Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Holidays Begin ~ Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. We all have much to be thankful for, even in the face of any hardships and difficulties that life may bring.  It is often,  a time of reflection, as we think of family living in other geographical locations and precious memories of loved ones who have passed on.  

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas ~ Brownscombe 

My sister and her family came to visit for Thanksgiving week. It is always such fun for the young cousins to reconnect and enjoy playing with each another amidst all the family activities, cooking, eating, and of course shopping…

As for my research, this month has been busy with DNA tests, and connecting with a new Cousin on another family branch… all very exciting.  

The major DNA companies have placed their DNA kits on sale, this month and into December - a great time to take advantage of the sales to run some tests. 

Now, we look to the Yuletide season as we prepare for Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus as a family. Every year, I think of ways to minimize the busyness and focused more on the joy of the season, enjoying family and all our cherished family traditions.  I enjoy reaching out to relatives living in other cities, and countries, either, by phone, or simply email, depending on where they live.

May this be a season of reflection and immeasurable joy with family and friends. May you  experience, a deeper insight and a new sense of inspiration in every area of your life. 

Marilyn at The Genealogy Gap 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia: The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Small Town Named Quivican ~ Destination for Celestino & Adelaide

As I continue my quest of the Hernandez and Luis surnames in my family, I continue to encounter the name of a small town and municipality in the province of Mayabeque in Cuba, called Quivican. 

As per family tradition, retold many times over, by several family members, it has been said that my Hernandez family first came to Cuba, from the Canary Islands, Spain, around the mid 1800’s.  
They decided to settle in the small town of Quivican, for some unknown reason.  It was in this area, that my grandmother, María Hernandez Luis, and her brothers and sister were born, between the years of 1870-1885. 

Since, I do not know the date or time-frame of when my Great-grandfather, Celestino Hernandez, immigratied to Cuba, it is also unclear, whether he was already married to my Great-grandmother, Adelaide Luis, when he left las Islas Canarias , or if they met in Cuba and then married.  I will check local churches in the area to see if their names appear in a marriage record book. 
As the tradition goes, he was a shoemaker in the Canary Islands and presumed that he continued to work in his trade in Cuba. 
As for Adelaid Luis, I have no information on her birth,  parents, siblings, emigration from the Canary Islands.  Her father's surname is Luis, and since she was from las Canarias, then I suppose that her parents remained there. 
That is pretty much, all that I know, and the reason their lives in the Canary Islands remains a mystery to this day. A mystery that I hope to solve.  

To recap, at this point, I am looking for dates and places of birth, marriage, names of parents,  siblings, date and place of emigration, and immigration.  

So, I begin my search with what I know and in effect will work forward to discover the past.  
  1. My Great-grandparents were born in the Canary Islands, Spain, and immigrated to Cuba.
  2. Celestino, was a shoemaker or tanner by profession, in the Canary Islands. 
  3. They settled and made their home in Quivican, Cuba, where their four children were born.  
  4. My Grandmother, Maria and her three siblings were born in Quivican, roughly between the years 1870-1884. I am not certain about their birth order, but I speculate, based on both, tradition and a rough timeline, that my grandmother was possibly the third child. 

Where is Quivican? 
Quivican, Mayabeque, Cuba. [1]
The town of Quivicán is a municipality located southwest in the province of Mayabeque, Cuba.  Quivican (Quibicán, the name of Taino origin), the tradition is that “Quivi”-  indicates “earth” and “can” indicates “red”, therefore, Quivicán signifies “Tierra Roja” or “Red Earth”. [2]
Quivican,  began as a colony, a parcel of land given to Jerónimo Vaca Renjifo, in 1569, to start a poultry breeding ranch. This area was known as the Villa de San Cristóbal del Sur. 
In 1878, the Governor General, approved and founded the town of Quivicán. 
The municipality of Quivicán was abolished and annexed to the municipality of Bejucal, in 1902, during the first American occupation of Cuba, until 1919. 

Quivican, is divided into neighborhoods— Pueblo, La Salud, San Felipe, Pablo Noriega, San Agustín, Guiro Boñingal, Güiro Marrero, Santa Mónica, Aguacate and Fajardo.

             Photo 1: Quivicán, Mayabeque, Cuba            

           Photo 2: Coat of arms of Quivicán

Bejucal, Mayabeque, Cuba. [3]    
The town of Bejucal, also known as San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal, was founded in 1713, by Captain Juan Núñez de Castilla. 

