Archive for the ‘Lineage’ category

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:

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…

Ancestral Puebloan Cry

June 27, 2012

*****Ancestral Puebloan*****
19 x 25 inch colored pencil and ink drawing
created by Felicia Lujan in about 1993.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom called me and told me that she had a couple of things to give me. She had come across an old colored pencil/ink drawing I created almost 20 years ago, and she also had the video footage of my college graduation. Of course I told her I wanted both back. Last weekend I watched the video footage. It was fun to watch in retrospect, but what was most important was a tiny piece of footage unrelated to my graduation. It was footage of my grandmother (now deceased) right at the beginning. I could have gone without the hour long video of me smiling and making funny faces at the camera for less than a minute of footage of my grandma. There were a few people in the shot, and I was apparently standing off to the side. My grandma Corine urged me to get in the frame. I cried when I heard her say my name in her cute little voice. After I watched the video, I stayed looking at my old, oversized artwork. It is rather mind blowing that I penciled this Ancestral Puebloan almost two decades ago way before I cared about my family history. I made the picture for my mother so many years before and had it framed for her. Ironically, I got my picture back from my mother, with a moving image of her mother, and my direct maternal DNA is tied to Native ancestry. Thinking back, I don’t remember why I selected that particular subject matter for the colored pencil/ink drawing? What matters now is the connection between each item and the subject matter, as well as how I feel about it. Everything happens for a reason. It was time for those two pieces of history from my maternal line to return to me.

*****Ancestral Puebloan*****
Framed 19 x 25 inch colored pencil and ink drawing
created by Felicia Lujan in about 1993.

Ancestral Puebloan Cry

Earthen paths of directions lost,
link me to the strand of time.

Guide steps through knowledge gates
so I connect each dot to line.

Untie my hands to feel the past.
Tie what’s inside me to the stars.

Draw water from this flowing
stream and teach me of your wars.

I am bound by fire. Ancestor I
will endure and live another day.

Reveal the path, I’ll hear your cry
and bless your body where it lay.

Forge the sky to feed my heart,
which beats with Native drum.

Whisper to me on the wind–
where is my mother from?


by Felicia Lujan_6.27.2012

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!

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!

Research Rocks: Combing the 1940 Census

June 5, 2012

*****1940 United States Census*****
Census Bureau Typing Pool
—–How Uniform??? All Virgos???—–
(NARA Image)

The census rolls for the 1940 United States Census of
New Mexico are now available in Southwest Collections!
Bless the National Archives and Records Administration
for all of their digitization efforts, but sometimes we still
need to feel (microfilm and books) right? I had a
heck of a time attempting to locate my family electronically
(and I am a CDIM). Unfortunately, the online database and
project still need some work, but until then- use the film!
I can’t wait to  check them out!! These rolls are hot off
processing, and cost thousands of dollars. Today marks
the first day the rolls are available in Southwest Collections.
There are 18 rolls for New Mexico. Yeaaaaah!

Happy researching rockers!!!!!

*****1940 United States Census*****
Enumeration District Map for San Miguel County
(NARA Image)

The Perplexing Concept of Identity

February 28, 2012


This weekend I attended a lecture in Albuquerque sponsored by the New Mexico Genealogical Society. The lecture was on Saturday, February 25, 2012, and was focused on the New Mexico DNA Project. This presentation was delivered by Ángel de Cervantes, who now resides in Albuquerque, but was originally from Las Vegas/Montezuma, New Mexico. Ángel is the New Mexico DNA Project Administrator, and is also part of the Iberian Peninsula DNA Project. Ángel is currently a History Instructor, however, he was once a archivist with the State Archives. Since he was once an archivist, he understands the importance of primary documents relative to research, and encouraged the audience to “take the time to do the research” and not just do “the online thing.” The lecture was Part 1 in a series, and was titled Castas, DNA, and Identity: Who are we? What did our ancestors say about themselves? What does DNA tell us about Identity? Ángel explored “the connection of the Castas system in colonial New Mexico” and discussed how “DNA studies compare to the Spanish Castas system and the ramifications on modern identity.” So following is what I have come away with…

