Archive for the ‘Lectures’ category

Houdini, Meteorites, and Airbursts: Oh My

January 9, 2015


~Dr. Boslough and Felicia~

I found myself wondering how many people with a scientific Ph.D. surrounded me in a room of at least 500 people tonight. It is so much more interesting for me to spend the night learning, writing or crafting then doing something completely mindless. I learned so much from the lecture of Dr. Mark Boslough, a physicist and New Mexico’s “expert on planetary impacts and global catastrophes.”

Dr. Boslough’s lecture was titled “2013 Chelyabinsk (Russian) Meteorite and Other Stories of Destructive Impacts and Airbursts on Earth.” It was very interesting and we walked out in amazement. On Valentine’s Day here in the United States in 2013, an asteroid “descended at about 19 kilometers per second exploding at high altitude in a momentary flash brighten than the sun and generating a shock wave that injured over a thousand people.” It was both scary and amazing to learn about because these things can be “more damaging than a nuclear explosion” and can generate more than enough heat (1800°C) to literally melt the Earth.


~Yes...I took notes and looked at stars.~

The lecture was sponsored by the New Mexico Academy of Science, which was founded in 1902. The academy was proud to host an event for Dr. Boslough who received his doctorate from CalTech. What did I find most interesting? Learning about the geologic origins of Libyan desert glass was rather cool. It was awesome to find out that King Tutankhamun had a chest plate which featured a scarab beetle carved from this desert glass. What a beautiful piece!!


~King Tut's breast plate with a scarab beetle carved from Libyan desert glass.~

Dr. Boslough has been featured on BBC, NOVA, PBS, and the Discovery and National Geography Channels. He even had an asteroid named after him (73520 Boslough, 2003 MB1). Super cool for a man who focused his career on geophysics right? He was very happy to report (he seemed star struck, but who could blame him) about his recent presentation in the Canary Islands with the notorious Stephen Hawking. Dr. Boslough showed us a piece of a meteorite that Hawking felt there. It seemed like he wanted to say “I’ll never wash this thing!”

Of course I had a question at the end… “What software do you use to render models and create simulations?” He stumbled around, but finally said they use Houdini. He also knew all about metadata!!! At first I thought he was joking by saying he used Houdini, because he was kind of comedic. At the end, Gail leaned over and whispered in my ear… “Have you heard of Houdini?” I told her no, but that I would look it up. I checked it out tonight and the physicist wasn’t kidding. Houdini is real. It runs in a Windows based system and is a 3D animation application software developed by Side Effects Software of Toronto. Maybe that was the other thing I found most interesting!

The Food Revolution

October 24, 2013

★Quote on the Santa Fe Farmers Market wall.

Tonight I attended a very informative lecture in the Santa Fe Farmers Market building. Our market is one of the best in the United States. For those of you who don’t know, October 24 is celebrated as Food Day. My friend Meghan invited me to the lecture and I am glad I went with her. I learned so much about the efforts of the Santa Fe Food Policy Council. Our food future is extremely important! When we open our eyes to the problems in our communities, we become empowered. I only wish more locals would become informed and care.
Following is some information from the Food Day web site:

“Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. It builds all year long and culminates on October 24. Food Day aims to help people Eat Real. That means cutting back on sugar drinks, overly salted packaged foods, and fatty, factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein. Food Day envisions shorter lines at fast-food drive-throughs—and bigger crowds at farmers markets. This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.”
★Inside the Santa Fe Farmers Market at night.

★Organic coffee and snacks are awesome! This was sweet-n-salty popcorn. It hand a touch of white chocolate and red chili powder. I am so making this!

“The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment. Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path. With America’s resources, there’s no excuse for hunger, low wages for food and farm workers, or inhumane conditions for farm animals. Join the Movement, The most important ingredient in Food Day is you! Use October 24 to start—or celebrate—eating a healthier diet and putting your family’s diet on track. Food Day is not just a day; it’s a year-long catalyst for healthier diets and a Food Day’s national priorities address overarching concerns within the food system and provide common ground for building the food movement.”

