The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

28 April 2009

May 16, 2009 NMGS Program

Saturday, May 16, 2009, 10:30 AM

Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library

423 Central NE, Albuquerque NM

(NW Corner of Edith and Central)

New Mexico Genealogical Society


Internet Genealogy:

Using your computer to search, connect and publish – for free!

A workshop facilitated by Robert J.C. Baca,

President of the New Mexico Genealogical Society

One of the great things about the Internet is that there are a plethora of free sites that can be used for genealogy. Whether you are searching for lost ancestors, wishing to connect to family known and unknown, or wanting to publish family stories and genealogy, the Internet may be the place for you. Learn from a professed "Internet genealogy junky" who has "suffered" through countless hours of searching just so that he can tell you about all the best sites out there.

This program is free and open to the public.

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

26 April 2009

CD: Santa Fe Deed Study

A New CD created by Tiggs Planning Consultants and published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society!


A CD of the Santa Fe Plaza Historic Deed Study is now available from the New Mexico Genealogical Society. The Deeds Study, completed in 1989 with funds from a New Mexico State Historic Preservation grant, was the result of an exhaustive search for deeds and related documents providing information on the Santa Fe Plaza area from Spanish occupation up to 1860.

The Deeds study is a unique report that provides information for historians, archaeologists, and historic preservationists. It is also of use to families doing research on family trees and property ownership.

The preparation of the CD was by Tigges Planning Consultants, Inc. and was funded by the City of Santa Fe. Note that the information may be retrieved either by using the indexes or by name or key word.

Sources searched for deeds and other documents include the NM Archives, Santa Fe Archdiocese; Santa Fe County, University of New Mexico Southwest Room Archives, and the Bancroft Library at the University of California. Other relevant documents were also included such as wills, inventories and government reports. Information on the CD includes the following:

A user’s guide;
A transcript of the written documents;
An English translation of Spanish documents;
Indexes for:
Names appearing in each document;
Key words, for example: Acequia Madre, camino, guerta;
Date of document;
Source of document; and
Buyers and sellers.

Copies of the CD are available for $20.00 ($10.00 for Libraries). Click here for order Form.

Sundays are good days to post

Last week, I wrote about how I posted to three different genealogy message boards, and received responses from all three. Well, today I received another reponse to one of last week's posts. Now I know a little bit more about my stepson's grandfather - specifically his birth and death dates. I've posted on the same list for an obituary.

It seems that Sundays are good times to post of message boards. I've got to remember that.

19 April 2009

Searching for my stepson's family

Remember how this is the Baca/Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog? Well, Douglas is my wife's maiden name. Which means that I should, every once in a while, be doing research on my wife's family. Well, I finally got down to it recently: I started looking up my stepson's ancestry.

(The story that follows does not include last names or my stepson's full name in order to protect the identities of living people.)

It all started yesterday when I was showing my wife the features of the new Family Tree Maker 2009 that she installed for me. She was going through the list of names on the program, when she noticed that I put the "wrong" birthplace for her son. I put the Illinois township that he was born in, rather than the actual city. It would be like putting "Paradise Hills" instead of "Albuquerque"as the city (Paradise Hills is a neighborhood in ABQ.) I told her that I got the information off of his birth certificate. She didn't believe me. So we checked it out - and lo and behold, I was right. Well, I was right in that it mentioned the township instead of the actual city. Well, what do I know? I don't know Illinois geography and we certainly don't have townships in New Mexico!

Anyhow, we checked a few more sources in order to prove her right, and we browsed through Nancy's wedding book. In the book was my stepson's family tree. It included the name of his grandparents, and the name of his great-grandfather's name: Archibald Frederick P****. Nancy gave me some additional information, for instance that his grandfather Robert was born in 1927, that his great-grandfather Archibald lived in Vermilion County, Illinois and that there was an "uncle" Isham. I began my search (today!).

I searched HeritageQuest Online first. I can access census records from from home through the Rio Rancho Public Library system (Albuquerque Public Library cards work on Rio Rancho's server.) The problem is that HeritageQuest has a ... um ... crappy search engine. Often I can't find what I'm looking for, and 1930's census records are mostly not indexed. Therefore, I found a lot of names that are similiar, but obviously were not the correct ones.

In desperation, I posted information to three different genealogy forums. Within a few hours, I received a wealth of information. First, I received a message from Dick at GenForum. It was a 1930's census record that seems to be the correct family. It lists a widow Ethel (with her maiden name!) as well as her children. Archie, 28, (or more likely, 23) is listed as married - but, it does not list his wife's name (so I'm still looking for that!) It also has his brother as being Isham, 17; so, therefore, Isham may be the great-uncle of my stepson's father, not his uncle.

