Thursday, November 21, 2013

A bittersweet find: the marriage certificate of Alicides Babilonia Lopez and Felicita Rodriguez Vale, 1940

This morning I realized I only had an index reference for the marriage of my grandparents, Alicides Babilonia Lopez and Felicita Rodriguez Vale. Ultimately, I found the certificate on FamilySearch. They were married by a justice of the peace, Catalino Villanueva Bosques at 2PM on the afternoon of 20 April 1940, in the pueblo of Moca. Alejandro Galarza and Americo Hernandez served as witnesses, and it was probably a small private celebration.

Alicides' father railed against the marriage, as his son married a woman who was in his eyes, beneath his family. Her features, straight black hair and skin the color of cinnamon bespoke her Native ancestry.  I suspect the gap in our front teeth that I, my brothers and cousins carry were also among her features. Poor, she was a lavandera, a washerwoman who cleaned clothes on the stones that lined the river nearby. It was a hard life. Alicides worked repairing watches, shoes and with his friend Rito Vargas, made coffins. Knowing that he was going to die, Alicides made his own simple coffin from boards, and made Rito promise that no matter what protest might arise, that this was it, this was the caja that he'd be buried in.

Alcides and Felicita married just months before she died in January 1941; he died in May 1948. The cemetery where they were buried, on the street known as Calle Salsipuedes, was destroyed in 1953 when a new municipal cemetery was built several blocks away.

I've yet to find a photograph of them, but one can only hope.

Alicides Babilonia & Felicita Rodriguez, 24 April 1940, Certificado de Matrimonio, Libro 8, No. 62. "Puerto Rico, Registro Civil, 1836-2001," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 Nov 2013), Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1836-2001. Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1836-2001, Moca, Matrimonios 1930-1945, L. 11, 1-12, image 1366 of 2441.