Wednesday, 13 February 2019

My Work on Senator Marco Rubio's Ancestry for 'Finding Your Roots'

I'm thrilled that my work on Senator Marco Rubio's ancestor José de Reina y Tosta, and the stories associated with that lineage, can now be enjoyed by TV viewers everywhere. As a genealogist, when working on the Reina line and associated families in the Senator's ancestry, I was at times spoiled for choice - there were several families connected with interesting stories, or that showed potential for entertaining development. Ultimately centre stage was taken by José de Reina y Tosta, a diligent public servant who worked hard in many different posts throughout his career in the South of Spain. José never quite rose as high as he would have liked (and it was clear, from the many petitions for advancement that he filed, that for most of his career he felt qualified to take on more demanding posts than those he was usually given by the bureaucrats in Madrid) but ultimately, when faced with a huge public health crisis while he was on duty, he was at last able to prove his worth. José not only held himself to a high standard but, I suspect, was also a no-nonsense parent; though it was mentioned in the broadcast that his son Rafael, from whom Senator Rubio descends, served in the Spanish army, one minor yet significant detail was omitted. Rafael was only thirteen years old when his service began, in the first year of the Peninsular War against Napoleon. Clearly the Reina men were made of stern stuff!

Rescuing stories like these from oblivion and making them known to people living today who value that knowledge is a hugely satisfying aspect of my work as a genealogist.
(R) My photo of the church in Paradas (Seville) where José de Reina y Tosta was baptised. His father was a native of that town, while his mother was the daughter of an official posted there by a large Andalusian landowner, the Duke of Arcos.