Identity… What is identity? Some online sources define identity as: the condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the sameness of essential or generic character in different instances, and all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing; and the distinguishing character or personality of an individual. What does that mean? Well… I think identity is very complex. It is rooted in: psychology; oral, familial, and social history; and of course genetic connections. How do you see yourself? Where do you stand in society- socially, economically, and from a religious perspective? How do others see you? It is all complicated. If it was up to me (and it is not), I would say that none of it really matters. Well maybe how we see the man in the mirror is important? The notion of a “correct analysis of identity over time” is critical according to the Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The encyclopedia also mentions a “notion of identity across possible worlds.” But what are “worlds?” Is there more than one world we live in? No, but I think it is referring to the multiple worlds that we can socially and psychologically place ourselves in. Of course our familial ties, and oral histories play a major role in the identity we choose to seize.

Ángel de Cervantes delivering a lecture on DNA and identity. He is the New Mexico DNA Project Administrator, and is part of the Iberian Peninsula DNA Project. Ángel is currently a History Instructor in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I have taken a look at the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society put forth by Hartford Institute for Religion Research. According to this encyclopedia, “identity is a characteristic defining one’s sense of self,” and the term was “popularized by Erik Erikson” through the 1950s and 1960s, “as a central psychoanalytic concept.” Some of this definition, incorporates “a sense of uniqueness” or “completeness” with regard to identity. Ángel de Cervantes opened his lecture with a clip of Jessica Alba. Alba was a special guest on George Lopez Tonight in 2009. For his show, Alba and her father both agreed to take a DNA Test. Alba submitted for an mtDNA (maternal) and her father for both Y-DNA (paternal) and mtDNA. I think it was a great clip to open with because Ángel set the scene for his lecture on the historical and contemporary problems each of us have faced, or face with regard to identity. As an advocate of DNA testing he said that one reason he likes Y-DNA testing is because “it is what it is if you like it or not.” Alba’s test results were returned to her by Lopez with percentages of 87% European and 13% Indigenous or Native American. You can see that even she did not fully understand her “identity” in that moment.

Artwork on Cuadro de Castas or a Historical Caste System

So what does “casta” mean in terms of identity? A caste system is comprised of an intermixture of race and social class (ethnic, economic, religious). My tiny New Webster Dictionary defines caste as “an inherited socioreligious rank.” Really? Rank? Funny… Personally, I feel that this was more of the case in the Colonial caste system, and not in the contemporary. In 1995, Stuart B. Schwartz published a paper titled Colonial Identities and the Sociedad de Castas in Colonial Latin American Review (Volume 4, Issue 1). In his paper, Schwartz “framed” castas “in terms of race and class” for “multi-racial and multi-ethnic societies of colonial Latin America.” This may still be the case today, though I am not sure that caste is always maintained by an individual even if it can be seen as inherited and ranked? Maybe a number 1 on the ranking system would see me as a number 10? But since I don’t care what others think of me, it would be irrelevant. The Spanish doctoral program in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a website with pictures of the historical castas or caste system called Cuadro de Castas. The images provide an interesting look at the system.

Some of my notes

Ángel’s study of New Mexico records, as well as the records of the Archivos Enpañoles, allowed him to put together a list of the Spanish Castas he has been able to identify. Some of the castas in Spanish genealogical records include: Chino; Español Criollo; Mestizo; Pardo; Prieto; Negro; Mulato; Tresalvo; Trigueño; and Zambo. Each casta has applicable fractions of race, and may include one, two, or more mixtures. I found it funny when Ángel talked about how his grandmother from Las Vegas called the “dark complected kid in the neighborhood” a “trigueño.” The audience was at odds over that title, and what it means, but that is always the case when dealing with scholars, historians, and genealogists.

So even if I find caste systems irrelevant to my identity today, why should it be important to me as a genealogist and a lover of history? Well of course the main reason is because it is part of history. It is also important because a caste can reveal the status of a person in his or her community at a given point in time. A person in what was a historically higher caste may have: been more educated; could have owned more land; may have traveled more; or may have had royal blood. I think a down side to this is that some of those individuals from a higher caste likely married only those in the same caste, or of a higher caste to stay elite. So much for real connection!? Maybe poor folk married for the right reasons ha?

