In the last article, I explained how I solved the mystery of who Florencio’s parents were, and questioned the possible reasons why my grandfather portrayed himself to his children as having been an orphaned child raised by an aunt and uncle. His mother, María Dominga Maldonado Rivera, did die when Florencio was only ten years old, but his father, Manuel Alejo Rivera Maldonado, died on Dec. 7, 1899. Florencio was 27 years old by then, married to Felícita Madera Medina, and himself already a father. I suggested that perhaps Florencio meant that he was left huérfano de madre (motherless) at a young age. Although unable to prove anything at this point, I can only conjecture that after his wife’s death, Florencio’s father had his hands full with several children and his farm, so he sent Florencio to live with an aunt and uncle. (more…)
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José Lino Medina 1924-2015
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The greatest challenge in my genealogical research has been the unraveling of the mystery surrounding my grandfather, Florencio Rivera Maldonado. By several accounts, he was said to have been orphaned as a boy and raised by an uncle and aunt, who supposedly took over the farm that Flor’s father left behind. Reportedly, Florencio was also left with a slave, who he set free because he was afraid of him. I was also told that Florencio had only one brother (Juan), who died as a child.
When I first asked my dad what he knew about his father’s childhood, it turned out to be very little. He did not even know the names of Florencio’s parents. Uncle Isidro later told me that the names were Manuel Alejo Rivera and María Dominga Maldonado (information that he had gotten from his mother, Otilia Pacheco). However, I was faced with the question of whether these people were his birth parents or the uncle and aunt who had raised him. It became even more confusing when I began to discover baptismal records for a number of children of Manuel and María Dominga. Since I had been told that Florencio had only one brother, I was sure that these people must be the aunt and uncle and their children.