December 8, 2014

Betancourt - A Connection from Gran Canaria, Canary Islands to Puerto Rico

As I mentioned in my prior post, Round Robin Genealogy, the Betancourt line connection is riddled with mistakes on Ancestry and many group forums. If you follow the source of the tree that Ancestry gives you a leaf on, you'll notice that it will lead to a continuous loop from one tree to another until it dead ends on someone who had nothing to do with the ancestor. It was after seeing this family line and a few others that were riddled with mistakes that I realized that data being provided had zero accurate information. None of the trees on Ancestry when I first started off had any accurate information back in 2008 and I believe that that is the case till today. I've actually removed my tree from Ancestry because I got fed up with Ancestry constantly giving me false leads on my ancestors. I had a better resource; church books.

So I want to start with the man who started this line and from what I can tell, it is where the name Juan was introduced. It saddens me that I haven't been able to go further than him as I would like to know his personal story even through records what lead him on that journey to Puerto Rico from Gran Canaria, Canary Islands are not available. He wasn't the only Betancourt to cross but I wondered if there were any other siblings.  It wouldn't surprise me if he came alone as I've discovered that Miguel Bayala Gero never went back home to his country and remained in Puerto Rico.

I estimated that Juan was born sometime around 1745; way before the American Revolution; time of many pirates to which I've discovered ancestors in that line of work.  However the pirate discussion I'll leave for another day, another post.

Since many of the records are destroyed I have to live with estimates for now until the day comes that I can sit in an archive digging through records finding information pertaining to this line and many others. While most people are jumping to the conclusion that he died in Trujllo Alto, Puerto Rico; I'm going to say he didn't unless someone can show documentation. I have my theory that are based on some facts beginning with where his children were born and where they claim to be from when they were getting married.

In addition, his children were not born in Trujillo Alto; it didn't even exist back then.  I found that two of his sons were born in Bayamon and his two daughters were probably born in Loiza. I'm able to connect his daughters by marriage and death records of where he was possibly living before his death.  As for his sons, I found them being baptized in Bayamon and one dying there as well. He was married to Antonia Falcon  to which I'm still in the process of confirming her baptism record that I've located.  In my research I've found only four children for this couple; they were as follows:

Of these four children, the first child to pass away was Juan Betancourt Falcon at just 10 months of age on Nov 5, 1774; how sad for Antonia and Diego.  I located his son's death record in the Defunciones (Death) book of the church in Bayamon; Parroquia Santa Cruz, Book 5, Folio 9. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have children die of something as simple as a fever in that era; no such thing as aspirin or any other fever reducer. Over the years I saw records showing children dying from dehydration due to fevers.

It was also through birth and marriage records that I discovered that Diego Betancourt actually went by the name of Juan Espanto Betancourt. I found this name associated to his children's birth/death records. When his daughter Barbara married on September 18, 1788 in Rio Piedras to her first husband, Manuel Gonzalez de Soto, the marriage record indicated that she was naturally from Loiza (meaning born and living there) and that her father Diego was deceased.

From this record I was able to establish that Diego was from Gran Canaria after asking members from the Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Genealogia what did the general reference mean.  It was explained that it meant that the person was from the main island of Gran Canaria as we know it today but back then was referenced as 'la Isla Canaria'. If you were from another island, it would mention the island name in the record.  So I want to thank many of the members of the Society for assisting me in some of the facts about the people and the island.

My heart broke for Barbara since women were very vulnerable in this era; having to rely on their husbands or family of the husband to be able to survive. From her marriage to Manuel, she had two sons, Manuel and Juan; Juan I gather being named after her father. In 1793, tragedy struck this woman twice with the death of her husband on July 22, 1793, followed by the death of her son, Juan at the age of 8 months on September 15, 1793. A year later she then lost her older son Manuel at 4 years of age on November 9, 1794. These were the only two children belonging to this couple. Although the records do not provide an insight as to how they all died, influenza and malaria was prevalent during this era.

After loosing her husband and children, I found her again on December 10, 1794 getting married in Caguas; just one month after losing her son Manuel.  She didn't have time to mourn before she had to say "I do" in order to survive. You can find her marriage record in Book 2 of Marriages, Folio 125, #277 for Parroquia Dulce Nombre de Jesus. I'm hoping that she found happiness once again as I see she had a daughter with Roberto Lopez who was born on January 21, 1796; Maria Agueda Lopez Betancourt. She was baptized at the church in Rio Piedras; Senora del Pilar, Book 3, Folio 307 vuelto (back).

