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Welcome to y la Familia

Welcome to our website. Since we are no longer publishing a newsletter, this blog is an effort to continue sharing with our relatives the history of our family and interesting related facts as discovered by our family genealogist, Norma (Garcia) Pettit. We hope you will find the information interesting and enjoyable. As always, we welcome your questions and suggestions.


Your Stories Wanted

It has been our goal to connect with family members worldwide and to provide a platform for sharing family news and our history. Most of the information shared has come from our family historian and genealogist, Norma Pettit. However, we are sure there are many other stories with interesting points of view, particularly those that might help fill gaps in our family’s history. With that in mind, we want to encourage family members to share their stories and photos on this website.

If you have something you would like to share, please send your story to Norma at, attach photos if you have any, and we will review your submission and get in touch with you if we have any questions. Thank you in advance for your contribution.

Featured Article

My “Cookie-Cutter” Childhood Home

Posted February 15, 2023
by family historian Norma (Garcia) Pettit

In my last article, I wrote about the astonishing progress made in housing from one generation to the next in our family. Specifically, I mentioned that my father was born in the mountains of Peñuelas, in the rural mountainside community of Santo Domingo. During the 2009 family reunion hosted by cousin Annie Meléndez, a group of us took a guided trip up to the area where that cabin once stood. It is no longer there, and the pathway to the actual spot was eroded and unsafe to travel on, even on foot, but we got close. The views were incredible and the experience of walking on the land that our ancestors inhabited was almost spiritual.

My father’s family moved to Ponce, as described in the previous article, and after struggling financially for the next twenty years working in cane fields, fishing, and in the Aguirre Sugar Mill, dad joined the Merchant Marines. With solid work and regular paychecks, and following the lead of his sister, María, dad purchased a house in San Francisco’s Sunset District in 1945, at 1718-22nd Avenue. The following year, my mother Ana María López Maldonado travelled to San Francisco to marry dad. This was the home in which they raised their three children – Olga María (1947-2006), Ruben Juan (1949 -) and Norma Iris (1952 -).

Garcia house, San Francisco

The house, like many others in the Sunset District, was designed by Henry Doelger. Once criticized as “cookie cutter”, these now iconic houses actually were built in a variety of styles. Ours, shown on the left, was in the Mediterranean Revival style. It was built in 1931, and I think they bought it from the previous owner for something like $16,000. They sold the house in 1974 for $40,000. Today, that house is valued at over $1,100,000.

Here is a link to an interesting article on the Doelger homes of San Francisco:

Recent Articles

Yo Tengo Ya la Casita

Posted October 23, 2022

Last spring we built a storage shed on our property in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. At my request, Randy designed it to look like a typical Puerto Rican home of yesteryear. When it was completed, we saw people driving by, slowing down, and even stopping to admire La Casita, as we named it. We received many compliments on it, and some people said that it reminded them of their grandparents’ house in the mountains. It brings to my mind that Rafael Hernández song, “Ahora Seremos Felices,” in which the opening line says, “Yo tengo ya la casita que tanto te prometí.” (I already have the house that I kept promising you.)



Posted February 12, 2022

I am known as the family historian. It has been a passion of mine for decades, but my lifelong dream was to write a book. I combined my passion and my dream, recently publishing a novel based on the life of my maternal great-grandmother, Luisa Torres Torres.


Aunt Delia Rivera Finch: The aunt I wish you all knew

Posted January 19, 2022

My heart hurts with grief as I write this article. Tears streaming down my face as I mourn the loss of my dear and favorite Aunt Delia. Having lost my mom, Angelica, I feel the pain again of losing another loved one so close to my heart. Aunt Delia was like a second mother to me for as long as I can remember.


William Roig (1933-2021)

Posted October 14, 2021
William Roig

On May 15, 2021, our family lost Bill Roig, oldest child and only son of Auntie Helen. He was 88 years old and had lived a long, fulfilled life which included a successful career as a renowned architect.


Reflections on Our Family History

Posted April 13, 2021

Learning about our family history has been something that has intrigued me all my life. I remember as a young child asking my parents, Oscar and Anita Garcia, what it was like when they were children growing up in Puerto Rico. They would share their memories with me and, recently, I discovered an old composition book with my name written on the front where I had taken notes from their stories. I would like to share with you some excerpts from that notebook.


Tracking Down a Census Record in Adjuntas

Posted January 12, 2021

My mother was born in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, but moved to Ponce with her family when she was seven or eight years old. I regret so much that I never got to visit Adjuntas with Mom during the years that we were both living in Puerto Rico and she was still healthy.  I have so many questions!


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Our Family Tree

The Rivera Family Tree is published and maintained at The website requires registration to view private information. Registration is free.

Everyone is encouraged to register! It’s FREE!

Family members can update their own family’s data and upload photos of family members. It is the primary way we can keep our family tree up to date. Friends of the family may also register to view the tree. Friends will not be able to update information on the site; only viewing is permitted.

Please visit and update your family’s information today.

Newsletter Archives

For more than 20 years, ‘y la Familia?’ newsletter had been printed and mailed to family members. The final issue was published in June 2016.

We have saved a copy of all of the newsletters on this website. There are many historical articles and featured articles on family members within their pages.

Visit the Newsletters Archive.