Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Angel M. San Antonio Bravo (1940-2012)

At the end of August I received the sad news of Angel 'Liyo' San Antonio's passing. 

Angel was a historian of Moca's history and published several books, in an attempt to capture a rapidly fading past. He worked as a teacher in Moca and Aguadilla, was interested in the use of technology and teaching in the 1980s, a time when he was able to take courses at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados in San Juan, from the Universidad de Valladolid and the Instituto Ortega y Gassett in Spain. After nearly 30 years of service, he retired from the PR Department of Education in 1996.

Son of Juan San Antonio Hernandez and Ana A. Bravo, Angel, like others in the San Antonio family, was involved in teaching and educational administration. His sister and her husband have a school supply store on Calle Barbosa, where I went to buy pens and notebooks for my research. Liyo was also involved in many civic associations, was a member of the National Guard and I looked forward to seeing his notes in the Fiesta Patronales books issued each year. Unfortunately, Liyo suffered a number of health problems late in life, which took him from his family much too soon.

I had the opportunity to meet him in Moca, first near the plaza, where he took a copy of his Hojas Historicas de Moca (2004) out of a box in the trunk of his car, and very kindly gave it to me. I also sat next to him and his wife Sonia at the Christmas celebrations held at the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Monserrate y Juan Nepomuceno, together with cousins from the Hernandez Romero line, a wonderful time. I appreciate his kindness and his efforts to preserve the past. He'll be missed.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

In Memoriam... Joel Morales Babilonia (2000-2012)

I recently learned of the passing of a very young descendant of the Babilonia Garcia line of Barrio Naranjo, Joel Morales Babilonia.

Joel was a very bright, sensitive fifth grader who attended Public School 57 in East Harlem.  Frustrated to no end by relentless bullying, he ended his life at the end of May 2012.  It is regrettable  to lose a life, and even more tragic when it's someone so very young, already exhausted by these negative experiences.

My condolences to his family, his mother Lizbeth and aunt Angelica.

QEPD Joel.

Meeting family...from the Babilonia Yturrino line

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Wayne Rodriguez, a descendant of the Babilonia Iturrino line in Oakland. One of the things that is so wonderful about meeting family is learning first hand about the movement of different parts of the family to other parts of the US, and about family characteristics, and memories of the past. These aren't things that you'd necessarily pick up just from reading documents.

His grandparents were Barbara Lavinia Babilonia Iturrino (1877-1954) and Jose Mas Perez (1861-1919). Jose came from Valencia, Spain, married Lavinia in 1892, and lived in Ponce, where they raised a large family.  After the Spanish American War of 1898, Jose had to declare his nationality in 1899, which appears in Tomas Sarramia's book, Lealtad y Nacionalidad.

If you're not familiar with Sarramia's book, it's worth a look. The full title is Lealtad y Nacionalidad: Catalogo de catalanes, valencianos y baleares en Puerto Rico tras el cambio de soberania de 1898. (San Juan: PR Books, 1999) The Treaty of Paris specified that an individual in the territory had the right to retain Spanish citizenship if they desired. Once ratified in Washington DC, Order No. 132 of 31 Aug 1899, anyone who was born in Spain and lived in Puerto Rico had until 10 Apr 1900 to declare which country they were nationals of. (Sarramia, 6) Of just under a population of a million people (953,243), almost fourteen thousand (13,872) were foreign born; of these 7,690 were born in Spain with 5,662 males over 21; 671 male minors and 1,357 females of all ages. About 39% of the Spanish population, 7,826 military personnel and their families had evacuated the island by the time Spain handed over Puerto Rico to the US.

On 28 December 1899, Jose Mas Perez went to the office and signed a declaration number 1274 to retain his Spanish citizenship. (127). As a result, there was a connection to Spain reinforced by periodic travel. In 1919, Lavinia sailed to NYC and moved to the West Village.  One of their daughters married a Spaniard and over the years this branch of the family continued to travel between Spain, Puerto Rico and New York.

Over 100 years after Jose Mas Perez signed his documents, I had dinner with his grandson William and my husband Tom at a great little Thai restaurant, on the border of Oakland and Berkeley.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Babilonia Family Reunion - Reunion de la Familia Babilonia

El Reunion de la Familia Babilonia - The Babilonia Family Reunion will be happening this year in Moca on Sunday 24 June 2012 in Moca, Puerto Rico at 'El Coco' off Rta.110 the road between Moca and Anasco. Drive past the Puente del Rio Culebrinas, and on the right after the bridge is the entrance to el Centro Communal, nicknamed 'El Coco'.
Tickets are $15. Call or email Gaspar for more info: gasparbabilonia@yahoo.com 1 787.589.7097

Domingo el 24 de Junio 2012 en Moca en El Centro Communal 'El Coco'. Boletos $15, musica, diversiones, comida y muchos parientes!  Comunicas con Gaspar para mas informacion.

Wish I could be there!