This website centers on the ancestry and descendants of Sebastian Jose Gines Romagosa Dalmau who was born in Catalunya and settled in Manzanillo, Cuba in the late 1700's. The search for information on this Romagosa family in Cuba, its ties to Spain, and the connection among the several Romagosa branches was an originally frustrating, but ultimately fascinating and successful effort. The information was slowly gathered over a period of four years thanks to the assistance of close as well as distant relatives who each had some knowledge about the various branches. Confirmation, of relationships, however, had to wait until baptismal certificates were obtained from Manzanillo, Oriente Province, Cuba, where the family had initially settled, and, in the case of the Philadelphia/New Jersey branch, access to Ellis Island records could confirm the ties.
The difficulty in finding information was due to the disruption that wars and exile had caused in family connections. Over the 200 years since the original Romagosa family arrived in Cuba from Spain around 1800, Romagosa descendants (and many other Cuban families) were dislocated twice; first, during the revolutionary wars against Spain (1868 to 1898), and then after 1959 with Fidel Castro’s communist regime.
During the Cuban revolutionary war diaspora, families dispersed over the American continent. Large colonies developed in Tampa, New York, Key West and Latin American countries such as Costa Rica. The war had its effects, not only in disconnecting relatives, but also in the loss of important documents and genealogical records. Records from Bayamo, where some of those who married into the Romagosa family resided, were burned during the 10-Year War. Members of our family had to leave Cuba under persecution.
The second period of exile, after Castro’s takeover in 1959, resulted in most of the Romagosas relocating to the United States. The conditions under which this exile occurred meant that most family documents, pictures and other memorabilia could not be brought out, disconnecting the families’ descendants from their history in Cuba. It has been difficult to piece together family memories and the few available documents, but, ultimately, the fact that the unraveled tapestry of family history has been knit back together again, represents a victory over war, over exile, and over frail human memories. We now have something to pass on to our children and grandchildren: You have roots, you have ancestors connected to particular events and locations, and you are connected back through generations. It is for our American children and grandchildren that this update of the Romagosa family history is written in English. It is dedicated to them with the hope that they, too, will find interest in “discovering their roots.”
This website is also dedicated to everyone who assisted in this effort, particularly those who have since passed away. Special thanks go to the following who had a critical role in the process:
-Richard Romagosa Yturriaga, whose e-mail to my niece Christina referring to the contacts with the Romagosas in Spain piqued my interest and got the search started;
-Genealogy expert Dr. Enrique Hurtado, who provided information on Sebastian Benigno Romagosa Arteaga, married to Emilia Venecia, and the rest of the Romagosa Venecia branch;
- Guillermo Romagosa Munguia, Beba Romagosa Falcon, Juan E. Romagosa Santandreu, Raquelita Romagosa Profit, and Magda and Rita Romagosa Fernandez who shared much information, family stories, documents and pictures of the Romagosa Sanchez branch from Manzanillo and Costa Rica;
-Mercedes Ramirez de Cardenas, who bragged about having Romagosas on both sides of her family (Romagosa Rosabal and Ramirez Romagosa) and whose incredible memory for family history and entertaining stories brightened my search and helped to suggest possible relationships among several branches;
-Jose Joaquin Romagosa and his wife Emilia who gathered the names of the descendants of their Romagosa Rosabal branch, which had relocated to the Francisco Sugar Mill in Camaguey;
-Frank Romagosa Villatoro, who referred me to an important source, the book “Efemerides de Manzanillo,” as well as providing information, together with his cousin, Juan Francisco Romagosa Bengochea, on the Cienfuegos Romagosa branch;
-Gerald Romagos, from the New Orleans Romagosas, with whom we were never able to find a connection, but who sent information that led to finding a branch of the Cuban Romagosas (Romagosa Pereda) in Pennsylvania and New Jersey;
-Richard and William Ramagosa (R.I.P.), who supplied information on their Pa./NJ branch, whose connection was confirmed through Ellis Island records;
-Father Elmo Romagosa (R.I.P.), from the New Orleans Romagosas, who connected me with the Romagosas in Spain, just a few months before his death in 1999.
-And, most of all, thanks to Melquiades (Pete) Calzado (R.I.P.), married to Montserrat Romagosa, from Barcelona, Spain, who, as the self-described person in charge of “foreign relations” for the Romagosa family in Catalunya, generously took it upon himself to search for the ancestors of the Cuban Romagosas in Spain. Pete, a historian by nature if not by profession, researched our roots, going through church records in Sitges (about 45 minutes from Barcelona) until he found a Juan Romagosa married to Rita Dalmau, as well as his children. He then found the connection of this Cuban branch to the Catalunya Romagosas in the 1500s, meaning that, thanks to him, the Cuban branch can now trace its ancestry all the way back to the beginning of the Romagosa family records in 1070.
Thanks to all! It’s been fun getting to know you, by phone, if not in person. Wonderful family!
Tessie Romagosa Herrero
Boca Raton, Florida 2004