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.