July 30, 2017

Digitized Ponce Church Records 1835 to 1948

Ponce was established in 1692 and had settles prior to this year.  While churches did exist prior to 1836, it is the earliest records that were filmed for the region.  I cannot say if books prior to this date exist and if they do, they were never filmed.  Most importantly, Ponce has a large connection to the Independence of Haiti during the revolutionary years. It pays to read the history as it will potentially lead to connections if you notice cousins via DNA from Haiti.

After breakdown the film images for Caguas, I do not believe that Ponce would be as bad. While the number of films are 16, it is no longer intimidating to me as I go through the films. One lesson here is that you take your time as you go through the images.  When I discovered the books for the town where my Bayala line came from, I went through pages quickly trying to find every Bayala.  It was not until as time progressed in my research, I realized that many of the records I sped through were actually many of my ancestors. Names such as Silverio, Betancourt, Diaz, Delgado, Aleman, Soiza, and Mangual.  It is why I say to all, slow and steady will get you what you seek. You just never know who you just passed over.

While going through the civil records for Ponce makes me cringe at the task, I must say that the church records for Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe are not so bad. I know many have been waiting for this, but remember, go back to what you know before reviewing these records to ensure correct year. I give every generation of parents 20 to 30 years. So if your ancestor is born in 1900, you can look for their parents between 1870 and 1880 baptism books.

Books of Baptisms Indexes

Includes Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths  

There are some 1836 records in this mix.  I did not look for them due to the large volume of records. However, they are within the following books.

Baptisms Books

It seems that the priests were forgetful in recording baptisms or ran out of places to post baptisms records and simple placed the record at the end of any of the books; it is very random.  So while FamilySearch states that years are missing, that is not the case.  Here is what I found going through some of the books. I recommend that each book is looked at thoroughly at the end as there are straggler records in many.

In Book 1, that covers 1850, there are some misplaced baptism records ranging from 1836 to 1882 in the back. They start on Image 80.

In Book 8, that covers 1858 - 1859, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1858 - 1872 in the back. They start on Image 2219.

In Book 16, that covers 1869, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1869 - 1921 in the back. They start on Image 236.

In Book 30, that covers 1886 - 1887, there are some misplaced baptisms records ranging from 1885 - 1921 in the back.  They start with Image 2112.

One of the seven sacraments, Confirmations, did not happen all the time as baptisms do. So while FamilySearch states there are missing years, that is not the case. I recall sitting in St. Pascal Baylon Church's rectory going through the books as the priest let all the teens rummage through the rectory as part of our curriculum for Confirmation.  At the time, I believe Confirmations were being done either once a year or every other year. Our group consisted of 20 of us. So disregard the statement of missing years in the catalog since not everyone who is Roman Catholic would do their Confirmation.

Confirmation Books

Marriage Books

While all of the Death books have indexes, for whatever reason, the photographer didn't take images of the indexes. Only those marked below have images of the indexes of their perspective book.

Death Books

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