Fallacies of the Dominican Republic

Well, the title makes you wonder what fallacies are there about the Dominican Republic. I will say this, if you’re sensitive, then I don’t recommend this post to you. I am one to not mince words and I’m sure someone will not agree, which I’m okay with as we are all entitled to our own opinions.  As we research our ancestors, we come across the inevitable, stories about how society may view an island and it’s people. We will come across ignorance, bigotry, assumptions, and yes, racism. None of these items are just unique to the Dominican Republic but it is something we see across this planet we all call home.

I’ll start off with something light but it will lead to more complex issues that impact many of us. However, only we can change things for the better. I’ll start with one that most of us from the Caribbean are quite familiar with, no matter which island or country we are from.  The biggest fallacy that exists that leads many to take serious chances to come to the USA; land of gold.

Fallacy #1

The belief of how rich you’ll become by just arriving in the USA. How many stories have been passed down and even asked of us when we go back to our islands about how money grows on trees in our backyards? How many times have many of us been asked if there is money laying that we can pick up off the streets in the USA?

money 2

Yes, we have all heard these stories and these stories have been going on for decades. I can say that it goes back at least 50 years based on discussions we have had over the many years.  No matter how many times we attempt to correct this belief, it seems to take hold and those on the island refuse to let it go.  So here is one fallacy that we all must help in eradicating because it is usually the poor who fall victim to it. Those of African descent are the most susceptible.

Unfortunately, even when I clarified for many that it was not true, they gave me the skeptic look as if I was trying to keep the money to myself. So I proposed the question to many, “What makes this island so special that I would want to leave the USA and skip on collecting money if that were the case?”. Another question, “If we had so much money, why visit a poor island when there are so many other places in the world I could possibly visit?”.  This kept many thinking and I hope that they realize that they will be faced with hardship and even the potential of struggling even further since the US government is cracking down on illegal immigration.

Becoming rich is a complex issue and as the saying goes, it takes money to make money.  So yes, working 2 or 3 jobs just to keep a roof over your head is very realistic for many families from the Caribbean, especially when you start off with nothing.

Fallacy #2

 

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Dominican Republic: Fidelia Lorenzo

My trip to the Dominican Republic uncovered so many topics I want to cover that involved family, family history, and the country as I went there to research and see family. However, I was not expecting to add topics to what I was going to write about. Yet here I find myself glaring at things I never thought I would write about.  I will eventually get to them but for now, my first topic is on a woman I descend from, Fidelia Lorenzo; my great-grandmother.

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Fidelia Lorenzo: Only known image

One of my tasks of visiting the Dominican Republic, figuring out who was my great-grandmother, Fidelia Lorenzo’s parents. I thought of searching the archives, but in walking into it, I am so glad I was able to seek information from family members that still live in the town of San Antonio de Guerra.  Their stories helped fill the gaps and provide answers to questions I had for years. Unfortunately, no one had any photos of her so I am lucky to have the above image of her due to my uncle’s last visit with her. In this image, she was preparing Dominican coffee…YUM!!  We came close to losing this image due to Hurricane Andrew, but we are lucky that this portion of the image was salvaged.

Day 1 trip, was to visit Guerra and upon arriving in Guerra, I was saddened to see so many in the town living in poverty, nothing had changed from when I was a kid. Time seems to have frozen the island in some areas.  However, one thing that hasn’t changed, people are extremely friendly and will always greet with a smile. No matter the level of austerity, people are usually willing to share a cup of coffee and laughter. It proves that a simpler life is at times way better than the stressful lives we live in the USA.

Families make do with what they have and it makes you realize that they do not have the resources that many Americans have such as public assistance or even bathroom tissue. What is available is used. Many still have outhouses outside of the capital and many live off the land. I found partially finished homes that reminded me of my childhood visit, cinderblock walls crying for a roof, windows, and door. Many had metal roofs with the bathroom being an outhouse somewhere near the back of the home.

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A ghost home lost in time in Guerra

Many are happy to share what they have and will welcome you into their homes. Seeing how they live makes you realize how spoiled America truly is.

I did take some pictures with my phone of Guerra and like any other Caribbean island, umbrellas come out to deter the tropical sun.  The homes, as usual, are painted in beautiful tropical colors.  And seeing activity at businesses is usually in the evening hours due to the hot weather.

 

 

 

Going back to my family in Guerra, I can say that my family is amazing. I was greeted by Miki, who is my second cousin, Carlos’ wife. He’s a medical docto, who takes care of those without, and has an impressive control of the English language. Miki was truly amazing and she welcomed us while we waited for Carlos to arrive as he was out and about. Carlos and I are Fidelia’s great-grandchildren. His mother is Carmen “Carmita” Marun Lorenzo’s daughter, who is the oldest of the Marun children.

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Carmen “Carmita” Marun Lorenzo

Once Carlos arrived, we talked for a bit about many things, including natural medicines which he attests that work better than conventional medicines and provided proof of an individual that doctors had written off as “nothing more can be done”.  This person is still around after 15 years and walking about; an amazing result.  After Carlos took a DNA test for genealogical purposes, we headed over to visit cousins in the area that descends from the youngest of the Marun 1st generation children; my mother’s first cousins.

Since I was a kid that last time I was there, I never knew they all existed until I started researching our family. Thanks to social media, it made it possible to connect with many family members that have never traveled to the USA.

In typical Dominican fashion, upon walking into cousins’ homes, it was as if I just saw them yesterday and the hugs, kisses, jokes, laughter, and stories came out about the distant past. There were even tears from the eldest cousin, Nureya, who has the nickname of Yiyin, currently 80 years of age. Our cousin Bienbenido is a character for sure and had us laughing the entire time. He also produced an old photo of himself, and upon seeing his photo, it was like looking at one of my uncles.

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Bienbenido Marun

Bienbenido also took a DNA test and his results have come in and were as follows. Carlos’ results were not in at the time I wrote this post. I wasn’t sure what breakdown we would get but Bienbenido’s are aligned with that of my uncle’s but with slight differences.