I didn't continue her line and my research ended here for her but I remember the feeling of grief I felt for this woman; my 5th great grand aunt. I'm hoping that when I get back to her that I find that she finally was able to have a family to call her own.  I now have two remaining siblings that I want to discuss; Rafael and Maria del Carmen Betancourt Falcon. Until then...


  1. Hope this isn't a duplicate but resending to be sure. Did Pascacio Betancourt Mangual have a brother named Antonio? If so we may share Pascacio's parents as common ancestors. It would also mean your work on the Betancourt line tracing it to the Canary Islands would also include me as a direct descendant of Antonio Betancourt Mangual. Thanks for your work and making it accessible.

    1. Hi Alicia, sorry for the delay in response, I never received notification that you posted a question here. To answer your question isn't that simple. Who was Pascacio's wife? Do you know? Names are known to be repeated in this family so knowing the wife is key. Now if you tell me Pascasio's wife is Ruperta Galvez Hernandez the the answer to your question would be:

      His parents are Juan de la Cruz Betancourt Asencio and Juana Inocencia Mangual Castro

    2. Alicia

      Here is another Pascacio Betancourt Mangual. Possibly this is the one you speak of? It will lead you to another post on my blog.

  2. Hi. i was reading your blog and found your interesting note about Diego Betancourt. In my case both Antonia Falcón Lin and Csimira Falcón Lin are great great greats in my line. In the case of Diego Betancourt, your are referring to Diego Betancourt Mendez? The line goes to parents: Carlos Betancourt (bet 1730-1745 Caracas, Venezuela) and Gerónima Méndez (Caracas, Venezuela). They established themselves in Truxillo, PR. (Trujillo Alto). Thank you. Your blog is very interesting and most probably we are related.

    1. Actually what you've posted is false undocumented information. The only truth in your statements is that we potentially related via Rafael Betancourt which is Diego's only surviving son. Part of the problem is that people post false information on trees with zero sources nor do they check the indicated recourse on the record thereby taking the person’s word only to discover down the line that the record referenced doesn’t exist. It's like me posting a tree saying I'm related to the Queen of England and then someone else creating a tree and attaching it to mine; their tree becomes sourced based on my non-sourced tree. The problem exponentially explodes as people follow suite as we see with trees on Ancestry. You then share what you’ve uncovered as being a fact when its original source was false.
      So to correct your statements, let me explain. First there are no connection or way of proving that Antonia Falcon's maternal last name was Lin. If you have a source then I ask that you supply it. There is no record of her birth in Puerto Rico. All we know is that she was married to Diego Betancourt. We also have no record of her death as there are no death records to be found of her.
      Most importantly the Betancourt line didn’t settle in the Trujillo Alto area, they actually eventually migrated to the region. The two Betancourt sons were born in Bayamon. One actually died as an infant. Their only surviving son and his two sisters settled in Loiza as stated in the sister’s wedding record which I did post about here on my blog; you will have to navigate to the top and find the post under Puerto Rico Genealogy page.
      Now as for Casimira, she had a sister named Maria who was born in 1759. The record is pretty damaged and no indication that it's Antonia. So that is nothing but speculation if someone is claiming they are one in the same. All we do know is that her name is Antonia Falcon. As for Casimira, yes she is indeed Falcon Lin as her baptism record exists and indicates who her parents are.
      Now onto Diego Betancourt, that is also false information. His last name is not Mendez. Diego Betancourt came from Gran Canarias, Canary Islands, Spain. His parents were not from Caracas, Venezuela. I suggest that you remove these names from your tree as Carlos would have had to have father Diego while a zygote in his mother’s fallopian tubes. Also we are talking about two different regions of the world. I highly doubt that Carlos would be born in Caracas, Venezuela, travel for months back to the Canary Island’s in his mother’s womb and the impregnate his wife who would have been a zygote in her mother’s womb possibly back in Caracas. I say this jokingly to make you see why you have to be careful what you see and read unless you do the actual research yourself and physically find the documentation. It is the reason why I post the actual documents or provide the source in my blog which then gives you the opportunity to find it.

    2. One last thing, just be careful and document your tree step by step. There is actually a couple of Betancourt families in the Trujillo Alto. The migration path so far is that they went from Bayamon to Loiza to then expanding south in the Trujillo Bajo region, Trujillo Alto, Gurabo, Juncos, Rio Piedras and San Juan region. There is actually a Betancourt line that marries into the Rafael Betancourt Falcon's line in Trujillo Alto. This line comes from Lanzarote, Canary Islands.


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