It was a very good opportunity to further educate myself. Conserving precious resources, being healthy, and caring for Mother Earth are top priorities for me. When I got home, I decided that I would like to try some square foot gardening next year! I learned all about this method from Meghan. I need to start saving New Mexico seeds! What am I waiting for? Why not become more active in the food revolution? I think I have been on the right track for many years, but I always have room to improve.
★The Good Earth gals.

Spirit, Heart and Mind: An Interview with Miguél A. Tórrez

April 15, 2013

Aristotle once said “if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” I believe that the great Greek philosopher intentionally excluded “its end” when he said this. History has no end, therefore, there are constant developments. This quote could not ring more truthful for a lover of family history. There is something about knowing where we came from that makes us feel complete. When it comes to the art of research, there is a genealogist who grew up in Ranchitos that is making major contributions to our history. This man has a passion for traditional and scientific research, which makes him a well-rounded historian.

I have known Miguél Tórrez for many years. The first time I met him he was feverishly working on his genealogy with his small boys by his side. He has been interested in history since he was just a boy, but in his early 20s he was seemingly smitten by the history of those who came before him. This was just a few years after Miguél graduated from Española Valley High School. Growing up in Ranchitos, New Mexico, Miguél was near the historic Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo). At that time he couldn’t imagine that several years later his maternal line would be genetically connected to this type of ancestry. He says “current data tells us that approximately 80-85% of all New Mexicans with colonial roots have Native American roots on their maternal lineage (mtDNA).”

The final week I collected photographs from Miguél for his feature piece he was preparing for Holy Week. His spiritual devotion bears the deep roots of tradition. As a genealogist, learning about traditions and even practicing tradition will foster a clear understanding of what shaped our people. Miguél believes that “knowing oneself through culture and language fosters a sense of pride” and this belief is evident when you hear him lecture. I asked him why he felt that our traditions were important and he said “no matter what culture a person belongs to everyone’s culture is important because it gives people an identity.”


~~Santo Niño in Espinosa, Colorado by DeSautel~~

By now I’m sure that Miguél has a family tree which extends further than I can imagine. He has done so much work and he is always willing to help others in need, which is admirable. Many people who don’t understand the breadth of family history are unaware of the vast collection of surnames they can be connected to. Miguél says that “just two generations back we can see our extended relations.” Between his grandparents and great grandparents he can claim the Torres, Romero, Madrid, Roybal, Rodriguez, Martinez, Medina and Trujillo surnames. He is proud to have discovered that some of his relatives were involved in very important historical events such as the Apache Campaigns and the Rio Arriba rebellion of 1837.

Miguél has tracked military service on his paternal (Torres) line back to Cristoabl de Torres who was born in 1641. He seems to appreciate the fact that a grandfather named Juan “loved to tell stories about his grandparents and all of his relatives.” This grandfather was born in 1915 and had extended family from Chimayó to Cordova, New Mexico. “As a child I was given a visual of life in the 1920s with his stories of travels he and his father would take on horseback and wagon to communities such as Mora where they would travel to sell their produce,” he said. Though his grandfather practiced oral history, Miguél has now harnessed the power of documentary evidence and genetic studies.

3 generations of Torres

~~Three Generations of Torres Y-DNA~~

Miguél is currently in charge of about 100 paternal lineage (Y-DNA) kits. He collaborates regularly Angel Cervantes, the New Mexico DNA Project Coordinator/Group Administrator. This DNA project includes “the colonial expeditions of New Mexico by the Spanish in 1598 and 1693, by the Mexicans in 1821, and by the Americans in 1848.” This weekend Miguél will make a presentation titled “The Espinosa DNA Quest.” On Saturday (April 20, 2013) he will deliver a lecture at the Albuquerque Main Library (501 Copper SW~ Albuquerque, New Mexico) on the discovery of the Y-DNA genetic code of the Nicolás de Espinosa lineage (which includes 18th century branches of that clan). The presentation will run from 10:30~12:00 and is sure to be captivating.

When I asked Miguél what he wanted people to remember about him 200 years from now he said “I hope that the work I am doing will produce results that are worthy of scholarly articles and will serve as a worthy reference thus having historical relevance. As a young man I hope that I will have many successful years in doing so and that many generations will remember my name as having been a valid contributor to the preservation of New Mexican history and culture.” I guess as lovers of history we couldn’t ask for more than that right? Here is to one amazing man making a positive contribution to our communities and to the future through history.