Bienbenido Marun DNA Results
Bienbenido Marun’s AncestryDNA Ethnicity

Of course, Bienbenido was ready with the stories and drinks and had the machete ready to cut coconuts for that refreshing water for us. He also had a very iced large Presidente before me. One thing I was looking forward to drinking; fresh coconut water, refrigeration not needed but nice and cool.

 

 

 

Yiyin, who is the eldest of Consuelo children,  is an amazing storyteller and has a very good memory of the past. She discussed how she played as a child with my mother and oldest uncle, Mike, and referred to uncle Jorge as Jorgito.

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Nureya “Yiyin” Marun

So upon Yiyin telling me these stories, I asked her if she remembers who her great-grandparents, Fidelia Lorenzo’s parents were. And what was so amazing was that she mentioned their names without thinking twice about it. It was amusing to watch her brother, Bienbenido, tell her she didn’t remember anything in a teasing manner to then watch her get indignant and insist that these were their names and how Fidelia was a double Castillo; typical sibling bantering.

In addition, Fidelia had also married a Jose Castillo, after Emilio Marun, which may turn out to be a distant cousin.  Together they had four children during their marriage. I didn’t get to see any of the Castillo cousins but was told that many in Guerra descend from the Marun line as there were plenty of illegitimate children.  What was sad was that a son that everyone refers to as Yuci (Jose Castillo),  had come back to the island to retire and passed but no one knew that either had occurred as they asked me how was he doing in the USA.  I was saddened to be the one to break the news to them that their uncle had passed.

Yiyin revealed that Fidelia’s parents are Pedro Lorenzo and Altagracia Rosario Castillo.  She also stated that Pedro Lorenzo’s second last name was also Castillo.  This is something I will keep documented to research the line further to confirm. They all also stated that Fidelia was from Cambita Garabitos in the province of San Cristobal. This permits me to pinpoint where to look for family information.

The baby of Consuelo’s first three children is Rosita. I truly enjoyed speaking to her as well. Between the three of them, it was as if I had just seen them yesterday and they were ecstatic to having family visiting.

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Rosa Marun

I must say that visiting this family branch was humbling. It turns out that they are the Consuelo Marun’s oldest three of eleven children.  Hearing them tell me of the death of their siblings was sad. Yiyin actually cried that the prospect that this would be the last time she’d see me as she would be dead upon my return or even seeing other family members. Her wish was that she’d like to see many more of us that were born in the USA that they have never gotten to see.

After leaving them, Carlos then took us to visit his aunt, Gladys, his mother’s sister as she laid in bed, extremely ill. It was nice visiting her and my sister immediately noticed her resemblance to our mother. Of all of them, she could pass as a sister to my mother. As she laid in bed, she recounted how many children her mother, Carmita had; 14 children! The total included a set of twins, Erasmo and Emilio; both are still living.  I am hoping that Gladys is back up and walking soon but she had a stroke and wasn’t doing too well but was happy to have family visiting her.

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Gladys Marun

Before leaving town, Carlos also took us by other cousins homes and we got to meet some of Consuelo’s younger children. Here’s a picture of Miguel “Pachito” Marun. He also had us laughing.

 

 

 

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Once we left here, we headed back to Carlos’ home. We spent an entire day in Guerra and no matter where we visited, it felt like coming home. I must say that I was so happy to visit with all of them and couldn’t be more thankful for the hospitality that everyone had shown us. But most of all, Carlos who also wound up taking us back to Santo Domingo.

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Carlos and Miki Duran

 

In Search of Fidelia Lorenzo de Castillo

I knew before heading down to Dominican Republic that I had planned on writing about my trip. There are so many topics I want to cover that involved family, family history, and the country as I went there to research. However, I was not expecting to add topics to what I wanted to post about. Yet here I find myself glaring at things I never thought I would write about.  So I will start with one topic at a time.

My main mission was to figure out who was my great-grandmother, Fidelia Lorenzo’s parents. I thought of searching the archives, seeking information but was glad that instead many of the family members that still live in the town of San Antonio de Guerra could fill the gaps. In addition, visiting the archives is chaotic as many are visiting there for many other reasons.

Upon arriving, I was sadden to see so many in the town living in poverty but the people are so happy there. It proves that a simpler life is at many times way better than the stressful lives we live in the States. Families make ends meet and realize that they do not have the resources that many Americans have such as public assistance. Many live off the land and make do with what they have. They are also happy to share what they have with anyone they welcome into their homes.

So going back to my family in Guerra, I can say that my family is amazing. I was greeted by my cousin Carlos is who is a medical doctor and was impressed with how well he spoke English. His wife was truly amazing and welcomed us while we waited for Carlos to arrive as he was out and about.

He then took me to see my mother’s first cousins who for years I never knew existed but met them via social media since none have been to the USA and I do not recall if I met them at the age of 11. However, upon walking into their home, it was as if I just saw them yesterday and the laughter, jokes, and stories came out about the past. There were even tears from the eldest cousin, Nureya, who has the nickname of Yiyin, who is currently 80 years of age.

She was so amazing and has a good memory and recalled how she played as a child with my mother and Uncle Mike.  So upon her telling me these stories, I asked her if she remembers who were her great-grandparents, Fidelia Lorenzo’s parents. And what was so amazing, she did! So Fidelia’s parents are Pedro Lorenzo and Altagracia Rosario Castillo.

8th Annual State of Young Black New York at Fordham University

I was a panelist at the Annual State of Young Black New York. This year it was held at Fordham University and was happy and excited to share many of the resources and explaining why we should do this overall. It is easier than people may think and very rewarding overall to many.

Below is the presentation I used for the event There is a 15 second delay between each slide. The functionality is there where you can move backwards or forwards on the slides.

If you ever have a family member question the safety of DNA testing or don’t want someone to get access to their DNA, just gently remind them that they already gave up their DNA many times to the lab over the years when they gave blood and urine. It is too late to wonder and this DNA test is simply to help in researching family history and connections.

