The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

31 October 2009

Creepy Halloween Find

I found a creepy death record today; one perfect for Halloween. On the Rootsweb Socorro County discussion list, someone posted the Family Search, Records Search page. He said it was a good place to search for New Mexico death records. I put in my father's name, Robert Baca. The search brought up a number of men by that name who died in New Mexico, but none after the mid 1940s. My dad died in 1999. However, one of the abstracts caught my eye:

I recognized the names of the parents of the deceased as my grandparents, Robert Baca and Terecita (Teresa) Torres, and that the death place was Socorro, New Mexico. A Robert Lewis Baca, the son of my grandparents, died on 6 May 1931. He was 0 years old.

I knew that although my father was the oldest child of his parents, he certainly was not the first one born. He was also not the first one with the name Robert Baca. According to my father, my grandparents had a child who was either stillborn or died soon after birth by the name of Robert Luis Baca. This abstract confirms that I had an uncle who died as a baby.

Happy Halloween!

24 October 2009

Too early for Christmas shopping?

Nah, it's never too early to shop for Christmas, especially in these unsure economic times. I know plenty of people who begin shopping in October. Heck, a certain retail store - that will remain nameless here - is already advertising for layaway.

Are you one of those people who shop early. Are you thinking about shopping at Well, if you are, consider shopping through the New Mexico Genealogical Society's link for . (The Albuquerque Genealogical Society also sponsors this link.) If you shop through us, a percentage of the proceeds will go towards our fund. That fund is only used to buy books for the Albuquerque Special Collections Library.

To buy books from our link, you can either:

* Go to the NMGS website and click on the link under the "Bookstore" heading; or,

* Go to the side margin of this blog and click on the link; or,

* Simply click on this link.

By the way, the books from the NMGS Bookstore also make great gifts for your favorite genealogist, even your favorite genealogist is yourself. Click on this link to purchase our books.

20 October 2009

November 2009 NMGS Program

Saturday, November 21, 2009, 10:30 AM
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 Vandals’ Connection to New Mexican Families

In Part III of an ongoing series, Mr. Cervantes will explore the connection between certain New Mexican families and the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that occupied Spain. Cervantes will show a short film that will trace the history of these people. He will discuss which families show the markers that are most identified with this tribe.

Angel Cervantes is the New Mexico Genealogical Society’s DNA Project Advisor. For more information about the New Mexico DNA Project, visit their website online at:

NMGS will also be having its annual officer elections at this meeting.

This program is free and open to the public.

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

15 October 2009

San Marcial Flood

I found an article about the 1929 San Marcial flood, New Mexico on the Valencia County News Bulletin website. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

San Marcial had been a thriving railroad town since the 1880s when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad designated it as a major division point on the Santa Fe's north-south train route through New Mexico.

By the 1920s, San Marcial boasted a bank, a mercantile store, a drug store, an opera house, several churches, public schools and even a Harvey House. Only Socorro surpassed San Marcial in population and prosperity in Socorro County. San Marcial's 1,500 men, women and children were justifiably proud of their close-knit community there work was plentiful and nearly everyone got along.

But the bright skies over San Marcial suddenly darkened in August 1929. Unusually heavy rain caused the Rio Grande to rise so high and so quickly that the reservoir at Elephant Butte (built in 1916) could not handle the overflow. Despite heroic efforts, San Marcial's dike broke on Aug. 13.

Click on this link to read more.

11 October 2009

Socorro County Genealogy Links

I've finally posted Socorro County Genealogy Links on the New Mexico Genealogical Society Blog. I had to wait until the county fell into the queue alphabetically.

A few of the links that you will find on the post:

* Locating Catholic Church Records in New Mexico - Socorro County

* Socorro Public and New Mexico Tech Libraries

* Socorro County Genealogy and Historical Societies

* Socorro County Genealogy Message Boards

* Obituaries from the El Defensor Chieftain newspaper and New Mexico Tech website

* Histories of various towns and villages in Socorro County

* El Camino Real International Heritage Center, Ft. Craig National Historical Site, and Bosque del Apache

* Personal websites, biographies and surnames

* and much, much more.

Click here to see these links.

05 October 2009

1880 Socorro County, ED 45 (Complete) Census Online

The following links were posted on the "Socorro - Family History and Genealogy Message Board"

* 1880 Socorro County Census ED 44 - Partial
- abstracted by Virginia Grace, second transcriber Kathy Whitney

* 1880 Socorro County Census ED 45
- abstracted by Virginia Grace, second transcriber Kathy Whitney

For more information on Socorro County, please visit the NMGenWeb page at

Click to read the message post.

04 October 2009

The Miera family and their connection to my family

I would like to say that I am descended from Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, but, alas, I am not. According to Fray Angelico Chavez, Miera:

· was a captain of the Calvary of Cantabria, and a native of Valle de Carriedo of the Mountains of Burgos in Spain;

· was the son of Don Luis de Miera who served under the Conde de Auilar in the Army of Philip V. His mother Isabel Ana Pacheco was the daughter of Don Antonio Pacheco, who was the Governor of Navarra and Colonel of the “Terzio” of Lombardy. Don Pacheco died in the battle of Mantua;

· arrived in New Mexico in the mid 1700s, and was the Alcalde Mayor (mayor) of Galisteo and Pecos in 1756;

· tried to recast, and failed, to recast old ordnance pieces in Santa Fe;

· carved the wooden statue of St. Philip the Apostle on the high altar of San Felipe Pueblo; and,

· accompanied Fathers Dominguez and Veléz Escalante as guard commander and explorer on their tour of exploration, from which he created a detail map of New Mexico in 1779. This is probably his most important and lasting accomplishment.[i]

Yvonne T. is a descendant of Bernardo Miera y Pacheco. She sent me an email recently detailing her family tree. Although I don’t want to show detailed information about her family due to privacy concerns, I will say that her 2nd great-grandparents are Mauricio Miera and Placida Montoya. Bernardo was Mauricio’s 2nd great grandfather. Coincidentally, Maurcio and Placida Miera are also the ancestors of some of my cousins.

As readers of my blog know, Samuel Zimmerly, a Civil War soldier, was my second great grandfather. He and his wife Maria Paubla Torres had six children. (Click on this link.)One of their children was Estevan Zimmerly, my great grandfather. Another child was Teresa Zimmerly, who married Estanislado Miera, a son of Mauricio Miera. Estanislado Miera and Teresa Zimmerly had at least four children, who had a number of descendants themselves which are my distant cousins.

Yvonne T. is descended from another child of Maurcio and Placida Miera: Guadalupe Miera, who married Salomon Chavez. Yvonne has provided me with further information about her family.
I’ve created an ahnentafel table for Estanislado Miera showing nine generations of this family. Click on this link to see it.

[i] Fray Angélico Chavez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, Revised Edition (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico, 1992), 299-230.

01 October 2009

Socorro Spanish Methodist Church

I received a couple of emails from John E. Chavez of Santa Fe, New Mexico. People interested in Socorro, New Mexico history, specifically about the Spanish Methodist church in the area, should read on. Here are his words:

I am descended from the Socorro County Chavez (San Antonio, San Marcial) and Baca families (Socorro, Lemitar, Escondida) families - my grandfather Juan C. Chavez was the pastor at the "Spanish" Methodist Church in Socorro and my dad went to school in Socorro; another close relative, Samuel Santiago Van Wagner (his father lived in Valverde NM after mustering out from Ft. Craig; his mother was Barela) was a Presbyterian pastor in Socorro and Albuq.

