Archive for the ‘Census Records’ category

To Remember: Keep the Flame Alive

September 16, 2012

Stone Altar and Candle
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Wooden Entrance Sign
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Exterior of Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Since so many of my Valdez family members have recently discovered my site, it is only right that I highlight some history of the Mora Valley tonight. There are some that are far away and my not have a chance to visit the area often. I decided to share some photos I took during a recent funeral of one of the Valdez men- Gary. May he rest in peace. When his funeral ended I took some time to walk around by myself and really absorb the history of this scared place. This is the church where my maternal great grandmother and great grandfather married. Historically, the plaza which envelopes the church was once known as Santa Gertrudis Lo de Mora, which is the present day town of Mora. Church registers can be found in the 1845 Mexican Census and offer a rare glimpse into early settlers of the valley.

1981 painting of Santa Gertrudis Church in 1890s
Artist- Fred Olivas
Mora, New Mexico

This church is the last remnant of the original plaza. The church was destroyed by fire in the mid 1960s, but was rebuilt a stones throw from main street in the same exact location. I will have to ask my mom and Ernie if they remember that? There are still several historic buildings on the property. This area is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes parish buildings, a small convent, educational sites, and some houses. It is amazing to think about how the population changed in Mora over the decades. I am not sure what the total population is today, however in 1860 there were over 5,500 people living in the area. By 1920, the population was just under 14,000 and by 1970 it had dwindled down to about 4,600. The 1860 census documents several carpenters in the Mora Valley who were French-Canadian. I have linked the maternal side of my family (through a prenuptial investigation) to French-Canadian ancestry.

Stained Glass Window
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

In 1950, the famed historian, Fray Angelico Chavez said that some buildings in Mora exhibited “French rural flavor” with regard to architecture. Some of these “French” designs included Gothic Revival exteriors with the use of stone and pitched roofs, such as the “board-and-wood-shingle pitched roof” which was once on the church. I find it interesting to think that some of my relatives may have contributed to the architectural history of this small and beautiful Catholic church. My maternal grandmother was Corina Valdez y Brisal de Garcia. My grandma Corine was a Mora girl at heart, but she passed away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was the oldest of five children born to Alfonso Valdez and Felicitas Brisal. I am named after my great grandma Felicitas. I do know that my great grandparents were married in Santa Gertrudis Church on November 27, 1915. They would have married in the original church building before it was destroyed by fire. I do wish I knew what the inside looked like then? If my grandma was still alive, I could ask her.

Baptismal Pool
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

My grandma was born to her mother and father on September 24, 1916. She was baptized on October 2 that same year. Her godmother and godfather were her grandparents (my maternal great great grandparents) Roman Valdez and Porfiria Maes. There were four other children to follow my grandma. These children were: Maximinio Valdez (born in 1918); Jose Eugenio Valdez (born in 1920); Maria Lara de Jesus Valdez (born in 1922); and the final child was Crecencia (Cres/Chencha) Valdez (born in 1926). I am sure each and every one of these family members were baptized in this church, which made my visit to the church that much more special. I can’t explain the feeling of awe I get to travel the path of those who came before me. Visiting that church that day also reminded me how important it is for us to remember. It is important to remember those who were blessed in a sacred place and those who were laid to rest in a scared place. It is our duty to keep the historic flame alive.

Virgin Mary
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Stained Glass Window
Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

Santa Gertrudis Church
Mora, New Mexico
~~Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)~~

The Saloon: A Piece of Me

August 21, 2012

Hillside near the Mora Cemetery where my great great
maternal grandfather Roman Valdez was laid to rest.
**Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)**


Recently I was taken to see a building on the main drag in Mora, New Mexico. One of my oldest Valdez relatives gave me a personal tour of the street in the small town which my maternal ancestors called home, and my contemporaries call home. With the help of Facundo Valdez, I have slowly been collecting pieces of my Valdez family history. There was one particular building I was most interested in that day. It was the site of a former saloon and possible restaurant owned by my family. The Valdez family goes back in that area farther than people can remember first hand, but Jose Maria Valdez was instrumental in securing the Mora Land Grant. In 1851, he and Vicente Romero submitted a petition to secure the grant for the settlers of Mora. On my last visit to Mora, I captured many stories and took a variety of photographs, but for tonight I wanted to share my trials and tribulations with this particular piece of that history.

In 2004, I conducted an oral history interview with Facundo Valdez. In that interview he told me that my great great maternal grandfather Roman Valdez owned a saloon on the main street in Mora. The following week I checked the New Mexico Business Directories and did not find the saloon. I was very disappointed. Shortly after my maternal grandmother passed away in 2007, I decided to check the directories again. I had a feeling that she was encouraging me supernaturally to do so. I couldn’t believe it when I located an entry! As a writer I was very familiar with widows and orphans in typesetting, and to my amazement, I fell victim to just that. I had missed the entry a million times because it was a dangler under the next alphabetical town! My grandmother once told me that she would sing in the saloon as a young girl. I think she wanted me to find that entry and I did. There it was plain as day on page 400 of the 1906 New Mexico Business Directory, which reads “Valdez Roman A, saloon.”