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Marún: Familia Perdida en el Tiempo

Muchas gracias por nuestro el primo Carlos Duran Torres por traducir la publicación de inglés a español. Él es el nieto de Carmen Maria Marún Lorenzo.

Lo bueno de los misterios es que siempre hay un principio y un final. Algunos finales simplemente no están a la vista y comencé a creer que ese sería el caso al saber lo que sucedió en mi familia Marún. El misterio comenzó no debido a desacuerdos o incluso dramas familiares, sino simplemente por lo que enfrentaban, católicos maronitas que escapaban del Líbano debido a las persecuciones que llevaba a cabo el Imperio Otomano. Sí, sus luchas comenzaron debido a su religión y al temor por sus vidas y las de los miembros de su familia. Así es como comenzó la migración de nuestra familia Marún.

 

Se sabe que los católicos maronitas han residido en las cordilleras montañosas del Líbano llamadas Mont-Liban. El Líbano está ubicado en la parte norte de África y ha sido etiquetado en Medio Oriente como si fuera un continente separado. Cuando era niña, siempre pensé en la región como una tierra de cuentos de hadas, ya que nunca podía encontrar el continente llamado Medio Oriente. Cuando analicemos África hoy, se dará cuenta de que hay muchos grupos étnicos que existen en el continente y muchos que han desaparecido.

El apellido Marún está asociado a la religión y en realidad hay 4 santos diferentes, pero el que impacta el apellido Marún es San Marón. Según las historias transmitidas, las personas con el apellido Marún son sus descendientes o sus seguidores. Me interesé en el apellido una vez que leí sobre el apellido y sobre la fe católica maronita a principios de la década de 1990. Para leer más sobre él, simplemente haga clic en su nombre arriba y lo llevará a un sitio web de la iglesia que explicará quién era. Se sabía que la mayoría de los católicos maronitas eran nómadas y también mercaderes que comerciaban con mercancías. Algunos fueron capaces de desarrollar riqueza y muchos perdieron su riqueza debido a la agitación religiosa que se produjo. Nuestra familia directa fue parte de la primera ola para migrar alrededor de 1885 y hubo una segunda que ocurrió en la década de 1920.

Saint Maron
San Marón

En mi investigación, descubrí que mucho después de venir a los Estados Unidos, México, el Caribe, Centro y Sudamérica, cambiaron sus apellidos. En realidad, algunos nunca discutieron quiénes eran por temor a que el Imperio Otomano enviara a alguien a asesinar a sus familias. Algunos cambiaron sus nombres por completo para encajar en la nueva cultura, mientras que algunos estaban obligados por ley a cambiar sus nombres. Sospecho que la necesidad de asimilar es lo que ocurrió en nuestra propia familia; nombres y, a veces, los apellidos cambiados. El concepto no es una idea nueva si piensas en cuántos ingresaron a EE. UU. A través de Ellis Island estaban haciendo lo mismo. Hay una gran influencia libanesa en los alimentos de la República Dominicana, como la ensalada Quipe (Kibbeh) y Tipile (Tabbouleh), ya que ambos platos vienen del Líbano y son deliciosos y también fáciles de asimilar. También tenga en cuenta que la adaptación al español del árabe también es más fácil, ya que hay muchas similitudes en los idiomas, ya que España está incluida entre los moros.

Ya lo he dicho antes en muchas publicaciones anteriores en mi otro sitio web y hasta le he dedicado una publicación. Tenga en cuenta que todos participamos en el juego de Round Robin en muchos aspectos de nuestras vidas y más aún cuando volvemos a contar las historias familiares. Puedo asegurarte que lo que voy a revelar no es nada único y partes de él contradicen la historia transmitida. Contaré la historia tal como la entendimos y luego nos conduciremos a la verdad.

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Emilio (Tannús) Marún

Nuestra Historia

Tres hermanos viajaron a las Américas desde el Medio Oriente, un hermano, mi bisabuelo Emilio Miguel Marún, se bajó del barco en República Dominicana. Los otros dos hermanos continuaron sus viajes con uno yendo a Veracruz, México y el otro yendo a algún lugar de Sudamérica. Los hermanos nunca volverían a la República Dominicana y la familia Marún que vive cerca de la capital de Santo Domingo desciende de los hijos de Emilio con Fidelia Lorenzo. Son María Carmen (1910), Miguel Emilio (1911), Salvador (1913), Elupina (1915) y Consuelo María (1918). Para su hijo mayor, Miguel, Emilio asumió el nombramiento de todos sus nietos de parte de mi abuela, Nieves.

La mayor era mi madre, y Emilio la llamaría Tahaly, que luego cambió a Tahalis, que es la palabra árabe para referirse a la nieve. Él le dio este nombre como una traducción al nombre de mi abuela, Nieves, que es la palabra española para nieve. Además, nombraría a mis tíos después de sus hermanos, Miguel, Héctor Manuel y Jorge. O así nos dijeron; más sobre esto.

Mi abuela, mi madre y mis tíos no tenían más que cosas buenas que decir sobre Emilio cuando hablamos de él. Era obvio que él era una buena persona. Muchos también mencionarían el nombre Tannús y potencialmente este sería el nombre árabe de Emilio. Verás que Emilio es un nombre castellanizado.

Armada con esta historia, conecté Internet y me encontré con los sitios de BBS que ya no existen donde muchos otros descendientes de católicos maronitas publicarían buscando a su familia. Me encontré con muchos Marún pero sentí que no había forma de conectarme con ellos. Quiero decir que había Marún que formaban parte de las migraciones de la década de 1920, mucho después de que nuestra familia se fuera. Sin embargo, había dos personas que reclamarían historias similares pero diferentes.

Dos Historias

Un primo potencial, Marcelino Marún, informó que había 3 hermanos y que se fueron a Sudamérica, pero que un hermano se estableció en el Estado de Tabasco en México. No sabía exactamente quién era su familia, pero había escuchado historias y no estaba seguro de qué hacer con ellas. Sin embargo, él notificaría que su bisabuelo se ahogó en el mar. Descubriría muchos años después que desciende de Manuel Marún. Creo que Manuel se llamaba Tobía y castellanizó su nombre y el de su padre; Revelaré por qué mientras proporciono detalles.