There are many old families, Hispanic and Anglo, in the Socorro area that have difficulty tracing their ancestors during the NM territorial period (1849-1912) since those that were or converted to Protestant could no longer find records in the Catholic archives and most were not registered with civil govt. either. Also, many, if not most, Hispanic families automatically assume all their ancestors - and this is often not completely true, as many, many in the Socorro area had converted from Catholicism to Protestant.

The Socorro Public Library has a copy of Carlos Lopopolo's extraction and compilation of early Socorro Spanish Methodist Church records. This is by far the best single source of genealogical records for Hispanic (and Anglo) Methodist families in the Socorro area (and beyond) of the territorial era in NM. (I am related to most of those Hispanic families and family memberswere pastors or church leaders in many areas of NM).

It is in the reference section of the Socorro Library (cannot be checked out) and it is chock full of entries for baptisms, marriages and deaths Socorro has a great genealogical resource that may ONLY exist at the Socorro Public Library ths among the Socorro Methodists (and many Baptists and Presbyterians also). However, it is not found elsewhere - I've looked all over NM and the nation; I've also talked with Lopopolo who indicated that the copy in the Socorro Library may be one of the only ones left in existence.

Some of the Baca, Chavez, Torres, Pino, Gutierrez, Barela, Eaton, Stapleton, Sullivan, and many other Socorro area families are in the Lopopolo compilation. (Socorro was also home to the early Protestant churches of Rev. J.M. Shaw, Baptist and Rev. S.J. Fulton, Presbyterian and Rev. Matthieson, Presbyerian).

I would hope that someone would do a backup copy of Lopopolo's book as Lopopolo said that copy in the Socorro Library may be one of the few, or only, ones left; or perhaps the Socorro Library could put the book behind lock and key for
Library use only (I have seen similar records in the UNM Zimmerman Library that
had pages cut out with razor blades).

I would be glad to help any families who may have ties to those early Hispanic Protestant families. We have a lot of rare data and a website.

John E. Chavez, Santa Fe, NM
Click here for his email.

p.s. Accounts of the infamous murder of a Methodist church leader, Conklin, on the porch of the church on Xmas Eve 1880 by two young Baca brothers do not mention that those Baca brothers (Onofre and ??) were members of the Methodist Church - they show up in the above mentioned Lopopolo book.

The Baca cousins (not brothers) that John writes about are Antonio, Onofre and Abram Baca. I wrote about the murder on my blog, at this link. The article that I wrote itself caused a little bit of controversy because I used a source that some felt was biased and unreliable. However, it was not the only source I used, and I understood its bias and questionable validity when I wrote the article. Because of this, I believe that I used it, with other sources, to create a fair and balanced article.

John sent me another email that talks about what he calls "the NM Protestant Gap"

The info I sent you is particularly relevant in Socorro, as Socorro was one of the earliest and strongest footholds the very early Protestant churches established in NM. Many Socorro families doing their genealogy may be affected by this - and without even being aware that some of their antecedents were Protestant - regardless of if their family is or was Catholic (my mother is Catholic).

Another source is the El Buen Samaritano Spanish Methodist Church in Albuq. near 6th and Granite (by the old Harwood Girl's School). They have a history room, and some of the families in that congregation have ties back to the Socorro area.

My fellow researcher, Crystal Baca Slater, and I have done a LOT of records searches for what we term "The NM Protestant Gap" (a gap in the Catholic and civil records during the NM territorial period).

We also have/had a website: go to, but lately have difficulties accessing or instructing others to access it; it leads to "Early NM & CO Protestants" and has a LOT of early photos, files, a few trees, history, etc. (I'll try to get you username and password that work - remind me if I forget).

Another source is the NMGS "First 40 Years" CD which has searchable files including some court records and extractions of baptisms, births, marriages and deaths from Socorro and Valencia County (the early Chavez and Baca families mostly migrated to Socorro from Valencia County - Albuq. to a lesser extent).

It can be VERY difficult of these early Hispano Protestant families to track their Protestant ancestors; but Crystal and I are available to help.

John Chavez, Santa Fe NM