Contemporary Traditionalist: An Interview with Andrés Armijo

February 16, 2013

The Contemporary Traditionalist by Felicia Lujan
In a modern world filled with instant gratification, busyness, and over stimulation, it is easy for us to become lost in all of the bells and whistles. On February 8, I had the chance to sit down with one man who is on a mission to forget the bells and preserve tradition in creative ways. A deep love of his origins drives Andrés Armijo to travel the world and New Mexico in search of stories. Andrés has been an intrinsic part of the University of New Mexico for over 20 years. In 2010, an interview with Andrés was uploaded to YouTube by UNM Live. The man with an affinity for education discusses the “dynamic tension between past and future” as evidence of that passion can be seen strewn about the walls of his office.

When the Albuquerque native with roots in Valencia County speaks of his childhood it becomes clear that he was destined to be fascinated by history. He tells a story of being captured by a photographer in 1974 while he was looking into an incubator at a local science fair. There was a distant light of a fresh memory while he remembered that day. Andrés describes himself as an ever curious child. The photograph he told me about was published in the Valencia County News Bulletin, and that childhood curiosity may have engaged Andrés in ways which forever changed him. That spark for didactic is evident as he feels that his greatest contribution to UNM has been the “satisfaction of knowing” that he was “able to encourage and support students in education, creativity, arts, language and culture.”

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote, and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

Andrés Armijo in Embudo, Tecolote,
and Jarales, New Mexico (2006-2012)

On the day of our interview, Andrés was in Santa Fe to recruit students from Capital High School for a special program with UNM. The Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM) is intended to “integrate filmmaking and digital media, build a native New Mexican Hollywood, train the citizens of New Mexico, and foster research.” From the outside, Andrés seems like a perfect fit for the contemporary program with a mission to enlighten natives of his state. It is a modern program with a particular place for a man who refers to himself as a “traditionalist.” In his time at UNM, Andrés has had several official titles. Among those titles are Senior Academic Advisor, Senior Program Manager, Lecturer, Director, Academic Advisement Specialist, and Program Coordinator.

Andrés has indeed gone through many titles while at UNM. Of all those official titles, the one Andrés may have the most pride in may be the more personal title of Family Historian. He recalls being bitten by the genealogy bug as he questioned his mother about a 1919 photograph. The photo was of his grandmother and grandfather. Andrés asked his mother why his “grandmother wasn’t smiling” and “was standing” while his “grandfather was seated.” He was only a boy at that time, but has turned into a man who lectures others on the care of their family memories. On March 16, 2013 at 10:30am, Andrés will present Historical Family Images and Artifacts in the Albuquerque Main Library Community Room. The presentation promises “a creative approach to visualizing and narrating” family history and genealogy.

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance

Andrés Armijo and Flamenco Dance
with Maria Benitez Club (1996-2002)

In 2010, Andrés published Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors. A UNM professor called the book “a perfect model for anyone interested in knowing about themselves and their world through research into genealogy and photographic collections.” It was intended to be “a personal journey into the author’s past, but it is also a fascinating account of family life in New Mexico, neighborhoods in Albuquerque, the rites and rituals of Hispanos, how a family through the ages pictured itself, and how all this information and reflection enlightens the author.” Energized by the exploration of his roots, Andrés has a new book which is set for release by LPD Press/Río Grande Books later this year. The book is titled Por Constancia/So that it may be validated: Family History in the Río Abajo. The book will have research on the Candelaria, Bernal, Gallegos, Barreras, and Nuanes families amongst others.

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

Andrés Armijo in Paris (2010)

When asked what he wants people to remember about him 200 years from now, Andrés seemed surprised. As an archivist it is second nature for me to contemplate the hidden history each of us unknowingly leaves behind. How will we be remembered? Several centuries from now our relatives will be looking for us. Before we are gone maybe we should leave more than a census record or a property deed? Take the time today and write down intimate thoughts about yourself. What is you favorite food? What color do you like? What are your favorite memories? Maybe if we save these notes, future generations can learn that much more about the people they came from? In any case, Andrés wants to capture the fact that he is “passionate and considerate.” He also wants to be be remembered as a man who was “intrigued and curious about his past and the world around him.” He said “I hope that will be reflected in my work.”