**Archuleta Bar**
The former location of the saloon owned by my
great great maternal grandfather in Mora, New Mexico.
**Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)**


So far I can confirm that there was a saloon named after my great great maternal grandfather Roman Valdez. I have now confirmed the site and have taken photographs of the building which currently stands marked “Archuleta Bar” in black spray paint. This bar was “owned and operated” for over 25 years by Frances Archuleta who passed away in 2003. Her maiden name was also Valdez. In the 1880 Territorial Census, Roman Valdez was living in Herreras (Mora). He was 24 years old, and he was a “farmer.” His wife Porfiria was 21 years old. Here is my problem— I am stumped with the 1900 census records (12th US Census- Precinct 1- Mora County). There are two Roman Valdez men captured there in the same precinct, but I have a strong feeling they are the same man. Not only do they live in the same precinct, they are notably close to the same age? One man is listed as a “Bar Tender,” but was married to a Margarita Valdez. I do not recognize this woman’s name? She was 20 years younger than he, which is significant and there was an Ortega “sister” in the household?

According to a handwritten pedigree chart I obtained sometime back from Gabriel Meléndez my cousin, the Ortega surname is in this line. That chart should be accurate, as Meléndez is the Professor and Chair of the American Studies Program with the University of New Mexico. The age of this Roman Valdez and his profession is right on and in line with the 1906 ownership of a saloon, but what about the other entry in the 1900 census? That entry lists Roman Valdez with his wife, and my great great maternal grandmother Porfiria Maes. Could Roman have been married to two women simultaneously? I am not sure? Since it has been a few years since I have seen Gabriel, I may need to contact him and see what else he has come up with in regard to our family history? By 1915, the Valdez Saloon disappears from the New Mexico Business Directory, and by 1920 Roman was again listed as a “farmer” at 62 years old with Porfiria Maes Valdez (his wife) at 61 years old (14th US Census- Precinct 1- Mora County).

(LEFT) Photograph of my great great maternal grandfather Roman Valdez. The photo was given to me by Facundo Valdez Jr., and was found in Santiago Chapel behind a picture of the Virgin Mary. My great maternal grandfather Alfonso Valdez helped rebuild the chapel for the 3rd time in 1942 along with his brother Candido Valdez and other builders from the Mora Valley who cared to restore it.
(RIGHT) Tombstone of Roman Valdez in Mora, New Mexico
**Photograph by Felicia Lujan (2012)**

I will need to confirm that Roman died on April 2, 1924. My uncle took me to the grave site and I took beautiful photos of the tombstone and the hillside near the cemetery. Maybe I will ask to be buried there as well? I will need to track down a sacramental burial record and a certificate of death to confirm that he was about 67 years old when he died. He was still very young if that’s the case. So you see there is still so much to iron out, but at least I now have photographs of a site I have been wanting to visit for a very, very long time- the Roman Valdez Saloon.

Knowledge Eater

July 22, 2012


The NAGARA/CoSA Conference is over. It was a great conference. I met some wonderful people, visited with some old friends, and brushed up on digital initiatives/standards. As always, I am saving the best for last. Sometime this week I will post about the most interesting person I met. I spent some time talking with him about digital initiatives at the National Archives which will blow your mind! For tonight, here is an “in a nutshell” look at where my hours and thoughts were over the last few days.

  • The President’s Directive on Managing Government Records with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Hiring Electronic Records Archivists- What Expertise is Required with Professors and Archivists from Kansas and North Carolina
  • Electronic Records Roundtable
  • ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories with Mark Conrad, Archives Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration and Archivists and Technology Specialists from Kentucky
  • Use of Public Records Laws to Bypass Discovery Rules with Records Managers from Ohio and Nevada and two Attorneys from New Mexico
  • Electronic Records Archives (ERA): Accomplishments and Lessons Learned with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • 1940 Census: The Next Generation with Training Officers and Archivists from National Archives and Records Administration
  • Who Controls Where the Governors’ Papers Go with Archivists from Texas, Nevada and South Dakota
  • Redaction, Expungement and Sealing of Electronic Records with Attorneys, Administrators, and Records Managers from New Mexico, Tennessee, and Arizona

  • …………..NARA holds Congressional Records as a courtesy, but they do not have legal custody. I didn’t know that!
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds about 18TB of electronic Congressional Records that are not accessible to the public through NARA.
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds 246+TB of 2010 Census data, 34TB of Federal Records, and 80TB of Presidential Records.
  • …………..There were 550 Hard Drives from the George W. Bush Administration.
  • …………..George W. Bush changed the law to have his records sent to College Station instead of the State Archives.
  • …………..Georgia Tech developed sophisticated software to mull through data on hard drives allowing a 10% drop down to what actually needs to be addressed as a record.
  • …………..NARA is using open source solutions to manage digital information. Nice… Wooohooo!
  • …………..The Open Archives Information System (OAIS) Reference Model (Magenta Book– June 2012) is available at
  • …………..Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist (TRAC) is available at
  • …………..ISO 16363 self assessment template is available at
  • …………..ISO 16363 is still the standard and defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.
  • …………..Web ARChive file format (WARC) is still being used for web harvesting and digital preservation (ISO Standard).
  • …………..DuraCloud (with a combination of DSpace and Fedora) an open source platform and managed service that provides on-demand storage and services for digital content in the cloud.
  • …………..ACE (Auditing Control Environment) is being used for digital preservation.
  • …………..Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe System (LOCKSS) is still being used. The system is open source and allows development and support for the preservation of and access to web based collections.
  • …………..Archivematica (open source) is a digital preservation system designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to digital content.
  • …………..Commercial products being used included Tessella SDB, Preservica, and OCLC Digital Archive.
  • …………..Some states are restricting access to blue prints and building plans for security reasons.

