I get so caught up in researching my family’s history that I sometimes forget about my husband’s. To be honest he isn’t as interested in it as I am but he does enjoy learning about his family when I am able to find something new. It is difficult tracing Hispanic Ancestry for me for two reasons: #1 Neither I nor my husband speak the language. I have to use a translating app when I do find something and most of the time the translation does not make sense. #2 the way most Hispanic names are arranged. For instance, most people have their mother’s maiden name as their middle name. Even if they are given another middle name. An example is Jose Sanchez Torres, but his given middle name is Roberto. Also, there are instances when someone is given a Grandmothers’s maiden name instead. It’s no wonder I get confused.
I decided I would just start researching the places his family was born and I would begin with his paternal Grandmother Manuela Moreno Campos. She was born in the town of Rio Grande, Zacatecas, Mexico on February 3, 1909, to Santiago Campos and Evalin Moreno. The town is situated in the central part of Mexico. Before the mid-1800s this region was occupied by the Spanish. When they arrived in Mexico in the 1700’s they found an abundance of silver which they began to mine. In 1812 the Mexican people won Independence from Spain.
By the time Manuela was born the town of Rio Grande was bustling with activity. There were 12 mines that were spread out around the outskirts of town and people came from all over to work. They were a medium-sized family, especially for the times. Manuela had 4 brothers and one sister.
Beginning in 1910 the Northern and Central part of Mexico was in the midst of a war between Pancho Villa and the Mexican government. In 1914 the battles came to Rio Grande. I really don’t know how this affected the Campos family but in 1919 we find the family arriving in Bexar County Texas where Santiago’s brother lived. Manuela was 10 years old at the time and for whatever reason, she was left in the care of her Uncle and his wife and her family returned to Mexico.
In 1923, at the age of 14, she first saw Francisco Martinez. He fell in love with her immediately. He didn’t care that he was 7 years older than her. I heard the following story from my father-in-law. “Francisco had never spoken a word to Manuela but he knew he loved her. After months of watching her from afar, he decided to ask her Uncle if he could marry her. He climbed up in a large tree by their home and waiting for the Uncle to leave so he could speak to him. Francisco spent 3 days in the tree. Finally, her Uncle emerged and Francisco jumped out of the tree and asked for Manuela’s hand. Within a week they were married”.
One year later they had their first child. They went on to have 7 children, 3 who died in infancy. Francisco worked for the railroad and by 1930 they were relocated to Southern Arizona. Over the next 37 years, the family had lived in 21 towns in Arizona. Manuela passed way in May 1967 in Eloy, Arizona. She never returned to her home town, instead, she made every place she and Francisco had lived her new hometown.
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