To sum it all up, I guess I learned that identity really can’t be defined or bottled. I believe identity can be explained to a certain extent, but will always remain a perplexing concept. Since we are humans, we are constantly changing, evolving, growing, learning, and so our identity changes. Identity changes or morphs with time. Personally, I do not wish to be pegged by caste systems. In the end, I know that others will likely classify me with no regard for those complexities which truly define my identity whether I like it or not.

The Dig for Old Yet New Roots

February 1, 2012
Care for Your Roots

Care for Your Roots

Do we ever know exactly who we are or where we came from? Well- maybe not exactly, but with research and dedication we can put together a relatively (no pun intended) good idea. I am so excited to catch the new season of one of my favorite shows. This Friday (February 3, 2012), the third season of Who Do You Think You Are will start. For those of you who don’t know, this series is an NBC/ genealogical special. The executive producers are Lisa Kudrow (who I love) and Dan Bucatinsky.

It is great to see genealogy/family history successfully hitting prime time. With any luck, maybe this will begin to seep into pop culture and become trendy? Maybe?? The genealogy of celebrities could help inspire others (young and old) to explore their own family history. Imagine a world of people who cared about the past? Wow! The show is cool because it gives us an intimate look at the origins of some celebrities, still, I believe the origins of regular people are also worthy of investigation.

Season 3 of this series will feature the following icons of the FAB (haha) world of the rich and famous. I have also included a few things I like about some of these celebz.

**Blair Underwood- Actor in Set It Off (loved it), Sex and the City (loved it), and Madea’s Family Reunion (funny).

**Edie Falco- Actress in 30 Rock (love it- funny), Will and Grace (funny), and The Sopranos.

**Helen Hunt- Actress in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and What Women Want.

**Jason Sudeikis- Comedian and Actor in Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and The Bounty Hunter (liked it).

**Jerome Bettis- Retired NFL star.

**Marisa Tomei- Actress in My Cousin Vinny (funny), What Women Want, and Anger Management (lovvvved it).

**Martin Sheen- Actor in Hear No Evil, Dead Presidents, Spawn (lovvvved it), and Catch Me If You Can.

**Paula Deen- Culinary Idol and Restaurateur on Paula’s Home Cooking series (good, but not healthy food).

**Rashida Jones- Actress in Friends With Benefits (lovvvved it), and The Office (super funny).

**Reba McEntire- Country Singer and Actress (ok).

**Rita Wilson- Actress in Sleepless in Seattle, That Thing You Do, and It’s Complicated.

**Rob Lowe- Actor in The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Tommy Boy (funny), and The Stand.

Can’t wait!!! Don’t forget to tune in…

11*****Posted using WordPress for BlackBerry*****11

Māori: Origins of a Warrior

January 26, 2012

Digital composite of a Māori Warrior by Felicia Lujan. Includes: multiple renderings of a Moko drawing of Te Pehi’s face (1975 white paper); a photograph of a wooden Māori dagger (1920 white paper); and one contemporary photograph.

Origins of a Warrior


Māori man, I can feel the power

of your breath. The energy in each

breath searches for listening hearts.


Māori man, your ancestral cry

pierces me. Indigenous warrior, you

must protect your land and people.

Māori man, your roots run deep.

They are so deep, that only the stars

can remember the origin of those

who came before you.


Māori man, identity marked in thick

black will grace the face of your son.

The children of your children will

forever value your whakapapa.


Māori man, I can feel the spirit

of this spiral of life. The force

gives me strength, and penetrates

my listening heart.


by Felicia Lujan_1.25.2012


Old Māori Proverb
Ma te huruhuru te manu ka rere, Ma te ao te rangi ka uhi.”
By feathers alone can the bird fly, By clouds are the heavens covered.”
————A Māori Bone Decorative Comb from Riverton by H.D. Skinner
————Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 39, No. 3 (1930), Page 285

War cry of their ancestors, the War Haka or Peruperu is a traditional dance of the Māori of New Zealand. This dance is filled with powerful movements, which involve the entire body and spirit. With their eyes open wide, strong stances, and the use of their tongue, the Māori exude strength. Heavy sounds from the slaps of their hands, dominant foot stomps, and deep shouts, are used to evoke the God of War. This dance is fierce, and is performed with weapons. According to some accounts, the Haka changed dramatically following World War I, but I would need to do more research to confirm that.

