The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

23 September 2014

Dionosio Antonio Baca and his son-in-law Agustin Torres

Dionosio Antonio Baca was one of the founders of modern-day Socorro, New Mexico. Although Socorro was originally founded in 1598, it had been abandoned before the 1680 Pueblo Revolt and not re-settled until 1815 or 1816. We do not have a list of people who re-settled Socorro; however, we do have a list of people who contributed to a war campaign against the Navajos in 1818. This is the best information that we have regarding who was living there in the early years of its existence. Baptismal records from Belen and Socorro confirm the identities of many of the settlers as well as suggest a few more names.

Dionosio Antonio Baca and Ana Maria Sanchez had at least 10 children. Below is a list of those children:

Individual summary for Dionosio Antonio Baca

I'm going to focus on two of the children: Jose Rafael Baca (1808- 1838) and Maria Felipa Josefa Bonaficia Baca (1767-1838). In my article "A Baca Family in Socorro County, New Mexico 1808-Present" (New Mexico Genealogist 49, December 2010, pp. 196-204), I conjectured that Jose Rafael Baca, who married Maria de Lus Jesus Nepomuncena Baca, was the son of Dionosio Antonio Baca and Ana Maria Sanchez. The problem was that there were many Rafael Bacas in Belen and Socorro, and all I had to confirm Jose Rafael Baca's existence was his son Ramon's marriage record, Jose Rafael's burial record, and his widow's marriage record to her second husband in which she proclaimed that she was the widow of Jose Rafael Baca. By comparing all of the Rafael Bacas in the area, I came to the conclusion that Jose Rafael Baca was the son of Dionosio Antonio Baca. Let's say that this was just an educated guess and not a firm conclusion. There was only one young man named Jose Rafael Baca in the 1833 census of Socorro and the surrounding area. All others had slightly different names, (including his brother Jose Rafael Marcos Baca) and all records mentioned him by his full name rather than by a truncated name (such as Rafael Baca.)

Jose Rafael Baca was my mom's 2nd great-grandfather, through her paternal Baca line:

Relationship chart - Jose Rafael Baca to Frances R. Baca

Maria Felipa Josefa Bonifacia Baca (Felipa, for short) was another one of Dionosio and Ana Maria's children. She married Agustin Torres, the grandson of the founder of Belen, Diego Torres. Felipa and Agustin were among the earlier settlers of Socorro, but may have not been there when it was initially founded. They are not listed among the people who donated goods to the war campaign of 1818. The first record of one of their children being born in Socorro was in July 2, 1823, and that was their son Santiago Torres. It is possible that they moved to Socorro to follow Felipa's parents. It also might be that they were trying to escape the notoriety of her husband's affair with another woman - one of Felipa's cousins. An 1806 prenuptial investigation in Belen indicated that the knowledge of the affair was widespread throughout the community.

Felipa and Agustin had nine children, most of them born in Belen:

Individual Summary - Felipa Baca

Two of Felipa's children are important to my ancestry: Ricardo Torres and Simon Torres.

Ricardo was the grandfather of my great-grandfather Esteban Zimmerly. Simon was the great-grandfather of Esteban's wife, Delfina Torres. This relationship made my great-grandparents 2nd cousins, once removed:

Relationship chart between Esteban Zimmerly and Delfina Torres.

Esteban Zimmerly and Delfina Torres had a daughter by the name of Maria Paublita Zimmerly. Paublita is my grandmother. She married the aforementioned Santiago Baca, the descendant of Jose Rafael Baca. My grandparents were 3rd cousins, once removed:

Relationship chart between Santiago Baca and Maria Paublita Zimmerly

In all, I am descended from Dionosio Antonio Baca and Ana Maria Sanchez three times, all on my mother's side of the family.

Maria Paublita (Zimmerly) and Santiago Baca


Robert J. C. Baca, "A Baca Family in Socorro County, New Mexico 1808-Present", New Mexico Genealogist, 49 (December 2010), 196-204.

Robert J.C. Baca, "Early Settlers of the Socorro Land Grant: An 1818 List, Part III," New Mexico Genealogist, 51 (September 2012): p. 119. 

Robert J. C. Baca, "The Zimmerlys of Socorro: A Swiss Civil War Soldier and an Old New Mexican Family", New Mexico Genealogist, 50 (June 2011), 50-59.

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