jueves, 6 de agosto de 2020

Reconstructing the Vásquez Family Tree in Cayey, Coamo, and Guayama: The Descendants of Juan Vásquez de Rivera

By David M. Stark, Ph.D.

Anyone who has ever searched for their ancestors in Cayey and can trace them back to the eighteenth century is sure to have encountered the Vásquez family at some point in their research. The Vásquez family figures prominently in the early history of Cayey, both in terms of their sheer numbers and their role in the community’s foundation in 1773. In that year, Juan de Mata Vásquez representing the interests of 31 vecinos, or heads of household, successfully petitioned the island’s governor Miguel de Muesas to have Cayey established as a separate community from Coamo, with a church dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Asunción and its own teniente a guerra, or all-encompassing civilian and military leader, in the person of Juan de Mata Vásquez. The identity of the different Vásquez families and how they were related has until now been impossible to establish with any degree of certainty. However, it is now possible to (re)construct the genealogy of the Vásquez family not only in Cayey, but also in nearby communities such as Coamo and Guayama by using nineteenth-century marital inventories for military officials who wished to marry in Puerto Rico in conjunction with extant parish baptismal, marriage, and death records. I will endeavor to unravel the mystery of the Vásquez genealogy and follow it back to Juan Vásquez de Rivera.

While this article does not claim to have identified all the children of Juan Vásquez de Rivera and Juliana de Alvarado, it does provide a partial list of their children based upon a reconstruction of dispensations for consanguineous marriages contracted by various individuals of the Vásquez family during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Perhaps other genealogists or historians may be able to contribute additional branches to the Vásquez family tree or add to our knowledge of Juan Vásquez de Rivera and Juliana de Alvarado.

You can access the article here.


  1. Pio López Martinez, "Historia de Cayey," Rio Piedras: Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1972.
  2. Picó, Fernando, "Amargo café," Rio Piedras: Ediciones Huracán, 1981.  
  3. Archivo General de Indias, Escribanía de Camara, 129 A.
  4. Stark, David M. and Teresa de Castro, “The Militia Muster Rolls Compiled by Gabriel Gutiérrez de Riva as Tools for Reconstructing Puerto Rico’s Population in 1700,” Boletín de la Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Genealogía, VIII:1-2 (abril de 1996): 77-114.
  5. Archivo Histórico Arquidiocesano de San Juan, Justicia – Capellanias, caja 1, Capellanias 22 de noviembre de 1791, which lists don Juan Collazo de Rivera y doña Rosa Vásquez de Alvarado, su mujer.

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