Sometimes digging through records trying to find one thing, you discover something else. I made a copy of the 1860 Trujillo Alto Puerto Rico Census many years ago and have been able to build many lines. I decided to take another look to understand my Nuñez line, which is of African descent. While researching my Nuñez line, I discovered that there was a plantation in Trujillo Alto with a well-known slaveholder by the name of Isabel Nuñez. The source for this is a history book I purchased that was done by a cousin back in 1962. The book is called Historia Documental de Trujillo Alto by Jose Francisco Diaz Viera. I already knew that my Nuñez were enslaved as there were just too many in the area and all were of African descent. This book assisted me in knowing where to look.
One of the telling signs of enslavement from what I have found is the constant changing of last names. I have documented this numerous times in prior posts. So with this information in hand, I have been able to find family members much easier but it still poses a challenge when researching information.
So while digging through the records, I came across my Juan de la Cruz, my 3rd great grandfather with my 3rd great grandmother, Teresa Prieto Algarin…WAIT! SAY WHAT?!!! HOLD UP!!
So far all records referring to her as Teresa Prieto Arroyo. In addition, my Juan de la Cruz Arroyo was listed as Juan Arroyo Cruz on row 1249. I can understand Juan doing this because his parents were not married and those that were previously enslaved or descended from enslavement ten to place their father’s last name at the end of their name. Below is the page of where he provides the census taker his information. He also indicates that he is 49 years of age; bottom of image.
As I continue to the next page and see Teresa on row 1250 with her children following, I decided to start doing the math. She is 36 according to this record but her son Juan is 25. This means that she gave birth at the age of 11. Am I shocked by this? No, not anymore. Recall that I found out that my great grandmother, Manuela Diaz Navarro (Morales) was married off at the age of 11. I was able to prove this by finding her birth and marriage record. She then gave birth to my grandfather at the age of 15. At the age of 11, you were considered a woman and married off. While this is truly disgusting and most during modern era finding it revolting, it is how things were and still are in many of these places.
So now when I look at my DNA results and see so many 4th cousins with trees listing out Algarin from the Trujillo Alto, Gurabo, and Carolina regions, it makes a lot of sense how they are cousins and places me closer to building out this line. I can now take a look at those cousins trees and start validating and adding information as I know more about connections. Of course, that means I’ll have to upload the updated tree on my sister website; Genealogia Nuestra. However, this is seriously a major breakthrough in moving further back on my African ancestors.
So for now, I am updating Teresa Prieto Arroyo to read as Teresa Prieto Algarin. Juan will remain on my tree as Juan de la Cruz Arroyo. Note that their children, especially my 2nd great grandmother, Francisca, names have truly updated and now I know how to look for them, under the Arroyo or Prieto last names in the church books. More to come! Hope this sleuthing has helped in searching for your ancestors. Back to researching my Nuñez family in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.