Chosen Family ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #34

group-hugThis week’s prompt of “Chosen Family” made me think of the family that we chose by choosing a spouse. Since I have been married more than once I think I understand that term very well. Since I have been married to my husband for almost 34 years, I decided to focus on his family.

My heritage is Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, and German. My husband is Mexican and Native American. Believe me, there is a big difference in our upbringings and family dynamics. I had a brother who was 18 years older than me and a sister who was 4 years older. We were not a close family at all. His family consisted of 9 children, 3 daughters, and 6 sons. Most of them were born 2 years apart! I have 2 nephews from my brother’s first marriage, he has 19 nieces and nephews. This is my chosen family.

It has been fun researching my in-laws family. First of all researching Mexican Genealogy is very difficult. Because of the way they switch their given surname with their married one or their mother’s surname, it can be hard to follow an ancestor’s line. There is also the language barrier. I do not speak Spanish, however, I can understand a lot of what is said and I can read it pretty well. My husband is the same. His mother was born in Mexico, and she learned to speak English after she married his dad. They never taught any of their children the language.

My “new” family history is fascinating. My father-in-law, Arthur “Art” Francisco MartinezMartinez (1930-2017) had some rather strange events happen in his family. The not so odd member of his family was his Dad, Francisco Martinez (1902-1995). He worked on the railroads his entire life, moving so many times that Art attended over 30 schools while growing up. Francisco was an accomplished musician, playing several instruments but his favorite was the violin. Arthur’s Grandfather, Eutimio Francisca VegaMartinez (1874-1947) wanted a wife, so he held up a stagecoach in Texas, killed all the travelers on the coach except a young girl named Francisca Vega (1882-1956). He took her and married her. Francisca’s older sister, Lorenza Vega (1874-1958) was married to Carlos Lozano who was forced to join Pancho Villa and his reign of terror. Lorenza joined her husband as they traveled around Northern Mexico and Texas raiding villages.

My mother-in-law Minnie (1936) family lived in Arizona before it was aRamona State. When it did become a State in 1912, her Grandmother Ramona Salazar (1898-1974) who was born in Tubac, Arizona became a United States citizen. In November that same year, she married Francisco Acuna (1892-1902) and they moved to Mexico returning to Arizona shortly before their first child was born in 1915. At the beginning of WWII their oldest son joined the army. Being a very devote Catholic, Ramona made a vow to God. If her son returned home safe from the war she would cover her beautiful hair with a scarf and wear it until she dies. He came home safe and Ramona kept her promise. Minnie’s Isidro Torresgrandfather, Isidro Torres (1862-1927), was ½ Yaqui and ½ Spaniard. In the 1880s the Mexican Government decided that they wanted to take control of the Yaqui land in the Northern State of Sonora because it was very fertile and any crop could be grown in it. The Yaqui’s rose up in rebellion against the Government and a war ensued. Having been raised with no connection to his Yaqui heritage, Isidro began to do scouting for the Government. It was a dangerous job and during one scouting mission, he was fired upon by a band of Yaqui’s. He was able to escape but was surprised when he removed his hat and found a bullet hole through the crown of it. From that day on Isidro wore that hat proudly.

So, I feel blessed to have “chosen” such a colorful family and their unique stories.

You can read their stories here:

Francisca Vega/Lorenza Vega – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-Ih

Ramona Salazar – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-d8

Isidro Torres – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-8z

 

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.

Handed Down ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #24

Francisca and LorenzaWhen my Father-in-law first told me these two stories about his Grandmother Francisca Vega Martinez (sitting) and her sister Lorenza Vega Lozano (standing) I thought “that’s pretty interesting”. Maybe a little far-fetched but that is how oral histories can be. When told from generation to generation some details can be lost, and others can be added. This is verbatim (I recorded it).

