Archive for the ‘French Canadians’ category

U.S. auction to sell “unknown” 1758 document on proposed French Canada exodus to Louisiana

May 29, 2013

 

Very interesting…
~~~Felicia

 

~A French Tongue on The Weeknd~

November 19, 2012

~My new three disc “Trilogy” by The Weeknd~

I locked down the three disc “Trilogy” by The Weeknd this weekend. The compilation features remastered versions of three of the mixtapes already released by The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) who is a Canadian from Ontario. The album is all black and was released under Universal Republic Records, and The Weeknd’s very own label XO. His label so deserves to be called XO! Maybe it should even be called XOXO? Even though I had most of the tracks already, I had to support this amazing singer/songwriter. Not only did he get noticed by releasing his songs under his pen name on YouTube, but on one song that I had not heard (“Montreal”) he seductively sings in French. So awesome with lyrics to die for.

 

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)~~

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

Felisita Hails the Armistice: A Message from Paris

December 5, 2011

One of the most treasured items I have in my family papers is a tiny little booklet called a “cartera” in Spanish. The cartera belonged to my maternal great grandfather Alfonso Valdez, and great grandmother Felisita Brizal. At some point, I will post the digital images of the book, but for tonight I wanted to feature a special note in the back of the book. On the last page of the cartera, my great grandmother Felisita (who I am named after) noted the end of World War I. When I first read the note years ago, I remember wondering how she may have been feeling on that day? She was so moved by the end of the war, that she actually created a record. Her handwriting is beautiful. I understood that the date obviously marked the end of the first world war, however, I didn’t look further until tonight. There was a radio announcement made from Paris on November 11, 1918.  (OMG of course- 11.11) 🙂 The address said “hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o’clock, November 11th (French hour).”  (OMG of course- 11.11 @ 11!) 🙂 Then “at 5 AM on the morning of November 11 an armistice was signed in a railroad car parked in a French forest near the front lines.” Amazing! My great grandmother was French. So maybe now I have a better idea of what she did that day. Maybe she had relatives and friends on the front lines I have yet to learn about? On November 11, 1918, like those “all over the world,” she was likely “celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne,” and “hailing the armistice that meant the end of the war!!!”

The following is quoted from: Armistice – The End of World War I (1918)- EyeWitness to History – http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/armistice.htm

“The final Allied push towards the German border began on October 17, 1918. As the British, French and American armies advanced, the alliance between the Central Powers began to collapse. Turkey signed an armistice at the end of October, Austria-Hungary followed on November 3. Germany began to crumble from within. Faced with the prospect of returning to sea, the sailors of the High Seas Fleet stationed at Kiel mutinied on October 29. Within a few days, the entire city was in their control and the revolution spread throughout the country. On November 9 the Kaiser abdicated; slipping across the border into the Netherlands and exile. A German Republic was declared and peace feelers extended to the Allies. At 5 AM on the morning of November 11 an armistice was signed in a railroad car parked in a French forest near the front lines. The terms of the agreement called for the cessation of fighting along the entire Western Front to begin at precisely 11 AM that morning. After over four years of bloody conflict, the Great War was at an end. “…at the front there was no celebration.” Colonel Thomas Gowenlock served as an intelligence officer in the American 1st Division. He was on the front line that November morning and wrote of his experience a few years later. ‘On the morning of November 11 I sat in my dugout in Le Gros Faux, which was again our division headquarters, talking to our Chief of Staff, Colonel John Greely, and Lieutenant Colonel Paul Peabody, our G-1. A signal corps officer entered and handed us the following message:

Official Radio from Paris – 6:01 A.M., Nov. 11, 1918. Marshal Foch to the Commander-in-Chief.
1. Hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o’clock, November 11th (French hour). 2. The Allied troops will not go beyond the line reached at that hour on that date until further orders. [signed] MARSHAL FOCH – 5:45 A.M.

‘Well – fini la guerre!’ said Colonel Greely. ‘It sure looks like it,’ I agreed. ‘Do you know what I want to do now?’ he said. ‘I’d like to get on one of those little horse-drawn canal boats in southern France and lie in the sun the rest of my life.’ My watch said nine o’clock. With only two hours to go, I drove over to the bank of the Meuse River to see the finish. The shelling was heavy and, as I walked down the road, it grew steadily worse. It seemed to me that every battery in the world was trying to burn up its guns. At last eleven o’clock came – but the firing continued. The men on both sides had decided to give each other all they had-their farewell to arms. It was a very natural impulse after their years of war, but unfortunately many fell after eleven o’clock that day.

