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September 19, 2004

How to research your genealogy using the Mormon resources - part c.

Read Part a.: checking whether the Mormons have microfilmed a town
Read Part b.: how to obtain microfilms from the Mormons.

Image1Back to our genealogical research on the couple Guillermo SEPULVEDA CASTILLO and Maria Praxedes JARA FUICA, my great-grand-parents.

Ideally there would be 4 sorts of documents we could use here:

- Death certificates: Bernardita (mentionned before) found me Guillermo's death certificate. Unfortunately, it doesn't mention the name of his parents, nor where he was born (update on 9/2/05: His baptism certificate - when he was only 11 months - is from Parroquia San Miguel, in Los Angeles, Chile. Chances that he was born there are therefore high. We will look there, however it is unlikely we'll find an official document - see next §).

Family members told me Maria Praxedes died in 1954 in Concepcion, Chile. I will have to track that document down. (update on 9/2/05: her baptism certificate says she was 3 years old on the event on 24/12/1876. Funnily enough, the document is from the same Parroquia San Miguel de Los Angeles, were her future husband was baptized). Hence best chances is that she bas born around 1873 in Los Angeles, Chile).

- Birth certificates: I got the birth date of Guillermo on his death certificate, but I don't know where. He died in Chillan Viejo, Chile: my current hypothesis is that he was born in Los Angeles, Chile (see above) he went back to his birth place, although it is just a supposition. Chillan Viejo is also a place where there is one of the largest concentration of SEPULVEDAs in Chile. It is both good news (lots of chances of finding something), and bad news: I'll have to go through many documents. Nevertheless, now that I have the birth date, 23 june 1870, it might be easier. However there was no civil registration in 1870, hence I will have to contact each parish, or check each parish record on micro-film. The baptism certificate we have from Parroquia San Miguel in Los Angeles, is probably the best we'll get.

- birth certificates of the couple's children: very often, if we search through a number of years, we can find some of the couple's children. Sometimes they give the age of the father and/or the mother and/or residency and/or profession. In addition, sometimes the signature of the father or the mother might help validate that the person is the right one (when comparing with other documents); signature also means that the person knew how to write, hence had basic eduction or not.

- Marriage certificate: usually, this is a very good candidate for information, as very often, the age of the couple is mentioned, and the names of their respective parents. The location of the wedding is also a great indication, as it was usually the birthplace of one of the newly-wed, very often the bride.

And hurray! after some 20 minutes searching thru the records (some records have an index which helps a lot), I found the marriage certificate of Guillermo and Maria Praxedes!


What do we learn from it ? (had I not had known some of the information beforehand):
- that the couple got married in Los Sauces, Chile (obviously, since I am looking at the civil records for that town) on 13 december 1895.
- Guillermo is a widower and this is a 2nd marriage: this is news! This also means I will have to research his first marriage. He was 26 years old (actually slight inconsistency with his birth date from his death certificate, he should have been only 25 years old). His parents were Eduvije SEPULVEDA and Etelvina CASTILLO. I knew his father was José Eduvije SEPULVEDA: this tells us that his usual first name was Eduvije only. Update on 9/2/2005: hsi baptism certificate mentions he was a natural son, hence that his parents were not married then: no need to search for a marriage certificate before that date. Too bad we are looking some information there.

(update on 3/6/2007: when have found on familysearch that they married 3 years later in 1874)

- Maria Praxedes was 20 years old, hence born around 1875. My previous information was that she died in 1956 at age 84, which meant born around 1872. (Update on 9/2/2005: her baptism certificate mentions she was 3 in 1876, hence born c. 1873. This means that one of the dates is wrong, and that my research will have to span several years around 1871-1876. Her parents were Estanislado JARA and Catalina FUICA. Update: her parents were married, as the baptism certificate mentions 'hija legitima'.)

Now there are other interesting pieces of information:
- both couple of parents were residents in Los Sauces, which means I will have to search for their death records in Los Sauces, which might indicate their birth dates and birth places. Update: the baptism certificate for Maria Praxedes mentions 'mision del Desague', probably a remote place in the country. I'll have to investigate this further; it must be really remote as she was only baptized when she was three (quite late).
- one of the witnesses is called Leonidas CASTILLO: he might be related to the family, probably a brother or nephew of Etelvina CASTILLO. If I stumble upon this name in future records, I'll look closely for that relationship. Update: family members have always called her father Mariano CASTILLO. I don't have proof. Leonidas could also be her father ?
- Finally, Estanislado JARA didn't know how to write, which meant he was probably of humble origins. Not many chances of finding property documents (land ownership, commercial transactions, etc.) in the city archives, although this is just a theory.

I found many other interesting documents, including the birth certificates of some of the elder children of the couple (including those no one mentionned in the family, because they died young), and children of the second marriage of Estanislado JARA. I have updated the family tree accordingly: I have scanned the screen print-outs and have uploaded them here.


I have also found a small mistery: there is a death certificate of a Etelvina CASTILLO in Los Sauces: the name is rather uncommon, and the probability of having two persons of the same generation living in the same small town at the same time in those years is very unlikely. However she is said to be married to someone else. I suspect therefore my great-great-grand-mother to have remarried after her marriage relationship to Eduvije SEPULVEDA (hinting at the dates when he could have died). It is just weird that no one from her potential SEPULVEDA descendance signed that document (update: no mariage to a SEPULVEDA might explain this).

(update on 3/6/2007: it seems that she has married 3 times, as found on familysearch.org. Jervacio ORTIZ seemed to be her 3rd husband. We'll have to find the orginal certificates).

I hope that this long series of posts explains how genealogical research is done, and that it will be useful to you all for your own research. The key take aways are that is takes a lot of time, and that it is very close to detective work with hypothesis and facts gathering.

Family names researched in this post: CASTILLO, FUICA, JARA, REBOLLEDO, SEPULVEDA

September 19, 2004 at 09:50 PM in Chile | Permalink


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