Archive for the ‘Family Records’ category

Katelin’s Graduation Party

June 8, 2014






Digitizing My History

June 13, 2013
«~• 2004 letter from the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California •~»

«~• 2004 letter from the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California •~»

I finally took the time to have several Super 8mm reels of home movies professionally digitized. This is a family history project that has been weighing heavily on my mind because I knew I needed to do something to preserve the precious footage.

The reels were shot by my mom and dad in the 1970s and 1980s. I was so happy when they were given to me by my dad with a dual 8mm projector. I think my mom still has the camera used to shoot the footage. I have seen some of the movies. They are so amazing. There is nothing like seeing images of my family from so long ago. Much of the digitized footage will be imagery I have never seen before, which is extremely exciting!

In 2004, three reels of the home movies belonging to my family were preserved as part of the Home Movie DVD Project. The films were shipped to the Academy Film Archive for digitization and copies are now part of the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California. That is actually the footage I have seen.

A while back I digitized a little clip of me and the twins (my brother and sister). We were apparently pretending to be cowgirls and a cowboy. Our trio was parading around in hats, stick horses, and boots. My sis was doin’ a little cowgirl stomp. It was really cute! I put that one up on the My Voyage Through Time YouTube portal.

Last week I bought a 16GB thumb drive to ship to Albuquerque. I mailed the drive today. The digitized films will live on that for a while and I will make other copies to preserve. The excitement is killing me. I can’t wait to see what’s on there!? I only wish they had sound. Once I receive the footage back, the next step will be to give everyone in my family a copy. I’m sure my new family history project will be appreciated by all!

Courageousness and the Asiatic Pacific Theater

April 6, 2013

Last week I helped someone who was doing research for the Names Project. The project honors “New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) units” which “served with bravery” and sacrifice “in the defense of Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor” during World War II. There was a memorial held in Albuquerque today to honor these brave champions. It was interesting that the very same day I helped that man,  I had an email come in through a list serve about the historical preservation efforts taking place with the Library of Congress.

It makes me sad to think that I never had a chance to meet or speak with my maternal grandfather about his service in the Asiatic Pacific Theater during WWII. I have so many questions I wish I could ask. I wonder what he was feeling when he left the United States on a ship of nervous men headed to the Far East? My grandpa Phil entered the service less than a year after the Fall of the Philippines in 1942. I wonder if he was scared leaving his family behind knowing that close to 2,000 New Mexico soldiers had been forced by the Japanese to march over 60 miles when the Philippines went down? I think he arrived in Manilla, but I need to confirm that. His arrival to the Far East came in 1945, just a few months before the Assault on Luzon (codename S~Day). I am not sure if he was part of that, but I need to find out.
180 meridian

The sacrifices that our soldiers make leave me in awe. It must be mentally taxing to leave your homeland not knowing if you will return. This month I will take time to remember the soldiers who sacrificed for us during the Asiatic Pacific Theater of World War II. Thank you to my grandpa Phil~ the grandpa I never had the chance to meet. He passed away right before I was born.

Timeline of Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II
1939~1945~ World War II
1941~1946~ Asiatic Pacific Theater
1941~ December~ Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor and two sites near Manila, Philippines
1941~1942~ Philippines Campaign (Bataan Peninsula)

1942~ January~ Battle of Bataan Begins (15,000 captured and interned)
1942~ April~ Fall of the Philippines/Bataan Death March
1942~ December~ Date of Induction~ Phil Garcia
1945~ February and March~ Smallpox/Typhoid/Tetanus Immunizations~ Phil Garcia
1945~ August~ Date of Departure~ Asiatic Pacific Theater~ Phil Garcia
1945~ September~Date of Arrival~ Asiatic Pacific Theater~ Phil Garcia

1945~ January~ Assault on Luzon (codename S~Day)
1946~ February~ Phil Garcia crossed the 180º Meridian toward the USA
1946~ February~ Date of Separation~ Phil Garcia