Eutimio Martinez (1874-1947) lived in Southern Texas in the early texas map1890s. When he was a young man, he decided it was time for him to find a wife, so he went into town to find one. None of the girls there were what he was looking for, so he got on his horse and headed south towards Mexico. After a couple of days of riding, he found a wagon heading north with several people in it. He took special notice of a beautiful young girl named Francisca Vega (1876-1956) who was traveling alone. He hitched a ride with the wagon heading back north. After talking with the girl for a while he decided that she was the one. No one knows how or why this happened but Eutimio ended up killing all of the people in the wagon and kidnapping Francisca. He then took her back to town and married her.

I started thinking if the kidnapping of Francisca and the murders of those on the wagon were true, why would she stay with him all those years and have children with him? Why didn’t her parents come and rescue her and why would in later years her sister come and live with them? My Father-in-law also told me that Francisca’s sister Lorenza (1874-1958) rode with Pancho Villa. Could either of these stories be true? These are valid questions.  As I was transcribing the tapes from my interviews with my Father-in-law, I decided to do a little research.  First, I Googled their names…nothing.  Then I typed in kidnappings in the 1880s in Texas…nothing, then in Mexico, again nothing. After a few more inquiries I decided to take a different approach.

Pancho VillaI decided to start with Lorenza and see what I could find. I looked up Pancho Villa and The Mexican Revolution. I discovered that Pancho Villa did indeed have women who rode with him between 1910 and 1920. Some of them fought alongside the men and were called Soldaderas, others were “persuaded” to come along, and others followed their husbands who went to fight.  One of the practices of Pancho Villa was to ride into a town and ask the citizens to “donate” to the cause of the Revolution. He would then gather up all able-bodied men and “encouraged” them to join his army. He then would “invite” some of the young women to come along to help cook and care for the soldiers when they were injured. Most of the wives and children of the men who followed Pancho went along because they really didn’t have much choice. I believe this is the case with Lorenza.

 While looking into the Mexican Revolution I found that back in the 1800’s up until 1930 married women and single women living in Mexico had different rights under the law.  Single women had the same rights as a man. They could come and go as they pleased, work, attend church, and even own property. Married women were the property of their husbands. They could do nothing without the permission of their husband. This could explain why no one came to get Francisca after she and Eutimio got married. Regardless of how she became his wife, she was now his property and they accepted it.

I have still not found any evidence that the stories above are true, but they would be considered Oral Traditions and therefore I added them to my husbands’ Family Trees. They add “color” and excitement to the family history.    

 

 

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.

 

Nearly Forgotten ~ 52 Ancestors #12

treeMy 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.

Lorenza.

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.

Isidro

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.

Ramona & Scarves

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.

Hometown Tuesday ~ Rio Grande,  Zacatecas, Mexico ~ Manuela Moreno Campos

hometown tuesdayI 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.

Rio Grande ZAC MEX

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.

Manuela Campos picIn 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”.

Manuela Campos HS

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.

 

 

cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI 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.

 

 

Don’t “Pigeon Hole” Yourself

Pigeon HoleTo “Pigeon Hole”: to assign to a definite place

What do I mean when I say “Don’t Pigeon Hole Yourself”? In this Blog I am referring specifically to our ethnic background. Unless you have taken a DNA test you really do not know your complete ethnic makeup. We can assume what race we are by some obvious factors like color of our skin, texture of our hair or where we were born. We can even say we look the same as our Grandparents so therefore I am ______! However the farther back we go in our Family Tree the greater the possibility that we may discover some surprising revelations.

Growing up I was told I was of Irish and American Indian descent.  To begin my search I only had my parents, all 4 Grandparents and my Maternal Great Grandparents names. When I started researching my Family History I spent a tremendous amount of time looking mostly at Irish Genealogy sites or the Dawes Rolls. I became frustrated when I would spend hours searching and finding nothing of value. Then hours turned into days and I would eventually give up.  Once I started using Family Search and Ancestry.com for my research I was able to find more information on my family. To my surprise I have found no evidence that I am of American Indian blood.  I have also discovered that I am of Irish descent, but I am also Scottish, English, Welsh, German, French, Canadian and Swedish. I am sure that as I continue searching farther back through time I will discover even more diverse ethnic associations.

Lori's Great Grandmother, Grandmother, and her Mother are in this picture.
Lori’s Great- Grandmother, Grandmother, and her Mother are in this photo.

Here is a case in point. My husband’s cousin Lori had always assumed that she was full blooded Hispanic. After I researched herfamily tree I discovered that she was also Irish (1800’s), German (1800’s), Polish (1700’s) and Apache Indian (1900’s). To say that she was surprised is an understatement. To look at her you would never know that she was actually only about one-third Hispanic. She had tried to find her “roots” several years ago with no luck. I found out that she had only searched for her family in Mexico!

This “Pigeon Holing” can also be applied to your religious background. Many religions such as Baptists, Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Assemblies of God, Methodists and the Bahá’í Faith have all been started in the last 400 years. So regardless of which religious group you belong to it is quite possible that the farther back in time you are able to search, you have a greater chance that your Ancestors believed or belonged to a religion much different than what you are today. Do not hesitate to search the church records of different religions; you may be surprised by what you may find.

By branching out from our self imposed “Pigeon Holing” a whole new world of Ancestors may open up for us.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, 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.

Isidro Torres – “The Man With The Hole In His Hat”

Isidro Torres and his wife Juana Isidro Torres was born on May 15, 1862, in Sonora Mexico. His Mother was a Yaqui Indian and his father was from Spain.  Isidro’s’ Mother died in childbirth. His father, not knowing what to do, gave his son to the Godmother and he returned to Spain.

Growing up Isidro was reminded daily that he had been abandoned and that he was lucky to be living with his Godmother. He was the last to be fed, the first to have to rise in the morning, and the only child who had to work all day. He had no formal education and could not read nor write. He did however learn to farm and to shoot. He was very good with a gun and he hardly ever missed. When he was a teenager he would go off into the woods and hunt animals. He was very good at tracking them and he always came home with meat for the table.  Isidro was a proud man.  He never worked for anyone else once he left home, he worked only for himself.

In the 1880s the Mexican Government decided that they wanted to take control of the Yaqui landSonora Mexico in the Northern State of Sonora because it was very fertile and any crop could be grown in it. The Yaquis’ rose up in rebellion against the Government and a war ensued. Having been raised with no connection to his Yaqui heritage, Isidro began to do scouting for the Government.  It was a dangerous job and during one scouting mission, he was fired upon by a band of Yaquis. He was able to escape but was surprised when he removed his hat and found a bullet hole through the crown of it. From that day on Isidro wore that hat proudly.

In 1885 the Governor of Sonora, Luis Torres, along with 1400 federal troops organized an expedition with the intention of meeting the Yaquis in battle. During 1886, the Yaquis continued to fortify more of their positions. During this time Governor Torres asked his men to gather up some scouts. When Isidro came into the camp he was immediately recognized because he was considered the best scout in Northern Mexico. Governor Torres knew that he and Isidro shared the same last name but he refused to call him by that name. The Governor told one of his men to go and get the scout with the hole in his hat and tell him we need his help. When the soldier told Isidro what the Governor had said he was insulted that he was so rude to ask for him in this manner. He then told the soldier to go tell the Governor that “He was not available”. He then got back on his horse and left.

In 1904 Isidro met and married a young Yaqui girl Juana Garcia. He was 45 and she was 15. Over the next 20 years, they had 10 children, two who died at birth. Isidro moved his family into the Territory of Arizona in 1910, 2 years before it became a state. He began to farm. Seven of his children were born in the US.

On May 15, 1927, on his 65th birthday, Isidro was out in the field planting cotton. His wife brought him and some other workers their lunch and some ice water. Isidro was very thirsty so he drank 2 cups of the cold water very quickly. One of the women who were there scolded him, telling him it could cause him to have a heart attack to drink ice water when you are hot and sweating. Isidro laughed and continued to drink. Later that evening Isidro did have a heart attack and died.

Isidro Torres GraveHe was buried in the Goodyear Cemetery in Chandler AZ next to his two Goodyear-Ocotillo Cemeteryinfant children. Juana took her surviving children and went back to Mexico.

Isidro Torres is my husbands’ Great Grandfather.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, 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.