~ The dispersion of any people from their original homeland is called Diaspora.
When I think of the Puerto Rican diaspora and the effects it has on a person, I am filled with a plethora of emotions. There is plenty of sadness from having to leave the beautiful island and yearning to walk the beaches that speak to your soul through its crystal-clear waters. There is also joy and pride from thoughts of returning to the island to re-engage with my culture and utter the phrase, “Yo soy Boricua". Whatever the emotion, my desire to remain connected to all things Puerto Rico continues to grow like an unstoppable shoot sprouting from a tree stump.
One of the ways I have reconnected with my Puerto Rican roots has been through Ancestry.com. I initially played around with the library’s version and found interesting facts about my dad’s family. However, finding information about my mom’s family proved to be difficult. That all changed when a few years ago, my son encouraged me to have my DNA tested using Ancestry.com. I do not know why, but I was nervous to do so, and after a year of pressure from my kids, I finally spit into the tube and sent it in. Four weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised by the results of my ethnic estimates. From Spain and Portugal to Indigenous Puerto Rican and Cameroon, Congo, and Western Bantu Peoples and many more, my ethnic estimates did not disappoint.
Another pleasant surprise included a first cousin discovery (from my mother’s side of the family), who I was able to message via Ancestry.com. Even though it took a few months for me to build up courage to send the message, I am so glad I did. My primo, Daniel and I have had wonderful conversations about our family history. Additionally, he encouraged me to visit Puerto Rico to meet the rest of the family. In June 2022, I dragged my siblings along to meet out newfound cousins on the island.
The establishing of these relationships has been wonderful, as I have been able to replace some of my diaspora sadness with Puerto Rican family joy. This first trip [of many trips to come] became my reconnection to family, culture, and the island I hold dear to my heart.
Interested in researching your family history and diaspora? You can start here using Ancestry Library Edition
Cafecito Hub is a safe space where customers and staff members can connect with others and read about their unique diaspora. We want to empower individuals in their journey by sharing meaningful content, booklists and resources provided by the library. We welcome everyone that wishes to learn more about other ethnicities and their balance between two worlds and culture.