El otro primo potencial, Gustavo Marún, contaría la historia de que Maroun Bechara llegó a Colombia con su hijo Nassin y dos hermanos, uno llamado Tannús y otro Tobía en el año 1885. Maroun Bechara tuvo otro hijo que murió en el viaje debido a una epidemia que tiende a golpear a los barcos cuando cruzan el océano. También castellanizaría su nombre a Manuel Marún y su hijo castellanizaría su nombre a Narciso Marún. Cuando vi las fotos que compartió, no pude evitar mirarlas debido a la semejanza con muchas de mi familia. Además, el registro de la iglesia habla de él y su hijo casándose con dos hermanas en 1897 en Colombia. Así que historia similar pero con información adicional.

A Través de Los Años

A medida que pasaban los años, hablé con muchos y me di cuenta de que la tarea era imposible ya que había pruebas de relación con historias que no coincidían exactamente con la que conocíamos. Durante una conversación con mi abuelo, me preguntó si ayudaría a buscar a mi familia. No tuve corazón para decirle que era una tarea imposible y que ya lo estaba haciendo. En cambio, solo le dije que buscaría. Fue entonces cuando me contó la historia de cómo cuando vivió en la República Dominicana en los años 1930 y 1940, le correspondería a través de cartas con un primo con su tocayo, Miguel, que vivía en Jaltipan, México. Él dijo que este primo era más cercano a su edad y contextura. También informó que este primo los había invitado constantemente y que era dueño de una zapatería.  Fue entonces que él informó que tenía hermanos y hermanas que vivían en República Dominicana. ¡YO TENÍA ZERO IDEA!

Así que armada con esta información, comencé a investigar en línea y descubrir todo lo que pude sobre la familia en República Dominicana. Siendo que soy buena en la investigación, inmediatamente comencé a descubrir todo tipo de registros.

Entonces, un día, descubrí la base de datos en línea de República Dominicana sobre los extranjeros que vivían o visitaban el país. Después de escribir su nombre, descubrí documentación que decía que había llegado por barco desde Colombia en 1898 con fotos de él que nunca supimos que existían. Había bastantes documentos y también indicó que él era de Siria pero después de hacer un trabajo de investigación, encontré que el Líbano en algún momento estaba bajo el control de Siria.

Abuelo Emilio Marun

Este descubrimiento contradijo lo que sabíamos de él y al conocer el juego de Round Robin, me preguntaba qué más era contradictorio. Y había mucho más. No tenía idea de cuándo falleció Emilio, pero sí supe que fue después de que mi madre y mis tíos se fueran a Estados Unidos en la década de 1940. Desafortunadamente, después de revisar los registros de defunción que comenzaban cuando mis tíos se fueron, descubrí que Emilio murió el 21 de octubre de 1949.

Aparece Otra Pista

Antes de que mi abuelo fuera ingresado en un hogar de ancianos, él le proporcionó a uno de mis tíos un sobre con una dirección en una zapatería en Jaltipán, México. Mi abuelo dijo que pertenece al primo con quien se comunicó cuando era más joven. Pensó que había arrojado todo y me explicó que no tenía nada que darme en cuanto a pistas. Esto es comprensible ya que él estaba en sus últimos años 90. Como estaba en constante comunicación con el potencial primo mexicano, Marcelino, le pregunté si la dirección significaba algo para él sin decirle el motivo. Me dijo que la dirección del tío que él me había estado diciendo que estaba enfermo y que sabría más sobre la familia. Él me dijo que había planeado visitarlo durante un fin de semana, ya que vivían en diferentes estados de México. Al llegar a la casa de su tío, Marcelino descubrió que su tío estaba demasiado enfermo para hablar y falleció las semanas siguientes.

Esto me entristeció porque este tío tenía la llave para saber quiénes eran los padres de Emilio Marún, quiénes eran los familiares desaparecidos y dónde encontrarlos. También significó que otra generación de la familia se había ido y nuestra conexión se había perdido para siempre. Sin embargo, también confirmó que Marcelino y sus hermanos eran primos. También tuvo la clave para descubrir y establecer que había primos en Colombia y recuerda vagamente haberlos conocido con sus padres siendo niños cuando visitaron el país. Estaba refiriéndose a Gustavo y su familia como primos. Nuevamente, tuve que tomar esto como un rumor ya que Marcelino creció principalmente sin conocer a su familia Marún y por eso estaba buscando. Creí que se estaba basando en lo que habíamos encontrado sobre los tableros BBS libaneses de hace años.

El ADN Cambia el Terreno del Juego

Pensé que nunca sería capaz de confirmar esta línea, ya que el ADN era una nueva herramienta en la genealogía, costosa para muchos y tampoco disponible en otros países hasta que un “primo” que vivía en los Estados Unidos decidió tomarla. Este “primo” estaba en mi lista de amigos en mi cuenta de Facebook ya que me hice amigo de muchos en todo el mundo en mi búsqueda. Este “primo” era escéptico de que nos relacionáramos y comprendí completamente su escepticismo ya que el apellido Marún es muy común.

Sin embargo, esta “prima” probó con 23 y conmigo sin mencionarlo y me sorprendió en mi muro de Facebook al preguntarme si yo era la misma Anna Bayala porque coincidimos los 23 y yo. También se combinó con una de mis hermanas, lo que tiene sentido ya que pierdes el 50% de tus parientes después del primo tercero debido a la forma en que nuestro ADN se recombina con cada generación.

Una vez que pudimos identificar y confirmar que realmente éramos primos y que la cantidad que compartíamos se alineó correctamente, me di cuenta de que finalmente había encontrado a uno de los hermanos de Emilio. Desafortunadamente, mi abuelo no pudo vivir lo suficiente como para enterarse de que encontramos la familia de un hermano, ya que murió a los 103 años y medio de edad en 2015. Así que este primo ahora ha confirmado la línea familiar y he encontrado uno de los hermanos de Emilio Marún.

