August 4, 2015

Juan Betancourt Mangual & Matea del Pilar Asencio

One of the things many women faced prior to the 1950's was the inability to support themselves. Many girls were married off young because they brought no value to bringing in sustenance other than working as a maid for a richer household. Most women had no choice but to remarry immediately or soon after their husbands died or faced starvation or the possibility of being homeless. For this reason you'll discover many women marrying immediately or soon after their spouses had passed.

In viewing records, I saw that with Matea del Pilar Asencio Alvarez as I saw her mother Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo face the same fate. I can tell you that it even went down one further generation as my 2nd great grandmother, who is Matea's granddaughter, faced the same exact fate. Women had no other available option other than living with another relative.

If they were elderly and found themselves widowed, these women had to rely on living with one of their children. Valentina's mother Rosalia Betancourt Asencio did exactly that; she lived with Valentina until she passed away in 1911. Below is a visual to see the four great grandmothers that I descend from.


So now that I've provided the visual and background to the female line, I want to speak about Matea del Pilar Asencio Alvarez's descendants. You can read more on Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo on a previous post.

Matea del Pilar married Juan Betancourt Mangual in Trujillo Alto in December of 1819 at the Parroquia Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz. They would remain married until around 1839 which is when he passes away.  Matea then marries Calixto Perez sometime around 1840.  With Juan, Matea del Pilar had 9 children according to the will that was filed on October 3, 1856 which is probably when Calixto Perez passes away as he isn't listed on the 1860 Census and she is listed being widowed living with her son Juan Betancourt Asencio along with two of her children, Modesto and Catalina. 

Per the will filed, the family had 72 hectors and a home in Quebrada Grande in Trujillo Alto.  With Calixto, Matea had 3 more children.  So in total Matea had 12 children between both husbands. Most of Matea's children were married at the time of Calixto's death and it seems that she was able to live on her own for her remaining years. She probably had one of her children that remained living there with her as it was customary to see this in households.

Now as for the children, I was able to locate the death records to all of the Betancourt Asencio except for Isabel; she seems to have disappeared or she may have died before 1885. However I did locate her on the 1860 Census married to Francisco Hernandez Rivera and her seven children.

Betancourt Asencio Children

As for the Perez Asencio children, although I found Juana Luisa birth and baptism record in the church book, I didn't locate her on the 1860 Census living with her mother. It just may be that she was already married and move away to another local town.  I also haven't been able to locate any death records for all three children as the church death books were not filmed by the LDS but do exist and are stored in the San Juan Archdiocese.


I'm hoping to discover more about the life of these strong women who had to face uncertainty upon the death of their spouses. I'm sure it must of been hard for the children to see someone seated at the table where their father once sat.

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