Later, from "granny" at the Ancestry forum, I received a possible 1992 obituary abstract for Archibald. I would like to read the actual obituary, but this is a start.

And just now, as I was writing this post, I received another message from Larry at CousinConnect. He had a whole slew of census records that look very promising. I think I might have found another generation, as well as the name of Archibald's father (but still no name for Archibald's wife.) This message also included a transcript of the 1930's census record that I mentioned before. It shows Archie's age as 23 on that record. Looking back at the actual record, it does appear to be "23". This also closely matches the obituary abstract I talked about which shows "Archie" as being born in 1906.

The moral of this story: use genealogy forums. When I first used these forums 10 years ago, it took weeks to get a response - if I got one at all. Now, with everyone connected, it took me just hours. Wow! I wasn't expecting that!

18 April 2009

Stapleton Pension Denied by President Cleveland

I found a transcription on the Internet of a presidential letter about House Bill No. 4797: "An act granting a pension for Robert H. Stapleton". This 1886 bill came before President Grover Cleveland to sign. Although it appears that Stapleton was injured during the Battle of Valverde on 21 February 1862, Cleveland vetoed the pension request because it was made after the 4 July 1874 deadline.

I find it interesting that the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States would spend the time to vote on and veto a bill on a pension for a New Mexican lieutenant colonel. I guess they didn't have much to do at the time.

Stackpole was married to Maria Paubla Baca, a daughter of my fourth great-grandmother Maria Guadalupe Torres.


17 April 2009

Poetry and Genealogy

I found a post by George Geder, a family historian and photo restoration artist: Genealogy and the Poetry Jam. While attending a poetry slam in Santa Fe, he noticed that some of the contestants recited poetry about their ancestors. He suggests genealogical conferences should host poetry slams for genealogists who wish to honor their ancestors in verse. I think it's a great idea.

In his post he includes a poem that he wrote about one of his ancestors, which based on an obituary that he read. To read his post, click on this link.

15 April 2009

Arroyo de San Lorenzo Land Grant

I was going through my flash drive looking for stuff to talk about on my blog, when I found a land grant case that was brought before the U.S. House of Representatives by the Secretary of Interior. I downloaded this letter back in March, although I'm not quite sure where I found it. However, I was able to find it again on Google Books: here is the link. Search for "Antonio Chaves" in the book and you should be able to find the letter titled "Land-Grant to Antonio Chaves: Letter from the Secretary of the Interior...."

The letter itself includes transcriptions and translations of certain land documents; therefore, it should not be considered to be a primary document. Thank goodness for the translations, too. I don't read Spanish well.

In February and March, 1825, Antonio Chaves petitioned the Mexican government through Santa Fe for some land in what would later be known as Socorro County. Chaves was a resident of Belen who was feeling a little bit crowded where he lived. He had a hard time pasturing his stock, so he asked for some land at the San Lorenzo Arroyo, which was just north of Amalillo, near Socorro. He believed that the land was so "uninviting, uncultivated, desolate and bleak" that the governor would have no problem granting him this land. With such a description, one wonders why he would ever want to own the land!

The land seems to have incorporated parts of both the Socorro and Sevilleta land grants. According to "Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province" Alamillo and Sevilleta were just north of where San Acacia is now. San Acacia is 10 miles north of Socorro. (1)

Bartolome Baca petitioned the governor for Antonio Chaves by explaining five reasons why Chaves should get the land. First, it would help increase the population of the area, which would make it harder for Indians to attack. Second, there would be enough land in the area left over for other residents to pasture, grow food and use for transit. Third, by granting Chaves the land, others would get jealous and would begin cultivating vacant lands instead of overusing the property they already owned. Fourth, since Chaves had lost much of his livelihood because of Navajo Indian attacks, he needed the land to rebuild. Fifth, his land would offer employment for the impoverished people of the community. Bartolome's arguments must have been convincing, because Chaves was granted the land.

After Chaves died, his wife and children lived on the land for a while. His widow is named in one of the documents as Mrs. Monica Pino, while he himself is described as Antonio Chaves y Aragon, also known as Antonico Chaves. His children are not named in the document. After 1850, his wife and children sold the land to three men: Ramon Luna, Rafael Luna and Anastacio Garcia. By February 1874, Ramon Luna, Anastacio Garcia, and the heirs of Rafael Luna, who had died in the interim, petitioned the government to keep their lands. The United States Surveyor-General recommended that they be granted this property in accordance to the Treaty of Guadalupe. Whether or not they were granted this land is not mentioned in this document.

