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Ancestral Automobile Licenses

By

Miguel J. Hernández

 


Modern day Puerto Rico like almost every place else in the world experiences traffic jams, and the "tapónes" around  San Juan are legendary. However, back in 1911, stop and stall driving was not part of the motoring experience as there were some 500 automobile and motorcycle licenses issued for the entire island.

Following this introduction is a list of persons who held those licenses in that year, including the makes of cars, trucks and motorcycles they drove and the town in which these drivers lived. As you will see, there were many different makes and models, most of which no longer exist. In fact, in the United States, there were over 1000 different manufacturers by 1910.

The listing was in a pamphlet I found during a PRHGS sponsored research trip to the Library of Congress on April 28, 2000. This pamphlet, "Automobile Licenses", was published in San Juan by the Government of Porto Rico, Department of the Interior, Division of Property and Accounts on February 28, 1911. I did not find any of my ancestors listed but perhaps one or more of the readers might. In any case, the existence of the automobile license list demonstrates that just when you think that you have exhausted all the possible sources for genealogical data, another one turns up. Now the next task is to see if the license applications still exist. If they do I am sure they will reveal the drivers. date and place of birth, a description and  other data that might have genealogical value.



This is a Ford Touring Car circa 1911. It was a 5-passenger, 4-cylinder, 20-horsepower vehicle with a streamline hood, large radiator, an enclosed fan, crown fenders, black finish, and nickel trimmings. There was no speedometer. A two unit electric starting and lighting system was optional. With its high road clearance and $525.00 "sticker price" it was one of the most popular cars in Puerto Rico

 

This is the 1911 Ford "Runabout"
The 1911 Pope-Hartford Touring was also quite popular in Puerto Rico



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 Última modificación el:23 de Mayo de 2000 | Last Update: May 23, 2000
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