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)~~

My Love Affair with Writing

September 9, 2012

The Love Poem by Felicia Lujan
Written on December 31, 1983 at 8 years old
My First Attempt at Poetry

Is there anything better to find? The other day I came across a poem I wrote when I was just eight years old! Eight years old?? With original art work! Nice… I don’t know what could demonstrate my age old love affair with writing and creativity better than a love poem I penciled as a child? I even made this into a little card. My mom— I love, love, love her for saving this. It may be one of the most special things of mine that I have come across in the family papers she has passed on to me. It’s kinda funny that she wrote “sad” on it, because the poem isn’t sad at all. This just goes back to how a reader of another person’s writing interprets the piece. I could give her a big hug right now for writing the date on it. Thank you mom! This could just be the first poem I ever wrote? There have been so many. This one was for my parents. I just couldn’t believe that I was only one year older than my son is today when I wrote this? Wow! It seems I was sort of advanced for my age or maybe boys are different? I’m not sure? I mean- I can’t picture my son writing like this? Anyhow- I wanted to share the evidence tonight. Here is evidence that I have been in love with writing farther back than I can even remember!
What a great find…

The Love Poem by Felicia Lujan
Written on December 31, 1983 at 8 years old
My First Attempt at Poetry

My Sun Symbol and Special Things

September 5, 2012

I will love the light for it shows me
the way. Yet I will endure the
darkness for it shows me the stars.
~Og Mandino

~~Sun Wind Chime~~
The sun is one of my symbols and after
taking the photo, I realized that another
of my symbols is in the background~ bird.
That is a bird house that my son Daryn and I
made together and then painted last summer.

On Tuesday I had a surprise visit from my godmother. She dropped by my work to bring me a birthday gift. I love that my friends and family know me so well. I did adore every single thing I was given this year. When I opened her gift, I couldn’t believe that there was yet another of my symbols~ the sun. Her gift included light (in the form of a large cherry scented candle) and a silver wind chime (with a sun face). So funny… The chime was small and sounded beautiful. I am one of the rare people who would say that the absolute best present I received came in the form of paper. I always say I am such a nerd, but I do love it! After I opened my gift my aunt Rita turned to me and said “and…….I have been wanting to give you these.” I stood silent as she pulled a blue booklet and aged paper from mid-air. She opened each and shared them with me. My first words were “this is the best birthday present I was given.” The two items belonged to my maternal grandmother who has passed away. The 5 year anniversary of her death passed only days ago. It is also her birthday on September 24. My godmother had given me my grandma’s original diploma and marriage license. These are two items I have never seen and that I do not have in my archival collection of family papers. What a gift…. I am smiling just thinking about it. I think my grandma would be happy to know they were given to me. She knew how much I adore history~and simply just how much I care.

~~1933 Public School Diploma~~
The diploma belonged to my maternal
grandmother Corina Valdez.
She graduated in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


~~1933 Public School Diploma~~
The diploma belonged to my maternal
grandmother Corina Valdez.
She graduated in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


~~1941 Marriage License~~
The license belonged to my maternal
grandparents Filadelfio Garcia and Corina Valdez.
The certificate is a civil marriage record and
was recorded in Mora, New Mexico.

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.

Why Wait to Learn About Crypto Connections?

July 18, 2012

Journal of Spanish, Portuguese,
and Italian Crypto-Jews
Cover of Volume I, Spring 2009