I became enthralled with the Māori when Alan Duff’s independent film Once Were Warriors (1994) was released. Duff, a journalist, novelist, and native to New Zealand gave me my first taste of culture in the South Pacific Ocean. I wanted to know more about the islands of New Zealand, which are at least half a world away from me. The film is centered on the social problems of the Heke family, and is still used today as a tool by educators and historians internationally. What inspires me in this film are the themes of hope and family. I am so inspired by the ability of a family to draw strength from tragedy. When one son in the fictional family immerses himself in the spirit of his ancestors, some of the family members are able to band together with mighty force. After seeing these men perform the War Haka or Peruperu, I was intrigued.

From 2001-2003, with each release in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I couldn’t help but remain mystified by the beautiful scenes filmed in New Zealand. There were breathtaking mountains, waters, and mystical places. The islands seemed magical. Through the cinematography in these movies, I could almost grasp the spirit of place. I was recently reminded of New Zealand by “a woman of strength,” Maryanne Pale ( Maryanne is the woman who nominated me for a Genuine Blogger Award. I was honored to be nominated by such a distinguished and beautiful writer. After discovering she was from New Zealand, I started to look into the origins, history, and mythology of the Māori.

I did track down four anthropological white papers written between 1901 and 1975. I was absolutely amazed to find out that the tattoo (moko) of the Māori often represents ancestral origins (genealogy). I couldn’t believe it?! As an archivist, as a genealogist, as an artist, and as a tattooed woman, I found this astounding. According to one anthropological account of moko designs, “the symbolism that governed an artist’s choices in composition has been lost.” It is understandable that the researchers are referring to hard copy records. Though actual records relative to the symbolism of moko designs may be nonexistent, certainly oral history and collective memory have preserved meaning. One account of an indigenous carver, said that he “was brought up to believe the different patterns in front of each ear represented descent from the male and female sides of a man’s family.”

It was also interesting for me to discover that the primary marks used by the Māori are “curves and spirals.” The spiral is of course one of my signs. I have been signing my art and poetry with the symbol since I was in my youth. I am always lead to the subjects of my writing for a reason, because as we all know, everything happens for a reason. Can you imagine wearing your lineage as a visual badge? It is a fascinating tradition to say the least. In the future, I hope to learn more about the Māori, and maybe one day I can visit New Zealand.

General Information:

Māori Haka

Lord of the Rings Trilogy- Film Locations

Information on New Zealand

Scholarly Sources:

Māori Tatu and Moko by H. Ling Roth
Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 31(1901), Pages 29-64

On Two Wooden Māori Daggers by William Ridgeway and H.D. Skinner
Man, Vol. 20 (1920), Pages 49-52

A Māori Bone Decorative Comb from Riverton by H.D. Skinner
Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 39, No. 3 (1930), Pages 284-285

Moko and C.F. Goldie by Michael King
Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 84, No. 4 (1975), Pages 431-440

The Garduño Connection…

December 28, 2011

Slowly, I have been gathering records for genealogical research into a branch of my paternal line. In order to make sense of connections, dates, and other pertinent information, I have created an event timeline. This helps me put things into perspective. Aside from the fact that I want to know more about this branch of my tree, I want to work on this particular area for several reasons. First, I absolutely loved my great grandmother who was born a Garduño and married an Ortiz. Second, when I was little, my great grandmother’s daughter (my grandma) Emily took care of me. I learned so much about creativity from her, and would like to offer her a greater piece of her patrimony. Third, I am related to the Garduños who are serious New Mexico foodies. In the last few years, the family has been criticized for their business management skills and financial problems. It is unfair that the family has been given so much negative publicity. I want to take an opportunity to provide a closer look at the Garduños, and in turn affirm their prominently positive mark on New Mexico history. Lastly, I have always heard that there is a Maloof connection in this line. Oral histories have denoted that these families are very close friends, and also business partners. At this point all I know for sure is that there is a restaurant opened by the Garduño family in the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Palms is owned by the Maloof family. At one time, the Garduño family owned close to 10 restaurants, made close to $30 million a year in sales, and had restaurants in at least three states.

