Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Proclamation - Proclama Dia de Babilonia 25th of June

Here's the proclamation for Babilonia Day in Moca. Since there's no known birth date, the date of death was used instead to acknowledge Capt. Miguel Babilonia Polanco. The document has a seal and was signed by Moca's mayor, Jose Enrique 'Kike' Aviles on the 17th of August 2008. You can click on it to see a larger image.

The next Reunion will be held in 2010, probably in November.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dealing with slavery

In Antonio Nieves Mendez's Historia socio-economical y cultural de Moca: 1772-1900 (Editorial Aymaco, 2004) p.85, he outlines the involvement of local parish priest Jose Balbino David, who was involved in selling and buying enslaved people between 1848 to 1852. In 1849, he sold Manuel Babilonia two slaves, Alejandro, 28 yrs old, native of Africa and Francisco, 25 years old, born in Puerto Rico for the sum of 750 pesos. [Fuente: Protocolos Notariales de Moca. Ano 1848, Caja 1444, f.22] This was after the Relacion de esclavos taken in 1846, and Manuel does not show up on there.

Manuel Babilonia is probably Manuel Miguel Narciso Astolfo Babilonia Acevedo, born about 1804. What happened to Francisco and Alejandro? Where did they go after abolition in 1873? Did they take the Babilonia surname?

One of his sons, Astolfo (from his second marriage ) moved to Quebradillas and was involved in buying slaves to free them. Slavery was apparently a bone of contention in the family at the time, and may be part of his motivation to move away from Moca.

This is all part of the other family history that's less well known.

Monday, August 18, 2008

El Manantial- The Babilonia Family Reunion- 25 Jun is now Dia de Babilonia

At last count, some 534 Babilonia descendants gathered at El Manantial on Sunday 17 August, from 9AM to 9PM, meeting and enjoying each other's company. Family arrived from all over the US and PR from different branches, many with Babilonia as a maternal surname too. Hopefully there's a guest list of the attendees, who had a wonderful time. I anticipate that I'll be able to attend the next one!

Mayor Kiko Aviles sent a proclamation read at the Reunion that officially designated the 25 of June, Dia de Babilonia, or Babilonia Day in Moca. Capitan Miguel Babilonia Polanco died on 25 June 1813 in Moca. It's the only definite date found for him so far.

I'd like to thank my cousins Gaspar and Cookie for keeping me posted on the happenings there! Anibal Babilonia and his wife Millie Quinones spearheaded organizing the Reunion, and they are well known in Moca. Millie is also an accomplished lace maker, and their son Robert, a professional photographer. Many others helped to make the event possible.

I am currently reviewing available records to chart out the lineage of his first wife, Maria Mendez (1741-1796). According to Jorge Ayala, (who should be a distant cousin) she was connected to the Gonzalez line. If you do have any information, I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Surnames associated with Babilonia in PR

Mendez, Gonzalez, Hernandez del Rio, Lorenzo de Acevedo, Lopez de Segura, Caban, Carive, Kleibring, Polanco, Quinones, Ramos, Ramirez, Romero, Sosa, Soto, Sotomayor, Talavera, Torres, Vives

Barrios & towns in PR:
Barrios de Moca: Pueblo, Cuchillas, Cruz, Marias, Naranjo, Rocha; Camuy, Quebradillas, San Juan

Largely settled in the Northwest area of the island.

Descendants article in Nuestra Herencia

The Descendants of Capitan Miguel Babilonia Polanco of Moca, Puerto Rico, Part I was recently published in Nuestra Herencia 11:2, Spring/ Summer 2008 issue. Nuestra Herencia is the newsletter of the Hispanic Genealogical Society of New York. I'll be working on Part II shortly, which covers the children of the second generation.

Over 600 Babilonias to El Manantial tomorrow...

I just spoke with my cousin Gaspar, and there are over 600 Babilonia descendants who will descend on El Manantial tomorrow afternoon. It should be an amazing event. Hopefully I'll have some images to post.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Miguel Babilonia Polanco

The first Babilonia in Puerto Rico arrived from Mallorca, Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain sometime in the 1760s.  Miguel Babilonia Polanco was born to Juan Amador Babilonia and Chatarina Polanco in 1743. His first marriage was to Maria Mendez (1741-9 Aug 1796) with whom he had 12 children. After she died, he married his wife's cousin, Benita Lorenzo de Acevedo y Gonzalez (1781-10 May 1861), and had 7 more children. By the time of his second marriage in 1797, both of his parents had already passed.

My research so far shows that Miguel Babilonia Polanco was not involved with the military, and did not have the title Capitan in any official capacity. Two sons that appear in the 1817 military census of Moca serve as soldiers, unlike the other families with close military ties. Miguel likely traded in linen used for clothing of the enslaved, which may have brought him to Puerto Rico.

I've been investigating this line since the late 1990s, and have been involved with genealogy since then. Perhaps I should say, obsessed?

Babilonia Family Reunion- Sun 17 Aug 2008

There should be a few hundred people going to Barrio Naranjo in Moca this coming Sunday to attend this event. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend, but hope to post some information from the many cousins who will go.