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Manuel “Tobía” Marún con esposa y hijos

Mientras mi primo pensaba y creció creyendo que se llamaba José, otro primo que desciende de él indicó que se llamaba Manuel. Armada con esta información, decidí agregarlos al árbol genealógico de Ancestry e intenté con Manuel primero ya que este era uno de los nombres que se le dio a uno de mis tíos. También entré en el nombre de su esposa. A los 5 minutos de agregarlos al árbol, los registros de ascendencia aparecieron en ambos y era su registro de bodas. Resulta que su nombre era de hecho Manuel. Lo más sorprendente es que mi primo compartió una foto del hermano de Emilio. Luego de nuevas discusiones, resultó que Manuel era el mismo hombre que había escuchado muchos años antes en el sitio libanés BBS que se ahogó en las aguas del Caribe. Manuel también era un comerciante y murió en un barco que se hundía mientras estaba de negocios.

Además, después de sacar los registros de boda en el sitio web de Familysearch, ahora sabía el nombre de sus padres; Jorge Marún y Artura José. Y el nombre de José que este primo recordaba era en realidad el apellido de soltera de la bisabuela o lo que se tradujo del árabe como los nombres de los padres habían sido castellanizados.

Marún en Colombia: ¿Dónde Encajan?

Bueno, la segunda historia que mencioné dada por Gustavo en realidad une a la familia. ¿Cómo es eso posible? Una vez más, el ADN juega en la imagen. Estaba revisando mis coincidencias de ADN en Ancestry tratando de descubrir a un abuelo paterno desconocido de Carmona. Al buscar el apellido y los árboles de mis fósforos de ADN, apareció un equipo con un árbol, pero no se ajustaba a los otros árboles de Carmona. Esto es porque este Carmona era de Colombia y no tenía conexión con los otros kits de Carmona. Sin embargo, los kits con los que sí coincidía eran en realidad todos los apellidos maronitas de Oriente Medio o Líbano que sabía que estaban allí, pero los ignoré porque no sabía cómo se relacionaban las personas.

Al excavar en su árbol, noté que ingresaba el nombre “Antonio Marum”. Inmediatamente empecé a echar un vistazo más de cerca al árbol y escribí a la persona que administraba el kit. Le pregunté si era un error tipográfico en el apellido. Tomando estos nombres del árbol, comencé a investigarlos en Familysearch y rápidamente descubrí que el apellido era de hecho un error tipográfico, ¡en realidad era Marún! También fui más allá de lo que tenían en su árbol. Me di cuenta de que esta línea desciende del hijo de Maroun Bechara, Antonio Marún. Lo loco es que debido a la recombinación del ADN, soy el único de la familia Dominico Marún que ha probado con Ancestry que realmente está haciendo juego con este kit. Sin embargo, cuando miro los estuches “Shared Matches”, todos son estuches que combinan con mi tío, primo, sobrino y yo. Actualmente tengo dos estuches dominicanos adicionales de Marún que todavía se están procesando en el laboratorio y esperando que ambos tengan la combinación correcta de ADN. También tengo primos Marún en República Dominicana que también probarán para ayudar en la investigación y confirmarán la línea.

Bechara Manuel Marun
Manuel “Bechara” Marún

Entonces, ¿quién es Maroun Bechara? Él es el hermano desaparecido de nuestro bisabuelo que se estableció en Colombia. Cuando comencé a juntar los nombres, rápidamente me di cuenta de que este kit era descendiente del bisabuelo de Gustavo, Maroun Bechara o Manuel Marún. Sí, este era otro Manuel. Resulta que ambos hermanos tomaron el mismo nombre de Manuel. ¡Y esas fotos de hace un año que se parecían a muchas en mi familia directa de Marún ahora tienen mucho sentido! Sus imágenes son las siguientes:

 

 

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Tannús, Tobía y Jorge: ¿Cómo Encajan Estos Nombres?

El nombre Tannús era un nombre que mi abuelo siempre había mencionado. También fue mencionado por primos en República Dominicana y al principio pensamos que era el apellido de soltera de su madre. Sin embargo, estos nombres en realidad eran sus nombres originales, razón por la cual todos conocían estos nombres pero no podían ubicarlos. El nombre Emilio, Miguel, Jorge y Manuel no son nombres que escucharía en el Líbano. Estos son en realidad nombres en español.

Además, el nombre Jorge es en realidad el nombre del padre de mi bisabuelo y no el de su hermano. Si lo piensas, en total había tres hermanos, Miguel era el nombre que Emilio seleccionó para su segundo nombre. Basado en pruebas de ADN, ambos hermanos se enfrentaron a Manuel. Sin embargo, uno se refirió a su padre como Jorge, mientras que otro se refirió a él por su nombre libanés árabe, Isak Marún. Sin embargo, no me sorprendería si realmente hay más hermanos, ya que Jorge Marún vivió en el Líbano hasta al menos 1914, ya que su hijo Manuel en México lo incluyó en la lista de vivos y viudo en los registros. Muchos de los primos en México tomaron el nombre de Miguel y Jorge y el Manuel en Colombia realmente nombró a su hija Emilia y su hijo Miguel.

Así que aquí es donde digo que el misterio se resuelve en lo que le sucedió a nuestra familia. Que Marún es familia ya que estoy visitando a nuestra familia dominicana Marún para documentar nuestro árbol genealógico. También invité a nuestro primo Gustavo, que vive en Colombia, para ayudar en la construcción del árbol genealógico de todos nuestros primos colombianos. Y lo más importante, le pedí a nuestro primo, Carlos Duran, que vive en República Dominicana y es el nieto de María Carmen, que traduzca esto al español para nuestros primos que no saben leer inglés.