For more on Andrés Armijo you can visit:

Hillerman Conference Afterthoughts

November 13, 2012

~Betsy and Felicia~

Saturday night I attended the final event of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. There was a closing dinner with an awards ceremony. The conference was wonderful. If there are any writers out there who are looking for new venues to network, develop skills, and explore creativity, I would highly recommend this conference. I kept thinking that some of my friends should really be there. This year the conference was held from November 8-10. It was indeed awesome. As always, I learned so much. The conference secured attendance from 10 states and 25 towns. There were also two people here from Canada. I was amazed because one of the attendees from Canada must have purchased at least 50 books during the course of the conference!

~Felicia Lujan and
Author Rob Kresge
(Former CIA Analyst)~

This year I really had the chance to get to know more about some people I met last year. I did enjoy learning more about Jean Schaumberg, Laureen Pepersack, Jenn, and George Watson. I worked closely with all of them over the course of the conference. I also spent some quality chat time with: Betsy Randolph (author, state trooper/spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol); Rob Kresge (award-winning author, former CIA analyst); Wolf Schneider (movie unit publicist and writer/editor); and David Morrell (award-winning author, co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization). I learned something special from all of these people.

~Author/State Trooper/Spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Betsy Randolph talks about her new book Tokens of the Liars. Her mother Joyce is listening proudly.~

~Author Peter Joseph of New York
and his new book Boozy Brunch~

There was a vast amount of information covered each day. My writing is improving every year because of this conference. Following are some quotes, and interesting or useful things I learned this year.

~~~ David Morrell revealed that Marilyn Monroe was indeed a very smart woman. He has studied her as a “cultural icon.” I learned that she was “somewhat of a poet.” I didn’t know that. Now I want to track down her poetry. He told me that she was an orphan at an early age (which I knew). I wondered if this may be why he is interested in her? Morrell was also an orphan.

~~~Rob Kresge told me that he and any other person who has worked or works for the CIA has to run any manuscripts by the CIA Publications Review Board. This has to be done prior to publishing anything if the story is set anytime after 1947 (the year the CIA was born). Apparently this is to make sure no “secrets” get out.

~~~Anne Hillerman delivered a touching presentation about her father titled Adventures with Tony Hillerman. There were two quotes I really liked. Anne said “writing is like love~ don’t hold anything back.” She also said “don’t trust anyone who doesn’t watch the sunset.”