An Archivist Eating Acronym Soup

July 11, 2012

I am about ready to sip on some acronym soup at the 2012 NAGARA/CoSA Annual Conference. The soup is on with some PhDs, JDs, MAs, MLSs, JDs, BAs, CAs, CRMs, and CDIMs. There may even be a few mystery acronyms in there? I am hungry already!! Eating knowledge— one of my specialties. Yum! Haha… Next week I am attending the joint conference put on by the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and Council of State Archivists. It will be a fine time to see what other archivists and records managers are up to? The 2012 NAGARA/CoSA Conference will be held in my city (Santa Fe, New Mexico) at the Inn at Loretto from July 18-21. The Diamond Sponsor for this conference is and the Platinum Sponsors are Family Search and Tessella. I am excited to learn, network with like minded people, and share information with anyone willing to learn before or after the conference. Some of the speakers will be from my agency, but the vast majority are traveling from all over the county to present here. The conference will open with a welcome from David Coss, Mayor of the City of Santa Fe. There will also be a “Greeting from the Archivist of the United States,” David Ferriero (NARA) followed by a session on the President’s Directive on Managing Government Records. Steve Adams, a Senior Records Analyst with NARA will speak, as will Albert Lama, the Chief Deputy Attorney General here in New Mexico. I am sure I will come away with some great information. It is sure to be outstanding.
Soup anyone?

Some of the conference sessions will include:

Archives 101
Collaboration of Native and Archival Communities
Fundamentals of Records Management
County Records: Access to Local History
A Thin Black Line- Researching Confidential Records
Who Controls Where the Governors’ Papers Go?
Records Management in the Cloud
Hiring Electronic Records Archivists
The Civil War Sesquicentennial
The Records Manager’s Role in E-Discovery
Archives, Agreements, and Access
Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories
The Future of the Past: A Report to the President
Use of Public Records Laws to Bypass Discovery Rules
SERI – State Electronic Records Initiative Update
Picture This! – Using Social Media to Feature Archival Collections
Judicial Records Management vs. Technology
1940 Census: The Next Generation
Essential Records and Emergency Planning
Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders
Alternative Rural Hispanic Health Beliefs and a Dance and Music Video
Preserving Non-Written Ethnic Immigration Stories
Archives and Access Tools: Patron Response to Investment
The Digital Public Library of America
National Collections in a Digital Environment
Redaction, Expungement and Sealing of Electronic Records

What’s In a Day?

June 20, 2012

*****MY HOMETOWN*****
“Pojoaque,” New Mexico by Edward Curtis (1905)
Image No. LC-USZ62-118930m
Library of Congress– Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Today I spent my lunch and an afternoon break looking at the 1940 United States Census. I have been so excited to take a closer look, so I figured that today was a good day to start. I decided to take the day off from the gym. What?? Unfortunately, yesterday I lost one of my iPods. It was a particularly delightful topper on my already painful day. Since I use that iPod everyday, I turned into SuperB. I spent today detaching from my lost data and connecting with new data.

At first glance of the census data for New Mexico (Mora and Santa Fe Counties), I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t spend very long, but I didn’t see anybody I was looking for? Maybe I was not focused on the task at hand?? I will need to sit down, concentrate, make a plan. I found myself wondering why the National Archives and Records Administration archivists or technicians, or project managers, didn’t think about sorting the precincts chronologically before undertaking a costly microfilm/preservation project? I know it couldn’t have been the archival principals  of provenance and original order?? It is beyond me, but then again I am a Virgo and the first thing I would have done is sort things out!  

I checked the 1940 census for: my paternal line (Nambe for the Ortiz and Garduno families, Pojoaque and San Ildefonso Pueblo for the Lujan and Roybal families; and then my maternal line (Mora for the Valdez and Brazil families, and La Cueva for the Garcia family). I quickly realized that I need to formulate a better plan before I jump in next time. I will make an organizational chart. The chart will have the family names, the lines, and where they should have been in 1940 (which precinct and maybe ages). 

I did see some interesting things that I wasn’t looking for. Maria and Julian Martinez, the famous San Ildefonso potters were captured. I saw other family members (not the ones I was looking for). There were several people listing their jobs as “common.” How sad is that? What I found most interesting is that people were still calling humans “servants?” I did note that every entry I came across listing a servant was not someone from New Mexico. Almost every person keeping a servant was from the East Coast.  

Anyhow— maybe another day will be better, and I will find more? I know I probably will not find my beloved iPod, but I don’t want to think about it because I will just cry!

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