a new slave owner, the man’s daughter.

    What I also suspect is that the man is the child’s father. The reason for this suspicion is that the child is listed in the church record as a “mulato slave”.  This means that although the mother is being recognize as being black, not mulato, the child is being identified as such. If the slave holder is indeed the father of Joseph, it can be that his wife did not want the child in the home. Anything is possible.

    I have attached the image below. I hope that he survived and that his legacy continued until today.  Hoping that whomever descends from him and his mother will come across this record.

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    July 25, 2017

    Ceiba Digitized Church Records 1840 - 1978

    As I move forward in transcribing more records for different municipalities, I am discovering regions where I do not believe I have any ancestors but also how vast this island actually is.  While I see many comment that slavery existed on the eastern part of the island, the truth is that it existed everywhere equally around the island. There is no exclusive place nor have I come across a region where I have not seen slaves or former slaves in the records. I want to remove that myth from everyone's mind.

    So for the municipality of Ceiba, in Puerto Rico, it founded in 1838, and the name of the church for this town is San Antonio de Padua.  The municipality can be found along the northeastern coast of the island south of Fajardo. There are not a vast number of church records but the collection is complete. I found that many books were mislabeled and the catalog has the wrong years listed.  These are all corrected below. 

    The digitized church records are as follows with the first book containing 9 different books:


    Note: Parts 2A in the above book are for Blacks whether enslaved or free

    Baptisms Books


    Marriage Books

    Death Books



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    July 23, 2017

    Digitized Maunabo San Isidro Labrador Records 1800 - 1935

    Many of the municipalities and towns names in Puerto Rico originate from the indigenous people that populated the island, the Tainos.  Their history and existence can be found throughout the island.  The majority of people who identify their ancestry to the island are now discovering through DNA that almost all of us have connection to this tribe that existed on the island.  Those that come from mountainous regions of the island are more likely to have features or resemblance to those that once populated the island.

    Maunabo can be found in a remote mountainous region of the island and for the most part holds onto its old colonial ways.  The available church records are limited to only baptism and marriage records.  If you research the history of this municipality, you'll know where to look next.  I discovered people that were enslaved in this municipality that were baptized.  The breakdown is as follows:

    Baptisms Books



    Marriages Books


    The following 13 images are loose pages at the back of another book. You can flip this first image by using the icon to the right of the screen under "Tools". Use the "Turn to the Left" a couple of times to right the image.  The images run from 1895 to 1900 and are not in any order:


    The following 4 images are loose pages at the back of another book:

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    Caguas Digitized Church Records 1730 - 1968

    While Caguas in Puerto Rico records start in 1730, there are many records that have been lost prior to this year. It is quite unfortunate as many questions remain unanswered regarding those that live in this region prior to this year. We can only get a glimpse of those ancestors via the death books.

    This post consists of 17 sets of films that have been digitized with well over 35,000 images.  Keep in mind that the volume of records is large. I provide the image numbers to the starting point of each book so you can jump back if needed. Note that their catalog may list a book as death when they are actually baptisms records. In addition, I found errors in the years provided.  I have made the corrections when listing them below.

    Most importantly, one of the habits of a priest is forgetting to document your ancestor in the correct books.  It pays to review prior volumes and future volumes.  There are people who are enslaved listed in many of these books. An important thing to keep in mind.  When it came to deaths, everyone was listed in the same books.  There was no separation.  These books hold a lot of ancestry information, do not skip over them. If you do not know the language, Spanish, or have difficulty reading it. There are two resources I recommend. One is using Google Translate and the other is joining a group in Facebook called Genealogy Translations. Please follow the rules in the group to get assistance.

    Index Books


    The following books are all contained in one book.  The book contains slaves, freed blacks, brown/mixed and whites that were baptized, married, or died in this region. I have broken the book down into three books for easier navigation.  I also placed them in the order they appear so you can bounce around the images.  So for example, baptism records go from 1309 through and including 1653.  Knowing this helps you move around within this book.

    Baptisms Books


    Marriages Books


    Confirmation Books


    Death Books

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