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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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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Bahamas Digitized Estate Appraisals, Leases and Wills from the 1700s through 1900s

One of the hardest things to do is reading documents of Estate Appraisals and seeing humans listed as property. For those of us that descend from these ancestors, it is a hard pill to swallow. What is harder to see is the price listed next to their name. I praise these ancestors and place them on a pedestal for persevering the cruelties of slavery and ensuring that I would one day I would descend from them.

I hope that with these records, someone will benefit in being able to trace their ancestry.  Fortunately these records are available online to be viewed.  Below I am providing links to the the Estate Appraisals.

The following are leases available that have been digitized. These run from 1846 to 1860 and the link is provided below.


Last but just as important are Wills that are listed below.  Yes, there are many wills listing slaves by their names and being bequeathed to other family members. These records will serve as a good resources to those researching the Bahamas

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Bahamas Estate Record Listing Slave Names as assets

July 14, 2017

Dominica - Wills from 1700s through 1938

I was excited to discover wills were available in digitized format on the familysearch website. The records are a collection from manuscripts in the Supreme Court Registry located in Roseau.

Unfortunately, the available images can only be view from a Family History Center (FHC).  It eliminates the step of needing to order and pay for microfilms.  Why the authors of these records will not make these available online is currently unknown.  If you want to discover why, I recommend that you reach out to familysearch or the owners of the records which is usually the archives or authors.

Review my post on Finding a Family History Center for Free Research

The Dominican Will records are a great resource for those of African descent who are searching for information on their ancestors.  The list is as follows and the hyperlinks will lead you to the films. When you arrive at the FHC, you can easily pull up the blog and pull up the links.  The records are as follows:

Film # 1699767
Book 4 - 1790 to 1794  and Books 6 - 13 1798 to 1830

Film # 1699827
Books 14 - 20 1830 - 1892

Film # 1699834 - Item# 1 on film 
Book 21 - 1892 to 1907
 
Film# 1699834 - Item# 2 on film
Book 23 - 1921 to 1938

Film # 1699834 - Item# 3 on film
Index of Books 1 through 20 (1700's - 1892)

Film # 1699834 - Item# 4 on film
Index of Books 21 through 23 (1892 - 1938)


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