Las siguientes fotos son hijos de la familia dominicana Marún. Nos falta Elupina Marún y su familia. Si alguien quiere agregar sus fotos. Ponte en contacto conmigo a través del enlace de contacto en la parte superior del sitio web.

 

 

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Publicado por ABayala

He estado investigando mi ascendencia desde principios de los años 90 y soy una ávida genealogista. Muchos se preguntan por qué comparto información libremente. Bueno, soy una firme creyente de que cada persona tiene derecho a saber y que no se le impida descubrir quiénes son. Las personas que son adoptadas, un padre desconocido, los abuelos, sin conocer su cultura, y lo peor, la pérdida de la historia debido a la fealdad de la esclavitud. Comparto la información en memoria de mi padre, Luis Bayala Delgado, quien siempre me aconsejó que conocer a tu familia e historia es conocerte a ti mismo. Nuestra broma diaria de la noche era que él me preguntaba: “¿Cuántos muertitos has molestado hoy?”. Espero que estas publicaciones te lleven a un viaje exitoso.

Marun: Family Lost Through Time

The great things about mysteries is that there is always a beginning and an end. Some endings are just never in sight and I started to believe that that would be the case in knowing what ever happened in my Marún family.  The mystery started not due to family disagreements or even family drama, but simply due to what they faced, Maronite Catholics escaping Lebanon due to the persecutions faced by the Ottoman Empire. Yes, their struggles started due to their religion and running in fear for their lives and those of their family members. This is how our Marún family migration started.

Maronite Catholics are known to have resided in mountainous ranges of Lebanon called Mont-Liban. Lebanon is located in the northern portion of Africa and has been labeled under the The Middle East as if on a separate continent.  As a kid, I always thought of the region as fairytale land as I could never find the continent called The Middle East. When we look at Africa today, you’ll realize that there are many ethnic groups that exist on the continent and many that have been wiped out.

The last name Marún is associated to the religion and there are actually 4 different saints but the one that impacts the Marún last name is Saint Maron. According to stories passed down, people with the last name Marún are his descendants or his followers. I took an interest in the last name once I read about the last name and about the Maronite Catholic faith back in the early 1990s. To read more about him, simply click on his name above and it will lead to a church’s website that will explain who he was.   Most Maronite Catholics were known to be nomadic people and also as merchants trading wares.  Some were able to develop wealth and many lost their wealth due to the religious upheaval that occurred. Our direct family were part of the first wave to migrate around 1885 and there was a second one that occurred in the 1920’s.

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Saint Maron

In my research, I have discovered that many after coming to the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and South America, changed their last names. Some actually never discussed who they were in fear of the Ottoman Empire sending someone to assassinate their families.  Some changed their names completely to fit in the new culture, while some were required by law to change their names.  I suspect that the need to assimilate is what occurred in our own family; first names and at times last names being changed.  The concept is not a new idea if you think about how many entering the USA via Ellis Island were doing the same thing. There is also a huge Lebanese influence in Dominican Republic’s foods such as Quipe (Kibbeh) and Tipile (Tabbouleh) salad as both dishes come from Lebanon, both delicious, and they were easy to assimilate. Also, keep in mind that adapting to Spanish from Arabic is much easier as there are many similarities in the languages since Spain was invaded by the Moors.

I’ve said this before in many prior posts on my other website and I even dedicated a post to it. Please keep in mind that we all partake in the game of Round Robin in many aspect of our lives and more so when retelling of family stories. I can assure you that what I’m about to reveal is nothing unique and parts of it contradict the story passed down. I’ll tell the story as we understood it and then lead to the truth.

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Emilio (Tannús) Marún

Our Story

Three brothers traveled to the Americas from The Middle East, one brother, my great grandfather Emilio Miguel Marún, got off the ship in Dominican Republic.  The other two brothers continued on their travels with one going to Veracruz, Mexico and the other going somewhere in South America. The brothers would never come back to Dominican Republic and the Marún family that lives near the capital of Santo Domingo all descend from Emilio’s children with Fidelia Lorenzo.  They are Maria Carmen (1910), Miguel Emilio (1911), Salvador (1913), Elupina (1915), and Consuelo Maria (1918).  For his eldest son, Miguel, Emilio took on the naming of all his grandchildren from my grandmother, Nieves.

The oldest was my mother, and Emilio would name her Tahaly, later changed in the USA to Tahalis, which is the Arabic word for snow.  He gave her this name as a translation to my grandmother’s name, Nieves, which is the Spanish word for snow.   In addition, he would name my uncles after his brothers, Miguel, Hector Manuel, and Jorge. Or so we were told; more on this.

My grandmother, mother, and uncles had nothing but good things to say about Emilio to me when we spoke about him. It was obvious that he was a good person.  Many would also mention the name Tannús and potentially this would be Emilio’s Arabic name.  You see Emilio is a Castilianize name.

Armed with this story, I hit the internet and came across BBS sites that no longer exist where many other descendants of Maronite Catholics would post searching for family.  I came across many Marún but felt that there was no way of connecting to them. I mean there were Marún’s that were part of the migrations of the 1920’s; well after our family leaving. However, there were two individuals that would claims similar but different stories.

Two Stories

One potential cousin, Marcelino Marún, advised that there were 3 brothers and that they went to South America but that one brother settled in the State of Tabasco in Mexico.  He didn’t know who exactly were his family but had heard stories and wasn’t sure what to make of them. However, he would advise that his great grandfather drowned at sea.  I would find out many years later that he descends from Manuel Marún. I believe Manuel’s name was Tobía and he Castilianize his name and that of his father’s; I’ll reveal why as I provide details.

The other potential cousin, Gustavo Marún, would tell the story that Maroun Bechara came to Colombia with his son Nassin and two brothers one called Tannús and other Tobía in the year 1885.  Maroun Bechara had another son that died on the voyage due to an epidemic that tends to hit ships as they crossed the ocean. He would also Castilianize his name to Manuel Marún and his son would Castilianize his name to Narciso Marún.  When I saw the pictures he shared, I couldn’t help but stare at them due to the resemblance to many in my family. In addition, the church record spoke of him and his son getting married to two sisters in 1897 in Colombia. So similar story but with added information.

