Monday, February 6, 2012

Romance in San Sebastian

Peering Through a Glass Door
Iglesia Catolica: San Sebastian Martir
San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

Since their migrations from Galicia (Spain) and Portugal via Brazil, my mother's side of the family has inhabited the town of Hoya Mala a parrish of San Sebastian. The town has an amazing beautiful town square which to this day remains the center of commerce and tourism.

Iglesia Catolica: San Sebastian Martir
More than likely Don Manuel del Rio and his ancestors traded coffee and cattle at the plaza mercado in the center. They might have even traded with their distant cousins from Moca, de Hernandez del Rio's. Since they were coffee growers they might have even know the Vargas's and Marques also from Moca.

These folks also share a common thread not only did they have Portuguese ancestry, but all of the last names appeared in Catholic sephardic directories of the new world. The were conversos who had fled Spain in 1492 and no longer practiced the religion. They were pragmatic and fled to the new world.

In order to keep their blood lines pure and to maintain their wealth between families, they married amongst themselves. My family arrogant and once wealthy believed in controlling and taking care of its own family. They did so for generations. In San Sebastian the names within our tree were as follows: Rios, Del Rio, Roman, Hernandez, Irizarry, Fuentes, Lisboa, Matos, and Merle. I am grateful to all of them and proud to honor their last name by my life and by recounting their history. I remain proud yet humbled by their sacrifice.

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