Tintype given to me by my grandma Emily. The frame is beautiful. This is my great great grandfather Cesario Herrera y Ortiz and his second wife Adelia Garduño. The couple was married on Feb. 2, 1914.

My great grandmother was Maria Fedelina Garduño y Gonzales de Ortiz. She was a humble, beautiful woman. We called her grandma Lina. She lived off of Rio Grande Boulevard and Rice Avenue on Duranes Road. Grandma Lina moved to Albuquerque from Nambe in about 1963, after the death of her husband Juan Eliu Ortiz. I am still looking into the premature death of a great great grandmother who died in childbirth. She was the first wife of my great great grandfather Cesario Herrera y Ortiz, who later married Adelia Garduño in February of 1914. Adelia was also my great grandma Lina’s sister, and I believe she would have been about 8 years old when they married. In 1900, all of the original Garduño family members were living in the Pojoaque/Nambe area. So far, I have established that from at least the late 1960s on, many of these Garduño’s have been in Albuquerque. Grandma Lina spent many years in Los Duranes. Historically, this was a little farm community which was originally founded by the Duran family in about 1750. The community follows the Camino Real, or the Royal Road, which was about a 1,600 mile trade route between Mexico and Santa Fe from the late 1500s until the late 1880s. In 1790, the Spanish census recorded the Plaza de Señor San Jose de Los Duranes. There were 27 families recorded on that census. The community was one of six settlements falling just north of Albuquerque. Some of the other communities captured in that census included Alameda, Los Candelarias, Los Griegos, Los Gallegos, and Los Ranchos.

My great grandmother, Maria Fedelina Garduño y Gonzales de Ortiz. She was a humble, beautiful woman. We called her "Grandma Lina."

I miss the long visits I had with my grandma Lina in her little warm home. She always offered a meal, snacks, and coffee. Her table was always equip with powder creamer and sugar. The visits ended because she passed away at 92 years old in 1999. At the time of her death, she was survived by four daughters (including my grandma Emily). Grandma Lina also had 15 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. She was a member of La Hija de Maria Sacred Heart League, and attended San Jose de Duranes Catholic Church on Los Luceros. I always remember her praying on her knees, while holding a rosary, and chanting softly near her sacred candles. She was buried at the Mount Calvary Cemetery, and my father Gilbert was a pallbearer. Hopefully, with research, and with the help of my grandma I can shed more light on the great contributions made to New Mexico by the Garduño family. Following are some dates I have roughed out in a timeline. Some of these dates may be inaccurate, but in the next few months, I will connect more dots and with any luck conduct a few interviews. I never had the chance to hear grandma Lina sing. My grandma Emily remembers how her mother would sing while she ironed clothes. She has always said that my great grandma had an enchanting voice. I am very sad that I was never able to sit down to talk about family history with my great grandma when she was alive. I am sure that she would have loved to talk about her origins with me.

Garduño Timeline

1892, my great great grandfather Florencio Garduño married Maria Merced Gonzales

1906, my great grandmother Maria Fedelina Garduño y Gonzales de Ortiz was born, and was from Nambe

1910, Thirteenth Census of the United States- Garduño family (great grandma Fedelina and her sister Adelia) recorded in Precinct No. 22- Ortiz, Nambe Pueblo Grant

1914, my great great grandfather Cesario Herrera y Ortiz married his second wife Adelia Garduño

1921, Benancio Garduño was born

1931, my grandma Maria Emilia Oritz y Garduño de Lujan was born (baptized by Cesario Ortiz and Adelia Garduño de Ortiz in Pojoaque)

1957, the Garduño family became active foodies and opened Bennie’s Drive-in on North 4th Street

1960, my great grandfather Juan Eliu Ortiz passes away

1963, my great grandmother Maria Fedelina Garduño y Gonzales de Ortiz moved from Nambe to Albuquerque following the death of her husband Juan Eliu Ortiz

