Thursday, August 31, 2017

Month Review & Grandparents Juan & Maria in Ybor City

Busy month… busy life… new birth. 

I start out on a personal note… Yes, our long awaited, birth of our second grandchild has arrived. We have a precious, new granddaughterAbigail.  We are so thankful that mother and wee one are healthy and doing well after a few close calls. 
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A challenging labor and delivery culminated in an unplanned C-section, as the doctor discovered the problem— a Bandl’s Ring, during the procedure. I have given birth to several children and had never heard of the term. Although, I will not go into details here, but it is apparently rare, and as described to us, it is an obstruction that occurs in the 2nd stage of labor. Here is a quick description through Wikipedia…  If you are interested in more information, I am sure there are medical journals or articles for further reading.
 I realize that this is not a genealogical theme, but I was taken by the aspects of past childbirths throughout the ages and the sad, high incidences of mother and infant mortality rates we so often read about in our encounters through our genealogical researches. I have personally learned of a few in my own past family history. It certainly, was not, uncommon, back in the day. 

So, it is from this perspective that I write.
This personal experience, brought a sobering reality to what so many in the past, have often faced, simply due, to the limited medical knowledge of their time.  
In other words, if this condition— Bandl’s Ring, had occurred, in past eras, it is highly probable, mother and infant would have died during childbirth.  
I believe it is through the grace of God, and our modern medical technology of today, that our situation, thankfully, resulted with a good outcome. 
Despite the fact, that medicine is not always a perfect science, it has certainly come a long way in curing medical conditions, and certainly, preventing death in childbirth. 
I am so thankful….

I mentioned in my last post, that in June, I made a list of U.S. records I was missing to document my research, and the places in which to order them. Last month, I ordered a total of four records: A marriage, and birth record from the state of Florida, which I received the last weeks of July, and a marriage and death Record from New York City, which I received the first week of August. I can now add these document copies to my family information in my Legacy Family Tree Genealogy software. Now, I turn to abroad, as my focus.  
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As you know, my research focus has been in Cuba, for all four of my family lines— La Habana in the province of Havana, for my Valuja/Baluja and Hernandez families and the city of Cardenas, in the province of Matanzas, for my Matos and Trujillo families. 

I only have a few generations that were born in Cuba, and to find what countries our ancestors originally came from, I must first locate any documentation from within Cuba and then work backwards from that point. When I began, my limited knowledge of Cuba, was, one, that it was located about 90 miles south of Key West, Florida, and, two, both of my parents were born there, as well as all their extended family with very few exceptions. 

My father’s oldest sibling, his sister, Mercedes, my Aunt Icha, whom I loved, dearly, was born in Ybor City, in Tampa, Florida in 1913. Ironically, she was the only one born in the United Staes, until my birth, many decades later. There were a total of four children born to my paternal grandparents, Juan Valuja and Maria Hernandez. 

Juan, was a cigar-maker, from La Habana, who traveled to Tampa from Cuba, in the early 1900’s with his friend, Francisco Hernandez, from Quivican, a small town in the southern part of Habana, he also, was a cigar maker and businessman, who frequently traveled from Cuba to several port cities. Francisco, or Pancho, as he was often called by family and friends, introduced his sister, Maria, to my grandfather. She had also traveled to Tampa at some point, to help care for her brother and sister-in-law’s children. They soon married, and had their first child, my Aunt ‘Icha’.

