The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

29 December 2008

Anastacio C. Torres

Anastacio C. Torres was the nephew of my 2nd great grandfather, Crespin Torres. I found this brief biographical sketch of him in the book "The Leading Facts of New Mexican History", Volume IV.

A. C. Torres

In all phases of New Mexico's development A. C. Torres is equally interested and along many lines of progress he has been an active worker. At the present time he is serving as chairman of the board of regents of the New Mexico School of Mines. He makes his home in Socorro, where is (sic) is filling the office of postmaster and is also editor and proprietor of the El Defensor. He was born in Socorro county on the 28th of February, 1868, a son of Canuto Torres and Isabelita Padilla de Torres, both of whom were natives of Socorro county. The father has now departed this life, while the mother makes her home in Socorro.

A. C. Torres is one of a family of seven children, of whom six are yet living. His youthful days were spent in his native county and during the period of his boyhood he attened the public schools, making good use of his opportunities, so that he eventually took up the profession of teaching, which he followed for several years. He was also county superintendent of schools for four years and has never ceased to feel the deepest interest in the cause of education, while the efforts that he has put forth have been resultant factors in promoting educational instituation in the state. His fellow townsmen appreciative of his worth and ability have on various occassions called him to public office and he enjoys the respect of the adherents of the repubican party as well as the confidence and good will of the followers of democracy, among whom he is numbered. He served as city clerk and is now occupying the position of postmaster at Socorro, to which he was appoined by President Wilson. His public duties further embrace service as chairman of the board of regents of the New Mexico School of Mines, in which connection he has put forth every possible effort to raise the standard of the school and make it of the greatest possible benefit as a source of practical instruction to those who will probably become factors in development of the rich mineral resources of this state.

Mr. Torres has been married twice. In August, 1898, he wedded Miss Encarnacion Torres, who died February 8, 1912. In March, 1915, he married Miss Margarita Telles. He owns an attractive home in Socorro, together with a number of city lots and several substantial buildings. He takes an active and helpful interest in all public enterprises of town and county and cooperates heartily in all well formulated plans for the development and improvement of city and state. He is a member of the Spanish-American Alliance and he is interested in every movement which bring into close connection the Spanish and American population of the state in their effort to utilize and develop New Mexico's resources and improve her opportunities for making this one of the great states of the Union.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, editor, The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Volume IV (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1917), 377-378.

For more information about Anastacio C. Torres, including a photo of him, check on this link.

Rev. P. J. Pelzer

Recently, I was searching through vital records from the San Marcial Mission. San Marcial is about 30 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico. It was once a fairly prosperous town until floods destroyed it the 1920s. Now, only a few people live there.

While looking at the marriage and baptismal records of that mission, I kept seeing the same name. This was P.J. Plezer, the priest who officiated these sacraments. I was wondering who he was, when I happened to find a short biographical sketch about him in "The Leading Facts of New Mexican History" Volume IV. Below is that biographical sketch:

Rev. P. J. Pelzer

Rev. P. J. Pelzer, whose priestly offices are performed at San Marcial and outlying missions in the Catholic church, was born in Holland, July 9, 1873, a son of Dominic and Catherine Pelzer, the former now deceased. He persued his early education in the schools of Holland and afterward attended the Louvain American College, where he studied theology, thus preparing for the priesthood, to which he was ordained in 1897. He was ordained for the Santa Fe diocese of New Mexico and was first assigned to mission work at the Guadalupe church at Santa Fe. There he spent a year and in November, 1898, arried in San Marcial, where he assumed pastoral charge of San Marcial church. He was also given charge of the Catholic church at San Antonio and several other outlying missions and under his direction there are now about three hundred and fifty Catholic families. He has been instrumental in building the San Antonio church and also at the San Antonito church and the churces of Carthage and Contadero. He also erected the parochial residence at San Marcial and his entire thought, purpose, and activity are given to his work.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, editor, The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Volume IV (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1917), 376.

San Antonio is 11 miles south of Socorro, San Antonito was near San Antonio, Carthage was 10 miles E. of San Antonio, and Contadero was 4 miles south of San Marcial, across the Rio Grande from Ft. Craig.

24 December 2008

Obama Pick Claims New Mexico Family Ties

President-Elect Barack Obama's nominee for Interior Secretary claims a New Mexican genealogy going back to the late 16th Century. Colorado's United States Senator Ken Salazar announced during his presentation earlier this month, that his family has been in what is now the Western United States for more than four centuries. He claims that he can trace his lineage back to late 1500s Santa Fe. Of course, Santa Fe has only been around since the early 1600s, but we get the picture.

If he is claiming his lineage through his Salazar surname, his family may have not arrived in New Mexico until 1625 or later. In his book "Origins of New Mexico Families", Fray Angelico Chavez notes that a Francisco de Salazar appears in records as a soldier-escort at that time. Of course, Senator Salazar may have been refering to another line in his genealogy.

Another source, Congresspedia, claims that Salazar can trace his lineage back to 12th Century Spain.

Senator Ken Salazar has an older brother who is also in the United States Congress, Representative John T. Salazar. The elder Salazar brother had been vetted for Agricultural Secretary, but was not appointed to the post.

It would be interesting to find out more about Senator Salazar's family. Of course, until proof is offered, his claim is unverified. However, it is not unlikely that he does have New Mexico roots going back a number of centuries.

Click on this link to read the story about Senator Salazar's appointment.

Chavez's "Origin of New Mexico Families" and other books of New Mexico history and genealogy can be found on the New Mexico Genealogical Society link to Using this link allows for a portion of your payment for books and other items to go to the New Mexico Genealogical Society, which we use to help out the Albuquerque Special Collections Library. Please use this link whenever your are on

By the way, books published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society may be found on our website at this link.

This article was also posted on the New Mexico Genealogical Society blog.

23 December 2008

New Mexico Genealogical Society 2009 Membership

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's that time of the year to renew your membership, or start a membership, with the New Mexico Genealogical Society! A $25 membership gets you the following:

* Four issues of the New Mexico Genealogist, the quarterly journal for New Mexico genealogy. This includes our special "Aqui Se Comienza" March 2009 issue, in which genealogists expand our knowledge of the founding families of Alburquerque, as detailed in the popular NMGS book of the same name.

* FREE shipping on orders from NMGS Press .

* Confer with others who understand your interest (obsession?) in genealogy.

* And so much more....

If you are already a member, check your December 2008 issue of the New Mexico Genealogist for an Application for Membership. You should receive the issue soon.

If you are not already a member, click on this link, and print up a copy of the application. The first issue of the year is sent out in March 2009.

Thank you, and have a safe holiday!

Robert J. C. Baca
President, New Mexico Genealogical Society

16 December 2008

Who are You? I Really Want to Know.

The post below is a entry for the 9th Edition of Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images. The post is titled "Who are You - I Really Want to Know?"

As they say on T.V., this is an encore presentation. I posted the following photos in September of this year. If you know who these people are, please post a comment on this blog or send me an E-mail at

A couple of years ago, my uncle gave me the photo below:

He didn't know who the people in the photo were. They may be from our family (Baca, Bourguinon, Torres, Trujillo), or may be from his late wife's family (Peralta, or other families.) The family is probably from the Socorro, New Mexico area.

Based on clothing styles, it appears that this photo was taken in the early 1900s, possible as late as the late 1910s. I used a great book called "Dating Old Photographs: 1840-1929" to figure this out.


Anita, one of my readers, sent me the two photos below:

She says this about the photos:

Here are a few photos that I'm curious about. This is from my grandmother's collection. My grandmother's name is Maria Gumecinda Gonzales (1905-1995) her husband my grandfather was Jesus Eleodoro Gomez (1910-1986), Grandma was born in Sanchez, lived in Sabinoso in 1910 and grandpa was born in Montoya, then lived in Chaperito. They married about 1931 then spent most of their adult lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I'm guessing these men are relatives or friends of theirs.

I don't know who the little girl is possibly a relative or friend of the parents of grandma Gumecinda Gonzales. They were Clemencia "Lujana" Lujan (b 1865) and Anselmo Gonzales (b 1858). My records show that some of the villages and areas they lived in were, Sabinoso, Sapello, Tecolote, & Trujillo.

I'll send more information about the antique photo after I get it scanned,it's packed away, I'm sure the little girl's last name is Gallegos, which is on the back of the photo.

12 December 2008

Janis' Obituary

The obituary for my sister Janis Marie (Baca) Schwartzenberg was just posted on line. Click on this link to read it.

I found it touching that my family decided to have her students be the honorary pallbearers for the funeral.

10 December 2008

Janis (Baca) Schwartzenberg 1956-2008

Janis Marie (Baca) Schwartzenberg 23 March 1956 - 9 December 2008

Janis holding me. She was 12 years older than me.

My sister Janis was killed in a car accident on Tuesday. She was a teacher at the Alamo Navajo Reservation school in Alamo, New Mexico.

I consider her my hero. She went back to school and began teaching in her mid thirties. This inspired me to go back to school and become a teacher. She was an excellent instructor. She would often give my wife and me advice on how to be better teachers. She also encouraged us both to keep on going when it seemed to tough to continue.

Janis at home. Probably around Christmas time.

The last time I saw her was for Thanksgiving. We invited her family to our house to celebrate. My wife and I were planning on contacting her soon about Christmas plans. Since my parents' deaths nine years ago, I had been spending Christmas with her family. Christmas will not be the same without her.

From left to right, me (Robert Baca), my sister Cindy, Cindy's daughter Teri, and my sister Janis. At the Route 66 Casino, Janis' favorite hangout.

There is so much more that I could say about her, but right now words escape me.

There is an article in the El Defensor Chieftain, the Socorro, NM paper, about my sister's accident. You can find that article at this link. There is one mistake in the article: she was 52 years old, not 42. She would have been tickled to find out that the newspaper thought she was 10 years younger than she actual was.

I will post her obituary once it comes online.

03 December 2008

8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know - The Meme

Well, I got tagged by Kathy at Kathy's Genealogy Blog to participate in the meme "8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know". Below are my eight things:

1. Although my lineage goes back four centuries in New Mexico, I myself was born in Nevada.

2. My last ancestors to be born outside of New Mexico were born in the 1830s. Samuel Zimmerly was from Switzerland, and Phillip Bourguignon was from Germany. Both came to New Mexico as American soldiers.

3. I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that re-creates Medieval and Renaissance Europe. My wife is a member, too.

4. My wife and I got married dressed in Renaissance clothing. I was a dashing Spaniard, she was in garb that was part French and ... something else..... (I'm either a bad husband for not knowing, or not up to speed on fashion.)

5. For the life of me, I can't spell "Renaissance". I had to use a spell checker to spell it right for this article.

6. However, I can spell "Medieval".

7. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I collect Santas.

8. I'm only two degrees of seperation from Barack Obama. I once had a one to one conversation with New Mexican Governor, former presidential candidate, and current Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson. He commented on a letter to the editor that I wrote. I also spoke to him on the phone twice: once when I was applying to become his intern when he was a U.S. Congressman (I didn't get the job), and the second time when he called my sister and me to give his condolences for my father's death (my dad was a big political supporter of his.) Okay, I'm a name dropper, what can I say.

The rules for this meme are:

1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

Tag, your it! These are the eight people I've tagged for this meme:

* Stephen at Steve's Genealogy Blog

* Renee at Renee's Genealogy Blog

* Maureen at the Photo Detective

* Debra at the Ancestry Detective

* Kathyrn at Looking for Ancestors

* Jennifer at Rainy Day Genealogy Readings

* Lorine at The Paper Trail

* Sasha at Memory Lane

21 November 2008

The Civil War in New Mexico

I found this link off of the New Mexico Culture Net, a site called "The Civil War in New Mexico". Items included on this site are soldiers and weapons, photos and sketches and essays and letters. There is also an extensive link section and a timeline. It's worth a look.

The New Mexico Culture Net itself is fantastic site. In the future I'll probably post other links from that site.

Link to the New Mexico Culture Net

Link to the Civil War in New Mexico

17 November 2008

John Kessell Book Signing

This may be of interest to New Mexico genealogy and history buffs:

November 23,2008 at 3pm at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande in the Flying Star Plaza

For more than four hundred years in New Mexico, Pueblo Indians and Spaniards have lived “together yet apart.” Now the preeminent historian of that region’s colonial past offers a fresh, balanced look at the origins of a precarious relationship.

John L. Kessell’s Pueblos,Spaniards, and the Kingdom of New Mexico is the first narrative history devoted to the tumultuous seventeenth century in New Mexico. Kessell clearly describes the Pueblo world encountered by Spanish conquistador Juan de OƱate and portrays important but lesser-known Indian partisans, while weaving analysis and interpretation into the flow of life in 17th century New Mexico.

10 November 2008

Using Census Records to Tell A Story: Casimiro Montoya’s Family

Recently, I wrote a short article that I submitted to the New Mexico Genealogist about the descendants of Maria Clara Lorenza Silva. One of her grandsons was a man by the name of Jose Casimiro Montoya, my 2nd great grandfather. While doing research, I found three United States census records for his family.

Although I did not have enough room to write a more complete story about Casimiro’s family - I was told to write a two to six page article – I do have the space here to continue the story. For reference, I’ve attached to this post the three census records. All three censuses are of Polvadera, New Mexico, a town about nine miles north of Socorro. The 1880 and 1900 censuses are of Casimiro Montoya’s families. The 1910 census is of the Amadeo Luna home, in which Casimiro was living at the time.

Jose Casimiro Montoya was the son of Juan Tomas Montoya and Ana Maria Estefana Perea. He was born on 5 March 1848 in Polvadera, New Mexico.[1] On 8 January 1875, Casimiro married Manuela Abeyta at San Miguel Parish in Socorro, New Mexico. She was the daughter of Jose Albino Abeyta and Maria Miguela Sanchez.[2] Reviewing the census records, it appears that they lived all their married lives in Polvadera.

In 1880, Casimiro and “Manuelita” were living with their two young sons. Amadeo was listed as being 3 years old at the time; “Siverato” was eight months old. Casimiro was a farmer, while his wife kept house.[3]

In 1900, Casimiro and Manuelita had three unmarried children living with them. Jose Liberado, most likely the same child as “Siverato” named above, was listed as being 20 years and born in October 1879. Andrellita, my great-grandmother, was 16 years old and was born in November 1883. The 14 year old Sophia was born in May 1886. It appears that Amadeo may have passed away between 1880 and 1900. Manuelita is noted as having eight births, but having only three living children. Of the family, Casimiro could read and write, but could not speak English. Manuelita was illiterate and was also not an English speaker. All three children were English speakers, and could read and write. Liberado was a farm worker like his father, while the two girls both attended school six months that year.[4]

Ten years later in 1910, the widowed Casimiro Montoya was living with his son-in-law and daughter. The 28 year old Amadeo Luna and his 23 year old wife Sofia M(ontoya) had the 62 year old Casimiro in their home. They also had two sons: three year old Miguel A. and one year old Antonio Jose. Apparently at the time, Sofia had given birth to three children, but only the two survived.[5]

1] Lila Armijo Pfeufer, et al, extractors & compilers, New Mexico Baptisms San Miguel de Socorro Church 1821-1853 (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogy Society, 1998), 249.

[2] Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Roll # 32, 8 January 1875 marriage record.

[3] Casimiro Montoya family, 1880 United States Census, dwelling # 31, household # 31, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 9 November 2008.

[4] Casimiro Montoya family, 1900 United States Census, dwelling # 24, household # 25, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 10 November 2008.

[5] Amadeo Luna family, 1910 United States Census, dwelling # 10, household # 11, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 10 November 2008.

Casimiro Montoya family, 1880 United States Census, dwelling # 31, household # 31, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 9 November 2008.

Casimiro Montoya family, 1900 United States Census, dwelling # 24, household # 25, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 10 November 2008.

Amadeo Luna family, 1910 United States Census, dwelling # 10, household # 11, town of Polvadera, county of Socorro, state of New Mexico, HeritageQuest Online,, Retrieved 10 November 2008.

08 November 2008

Looking for Zimmerly Family Pictures

This summer, I did a presentation for the New Mexico Genealogical Society on the Zimmerly family of Socorro, New Mexico. After the presentation, I promised a number of people that I would write an article about the info I presented. The problem is that I hadn't finished my research, (when do we EVER finish our research) and left out many of the citations in the manuscript that I used for the speech. Since then, I've been extremely busy and have not been able to finish the article.

Well, I hope to start it up again soon. Since the editor of the New Mexico Genealogist asked me to publish it in that journal, I will probably do that instead of distributing the article independently. What I would like, though, is to have photos to go with the article.

I have photos of my 2nd great-grandparents Samuel and Paubla (Torres) Zimmerly, and their youngest son Esteban and his wife Delfina (Torres) Zimmerly. What I would like is to do is get photos of Esteban's siblings and their spouses. Their names are:

* Juan Jose Zimmerly, born 14 January 1868, died 20 March 1916. Married Isabel Torres on 8 February 1888 in Socorro, New Mexico.

* Gertrudes Zimmerly, born 1 June 1871, died 6 September 1920. Married Herminio Torres on 1 Nobember 1889 in Socorro, New Mexico.

* Ricardo Zimmerly, born 6 May 1876. Married Eloisa Stackpole on 26 February 1900.

* Maria Dolores Zimmerly, born 3 March 1881, died 18 Sepember 1947. Married Ricardo Abeyta on 31 March 1902 in Socorro, New Mexico. She may have also been known as "Lola", since that is a common diminutive of "Dolores".

* Teresa Zimmerly, born 24 September 1884, died 7 October 1865. Married Jose Estanislado Miera on 28 May 1906 in Socorro, New Mexico.

If you have photos of any of these people that you wish to share, please send them to me via Email at Please give me permission to put them in my article, as well as on this blog. If you have any questions, please send me an Email and ask.


Robert J. C. Baca

26 October 2008

Socorro County Marriages Online 1860s to 1880s

I found this database online: Socorro County, New Mexico Marriages 1727-1900. Although the title says that the list is from 1727-1900, it's actually from the mid 1860 to the late 1880s.

This is just one of the databases on Socorro to be found on the Genealogy Trails History Group. Other records found on this site include census transcriptions, biographies, military data and history.

As with any online resource, always be careful. Do not accept it as a source for your research. Rather, use it as a clue to find more reliable information. This is especially important since the database does not cite a source. I have no idea where it came from. It's possible that it was found in either the San Miguel Church or the Socorro County marriage records.

25 October 2008

Marriage Records for the Zimmerly Family

As I've mentioned before, I have a set of 2nd great grandparents named Samuel and Maria Paubla (Torres) Zimmerly. They were the parents of six children, including my great-grandfather Estevan Zimmerly. Sadly, Samuel Zimmerly died before any of his children were married and had their own children. In fact, Samuel died just 40 days after my great-grandfather was born. However, Paubla was able to see all of her children marry, and the births or many, if not all, of her grandchildren.

Below, I have the marriage records of all six of the Zimmerly children. Interestingly enough, they were married in the same sequence as they were born.

All of these records can be found in Socorro Marriages, Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, FHL (Family History Library) Microfilm # 16997. I did my research at the Albuquerque Special Collections Library.

  1. Juan Jose Zimmerle married Isabel Torres, the daughter of Eduardo Torres and Juliana Ortega, on 8 February 1888.

  2. Gertrudes Zimmerly married Herminio Torres, the son of Jose Torres y Padilla and the deceased Maria Dolores Gallegos, on 1 November 1889.

  3. Ricardo Zimmerly married Eloisa Stackpole, the daughter of Ricardo Stackpole and Elisia Torres, on 26 February 1900.(There is also a record on the same frame for my paternal great-grandparents Juan Baca and Carolina Bourguignon.)

  4. Maria Dolores Zimmerly married Ricardo Abeyta, the widower of Leonides Chaves, on 31 March 1902.

  5. Teresa Zimmerly married Estanislado Miera, the son of Narcisio Miera and Placida Montoya, on 28 May 1906.

  6. Esteban Zimmerly married Delfina Torres, the daughter of Jose Epitacio Torres and Guadalupe Padilla, on 22 April 1908.

24 October 2008

Controversy in Socorro about Confederate Burial Site

In the early years of the Civil War, Confederate soldiers from Texas invaded New Mexico. A battle ensued in Valverde, which is about 30 miles south of Socorro. After the Confederates won they battle, they set up a makeshift hospital in Socorro. A few of the soldier died, and were buried in the town.

Recently, there has been controversy about whether the bodies of these soldiers should be exhumed from their places. The problem is that this site lies within the boundaries of a Socorro widow's property, and she does not want the exhumations to take place. She plans to give the land to her children, and does not want to have the land disturbed.

Personally, I understand the arguments of both sides. This site is of great historical interest. However, property rights need to be respected. Maybe the city could solve the problem by following what the widow suggests. She would surrender the property if the city gave her a comparable piece of land.

Maybe its a good thing that I'm not a government official. I would hate to make a decision like that.

Anyhow, here is a link to a recent Albuquerque Journal article about the issue: Family Lot may be Graveyard for 27 Confederate Soldiers.

Socorro's newspaper the El Defensor Chieftain also has an article that mentions the issue as it was discussed at a Socorro City council meeting: Socorro Approves Utility Rate Increases.

And here is a web site that has a 2002 Albuquerque Journal article about the site: Civil War Battle Left Loose Ends. The site also has a link that lists the Confederate Civil War dead who are supposedly buried on the site.

18 October 2008

November 2008 NMGS Program

Saturday, November 15, 2008, 10:30 AM

Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library

423 Central NE, Albuquerque NM

(NW Corner of Edith and Central)

New Mexico Genealogical Society

Ramona Caplan


speaking about


Cathay Williams,

Buffalo Soldier

Her True Story into the 20th Century


This is the unique story of an African-American woman, born into slavery, who became a soldier in the United States Army. In the years after the Civil War, and well into the 20th Century, women were not allowed to join the military. She, like a few other women in history, disguised herself as a man in order to serve her country. She was the only documented female member of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Her story is intertwined within the history of post Civil War New Mexico. As such, Cathay Williams will represent Luna County in the New Mexico Historical Marker Initiative, a program that recognizes women who impacted the history of our state. Please join us in celebrating this remarkable woman.


This program is free and open to the public.

For more information about our programs, please visit the New Mexico Genealogical Society website at

Influencing Others to Blog Their Genealogy

I just received a message on my Facebook page that one of my blog posts actually influenced someone to blog their own genealogy.

Kathy Brady-Blake read my post "How to Create Your Own Genealogy Blog" and decided to "just do it" and create her own blog.

Check out her site: "Kathy's Genealogy Blog".

04 October 2008

Inquiry: Photos of the Kavanaugh Family

Rebekah Sanchez, a member of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, sent me old photos of the Kavanugh Family. She was unable to identify certain members of the family.

I've posted the photos on the NMGS Blog. Follow this link to view the pictures and read Rebekah's descriptions of the people in them.

27 September 2008

Correction: New Mexico Digital History Project

On page 117 of the September New Mexico Genealogist, we posted an web address for the Office of the State Historian. As we mentioned in our article, the website is a great place to "...check out documents and maps of the past(,) (r)esearch land grants(,) (and) (e)xplore family genealogy...."

We inadvertently mispelled the web address for that site. It should read:

Please pass along this information.

20 September 2008

October 2008 NMGS Program

Saturday, October 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library
423 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque NM (NW Corner of Edith and Central)

The New Mexico Genealogical Society presents

David Kammer
Speaking about

“New Mexico’s New Deal:
A 75th Anniversary Perspective”

President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal left an indelible mark on New Mexico's public architecture and landscape. Through programs such as the WPA. PWA and CCC, the unemployed obtained work relief and left New Mexico with a legacy that includes courthouses, town halls, community centers, public art and parks.

In recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the New Deal, the talk will offer an array of examples showing how these public works projects remain a part of our state's heritage.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information about our programs, please visit our website at

This program is made possible by the New Mexico Humanities Council through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs.

11 September 2008

Two More Mystery Photos

Anita, one of my readers, sent me the two photos below:

She says this about the photos:

Here are a few photos that I'm curious about. This is from my grandmother's collection. My grandmother's name is Maria Gumecinda Gonzales (1905-1995) her husband my grandfather was Jesus Eleodoro Gomez (1910-1986), Grandma was born in Sanchez, lived in Sabinoso in 1910 and grandpa was born in Montoya, then lived in Chaperito. They married about 1931 then spent most of their adult lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I'm guessing these men are relatives or friends of theirs.

I don't know who the little girl is possibly a relative or friend of the parents of grandma Gumecinda Gonzales. They were Clemencia "Lujana" Lujan (b 1865) and Anselmo Gonzales (b 1858). My records show that some of the villages and areas they lived in were, Sabinoso, Sapello, Tecolote, & Trujillo.

I'll send more information about the antique photo after I get it scanned,it's packed away, I'm sure the little girl's last name is Gallegos, which is on the back of the photo.

If you have any idea who these people are, please either post a comment to this blog or send me an e-mail at I'll pass on the information to Anita.

If you wish to have me a mystery photo or other type of inquiry posted on my blog, please send me an e-mail at the above address.

10 September 2008

06 September 2008

Mystery Photo

A couple of years ago, my uncle gave me the photo below:

He didn't know who the people in the photo were. They may be from our family (Baca, Bourguinon, Torres, Trujillo), or may be from his ex-wife's family (Peralta, or other families.) His ex-wife died a few years ago, so he can't ask her. The family is probably from the Socorro, New Mexico area.

Based on clothing styles, it appears that this photo was taken in the early 1900s, possible as late as the late 1910s. I used a great book called "Dating Old Photographs: 1840-1929" to figure this out.

If you have any idea who these people are, please post a comment to this blog or send my an e-mail at If you need it, I can give you more details about my uncle and aunt through e-mail.

05 September 2008

10 Essential Books in My Genealogy Library

Just ten?

My genealogy library has grown from a scant few in the year 2000 to a whole mobile bookcase today. The 56 Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy asks gene bloggers to pick the ten most essential books in our collection. This is nearly an impossible task. Which ones do I choose?

My collection includes general genealogical reference, extractions of census and vital records, and genealogies of specific families. One can also find history books in my bookcase.

The bulk of my collection deals with Hispanic New Mexico genealogy. Therefore, it is from this category that I pick my 10 best.

The Ten Essential Books in my Genealogy Library

1.Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, Revised Ed. by Fray Angelico Chavez. This is a genealogy of 17th and 18th century Hispanic families from the area. The original book was published in the 1950s, with some additions in 1992. Certainly since the book is over 50 years old, genealogist have found mistakes since then. However, it is still an important seminal work of New Mexico genealogy.

2.The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico: An Account of the Families Recruited at Mexico City in 1693 by Jose Antonio Esquibel and John B. Colligan. A well researched book about late 17th century Hispanic New Mexican families and their descendants.

3. Aqui Se Comienza: A Genealogical History of the Founding Families of La Villa de San Felipe de Alburquerque edited by Gloria M. Valencia y Valdez, et. al. An award winning book published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society. Over 20 people contributed to researching, writing and editing the book, including yours truly.

4. New Mexico Spanish & Mexican Colonial Censuses: 1790, 1823, & 1845, translated and compiled by Virigina Langham Olmsted, G.R.S.
I use it all the time.

5. Spanish and Mexican Censuses of New Mexico 1750 to 1830, compiled by Virginia Langham Olmsted, C.G.
A companion volume to the above census transcription.

6. New Mexico Censuses of 1833 and 1845: Socorro and Surrounding Communities of the Rio Abajo, by Teresa Ramirez Alief, et. al. A set of census transcription essential to persons who have ancestors from Socorro and the surrounding area.

7. New Mexico Baptisms: San Miguel de Socorro Church 1821-1853, extracted by Lila Armijo Pfeufer. The microfilmed records of Socorro is often difficult to read. Therefore, this transcription is a necessity.

8. San Miguel del Socorro, New Mexico: Marriage Records 1821-1853, extracted by Joe Sanchez III. Published independently, this is another good book for research.

9. Marriages: Socorro 1854 - 1900, San Ignacio, San Cristobal, San Marcial, La Jolla, published by the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico. Ditto.

10. Genealogical Resources of New Mexico, 3rd edition, by Karen Stein Daniel, CGsm. The only book that you need to help you find resources for your New Mexico research.

Where to find these books

Book # 1:

Books # 2 and 9: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico.

Books # 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10: New Mexico Genealogial Society.

Book # 8: Joe Sanchez III

September 2008 New Mexico Genealogical Society Program

September 20, 2008
10:30 AM

The New Mexico Genealogical Society

The Citizens Committee for Historical Preservation
in Las Vegas, New Mexico

A speaker will discuss the history of Las Vegas

There will also be a tour of historic Las Vegas. The cost for the tour is $5 per person.

Come travel with us and help celebrate the history of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The committee's offices hold historic photographs and documents of great interest.

Directions to the Citizen's Committee for Historic Preservation: The offices are located at 116 Bridge St., Las Vegas, New Mexico. From the south, take I-25 to the Las Vegas' first exit (Exit # 345). As you drive into Las Vegas, follow the signs to Old Town Plaza. Once you are at the plaza (which is close by), take the road east which is Bridge Street. You should be able to find it from there.


Click on the "B" balloon to get directions

View Larger Map

02 September 2008

Inquiry: Unclaimed Person Joe Lucero of NM

I just joined a group on Facebook called Unclaimed Persons. Genealogists on this list discuss persons who died and were not claimed by relatives.One such person is Joe Lucero from New Mexico.

Since Joe Lucero is a common name in the area, they are having a hard time finding who he is related to. Here is some information posted by Dra Ana Oquendo-Pabon:

From Hillsborough County Coroner:

Joe Lucero
Born: 02-22-1936 Santa Fe, NM
Died: 05-01-1989 Tampa, FL
Likely residences:
Likely locations of family:
New Mexico & Florida

There is more information on the discussion list. One of the things that they want someone to do is to check the baptismal microfilm for Santa Fe. I am not able to do that immediately, so if you would like to help please do so. For more information, check out the discussion list "Case # 19 - Joe Lucero - New Mexico to Florida" at this link.

If you wish to post on the list, you will need to join Facebook. Otherwise, just send me an e-mail at, and I'll be happy to post your information there.

01 September 2008

Rhapsody in Me

The video below is something I put together for the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: Show and Tell.

Devestating Earthquake Hits Socorro! ... In 1906

On 19 July 1906, the New York Times ran an article about an earthquake that hit Socorro, New Mexico. The report states that 2/3rds of the buildings in Socorro were falling down, the local springs heated up 10 degrees, and ominously mentions "a supposed extinct volcano" nearby.

Death and destruction. Panic ensues.

As I understand, this "major" earthquake was extremely overexagerated in the press. Socorro is prone to small earthquakes; I've felt a few of them myself when I lived there. This earthquake may have been stronger than usual and some houses may have been damaged, but it's very doubtful that 2/3rds of the homes were destroyed. Especially since there are many old homes still standing.

Check out this link: "Town Being Shaken Down".

I found this link by doing a search on Google News Archive Search.

31 August 2008

How to Create Your Own Genealogy Blog

I love genealogy and I love blogging. Blogging allows me to pass information to other people about the research that I've been doing. Relatives and others have found this blog and have shared photos, documents and information. I have also been able to help reunite long lost relatives with this blog. Recently, a number of my distant cousins came to Albuquerque to attend the Torres Family Reunion here. We may have not been able to find each other if I hadn't posted a picture of my 2nd great grandfather on this blog.

I encourage anyone who has an interest in genealogy and a basic understanding of computers and the Internet to try posting a blog. It's fairly easy to do. There's even a tutorial online titled "How to Create Your Own Genealogy Blog in Less than 5 Minutes...."

Check it out.


11 August 2008

Six Degrees of Juan Jose Baca, store owner

Last month I wrote about the Juan Jose Baca Store and House (click on this link.)The store served the people of Socorro, New Mexico around the turn of the 20th Century. The building is still a prominent fixture near the Socorro plaza. At the time, I didn't know exactly who Juan Jose Baca was. Now I think I know.

Juan Jose Baca was the son of Pedro Antonio Baca and Maria Guadalupe Torres. He was a prominent figure in Socorro during his life. Pedro Baca and Guadalupe Torres were both from families that migrated from Belen to Socorro when the city was resettled in 1815.

My dad's Baca family was from Pena Blanca, NM (and before that, were the original settlers of Las Vegas, NM.) His family came to Lemitar, 7 miles north of Socorro, sometime before 1850. They are not closely related to this Baca family.

Mom's Baca family is hard to figure out beyond Jose Rafael Baca, my 4th great-grandfather. He died in 1838, and was probably from one of the Baca families from the Belen area. Therefore, he may have been a closer, but still distant, cousin of Juan Jose Baca and Pedro Antonio Baca.

Therefore, I'm not closely related to Juan Jose Baca. However, there are a couple of connections between this Baca family and my family.

In 1850, my 3rd great grandparents, Jose Anastacio Torres and Maria Josefa Montoya, died, leaving my 2nd great grandfather Jose Crespin Torres and his siblings as orphans. Crespin was passed among family for a few years, until he was about 13 years old when he went to go live with his Uncle Pedro Antonio Baca and Aunt Maria Guadalupe Torres. Maria Guadalupe Torres was the sister of Anastacio Torres. Therefore, Crespin was raised with his cousin, Juan Jose Baca. Click on this link for more information.

The other connection is that Maria Guadalupe Torres is also my 4th great grandmother. Her first husband, Francisco Antonio Garcia, was my direct ancestor. In fact, prior to living with his aunt, Crespin lived with his cousin Candelario Garcia who was Francisco and Guadalupe's son.

Both Pedro Antonio Baca and Candelario Garcia were judges in Socorro, and Candelario was also the mayor of Socorro for a short time.

And that how I play the game "Six Degrees of Juan Jose Baca."

29 July 2008

Ancestry and DNA Article

My cousin Maurine Pool is a columnist and editor for the Orange County Register in California. Recently, she wrote an "Q and A" article for her paper on genealogy and DNA testing. Below is the link:

Roots, the Pop Version

In it, she interviews the public-relations director for She asks him questions about conventional genealogical research, DNA research, and other items such as Barack Obama's lineage. It's worth a read.

28 July 2008

Genealogy Fun

Here's something funny I found on the blogsphere:

Genealogy Roots Blog: 20 Things That Make Genealogy Fun

Check out numbers 2 and 4. They apply to many New Mexicans.

27 July 2008

Conflict in Socorro, New Mexico

Recently, I've been researching the territorial period history of Socorro, New Mexico. I was looking for information to use on my Zimmerly presentation and my Pedro Antonio Baca article.

I've been reading two books: "The Territorial History of Socorro, New Mexico" by Bruce Ashcroft (El Paso: University of Texas at El Paso, 1988) and "The Incident of New Mexico's Nightriders" by Bob L'Aloge (Sunnyside, WA: BJS Brand Books, 1992.)Both books paint a portrait of a town in suffering from racial tensions and conflict.

Socorro was an old Spanish town that was re-settled in 1816. Nothing much changed with the Mexican revolution of 1821, except that now all the Spaniards became Mexicans. Another change was that it became legal for Americans and other foreigners to come to the New Mexico. In 1841, Texas claimed everything east of the Rio Grande as their own. When Texans crossed the Rio Grande, they were captured by Mexican soldiers. Enemy prisoners were brought into Socorro, and at least one of them wrote a scathing description of the town.

The Texas invasion was the precursor of the Mexican-American War. That war began in 1846, and New Mexico was easily subdued by American forces. The Mexican governor of New Mexico escaped to Mexico, and an American governor was put in his place - at first it was a military governor, and then a civilian governor ran New Mexico. By 1850, New Mexico was a territory of the United States.

Troops were stationed in Socorro at first, and then moved to nearby Fort Conrad in August 1851. However, the poorly constructed fort was abandoned and troops moved on March 31, 1854 to Fort Craig a few miles away.

After the Civil War started, Confederate troops advanced up the Rio Grande deep into New Mexico. Union soldiers were sent to Ft. Craig to fight off the Confederates. American, foreign-born, and native New Mexican soldiers fought side by side against the invading enemy army. The Battle of Valverde was fought in 1862 just a few miles northwest of the fort at the bottom of a mesa that lent its name to the skirmish. The Confederacy won the battle, and a makeshift hospital was set up in Socorro.

The Confederates marched up towards Santa Fe. They would meet Union soldiers in a few minor skirmishes, and fought one last battle at Glorietta. On paper, it could be argued that the Confederates won the battle. However, they were so devastated by the loss of supplies and men that they had to retreat back to Texas. Union troops from Ft. Craig shadowed them as they left, essentially escorting them out the territory.

Due to the Confederate invasion, the Union sent troops from California to protect New Mexico and Arizona. The California Column, as it was called, consisted of over 2,000 men. Many were stationed at Ft. Craig. Some of these soldiers moved to Socorro after they mustered out of the army; a few even married local women.

Many former soldiers and other newcomers began etching out a living in Socorro. In the 1880s, Socorro experienced an economic boom. Mines opened up in the area surrounding Socorro, including Carthage near San Antonio, New Mexico, and Kelly near Magdalena. Billings Smelter was built at the foot of the Socorro Mountains just west of Socorro, in a settlement called Park City. Most of the ore mined in the area was processed in this smelter.

Many people moved to Socorro and the surrounding villages to take part in this boom. Flour Mills were built to service not only the local population, but also military installations. Stores were opened in the town. Everything seemed good in Socorro. Both native New Mexican and newcomer seemed to do well in the town. However, there was tension below the surface.

Many of the Mexican population felt resentful towards the newcomers, and the newcomers felt that the Mexicans were holding back progress. When a local newspaper editor was murdered by three Mexicans cousins, the tension came to a head.

A.M. Conklin was the editor of the Socorro Sun. On Christmas Eve 1880 he was attending a service at the Methodist Church in Socorro. He was asked by parishioners to stop a group of Mexican men from bothering some American women in the church. He did, and when he left the church he was ambushed by three Baca cousins: Antonio, Onofre and Abram. One of the cousins shot him dead.

The sheriff, who was related to the Baca cousins, refused to apprehend the Bacas. Therefore, some of Anglo men decided to form a vigilante group. Called the Socorro Committee of Safety, this group decided to seek justice for the murder. Former Civil War soldier Colonel Ethan Eaton led the group. They apprehended, or had others help them apprehend, all three Baca cousins. Antonio Jaramillo Baca was shot while trying to escape, Onofre Baca was lynched by the committee, and Abram Baca was brought to trial. After Abram was found not guilty, he jumped on a horse and high tailed out of town. Good thing, too, because the Socorro Committee of Safety had just begun their reign of terror.

In three years, the committee lynched another five men and threatened many others. Not all were Mexicans, in fact most were not. Only two were Hispanic. However, it did leave a strong tinge of racial tension in the town. The vigilantes demanded that all "Americans" in the town support the committee. It obviously created a rift between "Americans" and "Mexicans". The committee did not believe the native New Mexicans were up to the task to meting out justice, while the natives believed that the newcomers were interlopers trying to take over the town. Both may have been right.

This period of Socorro history is fascinating. It really exemplifies the "wild west" mentality in the town. Various governors tacitly, and sometimes even openly, supported the Socorro Committee of Safety. The committee ruled Socorro for a short period of time. Although the lynching was done by masked men, and various corner's reports stated that the men were hanged by "persons unknown", everyone knew who was doing it. Often large crowds watched the lynchings, and local officials and prominent members of the community took part in the events.


Ashcroft, Bruce, The Territorial History of New Mexico, (El Paso: The University of Texas at El Paso, 1988)

L'Aloge, Bob, The Incident of New Mexico's Nightriders, (Sunnyside, WA: BJS Brand Books, 1992.)

Marshall, Michael P. and Henry J. Walt, Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province, (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historic Preservation Program, 1984.)

Miller, Darlis A., The California Column in New Mexico, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982.)

Taylor, John, Bloody Valverde: A Civil War Battle on the Rio Grande, Febrary 21, 1862, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.)

When I wrote this post last year, I neglected to include one source of information. Although I found most of the information for the article from the sources mentioned above, one piece of information was found in another source: the fact that the three Bacas implicated in the murder of A.M. Conklin were probably cousins, rather than brothers. This information, and their link to famous lawman/outlaw Elfego Baca can be found in the following article:

Gonzales, David, and Jonathan A. Ortega, "Onofre Baca - Socorro Lynching Victim and his Brother Elfego Baca - an American Legend", Herencia, 3 (January 1995), 1-3.

For more information about the controversy over this article, click on the following link: Socorro Spanish Methodist Church. Make sure to also read the comments posted to the article.

Updated: 10/04/09

26 July 2008

August 2008 New Mexico Genealogical Society Program

Saturday, August 16, 2008, 10:30 AM
Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library
423 Edith NE, Albuquerque NM (NW Corner of Edith and Central)

William Litchman, Ph.D.
Presents the second part of his workshop

Researching at the Courthouse:
Deeds, Wills, Titles and Other Records, Part II

Dr. Litchman presents the second part of a workshop that he began in September 2007. This will be an in-depth exploration of legal records that are essential to genealogical research. He is a thorough researcher and an entertaining speaker. We are happy to welcome him back.

As always, certain books published by NMGS will be on sale during the program.Please visit the NMGS Press web page at for a full listing of NMGS books.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information about our programs, please visit our website at

20 July 2008

San Miguel Church, c. 1920

Here is a photo that I found on the digital archives of the Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. It is a postcard that shows the San Miguel Chuch of Socorro, New Mexico, c. 1920.

Copyright disclaimer from the the CSR website:

"Copyright 2005 The University of New Mexico. All Rights Reserved. You may print, reproduce and use the information in, and retrieve files containing publications or images from, The University of New Mexico's WWW documents for non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes only, provided that you (i) do not modify such information, and (ii) include any copyright notice originally included with such information and this notice in all such copies."

Title: Church of San Miguel,
Reference URL:,414

Recap of Zimmerly Family Presentation, NMGS

Yesterday, July 19, 2008, I did a presentation for the New Mexico Genealogical Society on the Zimmerly Family. Click on this link to the NMGS Blog to read more about it.

If you would like to find out more about the Zimmerly family, do a search on this blog, or simply click on this link!

13 July 2008

Socorro County Records

Recently, I've been searching Socorro County 19th century deed and tax assessment records. The Albuquerque Special Collections Library has a number of these records on microfilm. However, I wasn't finding some records at the library, so I checked "Genealogical Resources in New Mexico: Third Edition" by Karen Stein Daniel, CGSM. This is a fantastic book for anyone who is doing New Mexico research. It has an extensive listing of where to find church, county and other records.

It's not expensive, either. To buy a copy, go to the NMGS Press webpage at this link and order book E-5. The book is only $7.50 for NMGS members, $15.00 for non-members. If you have the 1st or 2nd edition of the book, you find that the 3rd edition is even more comprehensive that its predecessors.

Genealogical Resources for Socorro County

Many records can be found at the Socorro County Courthouse:

Socorro County
County Courthouse
PO Box 1, Socorro, NM 87801-0327]
Ph: 505-835-0589; Fax 505-835-4629

There are also finding aids online that can be used to find records that are not at the courthouse. These may be found at the Online Archive of New Mexico. Two collections are at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe. These are:

* Records of the United States Territorial and New Mexico District courts for Socorro County, 1851-1933. MS 1976-031. Click this link to access the finding aid.

* Socorro County, N.M. Records, 1851-1935. MS 1974-029. Click this link to access the finding aid.

Socorro was created in 1852 as an original New Mexico county. All of Catron (est.1921) and Sierra (est.1884) Counties, and parts of Lincoln (est. 1869)and Torrance (est.1903) Counties were once part of Socorro County. Therefore, some records for these other counties may be found in the Socorro County archives.

Source: Daniel, Karen Stein, CGsm, Genealogical Resources in New Mexico: Third Edition (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2007), pp. 18-23.

10 July 2008

Juan Jose Baca Store and House

Nancy Lopez sent me the photos below of the Juan Jose Baca Store in Socorro, NM. I'm not exactly sure where she got them, but it was probably either the Library of Congress or Denver Public Library sites.

From the Socorro: A Historic Survey:

The Territorial sytle was introduced in New Mexico by the U.S. Army in the construction of their forts and by newly arrived easteners, who were familiar with the Greek Revival style. The influence of the Greek Revival, though it arrived in New Mexico after it had peaked in the East, continued to be used in its indigenous form for the rest of the century. It is still popular as the Territorial Revival style.

In the early Spanish/Mexican period, commercial stores were not separate entites. Business was conducted in a room of the house; eventually, some of these rooms became stores. The Juan Jose Baca store and residence ..., the principal example of this development, has an elaborate overhanging balcony. In the late nineteenth century, it also had a wood false front....

Conron, John P., Socorro: A Historic Survey (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1980), p. 13.

The Juan Jose Baca House is still standing. It was used as a pizza parlor and micro-brewery in the early 2000s. The business has since moved.

Juan Jose Baca is not directly related to me, but he may be from the same Baca families that I'm descended from who came to Socorro from Belen in early 1800s.

Another Photo Essay from Nancy Lopez

My distant cousin Nancy Lopez sent me a link to a photo essay that she did called "New Mexico Vintage Photos." Again, she found some great old pictures of New Mexico, and wrote an essay about the history of lodging and the railroad in New Mexico (among other things.) It's a great page (actually, it's five pages.) Check it out at this link.

09 July 2008

Photos of New Mexico

I discovered that a distant cousin of mine, Nancy Lopez (not the golfer), has a blog called CyBeRGaTa. I met her on-line a couple of years ago - she discovered one of my sites - and I've talked to her in person at least a time or two.

Anyway, she has a post called "Photos and Thoughts, Pie Town and Penasco, New Mexico". The post contains a number of photos that she found at the Library of Congress website include those of Alburquerque (Albuquerque), Penasco, Pie Town (which was known as "Norman's Place" at one time), and Magdalena. I love the stories that she tells with the photos.

Check out the photo of the Albuqueque Heights in 1943. I live in that area now. It's much bigger now than it used to be.

08 July 2008

Photos of Estanislao Chavez and Family

It seems like recently I'm posting more articles about people who are not directly related to me. Jeanette from Hawaii, who sent me stories about Estanislao Chavez, has now sent me photos of her late husband's ancestors. She asked me to post these in order that other family members may find them. Jeanette got these photos from her husband's Aunt Cosette Lowe of Santa Fe.

Estanislao V. and Ellen (Olsen) Chavez in their law office

Estanislao V. Chavez

Jesus Maria and Luz (Torres) Chavez

According to Jeanette, Jesus and Luz were Estanislao's parents. Jesus was born in Belen in 1831, while Luz was born in Socorro in 1840.

David and Monica (Torres) Montoya and Their Son

My cousin Maurine Pool once again has supplied me with another photograph. When I was collecting photos for the Torres Reunion, Maurine sent me images of all of Crespin and Andreita (Trujillo) Torres' children, save one: Monica. However, she found the photograph below of Monica with her husband and child.

Monica (Torres) and David Montoya, with their infant son, Juan Jose.

This photo was taken in 1896, before Monica's death. Originally, I speculated that Monica may have died in childbirth with her son, but as we can see she is very much alive in this photo. She probably died soon afterwards.

For more about the Torres family, click on the following posts:

* Crespin Torres and Andreita Trujillo's Children

* More Torres Family Pictures

* The Torres Family Reunion Mini-Blog

07 July 2008

Samuel C. Meek

Samuel C. Meek served in the same Regiment as my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Zimmerly, but in a different company: 1st Regiment of California Infantry, Company G. I'm not exactly sure who Meek was, but I believe he was involved in the political history of Socorro. I know that he had a street named after him in Socorro: Meek St.

I discovered an affadavit with his signature in the widow's pension of my 2nd great grandmother Paubla (Torres) Zimmerly. I find it interesting because 1.) it shows that Zimmerly had some contact with his old Civil War buddies, and 2.) that it gives a brief descriptions of Meek's and Zimmerly's movements after being discharged. The only thing that confuses me is that Meek says that he knew Zimmerly since August 1861 until the day of Zimmerly's death. This would be true only if he knew Zimmerly before Zimmerly enlisted. Zimmerly enlisted on October 9, 1861. Meek may be mistaken, or maybe they did know each other before October. It's worth looking into.

General Affidavit

State Terry. of New Mexico, County of Socorro, ss:

In the matter of Mrs. Paula Zimmerly Widow of Samuel Zimmerly late a ___ in Co. B of the 1” Reg’t of Cal. Infr. Vols., for Widows Pension.

On this ___ day of January, A.D. 1892, personally appeared before me a ___ in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, Samuel C. Meek, aged 55 years, a resident of Socorro, in the County of Socorro and State Terry. of New Mexico whose Postoffice address is Socorro, Socorro County, N.M. and well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declared in relations to the aforesaid case as follows:

(Note: Affiant should state his means of knowing the facts which he testifies.)

I knew Samuel Zimmerly from August 1861 until the day of his death, having served Three years in The same Regiment with him, to August 31st 1864. I reenlisted, and he came to Socorro, and I was at Los Pinos New Mex. working as Pack Saddler in September 1866 when he was married. I came to Socorro on the 6th day of January 1867 to live, and we lived as citizens of the town of Socorro until his death occurred on the 20th day of November AD 1887. I know That when I first knew him, he was not married, nor did not marry until Sept 29th 1866 when he was married to Miss Paula Torres, a maid, and daughter of Ricardo Torres & wife Gertrude Padilla de Torres.

affiant further declare (sic) that he has no interest in said case and is not concerned in its prosecution.


If affiant signs by mark, two persons who can write sign here.

Samuel C. Meek
Signature of Affiant.

National Archives, Record Group 15 (Veterans Administration), invalid pension, app # 550,153; widow’s pension, app # 441,675, certif..# 345,600.

04 July 2008

Estanislao V. Chavez and Family

Sometimes people ask me why I am into genealogy. It seems like such a lonely hobby in which you spend countless hours compiling names and dates from crumbling documents and microfilm. Well, that's not true. There are many interesting ancestrial stories out there.

Another complaint about genealogy is that genealogist are only interested in their own families. Well, that not true. Although I do spend a considerable amount of time researching my own family, I also love to read about other families, too. So when Jeannette from Hawaii sent me stories about her late husband's family, I was intrigued. I asked her if I could publish it on my blog in order to share it with my readers. She agreed.

Below is from an e-mail that she sent me yesterday, in response to a NMGS eNewsletter that I sent out:

My husband’s maternal grand father, Estanislao Vito Chavez was born in Socorro in 1862, and there are many Baca’s in his line as well. Miguel Laris, my spouse, passed away last July, but I am still into Genealogy. Too bad I live so far away, as I’m always interested in information to pass down to our family about Socorro and the surrounding area. We did visit there some years back and spent a lot of time researching his line. The following is written up on Grandpa Chavez as he was fairly prominent, during his time. My husband’s mother was from his 2nd marriage to Ellen Olsen, whose sister Clara was Private Secretary to 9 New Mexico Governors. Miguel’s mother was Henrietta Chavez, stage name Conchita. She met Miguel’s father in Los Angeles, where both were Opera Singers during the 1920’s.

Aloha from Jeanette in Hawaii

Source of information from:

ILLUSTRATED HISTORY of NEW MEXICO Containing a History of this important section of the great Southwest, from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, (1895) together with glimpses of its auspicious future:

Hon. Estanislao V. Chavez, of Socorro, figures prominently as a member of the bar of New Mexico. Mr. Chavez dates his birth in the city where he now resides, June 15, 1862. He is a representative of the distinguished family of Chavez, of New Mexico. His father, Jesus M. Chavez, F. Franco Chavez and Felipe Chavez, are cousins and are among the most prominent members of the family.

Estanislao V. Chavez received his education at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe, read law in the office of Judge Ira E. Leonard, and May 4, 1891, was admitted to the bar. Immediately after his admission to the bar he entered upon the practice of his profession in his native city, where he rapidly gained a lucrative practice, and now has the reputation of being one of the most successful and talented young lawyers in the Territory.

In 1883 Mr. Chavez was married to Miss Frances V. Martin, a native of Marshall, Texas, and a daughter of Captain Robert Martin of that State. They have two Children, Estanislao Robert and Cosette, both born in Socorro, they being the third generation born in this city.

Mr. Chavez being an ardent Democrat and a talented and popular young man, it was natural that his party should choose him to fill places of honor and trust. When only twenty four years of age, he was honored with a seat in the Territorial Legislature, where he served with credit alike to himself and to his party. At that time he was the youngest member of the House. Later, when brought out as a candidate for Probate Clerk of Socorro County, and against a very strong opponent, he was elected by the largest majority ever received by any candidate in the county, and this office he filled for six years. In 1892 he was elected Mayor of Socorro, and he was also elected a delegate to the last Democratic national convention and aided in the nomination of Grover Cleveland for President of the United States, an act for which he has since had deep regret. His friends earnestly urged him to accept the position of Secretary of the Territory of New Mexico. This honor, however, he declined in order to give his whole time and attention to his rapidly increasing law practice. Mr. Chavez is a man of fine personal appearance, is in every respect a true gentleman, and it is fair to predict that still greater honors await him in the future.

From Socorro County Historical Society, Vol. III, Publications in History:

Estanislao V. Chavez

Estanislao Chavez was born June 16, 1862 in Socorro. He was educated at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe. On May 4, 1891, he was admitted to the bar and opened a practice in Socorro. In 1882, Mr. Chavez married Miss Frances v. Martin. They had two children.

Politically, Mr. Chavez has held a seat in the Territorial Legislature, was Probate Clerk of Socorro County, and in 1892 was elected Mayor of Socorro.

From The Mountains to the Sea: page 405

Estanislao V. CHAVEZ, a prominent Los Angeles lawyer, has spent all his life in the Southwest, and before coming to California was prominent in the law, public affairs and the Democratic Party in New Mexico. He is descended from a very prominent family of New Mexico, and those especially prominent were: Francisco Javier Chavez, governor of the province of New Mexico in the years 1822-23, and the first governor under the Mexican government: Antonio Jose Chavez, who was governor in 1828-31: Mariano Chavez, who was acting governor in 1835, and Jose Chavez, who was acting governor in 1845.

Estanislao V. Chavez was born in Socorro County, New Mexico June 15, 1862, a son of Jesus Maria and Luz Torres Chavez. He attended public schools, St. Michael's College, conducted by the Christian Brothers in Santee Fe, and at the age of twenty-one became chief deputy under his father, who was county clerk, clerk of the Probate Court, county commissioner and ex-officio county assessor At the age of twenty-four, Mr. Chavez was elected county clerk to succeed his father. In1892 he was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico, serving two years. He was also territorial delegate from New Mexico to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago when Cleveland was nominated. Mr. Chavez read law in the office of Judge Ira E. Leonard at Socorro, and in 1902 was admitted to the bar. He practiced one year at Socorro and then at Albuquerque, where he was attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad until 1907. In that year he came to Los Angeles, and is still one of the attorneys of the Santa Fe System. In 1912 he was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court at Washington, D.C.

Mr. Chavez again represented New Mexico as territorial delegate to the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis in 1904. He is a member of the City Club, Knights of Columbus and a Catholic. At Socorro, New Mexico, In October, 1883, he married Fanny V. Martin. Mrs. Chavez passed away in January, 1897. They had three interesting and talented children: Estanislao R., who was recently discharged from the army: Cosette special talents are as a scenic painter; Felipe D, is now serving as official clerk of the Judge Advocate Court of the United States Forces at Vladivostok, Russia. Mr. Chavez was again married in September, 1897 to Miss Ellen M. Olsen of Wisconsin. The one daughter of this union is Henrietta Conchita, who is a student of vocal music under the widely known Professor De Lara.

03 July 2008

July 2008 NMGS Program

Saturday, July 19, 2008, 10:30 AM
Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library
423 Edith NE, Albuquerque NM (NW Corner of Edith and Central)

Robert J. C. Baca
President of the New Mexico Genealogical Society,

Swiss Family Zimmerly:
A Socorro, New Mexico Story

Samuel and Maria Puabla (Torres) Zimmerly

It is the story of the merging of two cultures. He was a foreign-born American Civil War soldier; she was a daughter of a family as old as New Mexico itself. Together they created a unique Swiss/Hispano family. Their story begins in the early frontier days of Socorro, goes through the advent of statehood, and continues on to the present day.

Robert Baca, a former resident of Socorro, NM, is a descendant of Samuel and Maria Paubla (Torres) Zimmerly, progenitors of the New Mexico Zimmerly family. In his presentation, he will display family photos and documents, and will include a short discussion on the research methods that he used to create this story.

Certain books published by NMGS on Socorro, New Mexico records will be on sale at the presentation. Please visit the NMGS Press web page at for a full listing of NMGS books.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information about our programs, please visit our website at