Since I am doing extensive research on the Socorro area, I will be doing more digging into this land grant, as well as others. This case gives an interesting perspective into the lives of the people who lived there. The land appeared to be plentiful, but the people were impoverished. The people who owned the land had to fight to keep it after New Mexico became an American territory. Land records existed, but were often vague and it was problematic when trying to prove property rights.

If you would like to add more to this discussion or ask questions, please either post a comment to this article or send me an e-mail at

1. Michael P. Marshall and Henry J. Walt, Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historic Preservation Program, 1984), 260 (map), 265, 274.

11 April 2009

I'm not my own grandpaw ... honestly

Ever heard of the song "I'm My Own Grandpa"? Sometimes I worry about how many times I'm related to myself. Well, never fear - Ancestry Magazine published a story that makes us all feel much better about ourselves. It's called "Welcome to the Family", and it talks about a phenomenon called "pedigree collapse". This is when one ancestor marries a (not so distant) cousin. It's common, the author says, especially since in olden days people didn't move much and didn't travel far to find a mate.

Honest. I'm not my own grandpaw. Maybe a distant (... distant ... distant ... ) cousin to myself, but not my own grandpaw.

Maybe I should just stop now, and begin learning how to play the banjo part from "Deliverance".


09 April 2009

April 18, 2009 NMGS Program

Saturday, April 18, 2009, 10:30 AM
Botts Hall, Albuquerque Special Collections Library
423 Central NE, Albuquerque NM
(NW Corner of Edith and Central)

The New Mexico Genealogical Society presents
Angel R. Cervantes

Who will discuss

The New Mexico DNA Project:
The Visigoths’ Connection to Y-DNA Haplogroup I

The Visigoths conquered the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) in the 6th Century A.D. They were the first Christian rulers of Spain. Although their dynasty lasted only a couple of centuries, many New Mexicans alive today continue to carry their bloodlines.

Mr. Cervantes will discuss which New Mexican families have the Visigoth DNA. He will also show a short video that will explain the history of these people, which includes their invasion of Spain.

For more information about this project, visit The New Mexico DNA Surname Project online at

This program is free and open to the public.

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

06 April 2009

Finding Oodles of Socorro Records

Recently, I ordered a copy of a document from the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library in the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, NM. I found it online through the Rocky Mountain Archive. It was a conveyance for land, dated June 30, 1941 1841 by Maria Rita Baca, widow of Mariano Trujillo, to her brother second cousin Pedro Baca of Socorro. As you may know, I've been interested in Pedro Antonio Baca's family for a few months now, I even did a presentation about his wife Maria Guadalupe Torres. (Pedro Baca is not my ancestor, even though he has the same surname as I. However, Maria Guadalupe Torres is my ancestor, with her first husband Francisco Antonio Garcia.)

Anyhow, I looked back at the contents of the collection, and realized that there were many other records with Socorro citizens listed on them. The names include: Colonel E. W. Eaton, Juan Jose Baca, Elfego Baca, Dionosio Jarmillo, - Robert Stapleton - just to name a few. The collection even has a public notice from the Socorro Committee on Safety, a vigilante group that terrorized (saved?) Socorro, as well as a list of its members.

Many of the names listed flow in and out of my family's genealogy. I can't wait to find out more about this collection. I think I'll have to go to the library to get some copies.

Link to the Mauro Montoya Collection 1709-1949.

04 April 2009

Civil War Records Online

Recently, while researching for 19th Century persons, I discovered two sites that had Civil War records. Both of them had images of a series of books titled The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. These books include typewritten copies of official correspondence, orders, reports and returns from both sides of the war. This series was published in the late 1800s and early 1900s by the Washington Government Printing Office.

Below are the advantages and disadvantates of each site:

* Google Books has a search engine that allows you to look up specific names, places and events. Once you are on the page you are looking for, it even highlights the words that you are searching for. The entire series appears to be on this site, the only problem is that it is not organized. You have to search through the entire series in order to find a specific volume in the series. Books may be downloaded on to PDF for easy viewing and printing. Series Link

* Cornell University Library "Making of America" has the entire series organized on one webpage. As with the Google site, the series is searchable; however, it does not highlight the terms you are looking for once you get on to the page. It is not possible to download the books on to PDF, and you may only print page by page. In order to print a page, you must right click and click "print page". Also, if you wish to look at another page, you must type in that page number in the box at the top of the web page. Series Link

You may also find on these sites the series Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. The same advantages and disadvantages exist for this series on those sites. To access this series, click on the links below:

* Google Books - Union and Confederate Navies

* Cornell University - Union and Confederate Navies