~~~Bill O’Hanlon delivered a presentation on e-books and e-publishing. He is a psychotherapist who has been featured on Oprah. From O’Hanlon I learned that there are over 1 billion Kindle devices in reader’s hands. He said that the Hunger Games book sold at a 4 to 1 ratio e-book/print, and that e-book readers read and buy more books. These two statistics were interesting~ in 2010 there was not one self-published e-book in the Kindle/ top 100 list and in 2011 there were 18 self-published e-books on that list.

~~~Peter Joseph delivered a presentation on traditional publishing. When I saw the “sample author questionnaire” he passed out I just about fainted. Some questions on the sample included: citizenship; hobbies; most unusual job you have ever had; website/blog URLs and traffic numbers; information about how you are inspired; and the names and/or occupations of family members, if newsworthy or relevant.

It was a great conference. Hopefully I will be able to participate from here on out. I do hope that this one will stay running strong.

1st Day at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference

November 8, 2012

Today is the first day of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. We have the bookstore all set up and we are ready to host a slew of book signings from today through Saturday. This year I was considered an official part of the team. I am very happy to be on board with this wonderful group. This is true creative force. I had to have my picture taken by this sign, as I found it to be a rather powerful message. I’ll keep you posted. I have already met some very interesting people. I have also learned so much more about a few people I already know.     Until later~ F

~Felicia at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2012~
Santa Fe, New Mexico

~Tony Hillerman Writers Conference Program~

A Visit to El Rito

October 20, 2012

Center of El Rito Campus
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

On October 12, 2012, I moderated a wonderful session for the archives. My division director and two archivists delivered informative presentations for the Historias de Nuevo Mexico Conference. The conference was held on the El Rito campus of the Northern New Mexico College. There is a link on the Santa Fe Reporter’s web site to local writer Stephanie Hiller’s blog, Particle Beams. Hiller was accurate in saying that “the purpose of the conference was to present complementary perspectives of the state’s unique history to correct the picture cultivated by mainstream historians celebrating the state’s centennial.”

A Rose on the El Rito Campus
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

The ride to El Rito was gorgeous and rainy. I can’t explain what it is about gloomy weather, but I absolutely love it. There were intricate rock formations, steep cliffs, and vast land which still seemed unspoiled by my contemporaries. The campus is beautiful and features rock walls, sleepy trees, ruins, dark rolling clouds (in the morning), and minds ready to absorb the power of history. In the dining area, there was one wall in a building which had one clear portal so that the old adobe could be seen by visitors and those who cared to look at New Mexico earth.

Intricate Wood Work
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

Cutting Hall (named after Bronson Cutting) was the focal point of the conference. The hall, also an apparent performance theater enveloped the busts of historical figures such as Bronson Cutting and Jonathan Grant in oversized nichos. Grant was a local area Jewish merchant deriving from Abiquiu and the El Rito area. The theater featured traditional tin work (wall and hanging lights) as well as Spanish Colonial carvings on enormous wood beams, doors, hand rails, and benches. There were also wooden floors.

Rock water fountain on the El Rito Campus
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

A friend and former classmate, opened the conference with a touching welcome. Dr. Patricia Trujillo, a powerhouse with Northern New Mexico Community College talked about connection and how when she wrote her introduction that morning, she was listening to the church bells on the El Rito Campus. She said the sound reminded her of her “familia” and specifically about the passing of her father one year ago. She talked about the bells as a symbol of connection, specifically connecting scholars with members of the community, as well as to remember our spirituality. When she and I spoke about me eventually pursuing a PhD, she gave me a wonderful compliment that made me feel good. She said “well when you do, you will have no problems because of all of your experience with documents and history.” Awesome!

El Rito Sky
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

Cutting Hall on the El Rito Campus
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

Dr. Joseph Sanchez, Director- Spanish Colonial Research Center (UNM) talked about the importance of the term “ indigenization.” or what he called “taking back your culture.” He used the example of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, the Pueblo de San Juan de los Caballeros taking back their traditional name. He said “most of us when we write, we search our souls.” He said “we study the values of the period, not our values.” Former State Historian, Robert Torrez delivered “Aftermath of the Mexican American War 1846-1848” He talked about the Treason Trials. One witness reported that all the church bells were sounding when the executions took place. Thomas Chavez, former Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Palace of the Governors/Museum of New Mexico delivered his paper titled “Juan Onate, Acoma, and a Troubled Administration.”

