Saturday, June 23, 2012

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.

No comments: