In my October 2016 blog article, “The Proof is in the DNA,” and my subsequent December 2016 article, “The Maldonado Connection”, I talked about how the Hernández “cousins” from San Jose, California – the children of Auntie Rosita’s brother, Carmelo, and therefore first cousins to Carlos, Edward, Roberto and Orlando Rivera – showed up on my Ancestry DNA matches as 4th-6th cousins. I said that I suspected that our connection was through the Maldonado line, since the Hernández family and the Rivera families both have that surname in their trees.
The Maldonado name was well-established in the areas of Arecibo, Utuado, and Adjuntas in the 16th century, and soon spread out into the regions of Ponce, Peñuelas, and Guayanilla. It has been said that all the Maldonados from any of the aforementioned towns can trace their roots back to Lope Maldonado Almodóvar of Arecibo (1650-1714).
I have discovered the connection or, as it turns out, several connections! Brace yourself – this can get a little confusing.
Rosita María (1920-2002) and Carmelo (1922-1973) were just two of the sixteen children born to Manuel Hernández Olán and Amalia Sierra Maldonado.
Amalia’s parents were Juan Portalatín Sierra and María Ramona Maldonado.
María Ramona’s parents were Nicomedes Maldonado and María Irenes Maldonado. In genealogy, we deal with women’s maiden names, and actually, in Hispanic cultures women usually continue to use their maiden names even after they marry. Hence, take note that María Ramona’s parents both had the same surname. They were, in fact, first cousins. Let’s take a close look at María Ramona’s four grandparents.
Her paternal grandparents were Santiago Maldonado Martínez and Sotera Torres Santiago. Both of her paternal grandparents can trace their lines back to Lope Maldonado Almodóvar. Tracing back from Santiago we have Ignacio Maldonado González, Rafael Maldonado Torres, Juan Maldonado Orozco, Lope Maldonado de León, and Lope Maldonado Almodóvar. Tracing back from Sotera we have Felipe Torres Maldonado, María Ana Maldonado Ruiz, Felipe Maldonado Orozco, Lope Maldonado de León, and Lope Maldonado Almodóvar.
Her maternal grandparents were Raimundo Maldonado Martínez and María del Carmen Gracia Torres, both of whom can also trace their lines back to Lope Maldonado Almodóvar. Raimundo’s line traces back like this: Ignacio Maldonado González, Rafael Maldonado Torres, Juan Maldonado Orozco, Lope Maldonado de León, and Lope Maldonado Almodóvar. María del Carmen’s line traces back like this: Micarla Torres Maldonado, María Ana Maldonado Ruiz, Felipe Maldonado Orozco, Lope Maldonado de León, and Lope Maldonado Almodóvar.
You can see from the chart that several names are repeated on both sides of María Ramona’s family. Not only were her parents first cousins because their father’s were siblings, but also her paternal grandmother, Sotera, and maternal grandmother, María del Carmen, were first cousins.
Comparing the lineage of Florencio Rivera Maldonado to that of Amalia Sierra Maldonado generation by generation, we find that Florencio and Amalia were 4th cousins twice removed, and Uncle Isidro and Auntie Rosita were not only husband and wife, but distant cousins as well (5th cousins twice removed). Their four sons – Carlos, Edward, Roberto and Orlando – are not only siblings, but 6th cousins twice removed!! The Hernández clan of San Jose, California (Gladys, Neida, Nancy, Helen, David, Doris, Danny and Emy) are 6th cousins twice removed to all of Florencio Rivera’s grandchildren, including me!
Honestly, I think it is safe to say that if you are a Puerto Rican with Maldonado in your family tree from any of the towns mentioned in the first paragraph, you are a cousin!