One thing I hate about the summer is my lack of time. There are always so many things going on- far more than I can successfully grasp! One conference I am sorry that I will miss is the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies. The conference will be held next week in Albuquerque, New Mexico from July 22-24, 2012. I would have loved to attend a special session being presented by a group of scholars, historians and genealogists. I know two of them very well. Exploring Hispano Family History, a genealogy workshop, will be presented by historian and genealogist José Antonio Esquibel, Henrietta Martinez Christmas, and a few others. I have been very interested in the scholarly studies being unearthed in this area. The oral history of my maternal line denotes a possible connection to Crypto-Jewish ancestry. When the DNA of my maternal line was analyzed not long ago, the DNA came back Native American. I believe that oral traditions hold firm ground in history, and so there must be a connection somehow linking the great grandmother I was named after to Crypto-Jewish ancestry. Her family came from Portugal through Canada in the 1800s. A great publication to check out is the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews. The journal contains the comprehensive research of contemporary scholars if you are interested in studies of this nature. My maternal DNA or mtDNA did return with a Native American result, so I have come to an educated conclusion that the Crypto-Jewish connection is not directly maternal. I think that the missing link may actually be my great grandmother’s father. If I wasn’t already attending the NAGARA/CoSA Conference here is Santa Fe, I would have planned to learn more about Crypto Judaic Studies. The Chair of the agency I work for is a Senior Adviser to the Board of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies. He is also a founding member of the society. Dr. Stanley Hordes is a Former New Mexico State Historian who wrote a book titled To the End of the Earth (a must read). I have had many, many conversations with Dr. Hordes, who always insists I call him Stan.  At one point when my grandmother was alive, he wanted to interview her. Unfortunately, she passed away before he ever had the opportunity. I could kick myself a million times because I have missed so many chances to learn more about my family history just waiting for tomorrow. Don’t wait! Learn more today…

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!

Summoning my Inner Intellectual Warrior

June 14, 2012

*****Celt-Iberian Mercenary*****
The “S” is for “SUPER” Hahahahaha!

I am looking forward to attending a special lecture in conjunction with the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Annual Meeting & Conference. This year the conference is titled Santa Fe –Where Trails and Cultures Meet, and Angel Cervantes will be presenting his research on the Celt-Iberians tomorrow. Angel is the administrator of the New Mexico DNA Project, and he has a research group for the Iberian Peninsula. My familial Y-DNA was connected to Haplogroup R1b1a2 in 2011. I am excited to see what Angel has learned since then. DNA has established that my ancient forefather was a Celt-Iberian. These Celtic people were living in the Iberian Peninsula in what is now north central Spain. It makes some sense that I would be connected to the Celt-Iberians, as I do hope my ancient forefather fought for what he believed in. I am a fighter— and I continuously summon my inner intellectual warrior. The article I included below was written a few days ago by the Senior Editor of Big News and Live Events for the Huffington Post. Craig Kanalle is apparently my contemporary, ancient cousin! 🙂


What a DNA Test Revealed About My Family History

by Craig Kanalle, Senior Editor, Big News & Live Events, The Huffington Post

Posted: 06/11/2012 5:31 pm

I’ve been researching my family tree since 1998, and I’ve long been curious about DNA as a way to learn more about your roots. The technology has come a long way in the last decade, and it’s become more affordable too. Finally, I went ahead and ordered a Y-DNA test (for my paternal line).

On Friday night, at 1:30 a.m., the results popped in my email inbox from the FamilyTreeDNA lab in Houston, Texas!

When I logged in to see the results, 29 “matches” popped up — these are living people today with whom I share a common direct male ancestor with in about the last 1,000 years. (To be clear, the Y-DNA only passes father to son, so this traces my father’s father’s father, etc., and same for them.) These matches live in Ireland, England, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and presumably elsewhere (some don’t list a location).


Of course, for any matches to come up, I need to have living blood relatives through the male line who took DNA tests themselves. And I’m so grateful and excited that two people I’m about to address did…

I had two close matches, genealogically-speaking, and the rest were more distant. The surnames to those closest matches? A Kennelly and a MacNeely, variations of my own last name. They both live in Ireland!

My relationship to the MacNeely, who I learned is about 28 years old today and lives in County Mayo, Ireland, goes back to a common male ancestor with the surname Kennelly (sometimes Mac an Fhaili in Ireland), MacNally, or McAnally who lived around the 1600s.

My relationship to the Kennelly is closer. He lives in Ireland today in County Cork near the border with County Limerick (where my great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Kennelly was born — he immigrated to Canada during the Potato Famine). We seem to both descend of a Kennelly born in the 1700s.

