Manumission in the colony of Santo Domingo

Despite the very high number of free and highly autonomous peoples living in the colony of Santo Domingo (3 out of 4 people of "color" where free) by 1681  1, there where still folks who where enslaved and how they attained freedom would have been through various forms. Here are some examples.

In the San Francisco de Macoris 1812 Census we see the legal status of folks but only the enslaved are marked as "slaves". In this list the majority of the peoples listed are mulatto/pardo/black(moren@) but this is not marked as only enslaved is marked.

María Dolores Alvarado de 36. Agregados: Juan Rodríguez de 12, Tomás Rodríguez de 7, Felipa Paulino de 20 y Basilio Alvarado de 2. Esclavos: Salvador Ventura de 36, Juan Alvarado de 30, Cecilia Gomes de 26, Felipa Sánchez de 10, Bernardo Sánchez de 6 y María Alvarado de 8.

Here we have 6 enslaved persons listed, each with their ages listed.  Turns out Salvador Ventura and Cecilia Gomes where married even though this is not mark…

La Banda Norte: Roots in the colony of Santo Domingo 1492-1606

Most of us hit brick walls before the early 1800s or late 1700s. This has a lot to do with the abandonment of the colony of Santo Domingo, and quite a few natural disasters. For example All records prior to 1805 in La Vega were swallowed by an Earthquake in 1790. The only parts of the island almost unaffected due to much stronger infrastructure and care taking of records are the East and Capital, so Higuey, Hato Mayor, and Distrito Nacional (Santo Domingo).

La Banda Norte, literally meaning the North Band was a group that existed from the beginning of the colony until 1606 specializing in contraband. With how abandoned the island was and the lack of "Rule" it meant that contraband trade with the English/Dutch/French was the best way to make money. The area that it encompassed was much of the north-coast of present day Dominican Republic and Haiti. The grand majority of the inhabitants of the North Band where Blacks, Mulattoes and Mestizos, in other words free people of color.…

Myth of extermination of Quisqueyas Native-Americans

First of all the native's in Quisqueya, present day Dominican Republic and Haiti where not one people, or a single cultural group. There was a complex set of people who had arrived in different waves from South-America, Central-america and likely even St. Augustine Florida. Per Anthropology the island has been inhabited for the last 10,000 years.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the Taino died off in the 1500s, there are old books that quote things like "By 1548, the Taíno population had declined to fewer than 500" - Wikipedia . This is in fact false, there where pockets of native's throughout the island until relatively recent times.


In Boya, Monteplata around 1656 it was reported that this was an 'Indian' town with about 6 houses, and it states the reason for the few # of total people is that most of these natives had gone to neighboring towns for employment.

[villa que es de indios descendientes de los de esa isla; tendrá como seis casa…

Yo mama! Maternal line roots

The X chromosome is full of mysteries and information. Defined here is inherited by both biological male's and female's. Mtdna is that single direct female ancestor which we all inherit, for alot of us there may be results that are obvious and for some surprising. As much as we try to define what our last known direct female ancestor looked like, coming from such a mixed ex-colony the possibilities are endless. Your great-great grandmother can be very white but her maternal line be African because perhaps HER great-great grandmother was an African woman, and vice versa. Refer to Tools for Finding your Roots for which DNA test would give you Mtdna information. 
A few years back I averaged out the continental frequency of these maternal lines using the results of 309 of my Dominican relatives. The results where very much in line with DNA studies done in the Dominican Republic. Details here for the amateur one I did myself.

The interesting thing about maternal lines is that for …

Genealogical Sources to find Enslaved and Free Ancestors of color in the D.R

Slavery ended in the colony of Santo Domingo, modern day Dominican Republic in 1822 with the arrival of Jean Pierre Boyer from Saint Domingue (Modern day Haiti). Before the time period of 1822 many of our ancestors are listed as the following. There are of course obstacle to this which is for one tracing back your genealogy before 1822 may be tricky in some places (like Santiago whose records where destroyed by the Spanish in the 1860s, so nothing pre-1860). 
Important Definitions: Enslaved, usually listed as Esclavo or Esclava, or as Negro/Negra, or in combination of both i.e Negra Esclava or just Negra. Sometimes these ancestors can be listed as Moren@ Esclav@ by some priests/scribes who don't use the word negro at all, however when both Negr@ and Moren@ are present the first is used to refer to enslaved peoples. Sometimes for enslaved mixed people they are listed as Mulat@ or Pard@ esclav@.

I.E "Venta de una negra esclava llamada Juana, de nación angola, otorgada por Domingo…

We don't have African Ancestry from One Place - Example of Dominicans

For those of you who have watched genetic/genealogy TV shows like Finding your Roots by Henry Louis Gates JR, or perhaps NatGEO documentaries on the "Roots" of people you may be thinking that we have one ancestral homeland, this is not the case for pretty much anybody in the Caribbean or the Americas for that matter. In all the studies done, and if you take a personal dna test or have the luck of finding these distant ancestors via genealogy you will quickly note your roots are all over Africa, all over the Americas and all over Europe. provides one of the most comprehensive but not perfect African regional analyses which I am using in these examples, the names of the categories are NOT meant to be countries, they encompass large regions, so "Senegal" is not confined to Senegal but goes all the way to parts of Ghana and even Nigeria in the case of Fulani and Hausa folks. This is not specific to one ethnicity as many African ethnicities may share a ce…

Personal DNA 101

Most of the time we hear about DNA test being used for paternal and land disputes. Here is the list of the aspects of DNA that are most helpful for Personal Genomics.

Also known as la mama de la mama de la mama... this is not a pepito joke! Think of following the line of who was your mother's mothers' mother's mother... ad infinitum. Both male and female's have Mtdna's as the information of the Mtdna is inside the X, and nearly everyone is either X X or X Y. This prestigious line traces back to a single female ancestor on your direct maternal line. 
How far back? Well the truth is that much of the continents where relatively isolated up until 500 years ago, so there are unique signatures that only exist in certain continents. Each Mtdna starts of with a letter and is followed by a sequence of letters and numbers depending on age of each of these unique maternal mutations. 
Example: My Mtdna is L3b1a. This maternal line is found in many populations throughout …