An Horno with Ruins
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

Dr. Glenabah Martinez of Taos/Dine, a professor at UNM delivered her paper titled “Religious Persecution of Pueblo Peoples in New Mexico in the 20th Century: Pedagogical Significance for New Mexico Youth.” Dr. Martinez talked about how to best teach our youth about history and specifically the history of indigenous peoples. She talked about “counter-narratives” that are often left out of text books. She said if you can’t respect the history, how do you respect the individual.” it is about “homeland” and “scared space” and the “core values” of love, respect, compassion, faith, balance and service when developing historical curriculum “community-to-community, culture-to-culture, and person-to-person.” Also “to promote indigenous students and their teachers to become intellectually aware of the critical roles of Pueblo People.” This will enable them to examine “present-day manifestations of historical oppression.” The main question posed to them being “what will your contribution be?” I really enjoyed her presentation, she talked about the “religious persecution of Pueblo People” and having “cultural integrity.”

Northern NM Community College Sign
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

This conference was a great opportunity to continue the dialogue which remains critical to our understanding of New Mexico history. I enjoyed an overcast day in a sacred place where I was able to learn and grow as a person and archivist. It was nice to walk around the campus by myself and absorb history in a way that I am rarely afforded.

A Building on the El Rito Campus
Photograph by Felicia Lujan
October 12, 2012

A Study of Ancient Minds

August 11, 2012

There is a Community Lecture on September 12, 2012. The lecture starts at 7:30pm and will take place at the James A. Little Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The lecture is titled Reading Ancient Minds: Metaphor, Culture, and History Making. Scott Ortman, an Omidyar Fellow with the Santa Fe Institute and a Lightfoot Fellow with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center will likely deliver a powerful presentation. Following is the abstract for this lecture.

How much does culture influence the fates of human societies? Our experiences with contemporary politics suggest that the varying ways humans construe the world do make a difference, but the traditional view in many fields is that, in the big picture, material forces trump human conceptualizations. Ortman argues that we don’t actually know the answer yet, but that new approaches in archaeology may suggest an answer. Cognitive science suggests that conceptual metaphors are the building blocks of human conceptual systems; Ortman illustrates how one can discover these metaphors through archaeological and linguistic analysis and discusses how these methods enable one to see the role of culture in history using examples drawn from his research on ancestral Pueblo societies of the U.S. Southwest.

Sounds super interesting doesn’t it? I love the study of metaphors, symbols, signs, imagery, and other elusive forms of communication. If I go, I will go alone with just a thinking cap and a notepad- oh and of course my crow sign!

Lusciousness for My Mouth and History for My Ears

July 20, 2012
Yum...There is nothing like having lusciousness for my mouth while my ears are filled with history.

Yum…There is nothing like having lusciousness for my mouth while my ears are filled with history.

The NAGARA/CoSA Conference is drawing to a close here in Santa Fe. There is so much I have learned thus far, but there is still one more day. When I was leaving, Steve Grandin who works in the NAGARA National Office told me “today was a good day for you ha?” I laughed kinda hard and said “it was!” He said that because two good things happened to me during the Keynote Luncheon. There is nothing like having lusciousness for my mouth while my ears are filled with history. My ears were also treated to an awesome compliment in front of a room of at least 150 professionals. The Keynote Speaker for the luncheon was Dr. Richard Melzer. I have posted about Dr. Melzer here before as I have known him for many years. There have been several occasions when I have listened to him speak, but he has never given me a public compliment. He said he was going to “put me on the spot,” when he said “historians couldn’t do what they do without the help of archivists.” I was honored when he told the audience that I was “his favorite archivist.” Very cool… Not only is Dr. Melzer highly respected by scholars, but he has researched in institutions and repositories all over the world. That wasn’t all. Wow!! I actually won a door prize! What the???? I never win anything- Haha 🙂 I guess Steve was right- it was a good day.

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Meeting Ferriero: The 10th United States Archivist

July 19, 2012

**Felicia Lujan and David S. Ferriero**
Ferriero is the 10th United States Archivist
NAGARA/CoSA Conference
Santa Fe, New Mexico – July 19, 2012

Today I had the chance to meet David S. Ferriero at the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA)/Council of State Archivists (CoSA) Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He delivered a great lecture which I attended, and he mentioned my favorite conspiracy theory there. Ferriero was appointed 10th United States Archivist by the President in 2009. As the lead Archivist of our country, Ferriero “plans, develops, and administers all programs and functions of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984 (44 U.S.C.).” I have been an Archivist for many years, and before that I was a Records Manager. Now you know just why I was pleased to meet Mr. Ferriero. The 1st United States Archivist was Robert D.W. Connor, who was appointed in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It was an interesting day. I learned so much and I am tired! I’m going to bed early so that I can be ready to absorb the knowledge I am offered tomorrow. The conference runs through Saturday, so by then I am sure I will be suffering from information overload.

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…

Myth, Common Sense, the Obvious, and the Unobvious

July 16, 2012
**Duncan Watts** Principal Researcher with Microsoft

**Duncan Watts** Principal Researcher with Microsoft

The obvious and common sense– bahhh- who needs them? I prefer to move forward using first my heart and than my mind. Some things just get in the way if not- the unobvious can also be mind shattering. I do love this man for exploring such an intriguing topic.

The Santa Fe Institute will be sponsoring a Community Lecture on July 25, 2012. The lecture will start at 7:30pm at the James A. Little Theater. The Myth of Common Sense: Why Everything That Seems Obvious Isn’t is sure to be an interesting lecture by Duncan Watts. Watts is a Principal Researcher with Microsoft, and he is the author of Everything Is Obvious Once You Know The Answer. Watts has also been a Santa Fe Institute External Professor. The abstract for his lecture on the institute’s web site says “relying on ‘common sense’ is the sensible thing to do, right? Not always. Although common sense can be useful for dealing with everyday problems, it can suffer from systematic failures when applied to complex problems in government, business, and marketing. Physicist-turned-sociologist Duncan Watts shows how we get duped by our shared assumptions and demonstrated how learning to question common sense can lead to better solutions.” 

For more information visit:

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My Ancient Celtic Tongue

June 17, 2012

The Celtic Torc

On Friday, June 15, I attended a lecture to learn more about the Celt-Iberians and my yDNA (paternal). The lecture was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was held in conjunction with the 2012 Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Conference. I was thankful to Kathy Archuleta for allowing me to attend, and I will need to remember to call her and thank her personally.

The presenter started off by playing Spanish Celtic music which featured a Spanish bagpipe or Gaita. The artist was José Ángel Hevia Velasco, known professionally as Hevia. The majority of the presentation focused on a documentary about the Celts in Europe. The Celtic tribes were called “a great civilization” and the documentary featured ancient “galleries of rock art” which were used for rituals. The rock art depicted dwellings, hunting scenes, and tribal warriors with “exaggerated phallic displays.” An interesting archaeological excavation uncovered over 150 iron swords, spearheads, and daggers from the Lake Neuchatel site (La Tene, Switzerland).

Other archaeological discoveries included: royal tombs; Celtic art such as beautiful and intricate gold jewelry; plates with swirling patters and motifs; head dresses; gold vases; mirrors; bronze shields; and imagery of part animal/part human creatures. Some of the art work was called “nightmarish,” and was just my style. I am apparently a Spanish Celt at heart!! 🙂 The artworks featured monsters, and there was one piece with a human head in a monster’s mouth. The commentator of this documentary said that this was “the art of the elite,” and that it “expresses authority.”

We learned about how the Celtic tribes plundered the Greeks, and the Gods were said to have intervened at the sacred site of Delphi. That is why I wrote about the Oracle last night. I learned that the Iberian Peninsula has been a problem for scholars for several reasons. Some of the ancient structures built by the Celts included: pit traps; defensive towers; circular dwellings; and hill forts for protection (many of which go back to the Bronze Age). We learned some about migration from the documentary, though there is apparently no evidence of mass immigration. I saw the first written record of land ownership carved in stone.

I love that warfare was an intrinsic part of Celtic life. I may write at some point about the carnyx, which was made of bronze, and was the Celtic “instrument of war.” The instrument made an eerie sound, known by all as a warning. One scholar interviewed in the documentary said that the Celts “made great slaughter and decapitated enemies.” They had “the ability to kill and kill and great numbers,” and were “a powerful and organized society.” I would also like to learn more about the torc, as a symbol of authority. This was an open-ended ring of metal worn around the neck.

A couple of interesting thoughts I came away with…

I must get some traits from my ancient forefathers. I was glad to learn that art and music were very important to the ancient Celtic tribes. I had never thought about this until Friday, but for years people from outside of New Mexico have asked if I was from Europe. Many people have asked if I was Scottish or Irish. Yeah I know— New Mexicans– strange ha? I have always thought it was funny, but as it turns out, maybe my tongue actually makes sounds indicative of an ancient Celtic nation? Apparently, “during the 1st millennium BC,” Celtic languages “were spoken across Europe,” and “in the Iberian Peninsula.” Hum? Another thought was how very appropriate it was that I was learning about my yDNA just a couple of days before Father’s Day!

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.

UNM Ph.D. Can­di­dates Baca and Turo Spill Knowledge

June 4, 2012

For those of you in the Albuquerque area, these lectures would be great to attend. Unfortunately, I will be unable to go because we have been so busy at work, and tomorrow is also Election Day (don’t forget to vote 🙂 ). I have known Jacobo for many years. I met him when he was working in the Political Archives at UNM. That now seems like eons ago. He is also a patron of the archives. I did get to attend his lecture for the 2012 New Mexico Statehood History Conference in Santa Fe. On May 4th, he delivered a presentation titled John Collier’s New Mexico Boundary Bill and New Mexican Sabotage, which was well researched. If you get a chance, you may want to check this one out.


Historians Offer Two Talks about New Mexico History on June 5

May 30, 2012 | By Karen Wentworth

Originally published on the UNM web site under the “research.”

Two Ph.D. can­di­dates in His­tory at UNM will speak on Tues­day, June 5 at 1 p.m. in the Waters Room (105) of Zim­mer­man Library on the UNM Cam­pus.  The talks are co-hosted by  the Cen­ter for South­west Research and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, the His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety of New Mex­ico and The Office of the State His­to­rian as part of the 2012 His­tory Schol­ars Lec­ture Series.

Jacobo D. Baca, a Ph.D. can­di­date in the Depart­ment of His­tory at UNM speaks on “Pueb­los and His­panos in the Era of Fed­eral Relief: The New Deal, 1933–1945″ on Tues­day, June 5 at 1 p.m. in the Waters Room (105) of Zim­mer­man Library on the UNM campus.

Jacobo Baca

Dur­ing the New Deal, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment inau­gu­rated more than a half-decade of inten­sive stud­ies of Pueblo and His­pano vil­lages that demon­strated sim­i­lar­i­ties between their depen­dence on and rela­tion­ships to the land.  Led by Indian Com­mis­sioner John Col­lier, activists-turned-bureaucrats held on to their notions the Pueblo Indi­ans and His­panos were fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent peo­ples whose for­tunes depended on mutual hos­til­ity and depri­va­tion.  Build­ing from these ideas they fash­ioned dur­ing the cru­sade for Pueblo land rights in the Pueblo Lands Boards fight of the 1920s, advo­cates worked to use New Deal lib­er­al­ism to repa­tri­ate land to Pueblo Indian communities.

They faced stern and steady oppo­si­tion to their uni­lat­eral pro-Pueblo approach from Sen­a­tor Den­nis Chavez, who stood firm against Collier’s will to aid the Pueb­los at the expense of sur­round­ing His­pano vil­lages.  This lec­ture focuses on how the Indian Pueb­los and His­pano vil­lages in the Tewa Basin expe­ri­enced New Deal reform and how this reform impacted their ral­tion­ship with one another and with the fed­eral and state governments.

Baca is work­ing on his dis­ser­ta­tion “Somos indi­gena: Eth­nic Pol­i­tics and Land Tenure in Mod­ern New Mex­ico, 1904–2004.”  In it he explores eth­nic pol­i­tics and mod­ern land tenure in the Indian Pueb­los and His­pano vil­lages in New Mexico’s Tewa Basin.  He also stud­ies the chang­ing rela­tion­ship with fed­eral, state and local gov­ern­ments and how that impacted social and struc­tural rela­tions among the Pueblo and His­pano peoples.

Bryan W. Turo will speak on “An Empire of Dust: Thomas Ben­ton Catron and the Rise of Cor­po­rate Enter­prise in New Mex­ico, 1866–1921.”  As a Repub­li­can Party boss in New Mex­ico for half a cen­tury, Thomas Ben­ton Catron con­tributed to the growth of the ter­ri­tory and its incor­po­ra­tion into the larger frame of democ­racy and cap­i­tal­ism in the United States and abroad.

Bryan Turo

But more than that, Catron’s life can help to explain how Amer­i­can cul­ture and insti­tu­tions infil­trated the west­ern ter­ri­to­ries in the years fol­low­ing the Civil War.  This lec­ture will explore how Catron grew an empire out of the acqui­si­tion of land in New Mex­ico and other parts of the west and how he used it to make money in the form of joint stock companies.

Turo was raised in White Plains, N.Y. and com­pleted his Bachelor’s degree in Bing­ham­ton Uni­ver­sity.  After tir­ing of harsh win­ters, he moved to Tuc­son, Ariz. To earn a Master’s in His­tory at the Uni­ver­sity of Ari­zona in 2008.  Since then, he has lived in Albu­querque where he is in the process of earn­ing a Ph.D. from UNM.  He stud­ies U.S. his­tory, with a focus on the West and South­west.  He is cur­rently fin­ish­ing his dis­ser­ta­tion on the life and times of Thomas Catron.

The lec­ture is free and the pub­lic is welcome.

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