In a few, short years, in 1915, for some unknown reason, they returned to Cuba to live. My Grandmother, was more than 8 months pregnant with my aunt Margarita (Margot), another dear aunt, I so loved, when they sailed back on a ship, sometime in July or August, and it is said, they encountered turbulent weather due to a Hurricane in the vicinity. The rest of the children, including my dad, were born in La Habana, between 1915 and 1920, however, I am not sure if it was in the town of Marianao, like my grandfather, or Bejucal, as I still need to pinpoint that detail. When I have asked, I have been told, La Habana, but as we all know, that is a large area. :) 

In August of 2012, I wrote a blog post in an attempt to begin to piece together the few bits of information I had about my grandfather and the years he spent in Tampa, Florida  The Quest for My Grandfather's Footsteps'   Part 1 ~  'Searching Ybor City'.
 It is a series that I do hope to continue, although, it has already been, unbelievably, five years. 
Part 2 is slightly overdue, but I do have some new information that I will write about in a future post.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This Month's Roundup & Reflection

Summer has been moving at a fast pace, steadily along amidst our everyday life. As we make our plans and to do lists we make headway and then somehow life and events just take over in the midst. Time, just flies... as it has always been said. 

On a personal note, my grandaughter turned two this past week, and we are fervently awaiting the birth of our 2nd grandaughter, as we speak.    


The natural process of the circle of life continuously moving, nonstop. 

In the midst of awaiting the birth of new life, July has also been a time of saying goodbye to my Uncle Mike, as he came to the end of his journey in this life. As I searched for photos for the memorial service, I came across many old photos of all the fun places I went with my aunt and uncle as a very young child.. I was so moved at how many of them were with his hand in mine. Such dear memories.  

                             So long for now, Uncle Mike..... we love you.

Last month, we learned about FamilySearch discontinuing their microfilm distribution at the end of August. So, with that information in tow, I decided that it was time to tackle a few of the documents that I have needed, after putting it off for several years.  

So, instead of ordering the microfilm to view, I decided to set aside the month of July to locate where I could order the actual copies of the records I need.  I ordered four documents in total from New York and Florida -- two marriage records, a death record and a birth record.  
So here, at the end of the month, I have received two, so far. Not bad!!  After, I receive the last two, this will conclude what I need for the U.S. and so I will turn my attention to overseas.       

I admit, that I have been procrastinating a bit on tackling church records for the Canary Islands, since it has to be done by postal service and one must know the correct town or village of an ancestor to contact the correct church. 

I am able to pinpoint the town for my surnames, Matos, Guerra, de la Nuez, Medina, Navarro, in the small town, Arucas, and the surnames of Santana, Vega, and Diaz, in Tafira.  Arucas and Tafira are both located in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.  

The other surnames are Trujillo and Sierra, from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is said, that Rafael Trujillo was raised by the sisters at a convent in a local Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, around c1859-1875. He was born around 1859.  His birth mother was Maria Sierra, and his birth father Rafael Trujillo.  
Unfortunately, I have no clue as to the town or the name of the convent.  So, in addition, I am in process of researching orphanages and churches with convents on the island of Tenerife. 

Years later, Rafael married Ana Santana, the daughter of Tomas Santana and Josefa Vega, who lived in Tafira in Gran Canaria.  How they met, I have no idea.. but... I hope to find out.  :) 

Josefa Vega with her grandchildren in Tafira or Santa Brigida in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, circa late 1800's. 

In the late 1870's, Rafael and Ana, left Gran Canaria for Venezuela, along with Ana's three younger brothers, Tomas, Manuel and Agustin. Eventually, after a period of time, in 1881, they immigrated to Cuba and settled in Cardenas, Matanzas, as landowners to raise their family.                 

Ana Santana & Rafael Trujillo with their daughter, Maria Josefa Matos and her children, c1830, Cardenas, Cuba

There are many Santana descendents in the Caredenas area, today, as well as several that have migrated to the United States, in more recent years.  
My hope is to somehow,  find the remaining Santana family in the church records in Tafira or Santa Brigida, where Ana's parents and other siblings remained as well as to discover new cousins in that local area, today.  

In the meantime --- We continue to await on the arrival of our 2nd Granddaughter.   πŸŽ€ πŸŽ€ πŸŽ€
I am certain, that I will have a good news update on her arrival, sometime, soon, in August.  
Until then, may your continued journey bring you new revelations.  

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