Over the Years

As years went by, I spoke to many and realized the task was one of impossibility as there was no proof of relationship with stories that didn’t exactly match to the one we knew.  During a discussion with my grandfather, he asked if I would help search for family. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was an impossible task and I was already doing so.  Instead, I just told him I would search.  It was then he told me the story of how when he lived in Dominican Republic in the 1930’s and 1940’s, he would correspond via letters with a cousin with his namesake, Miguel, that lived in Jaltipan, Mexico. He advised that this cousin was close in age and built.  He also advised that this cousin had constantly invited them to visit and he owned a shoe store.  It was also then that he advised he had brothers and sisters that lived in Dominican Republic. I HAD ZERO IDEA!

So armed with this information, I started researching online and uncovering everything I could on the family in Dominican Republic.  Being that I am good at sleuthing, I immediately started discovering all types of records.

Then one day, I discovered Dominican Republic’s online database on foreigners who lived or visited the country. After entering his name, I discovered documentation that stated that he had arrived via ship from Colombia in 1898 with photos of him that we never knew existed. There were quite a few documents and it also indicated that he was from Syria but after doing some investigative work, I found that Lebanon at one time was under Syria.

Abuelo Emilio Marun

This discovery contradicted what we knew about him and knowing about the game of Round Robin, I wondered what else was contradicting. And there was plenty more. I had no idea when Emilio passed away but I did know it was after my mother and uncles had left for the USA in the 1940s.  Unfortunately, after looking through death records starting when my uncles left, I discovered Emilio died on the 21st of October in 1949.

Another Clue Appears

Prior to my grandfather being placed in a nursing home, he provided one of my uncles with an envelope with an address to a shoe store in Jaltipan, Mexico. My grandfather said it belong to the cousin he communicated with when he was younger.  He thought he had thrown everything out and advised me he didn’t have anything to give me as far as clues. This is understandable since he was in his late 90’s. Since I was in constant communication with the potential Mexican cousin, Marcelino, I asked him if the address meant anything to him without telling him the reason why. He advised me that the address was to his uncle that he had been telling me about that was ill and that he would know more on the family.  He advised he had planned to visit him over a weekend as they lived in different States in Mexico.  Upon arriving at his uncle’s home, Marcelino discovered that his uncle was too ill to speak and he had passed the following weeks.

This sadden me as this uncle held the key to knowing who Emilio Marún’s parents were and who were the missing family members and where to find them. It also meant that another generation of family was gone and our connection permanently gone. However, it also confirmed that Marcelino and his siblings were indeed cousins.  He also held the key to discovery and stated that there were cousins in Colombia and he vaguely recalls meeting them with his parents as a child when they visited the country.  He was referencing Gustavo and his family as cousins. Again, I had to take this as hearsay since Marcelino grew up mostly not knowing his Marún family which is why he was searching. I believed he was basing it on what we had come across over the Lebanese BBS boards from years ago.

DNA Changes the Playing Field

I thought that I would never be able to confirm this line as DNA was a new tool in genealogy, costly for many, and also not available in other countries until one “cousin” who lived in the States decided to take it. This “cousin” was on my friends list on my Facebook account as I befriended many around the globe in my search.  This “cousin” was was skeptical of us being related and I fully understood her skepticism since the last name Marún is very common.

Yet, this “cousin” tested with 23andme without mentioning it to me and surprised me on my Facebook wall with asking me if I was one in the same Anna Bayala on 23andme because we matched. She also matched one of my sisters, which makes sense since you lose 50% of your cousin after 3rd cousin due to how our DNA recombines with each generation.

Once we were able to identify and confirm that we were indeed cousins and the amount we shared aligned correctly, I realized that I had finally found one of Emilio’s brothers.  Unfortunately, my grandfather didn’t get to live long enough to hear that we found one brother’s family as he died at 103 1/2 years of age in 2015.  So this cousin has now confirmed the family line and I have found one of Emilio Marún’s brothers.

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Manuel “Tobía” Marún with wife and sons

While my cousin thought and was raised to believe his name was Jose, another cousin that descends from him indicated that his name was Manuel. Armed with this information, I decided to add them to the family tree on Ancestry and tried Manuel first since this was one of the names given to one of my uncles. I also entered in his wife’s name. Within 5 minutes of adding them to the tree, Ancestry records popped up on both of them and it was their wedding record. It turns out that his name was indeed Manuel. The most amazing thing is that my cousin shared a photo of Emilio’s brother.  After further discussions, it turns out Manuel was the same man that I had heard many years prior on the Lebanese BBS site that drowned in the Caribbean waters. Manuel was also a merchant and died from a ship sinking while on business.

In addition, after pulling wedding records on Familysearch’s website, I now knew their parents’ name; Jorge Marún and Artura Jose. And the name Jose that this cousin recalled was actually the 2nd great grandmother’s maiden name or what was translated from Arabic as the parents names had been Castilianize.

Marún in Colombia: Where do they fit?

Well the second story I mentioned given by Gustavo actually ties the family together.  How is that possible? Once again DNA plays into the picture.  I was going through my DNA matches on Ancestry trying to figure out an unknown paternal Carmona great grandfather.  In searching for the surname and trees of my DNA matches, a kit with a tree came up but it didn’t fit the other Carmona trees.  This is because this Carmona was from Colombia and had zero connection with the other Carmona kits.  However, the kits it did match were actually all Middle Eastern or Lebanese Maronite last names that I knew were there but ignored them as I didn’t know how people were related.