All over the world on November 11, 1918, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne, hailing the armistice that meant the end of the war. But at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.

After the long months of intense strain, of keying themselves up to the daily mortal danger, of thinking always in terms of war and the enemy, the abrupt release from it all was physical and psychological agony. Some suffered a total nervous collapse. Some, of a steadier temperament, began to hope they would someday return to home and the embrace of loved ones. Some could think only of the crude little crosses that marked the graves of their comrades. Some fell into an exhausted sleep. All were bewildered by the sudden meaninglessness of their existence as soldiers – and through their teeming memories paraded that swiftly moving cavalcade of Cantigny, Soissons, St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne and Sedan.

What was to come next? They did not know – and hardly cared. Their minds were numbed by the shock of peace. The past consumed their whole consciousness. The present did not exist-and the future was inconceivable.”

Grandma Corina (my maternal line)

August 2, 2011

My maternal grandmother was Corina Valdez y Brisal de Garcia. She grew up in Mora, New Mexico, and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was the eldest daughter of five children born to Alfonso Valdez and Felicitas Brisal. My grandma’s parents (my maternal great grandparents) were married on November 27, 1915. This was three years after New Mexico became a state. They married in Mora, and the services were held at La Parroquia de Santa Gertrudis. My grandma was born to her mother with a midwife present, 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). Chencha was the youngest sibling in the family. She and my grandmother lived together until they both passed within a short time from one another (a few years ago). They were very close, and I believe that one could not live without the other. They were best friends.


My grandmother’s family lived through turbulent years in Mora. The Mora Valley is enveloped by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. My grandma surely had memories of playing in or near the river, which runs through Mora County from the west to the east. This valley has been an active community for as long as memories and records run deep. Some of the early inhabitants of the area were Jicaralla Apaches. The Spanish Conquistadors made their way through the valley in the 1600s. Then in the 1700s, the beautiful streams and mountains invited French Trappers (many from Canada- and this included my family). The Brisal/Sanserman Family is actually connected to this history, and that will be explored in the years to come.  In the east, the Santa Fe Trail touched Mora, and Fort Union was a military base which helped provide protection to those who traveled the trail. My grandfather (Corina’s husband) had ties to Fort Union, and his military service will also be investigated at some point. Phil (Filadelfio) and Corina Garcia (my maternal grandparents) have both been interred in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

In 1966, my grandma Corina ran Santa Fe County Clerk. She did not get elected, however, I am proud of her for giving it her best shot! She was wise and would have made a great leader. A few years before she passed away, she gave me the original form she completed in order to run (her Declaration of Candidacy), as well as a Colonel Aide de Camp certificate, which was awarded to her by a former lieutenant governor. I was honored to get these documents from her, and I will forever treasure them.

The Genomic Heritage of French Canadians

June 7, 2011

This is a really great article from Discover Magazine… It also has a link to the New England Great Migration Project, which captures settlers from 1620-1640.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/01/the-genomic-heritage-of-french-canadians/

Brisol… Sanserman (My French Connection)

May 18, 2011

François-Marie Patorni has put together a beautiful site. On his site Patorni says… “I am a French American living in Santa Fe, researching elements for a book, “New Mexico: The French since the 1500s,” on the history of the French and French-Canadians in New Mexico. It will follow the pioneering journeys, struggles and triumphs of French immigrants, some famous as well as many other individuals and families, a few of whose descendents still maintain vibrant links with their relatives in France.” He has a section devoted to French surnames in New Mexico.

WHO WAS FRENCH IN OR ABOUT NEW MEXICO

1500 TO THE PRESENT

Draft as of March 14, 2011

http://newmexicofrenchhistory.com/families/all-names/


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