December 6, 2014

My Roots - A Genealogy Passage to Miguel Bayala Gero

For years I wondered about my paternal heritage and only knowing my father, I never got to meet my paternal grandparents. Unfortunately through my research I discovered that my father was the first born male to live the longest as the eldest son of Facundo Bayala Diaz who passed away at the age of 49 in 1965; my grandfather. He was the eldest of 14 children from the marriage between my great grandparents; Juan Bayala Montañez and Manuela Diaz Morales. I discovered through research of Puerto Rico church records that my great grandparents were married on September 14, 1910 at the Parroquia Exaltación de la Santa Cruz which translates to Exaltation of the Holy Cross Parrish; a Roman Catholic Church that is located in Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico (scroll to the bottom to see images).

The one thing I find very challenging on doing research is not the language barrier but the unfortunate disappearance of many records. Due to weather, fire, insects, complete disregard toward old records, and the island’s history, many of the records are gone.

I have been lucky to know where to look thanks to my father, Luis Bayala Delgado who is now deceased but he made sure he left me with as much information that helped me succeed in discovering that there is only one Bayala family in Puerto Rico thanks to my 5th Great Grandfather Miguel Bayala Gero. I was able to share this information with my father before his passing on August 30th in 2011. 

The one thing he did was help me understand was that the names were not always exactly matching all the time. I also discovered this issue going through records on my mother's Dominican side too. The reason for this was due to the fact that many of these homes existed on rural farms and paved roads didn't exist which made travel very difficult into town. 

Due to the lack of paved roads, many didn't venture into town to marry or even report births immediately. Many times couples lived as common law marriage couples and sometimes married years later in a church but were required to register civilly first; many never bothered to marry. Had I not known this I would have never found records or my ancestors on census records. 

I discovered that people arbitrarily swapped between mother and father last names just like my Bayala line and many other lines did. Even my great grandmother Manuela Diaz Morales is actually in the books as Manuela Diaz Navarro; however I was able to piece together by going through the many records and finding information on her and her parents. As for my great grandfather Juan Bayala Montañez, he identified himself as Juan Montañez and because his parents were not married, he wasn't allowed to list his father, Pedro Bayala Flores. 

I suspect at some point he father Pedro Bayala recognized him officially along with his sister Petrona Bayala as I found both using the Bayala last name and his sister’s death record showing her last name as Bayala even though both of their baptism records indicate that their mother was unwed and they were both baptized with the Montañez last name. Via discussions with my father, he indicated that Pedro Bayala was his great grandfather and I found my Juan Montañez living with him in 1910 on the 1910 US Census; the twist and turns of my direct line have been very interesting. 

To think that my line almost ended being Montañez instead of Bayala is so mind blowing and digging through these records provide a dynamic to my ancestry. I will be posting more as all of my research has been completed on the Bayala family line in Puerto Rico. I've included only the marriage record with this blog post, however I also have both great grandparents’ civil birth record, baptism, and marriage records. The marriage record can be found in Trujillo Alto’s Registro Civil de Matrimonio, Libro 5, Folio 72 (Civil Registration of Marriages, Book 5, Page 72).  

I was able to obtain an approximate death date for my great grandfather’s death date thanks to his daughter (my grandaunt) Maria Bayala. His civil birth record provided a clue as it contain the year of death that Aunt Maria provided and showing his birth year being subtracted from his birth year and providing an estimated age. Aunt Maria was also able to inform me that Juan Bayala also served during WWII.  I was able to locate him in the draft records but wasn't aware of that he served because he was older.  

Aunt Maria advised that his casket was draped with the American Flag. Thanks to her valuable information I was finally able to locate his death record.  He passed away in the hospital on August 3rd in 1956 and his death was reported by his second wife; Maria Amaro. I haven't been able to locate an actual marriage record but have to assume it occurred as my understanding is that Maria Amaro was able to collect benefits for Juan Bayala's service in the military. 
Registro Civil de Matrimonio,Libro 5 F72

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