December 8, 2014

Who was Juan Bayala Montañez? - A Passage to Miguel Bayala Gero

I find that looking through census records to be very interesting. One thing I've noticed was that people who were hired to take the census was either illiterate or just plain dumb when it came to capturing data. The spelling of names were atrocious and to top it off the indexing of records is truly ridiculously bad.  It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack; literally.

As a genealogist you become a true investigator trying to find the truth as well as ancestors and you'll quickly find yourself interviewing many people and documenting to try and understand what was going through people's minds and where they could be found. If you don't have patience then genealogy is definitely not for you as you'll easily be frustrated. However in the end you'll want to give yourself a high five.

Another thing I've discovered was that my Bayala family had a real sense of humor because they gave all kinds of answers when it came to their names and how people in the household were related to one another.  Had it not been for my father insisting that I would find the Bayala family in Dos Bocas, I would have given up because I could have never found them on my own.  So the first individual my father asked for me to find was my grandfather Facundo; he was the key.

He advised me that Facundo Bayala would have been born between 1910 and 1920 and should be living at home in 1930.  So I went to the 1930 census first and felt like I had grain in my eyes because it was so hard to read.

In addition, his last name was phonetically spelled which added to the mess. I was ready to hightail out of dealing with it but my father insisted that I look and would call every evening to see how far I progressed. I think this was his way of forcing me to learn about my Puerto Rican heritage since I was raised in a Dominican household and it was all I knew. He advised me that since Facundo had an unusual name, I should be able to find him just on his first name alone.

My dad would tell me stories of the family which left my brows going up in shock to say the least but it also explained why it was so hard to find this family. It also gave me a sense of understanding some of the things I uncovered as I got to meet family  I failed to realize in the beginning that the same issues of getting long that exist in families today existed back then.  As I researched I realized that this was definitely the case with my Bayala family.

One thing my father shared with me was that for many years he didn't speak to his father and when his father passed away, he wasn't on speaking terms with him.  He did explain why he wasn't speaking to his father but I won't go into that here.  However there are many regrets in life after the fact and we all experience that at some point in our lives.

My father even laughed because he said he would hear his father speaking ill of others and was a bigot but at the same time his own father was mulatto because of my grandfather's mother; my great grandmother's heritage.  Her lines originates from pardos / mulattoes in Puerto Rico and records are identified this way.

So I hit the 1930 census knowing his name as well as his siblings names; grand aunts and uncles to assist me in finding the family and all provided by my father. I was able to finally find the family and discovered that yes the last name had been misspelled; boy was that annoying!  I found him to be the oldest as my father indicated.  His name was written as Facundo Vallala Diaz.

The good thing was I didn't have to look far as the family appeared on the second page of the 1930 Dos Bocas, Trujillo Alto Municipality, Enumeration District 11 - 5.  The census taker obviously didn't know how to spell names as I found many misspelled names on this census and this particular census taker was Hispanic too; Isabel Diaz Hernandez.

Below is the image of page 2 of the 1930 census record. Here is where I discovered that Juan Bayala Montanez was my great grandfather and Manuela Diaz was my great grandmother; I spoke about both of them in a prior blog but didn't give details on how I arrived that he was my great grandfather. I knew his name as well as my great grandmother's but I only knew them initially as Juan and Manuela Bayala; nothing beyond that.

I discovered that the first last name was always the paternal last name and the second one was the maternal last name. This has made genealogy research so much easier than researching in the USA. Once I was able to find them there, I wanted to know more about this family. Since I knew they would remain there,

I then went to the 1920 Census and this is where my humor disappeared because I discovered that the Bayala family disappeared once again. However armed with my great grandfather's last name of Bayala Montañez, I knew I wouldn't be searching too hard. I discovered the family on page 24 of Enumeration District 968; again under the municipality of Trujillo Alto in the town of Dos Bocas. As indicated on the census, the region was rural which will explain a lot as I've seen images from the 1940.

So on this record I discovered family 100 was again the family I was looking for thanks to finding my grandfather on the record.  However this time Juan Bayala was listed as Juan Montañez and married to a Manuela Diaz.  Here they had only three of their children and all listed as Montañez y Diaz; Facundo age 4, Jesusa age 2 and Juana not even a month old.

I would later realize that my great great grandfather (tatarabuelo) was on this census record; family 99.  Here were my great grandparents in their 20's living next door to my great great grandfather but it would take a good while to discover this piece of information via civil and church records later in my research. It wasn't until the 1910 Census that I realized that something was going on here.

So now lets move to the 1910 Census. On this census I was expecting to find Juan Bayala Montanez living with his parents but instead I find him to be a boarder in a home that Pedro Bayala Flores owned; I actually sat down going through the entire census for Dos Bocas and writing down every Bayala and Montanez I came across to determine if he had any siblings.

I immediate figured that somehow this Pedro Bayala played a key role in this picture.  I wrote down his sister Camila's name down but the census indicated that she never had any children and that he also had a nephew and niece living in the home; Francisco and Jacinta.

It wasn't until later in my research when I found Pedro Bayala Flores aka Pedro Bayala Carmona (another story) that I discovered that he was Juan Bayala's father even though my father insisted that Pedro Bayala was Juan's father; I just needed proof.

I also knew that Pedro died between 1920 and 1930 as he wasn't on the 1930 census; I knew which years to look for him. This man is a mystery and I wonder what kind of a relationship he had with his son. I find it interesting that it wasn't until after his death that Juan started using Bayala instead of Montañez. Was there something written in the will of Pedro Bayala?

I believe so as Juan had a sister name Petrona who also started using the Bayala name; she used it until her death too. However Pedro's record confirmed that he was single and it also provided his parent's names; Ildelfonso Bayala and Gregoria Carmona. Here is Pedro Bayala Carmona's death certificate. This record can be found in Trujillo Alto Registro de Defunciones, Libro 4, Años 1925 - 1929, Folio 403, Numero 53.

This family not only becomes more interesting but at the same time I learned of the many hurdles that were thrown at them on this island throughout the years. The Bayala line is also small which in my mind I think that his why my great grandfather felt the need to populate the island as I've discovered that with his wife he had 14 children with only 13 surviving but also that he had other relationships where he had another 8 children that I am aware of. I can't determine if he married any of these women as I haven't been able to locate a marriage certificate nor the birth records for some of them because these records are not available yet.