Originally, Bejucal, was a part of the province of La Habana, although, currently, it is a municipality, in the province of Mayabeque. 

The bordering towns, are Quivican and San Jose de las Lajas, to the south, and San Antonio de los Baños to the west, and the neighborhoods of Bejucal are Beltrán, Cuatro Caminos, Rancho Recreo, Buenaventura, Caguazo and Río Hondo.

                                  Photo 3: Bejucal 

                 Photo 4:  Bejucal Train Station

Bejucal, would have been the location name listed, for most records created in surrounding towns during the mid-1800's. 
Since civil registries did not begin in Cuba until about 1880, it is the local church records, that become very important. 
So, I begin a search of churches that existed in those areas during that time period. 
These records are extremely, important, since it is in these records— births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths, where we not only find, the birth location, and other pertinent information for the person whom the Record was created, but, we  can also discover the names of both birth parents, and their birth locations.  

Here is a Church Directory for the Diocesis de La Habana  (Directorio Eclesial) that may be helpful.  The following churches listed are just a few that I was able to find at this point.

(San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal) [4]
Parroquia de San Felipe y Santiago — Iglesia Parroquial de Bejucal [5] 
The church was consecrated in 1772. 

                 Photo 5: Iglesia de Bejucal 

1. *Iglesia de Ascenso de San Pedro Apóstol [6]   
Began, as a small chapel, founded around 1667, by the Bishop Juan de Santos Matias.
In 1759, it was converted to a Parish (Parroquia).      

Photo 6: Iglesia de Ascenso de San Pedro Apostol

2. Iglesia Parroquial de Quivicán, [7] 
Located at 23rd Ave between 22 and 24, Municipio Quivicán, Mayabeque province, Cuba. 
Originated as a small chapel, Ascenso de San Pedro Church, (Apostle of the Municipality), built in the 17th century. The new construction of the church began March of 1842, and was completed on 25 December of the same year. 

3. Iglesia de San Felipe. [8] 
Built in the second half of the 19th century.  Located at 12th Ave. e / 11 and 12, in the Park of San Felipe, town of the municipality of Quivicán, province Mayabeque, Cuba.      


Photo 7:. Iglesia de San Felipe

If you have family that came from Cuba or are researching that area, then,I would recommend  CubaGenWeb.  It is a great resource!! 
As stated on their site... they suggest information and advice to help you get started and facilitate your own Cuban Genealogical research.  About CubaGenWeb  

Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami ~
While searching on the Cubagenclub website, I clicked on the link for Church and Synagogue records, however, I was unable to find anything related to my specific area. I scrolled down the page to the bottom menu and clicked on 'Links" -- this took me to another page -- "Links to Other Web sites".  I clicked on the link for "Cuban Genealogy Club of Miami"  which took me to their Home Page and found a link for "Databases" -- where there is a list of databases that included several Church Records.  I clicked on the town-- Havana, and this is where I found the church in Bejucal-- San Felipe and Santiago Church. The description says it is a list of  indeces of books for Births, Marriages, Deaths, Confirmation, generously donated by Andres Echazabal.  A very nice sizeable collection with a variety of date ranges. 

As I searched through the list of names, I found an entry for Luis Hernandez Luis  -- San Felipe y Santiago, Lib. 15,1874-1879    He is the last child born to my great-grandparents!   Of course, I will need to do further research to confirm that this is the correct person.  was unable to locate my grandmother and her other siblings, so my search continues.... 

I created a Facts Chart spreadsheet to help me keep track of additional information I may locate.  

I realize that at some point, I 
will need to have feet on the ground at some of these locations, as there is only so much one can do online. However, until that point I will attempt to exhaust all possibilities. 
Do you have any ancestors from any of these locations?  I would love to hear your stories about your experiences.   

2— “Tierra Roja”: Diario Mayabeque:
3— Bejucal: Havana Times: 
4— Bejucal: -estudios en la cultura y la historia de Cuba: 
5—  EcuRed: provincial/index.htm 
7— EcuRed is a Cuban online encyclopedia built on MediaWiki softwarea:án 

Courtesy of:
1. Wikipedia— Quivicán, Mayabeque, Cuba
2. EcuRed— Coat of Arms of Quivicán
3. Wikipedia— Bejucal, Mayabeque Province, Cuba 
5. EcuRed— Iglesia Parroquial de Bejucal:  (Aliuska jc.hlg)
6. EcuRed— Parroquia de San Pedro Apóstol:án.JPG#mw-jump-to-license