I was fortunate enough to have two fathers: one who gave me life and the Vélez Family name, and the other raised me like I was one of his own until I was 19 years old. My “step-father,” Angel Luis Viera Carmona, was known to me as “Papi” and was the prominent father figure in my life until his untimely death in 1986. To honor the father that raised me since I was 6 months old, several years ago I incorporated all my family lines in my unofficially Puerto Rican name, Felipe Luis Vélez Viera Gómez.
The Viera surname originates in Portugal and was first found in the Minho province, North-Western Portugal, where Rui Vieira was a nobleman in the times of kings D. Afonso II and D. Sancho II of Portugal (circa 1220). The place name is derived from the Portuguese word “vieira, ” which means ” escallop” or “shell.”
The Viera Carmona Family hails from el barrio de Hato Rey in the district of Rio Piedras in San Juan, Puerto Rico. According to my preliminary research, the Viera Family line descends from Ciriaco Heraclio Viera who was born sometime around 1872. Ciriaco had a son in 1905 named Felix Viera Rivera who in 1928 fathered a son, my step-grandfather, named Angel Luis Viera Santiago. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any vital records for the Viera Family line prior to 1877, but I am relatively new to genealogy and hope that one day I can update this post with more info.
The Carmona surname belongs to my Viera grandmother, Sara Viera Carmona, who was born in Rio Piedras in 1924. Gratefully, I was able to trace the Carmona Family line back to my grandmother’s great-great-grandfather, Laureano Carmona, who was born sometime around 1826. In 1844, Laureano had a son named Nicolas Carmona Rivera who later in 1874 sired a son named Pablo Carmona Santa. Pablo then had a daughter around 1898 named Cristina Carmona Canales, Sara’s mother and my great-grandmother on my Viera Family side.
The name Carmona is Spanish and was first found in the Valley of Cabuérniga in Santander, in the north-central regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Carmona as a place name has an uncertain meaning and is of pre-Roman origin. There are many indicators that perhaps it was of Jewish descent emanating from Jewish communities in Spain and Portugal.