My husband George and I have been married for almost 34 years. I wasn’t used to such a large family since mine had consisted of only 4 people. George had 7 brothers and sisters and more cousins than I could count. When I first started researching my family I thought about maybe working on his would be fun. Unfortunately, none of the family was interested in their genealogy, so I gave up the idea.
A few years later I was sharing with my mother-in-law some of the things I had found out about my ancestors. She got a strange look on her face then asked: “So genealogy is about your family?” I felt really bad because I hadn’t thought that she may not understand the word since English is her second language. Suddenly she wanted me to work on her family tree. She gave me what information she could remember and when I got home I got to work. Hispanic Genealogy is very different than what I was used to. First, I don’t speak or read Spanish and the naming practices can get very confusing. I stuck to it and I was able to get back about 5 generations.
When I took what I had found to my in-laws they were both so excited. They both began telling me stories about their different ancestors. I also asked them about their own lives. My father-in-law grew up in Texas and my mother-in-law in Mexico. The stories were fascinating to me. I was so glad I recorded them. I even interviewed one of George’s Aunts and I was able to collect photos and documents from her. When I got home I started trying to put it all together. It took several months but I did it.
I presented my in-laws with the final product and they were thrilled. I had put two books together, one for the Martinez side and one for the Torres side. I included a family tree, individual pages with photos, and documents. The part they liked best was I had taken some of the family stories and put them with corresponding photos. When we had the next Martinez family get together they brought out the books for everyone to see. There were 21 grandkids there, some with their own families and everyone was so excited over the books. Most of the stories had never been told before, not even to George’s siblings. His Tia (Aunt) pulled me aside and told me their family never talked about the past but now the future family will know of their heritage. I felt good that this family and their stories were not going to be forgotten. However, they were “nearly forgotten”!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.