In digging into their tree, I noticed the name “Antonio Marum” entered. I immediately starting taking a closer look at the tree and wrote to the person managing the kit. I asked if it was a typo on the last name.  Taking these names off the tree, I started researching them on Familysearch and quickly discovered the last name was indeed a typo, it was actually Marún!  I also went beyond what they had on their tree.  I realized that this line descends from Maroun Bechara’s son Antonio Marún.  The crazy thing is that due to DNA recombination, I am the only one of the Dominican Marún family that has tested with Ancestry that is actually matching this kit.  However, when I look at the “Shared Matches” kits, they are all kits that match my uncle, cousin, nephew, and myself.  I currently have two additional Dominican Marún kits that are still being processed in the lab and hoping that they both have the right combination of DNA. I also have Marún cousins in Dominican Republic who will also be testing to help in the research and they will more than confirm the line.

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Manuel “Bechara” Marún

So who is Maroun Bechara? He is our great grandfather’s missing brother that settled in Colombia.  As I starting piecing together the names, I quickly realized that this kit was a descendant of Gustavo’s great grandfather, Maroun Bechara or Manuel Marún.  Yes this was another Manuel.  It turns out that both brothers took on the same name of Manuel.  And those photos from year ago that resembled many in my direct Marún family now made so much sense! Their images are as follows:

 

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Tannús, Tobía, and Jorge: How do these names fit?

The name Tannús was a name that my grandfather had always mentioned.  It was also mentioned by cousins in Dominican Republic and at first we thought it was his mother’s maiden name.  However, these names actually were their real original names which is why everyone knew these names but couldn’t place them.  The name Emilio, Miguel, Jorge, and Manuel, are not names you’d hear in Lebanon.  These are actually Spanish names.

In addition, the name Jorge is actually my great grandfather’s father’s name and not that of his brother.  If you think about it, in total there were three brother, Miguel was the name Emilio selected for his middle name. Based on DNA evidence, both brothers took on Manuel. However, one referred to his father as Jorge, while another referred to him by his Arabic Lebanese name, Isak Marún.  However, I would not be surprised if there are actually more brothers as Jorge Marún was alive in Lebanon until at least 1914 as his son Manuel in Mexico listed him as living and widowed in records. Many of the cousins in Mexico took on the name of Miguel and Jorge and the Manuel in Colombia actually named his daughter Emilia and son Miguel.

So this is where I say that the mystery is solved on what happened to our family. Which Marún’s are family as I am visiting our Dominican Marún family to document our family tree. I have also invited our cousin Gustavo who lives in Colombia to help with in building out the family tree for all of our Colombian cousins. And most importantly, I’ve asked our cousin, Carlos Duran, who lives in Dominican Republic and is Maria Carmen’s grandson, to translate this into Spanish for our cousins who can’t read English.

The following photos are children of the Dominican Marún family.  We are missing Elupina Marún and her family. If anyone wants their pictures added. Please reach out to me via the Contact link at the top of the website.

 

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Finding a Lost Ancestor: Teresa Prieto

I have been away searching through records seeking to discover what happened with my 3rd great grandmother, Teresa Prieto.  There were two conflicting records that stated the opposite. Which one was correct?

So I first looked at my 3rd great grandfather, her husband, Juan de la Cruz, to determine if his church entry was correct.  Per his death record, he was a widow to Teresa Prieto.  So I went through church books for Nuestra Señora de la Caridad y San Miguel in Trujillo Bajo, Puerto Rico.  I thoroughly inspected each image, reading through, ensuring I didn’t miss her.  I started with the year that Juan de la Cruz died in 1878 and working my way back to 1865.  I did this as I  am confident that their son was truly born in 1871. This is because people during this era didn’t consider their age to be something important to track.  Surviving and farming land to feed the family was important. Women went by the river to wash clothing or spent the day cleaning and cooking. The last thing they were concerned with was their age.  So I decided that going back an additional 5 to 6 years beyond their son’s supposed age was advisable.

However, as I went through these records, I was quickly becoming disappointed as I did not find her in these books. I decided to research Carolina’s Civil Records in hopes of finding her after 1902. I was skeptic I would find her as this was pushing close or even beyond her being 100 years of age if I’m to believe the ages of their children.  After spending a few evenings going through these records, I came up empty.

My last resort was going to Carolina’s other church, San Fernando.  I noticed that their was an index for the years  1878 – 1881, I decided to give a a quick look.  I am so happy I did as this index actually starts in 1859 and not 1878 as it is listed.  Sure enough I found her in the index under Book 1 of Deaths, which covers 1859 – 1871.  The index listed her on Folio 363, folio means page.  I had finally hit the jackpot and I would finally get to know who her parents were and hopefully more information on Teresa.

So as I came out of the index, I quickly navigated to the Death Book 1 and arrived to her page. I was finally going to know who her parents were.  As I arrived to the page, I found her at the bottom.  And here is where I began to read the record.  It reads as follows,

In the parochial church of San Fernando in Carolina on the 9th day of July in 1876, I, the priest, officiate over the cadaver of Teresa Prieto, naturally and neighbor of Trujillo Bajo, of 75 years of age, married to Jose Silverio Cruz, daughter of parents that they names are ignored.

That was it!  I could not believe it! No one offered the church her parent’s names! After all the time spent researching her, I came up empty. I am so disappointed but do not give up easily.

Teresa Prieto Libro 1 (1859 - 1878) Def Folio 363 Image 373
Teresa Prieto Death Record in San Fernando Book 1 of Deaths

There were obvious errors in the record, like her husband’s name.  His name is Juan Silverio and not Jose Silverio.  Another is a major big doubt on her age.  If I am to believe her age, this means her 14 year old son died when she was 71.  In addition, I’m to believe that she gave birth to him at the age of 57.  I hugely doubt this extremely.  So if her son was 14 years of age at the time of his death, I’d shave another 18 to 20 years off her age at the time of her death.

Unfortunately, marriages records for San Fernando do not start until 1859.  When I went back to the book for Nuestra Señora de la Caridad y San Miguel, I was once again disappointed since the collection starts with Book 3 of Marriages and it starts in 1859.  I now have to wonder if the book exists in Puerto Rico.  I am hoping that that is the case but I dead end here. My last option is searching for baptismal records of her children in hopes that the priest captured grandparents information.  My next step is to go through baptismal records.