October 26, 2017

Comerio Church Records 1832 - 1940

While Puerto Rico is only 100 miles long by 35 miles wide, it contains many municipalities.  Comerio is surrounded by 6 municipalities and sits on the eastern side and centered.  While many of us think of our families that are dealing with the effects of Hurricane Mary, I cannot stop thinking of what our ancestors faced in 1899 and 1928 when two other devastating hurricanes hit the island.  So many deaths and illnesses. I am hoping that with today's technology that we do not lose so many again. In 1899 we lost well over 3,000 loved ones and then we watched as people died from cholera from 1898 to 1910.  A very tragic history to the island.

For those who descend from family that live in this region, there are many church records available.  Once you reach where you can go no further, I recommend that you look to other big regions such as Caguas to locate records.  The church records for Comerio starts in 1832.

Baptisms


Confirmations


Marriages


Deaths


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October 25, 2017

Slave Records from Matanzas Cathedral 1719 - 1918

In the province of Mantanzas in Cuba, it turns out that there are quite a few Catholic Churches and many records available.  The records for this post will concentrate on only the Cathedral but there are other churches I will follow up with. These records were digitized in an effort of saving these endangered records.  While these records are digitized, there are limited and more records are being added even to links I provide below.

I will have to edit this post in the future as more records (books) become available and this is actually a very large collection. The period of records from this church start in 1719 and go through 1918.  The collection will eventually have 28 books on baptisms, many on death as well as marriages. The records are on those that were enslaved, free, and the hopefully many that escaped the genocide that existed throughout the world against an innocent people.

Whenever you see records marked as Pardos, this translates to a light skinned mulatto. Keep in mind that although many take offense to these terms like I do, I need to call them what they were referred to so that anyone using Google can find the records in the search engine.  In addition, the word Moreno means black.

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Matanzas Cuba Government Records on Slavery

The research for documents on our African ancestors is one of the biggest challenges that we face. Fortunately many of us who descend from those enslaved in the Caribbean have found an option in discovering more about who these ancestors are.

Up until recently, it was difficult to locate records on our African ancestors out of Cuba. However, that is quickly changing due to funded projects that are pursuing to preserving records that are in danger of disappearing.  One such effort is the digitizing of African diaspora located in Matanzas, Cuba. This is a great effort that will help many in researching their ancestors.

Matanzas was known as a major producer of sugar in the 1800s and that meant a high volume of slavery.  This region of the island was known for the high volume of those enslaved going back to the 1500s.

This is a huge collection so I'll have to do it in segments.  So the first records I came across were from the Provincial Government in Matanzas.  The links lead directly to records.


These are random records on the enslaved Africans and their descendants.

The following records are for Cimarron which are those that were enslaved and escaped and lived in the mountains.  Many of us celebrate the people that escaped enslavement. There is even a statue of one such famous man in Dominican Republic. However, since these are Cuban records, the same concept applies throughout the Caribbean.

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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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