What makes the connection to these two men so interesting is that most Irish genealogical records burned in fires in Dublin and don’t exist today. Without them, it’s hard to trace Irish roots any further back than the 1800s. But nonetheless I’ve made links with long lost cousins, prior to that time so many Irish researchers hit a brick wall.

I’ve written emails to both of them and hope to hear back!


The rest of the matches are more distant, though interestingly I found both a McKee and a McGee, with whom I have a common male ancestor in Ireland who lived around the 1400s or earlier. Also a McSorley, a Koster, a Walker, a Crauford and a Hannon who all share common male ancestors with me back around the same period.

But what I found most interesting of the distant matches — the ADAMS connection. Three of my matches were males with the last name ADAMS. There was also one female whose maiden name was ADAMS (likely submitting a male relative’s DNA) and one Smith who says he traces back (father’s father’s father, etc.) to a male Adams. There was a second Smith who I suspect could also go back to an Adams.

In all, that’s five Adams descendants, possibly six, in my 29 matches. And sure enough, I learned the DNA subgroup / family group of former U.S. presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams matches my own.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams trace their Adams roots back to southwestern England, right across the water from southern Ireland, where my Kennelly roots lie.

My matches showed that my genealogical relationship to the Adams family lies in a common male ancestor way back, around the 1100s or 1200s. It’s my best guess that an Adams, or a member of the same family in which male relatives took Adams as a surname, migrated from southwestern England to Ireland around that time period or shortly after, and that my Kennellys descend from this family.

It’s also possible, however, that the connection goes back to before surnames were used at all, as they were just sprouting up around that time.

Either way, there is no doubt that I am blood related to the Adams family if you trace back through Y-DNA (my father’s father’s father, etc., and theirs). Eventually, we hit a single male figure who we both come from. And that’s pretty cool.


I did some more research on my Y-DNA haplogroup, R1b1a2, and if you keep going back (through my father’s father’s father, etc.), my direct male ancestors were Celtics. They seem to have lived in Western Europe at the time of Jesus Christ and the Ancient Romans and Ancient Greeks likely saw them as uncivilized barbarians. They were likely tribal people in B.C. times, nomadic herders, moving around as famines and droughts hit.

Migration patterns show that my DNA group likely originated in western Asia, in the Middle East or Black Sea region (modern day Turkey), living there 20,000 and 30,000 years ago. There are relatives with similar DNA going thousands of years back in what is now Iran, India, Syria, Israel and Turkey. This family group also branched off into Africa, where the Y-DNA is alive and well in Central Africa. One branch ended up in Egypt specifically, and the Egyptian Pharaoh King Tut belongs to the same haplogroup as I.

After the Ice Age around 10,000 B.C., the larger haplogroup I come from R1b is believed to have brought agriculture to Europe from western Asia. It ended up becoming one of the most popular family groups in Europe, with some 50% of Western Europeans and Americans tracing back to them and 90% of those in Ireland.

My more specific subgroup R1b1a2a1a1b4 seems to have lived in southern Ireland, northern Ireland, and southwestern England in the last 1,000 years or so.


I was so excited by these results that I upgraded my account to trace my maternal line too. I also put in a “Family Finder” request so it gives me a rough overall breakdown of my genealogical DNA (what percentage I am Western European, what percentage other origins, etc.).

My DNA is already at the lab, so now I just have to wait another month or so, and I’m sure to find more interesting things.

Until then, I hope to hear back from my Kennelly and McNeely cousins overseas, who I emailed as I said earlier. I may contact some of these more distant relatives as well.

And later on, in November, I’m going to Ireland for the first time ever. I hope to track down Mr. Kennelly, Mr. MacNeely or at least more of my roots based on the new evidence I’ve uncovered. The power of DNA… it’s really something.

YouTube Video- On the Ranch_Lujans_4.14.2012

April 15, 2012

A Cowboy and Cowgirls: The Lujan Home Movies….. Footage of my brother and sister (the twins) and I- dressed as a cowboy and cowgirls. Funny… This footage was recaptured in a low-tech way off of an 8mm film projector (off my wall with my iPod Touch) so it is not the best quality- still it is funny! My brother is “going to town” on his rocking horse, I am attempting to ride a rolling horse that is obviously my sisters and way to small for me, and my sister is doing the “tin man” stomp! She is such a cowgirl!!! (see the post below for more info)

A Cowboy and Cowgirls: The Lujan Home Movies

April 15, 2012

This weekend I decided it was time to pull out a very special, old collection of family records. The records are motion picture films (moving images). The films are those which survived, and they were filmed by my parents using an 8mm camera. I started wondering what happened to the actual camera, but sometime back my dad did pass over the projector and seven films to me. I remember feeling so happy when he gave them to me. On Saturday night I watched a few of them. After pulling out the old 8mm reels and the projector (which my dad also passed along years ago), I realized that it would be the first time Daryn would see footage of me as a child.

Movie still from the Lujan Home Movies of the twinz (Thomas and Laura) and Felicia dressed up in western attire.

When we played the footage of my brother and sister (the twins) and I dressed up in western attire, it was so funny. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t stop. I immediately decided that I had to capture the footage (in a very unsophisticated way- right off the wall using my iPod) and email it to my sister. My mom just happened to be with her, and they were also laughing when they watched it. My mom told my sister that my brother Thomas loved rocking as a baby, thus the “going to town” on his horse in this clip! I obviously was a little old for that small plastic, rolling horse, but insisted on getting in on the action. When my sister and I caught up on the phone, we laughed our ashes off (yes – I said ashes). It was straight comedy! She said “what the heck was I doing the tin man or what?” She was working a bit of leg action in her baby march! She has always been a cowgirl, and I always tell her that. What fun it was to take a peek back at us living in the moment! Since I wanted to share the clip, I posted it to YouTube. Take a look if you get a chance! It is really funny and not the best reproduction of course (since I recorded it off my wall)… You can watch the short clip titled On the Ranch_Lujans_4.14.2012 at the following link:

I really need to start doing more to preserve these films. Sometimes I hate being an archivist, and maybe I hate that I care. The loss of this footage would be tragic for me. There are so many things on there I would not want to part with. The footage includes people who are no longer with us like my Grandma Corine, my Grandpa Gilbert, and my Uncle Donald. I really thank both of my parents for taking the time to capture these memories! I am so proud that they took the time to do that… They will be valued by me forever. There are still two films I have not seen because I need to track down a 200 foot take up reel. I would also like to purchase some archival quality preservation supplies for the collection at some point, and fully describe the contents of each reel. The footage is important to my family history. The reels I have seen thus far have: footage of my parents building our house in Pojoaque; my uncle and my mom playing basketball, my dad and my uncles hunting and by the campfire; my maternal grandma, and my paternal grandparents; and lots of images of me, my siblings, and my cousins growing up.

Print screens from the Home Movie Day Web Site of the Lujan Home Movies. Includes some of the clips selected by Living Room Cinema for a DVD and preservation by the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California. There is footage of me and my cousin fighting for a baseball, and of me picking flowers in the mountains.

Several years ago, I did have the opportunity to preserve some of the footage as it was included in a preservation project with the Center for Home Movies in Los Angeles, California. A staff member with the Academy Film Archive accepted three of the 8mm reels from my family collection in 2004. The reels they accepted included: footage of my dad picking a flower for my mom; footage of my parents building our house in Pojoaque; and footage of a trip my parents took to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1981 with friends. One of the Home Movie Day participants called home movies the “original reality television.” That is so true! I guess I just have to keep taking baby steps toward preserving family history.

YouTube Video- On the Ranch_Lujans_4.14.2012

Living Room Cinema- Center for Home Movies
Lujan Home Movies included on DVD

Footage from the Home Movie Day Trailer
Media Page>Video>Trailer>”Scenes from Home Movie Day”

To the honor of death and the celebration of new life!

April 5, 2012

***********Obituary of Julian Garcia from the Santa Fe New Mexican (3.30.1991 and 3.31.1991)


This post is dedicated to my cousins

Julian, Jessica, Jackee and Jamee (the twins),

and my aunt JoAnn.

I remember the day that my uncle Julian passed away like it was yesterday. I was standing in my friend Becky’s kitchen that day when the phone started ringing. By the tone of my friend’s voice, I knew that something was wrong. When I picked up the phone, I was told that my uncle had died in a car accident. For a moment, I remember everything just stopped. I couldn’t hear the people around me anymore, and all I could think about was his family, my mom, and my grandma. I think about my uncle and all my cousins every year at this time because my uncle Julian passed away on Good Friday. During my uncle’s funeral I sat with my cousin Phillip. He and I were very close at that time. I remember we just couldn’t believe that our uncle had passed away? Since he was laid to rest on April Fool’s day I recall our conversation about how surreal it all seemed. My cousin Phil was so inspired by fitness back then. He always talked about how my uncle Julian was the man, and how he showed him how to lift weights. So many of us were young, and so many of us were shocked by his loss. It was tragic. Despite the loss of their father my cousin’s are all doing so well. My cousin Julian with a great personality, and amazing little son, my cousin Jessica taking awe inspiring classes and falling in love with history, my cousin Jamee a professional lifeguard with a new baby boy, and my cousin Jackee recently obtaining her MA. I am so proud of all of them all! Today I emailed my cousin Jessica to ask if she remembered the year of her father’s death. Once she gave me the date, I tracked down my uncle Julian’s obituary. It has been 21 years since he passed away. It is so sad to think that he was only 32 years old at the time. When I was young, he seemed older than that. When I read that he was 32, I couldn’t help but feel that he was just a baby himself. On the second email I received from my cousin Jessica, she let me know that my cousin Jamee (who was pregnant) had her baby. She had a boy and named him Leo Miguel. I was again shocked to learn that she had the baby boy on the anniversary of her father’s burial. Baby Leo was undoubtedly a very special gift from her father, call it a message of sorts! So here is to the honor of death, and the celebration of new life! Congratulations on the arrival of Baby Leo Jamee!!!

My cousin Jamee Garcia and her new baby boy Leo Miguel

Countdown to the Release of the First Digitized US Census!

March 28, 2012

I am so excited to take a look at the new (but old) 1940 United States Census! Five days left… Yeah!!! There will be so much to learn about the country, New Mexico and my family. These are some interesting things about the 1940 census. Check them out.



Family Tree Friday: Interesting facts about the 1940 Census

Here is another entry from guest blogger Diane Petro, Archives Technician in the Archives I Research Support Branch (RD-DC), Research Services, Archival Operations – Washington, DC.  Diane helps staff the research rooms at the National Archives Building and has also been working on reference activities relating to the upcoming 1940 Census release. Time is moving swiftly and April 2, 2012, will be here before we know it.  Reading statistics and instructions to enumerators have taken up a lot of my time; time well spent, because there is a lot of interesting information about the 1940 census that doesn’t necessarily pertain to genealogy.  Here are a few items that seemed of general interest.

1.  In August 1939, the bureau conducted a special census in St. Joseph and Marshall Counties, Indiana using questions proposed for 1940 census.  The result of this test modified some questions and finalized the schedule design.  (These schedules did not survive.)

2.  Officials agreed to add new questions on migration, income, fertility, education, social security, usual occupation, and unemployment.

3.  The income questions in columns 32 and 33 caused controversy. Republican Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire mounted a campaign to force the administration to delete the questions. It was unsuccessful, but a compromise allowed individuals who did not want to give the information to the enumerator to send in a confidential card listing their income.   A “C” (for confidential report) will appear in the upper right hand margin opposite the name on the census record.  In the end, only 2% of the population did not answer the question.

4.  Between 1930 and 1940 the U.S. population dropped to a historical low of 7.3 percent, however, the population in Washington DC increased by 36%.

5.  Internal migration redistributed 9 Congressional House seats. Six seats went to the western states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oregon.  Three went to the southern states of Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois each lost a seat. So did Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Indiana.<

6.  In April 1940, unemployment stood at 15 percent of the labor force and totaled 8 million.

7.  The Census worked with the Bureau of Vital Statistics to check accurate birth registration in each state.  This test was the first conducted simultaneously for every state in the country. Census enumerators gathered information on infant cards such as, exact date of birth, exact place of birth, maiden name of mother, and hospital of birth.  Unfortunately these cards have been disposed of.

8.  The U.S. Census Bureau conducted a publicity drive using radio programs, newspaper advertisements, mass mailings, and teacher involvement to encourage cooperation and participation in the census.The Three Stooges made a short film in 1940 titled “No Census No Feeling”.

9.  The 1940 census fell on the 150th anniversary of census taking in America.

10.  Enumerator salaries ranged between .5 cents and .8 cents a person, depending on the geographic area and the schedule they were enumerating.  Agricultural enumerators were paid more because of the greater distance they had to travel between farm households.

Looking for Someone? Countdown to the 1940 Release…

February 27, 2012

From: Public Affairs []
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 6:31 AM
To: Public Affairs
Subject: National Archives Announces Website for Free 1940 Census Release Online on April 2, 2012:


February 21, 2012

National Archives Announces Website for
Free 1940 Census Release Online on April 2, 2012:

Tomorrow Starts the Countdown of ‘40 Days to the ’40 Census’

Washington, DC. . . Today the National Archives, with its partner, launched its new website in preparation for its first-ever online U.S. census release, which will take place on April 2, 2012, at 9 a.m. (EST). The public is encouraged to bookmark the website now in order to more quickly access the 1940 census data when it goes live. No other website will host the 1940 census data on its April 2 release date.

The National Archives has teamed up with the U.S. Census Bureau to celebrate “40 Days to the ’40 Census.” Using social media channels to post videos, images, facts, and links to workshops nationwide, the National Archives is getting its researchers ready for the online launch on April 2. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (using hashtag #1940Census), Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and subscribe to our blogs: NARAtions and Prologue: Pieces of History.

On April 2, 2012, users will be able to search, browse, and download the 1940 census schedules, free of charge, from their own computers or from the public computers at National Archives locations nationwide through the new 1940 census website:

A National Archives 3:13 minute video short on its YouTube channel ( and on provides a “behind-the-scenes” view of staff preparations and gives viewers tips on how to access the data once it is launched on April 2. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of it.

Background on the 1940 Census

While the original intent of the census was to determine how many representatives each state was entitled to send to the U.S. Congress, it has become a vital tool for Federal agencies in determining allocation of Federal funds and resources. The census is also a key research tool for sociologists, demographers, historians, political scientists and genealogists. Many of the questions on the 1940 census are the standard ones: name, age, gender, and race, education, and place of birth. But the 1940 census also asks many new questions, some reflecting concerns of the Great Depression. The instructions ask the enumerator to enter  a circled x after the name of the person furnishing the information about the family; whether the person worked for the CCC, WPA, or NYA the week of March 24–30, 1940; and income for the 12 months ending December 31, 1939. The 1940 census also has a supplemental schedule for two names on each page. The supplemental schedule asks the place of birth of the person’s father and mother; the person’s usual occupation, not just what they were doing the week of March 24–30, 1940; and for all women who are or have been married, has this woman been married more than once and age at first marriage.

For the release of the 1940 census online, the National Archives has digitized the entire census, creating more than 3.8 million digital images of census schedules, maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience.

About is a family history website, owned and operated by Inflection a data commerce company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. Inflection was chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 census website. Learn more at

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For press information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at: 202-357-5300.

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