1969, Dave Garduño got a loan and reopened his father’s restaurant Bennie’s Drive-in under the name Taco Flats

1970-1975, Dave Garduño owned Taco Flats

1976-1978, Dave Garduño owned La Tapatia

1978-1981, Dave Garduño owned Papa Felipe’s Restaurant

1981, sold smaller restaurants to focus energy on the restaurant on 4th he named Garduño’s

1982-2010, Dave Garduño owned Garduño’s Restaurant and Cantina (8806 4th Street NW) in addition to other locations

1990, Dave Garduño opened Yesterdave’s (a 50s-style diner)

1991, Benancio Garduño (Dave’s father) died and was buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery (Private- United States Army)

1996, Dave Garduño opened Garduño’s at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

1997, Dave Garduño opened Garduño’s at the Albuquerque International Sunport

1999, my great grandmother Maria Fedelina Garduño y Gonzales de Ortiz passed away

2010, Tortilla Inc. the parent company of Garduño’s filed for bankruptcy and closed three locations, including the restaurant on 4th Street

2010, the 6,000 square foot Garduño’s building on 4th Street was sold and the original building built by the Garduño family was unfortunately lost

Domain of the Golden Dragon: Soldiers and Mermaids of the Far East

November 26, 2011

I spent the larger part of my day continuing work on the processing, rehousing and description of my family papers. It is taking a bit for me to complete this task since I have so much stuff. I purchased acid free folders and boxes to rehouse my collection, and will use pencil on the folder tabs. I guess it was a productive day. I got through the tentative description of close to 50 folders. I have about two cubic feet of records to work through and have finished going through about one quarter. In archival terminology, the collection is classified as an “artificial collection.” That basically means that I have manually collected records, and artificially created a body of research materials. At this point, I have instituted a rough arrangement with penciled folder numbers (just to make sense of what I have). Before I finalize the ultimate resting place of each folder within the collection, I will impose a more meaningful arrangement for physical control of the materials. The physical arrangement will likely be by lines (paternal, maternal) and then possibly by surname. Using the spreadsheet I have created, I will then impose intellectual arrangement by sorting and creating series and/or sub-series for the records (likely sorted by record type, place names, and date). My spreadsheet captures the following: folder no.; surname(s); type of record 1 (sacred or secular); type of record 2 (notes, census, sacramental, white paper, book, web resource, etc.); line (maternal/paternal); description; place names; date; and other notes of importance (including primary record citations when available). Later I will be able to visibly see connections and/or holes in my research by sorting in various ways.

The one thing I was reminded of today while working on this project was my mom’s father. My grandpa died before I was born, and so I never met him. Filadelfio Narciso Garcia was born on September 9, 1914 (Chacon, New Mexico). Though his name was Filadelfio, my grandpa went by “Phil” for the majority of his life. If he were still alive, there is so much I would ask him. It is impossible to determine personality from documents. What I do know is that my paternal grandfather was a Virgo (like me). He was also part of the sixth astrological sign of the Zodiac. I wonder if he (like other Virgos): was a lover of literature; was captivated by details; and adored history? I may never know? I am learning more about this interesting man, but there is certainly more to know. Some of the records I processed today once belonged to my grandpa. He was a Tech 5 for the United States Army in World War II (Company B- 1st CP). His separation papers (honorable discharge) declare his place of separation as Fort Bliss (TX). He was just under 6′ tall. This is where the height on my mom’s line comes from (except for me LoL). One of his specialties was cooking! Ahhhaaaa… That’s where I get it from! His “decorations and citations” included: the American Theater; Asiatic Pacific Theater; and a Victory Medal. I wonder what happened to the medal? Now that would be a find! I think mermaids, dragons, spirits of the deep, and well anything from the realm of fantasy is super cool. I thought I would share a certificate of his I rediscovered, and fell in love with again today. There are also a few photos which are relative to my grandpa’s service.

The certificate is from the Domain of the Golden Dragon (International Date Line) Ruler of the 180th Meridian. The full color certificate was given to my grandpa on February 7, 1946 at a certain latitude and longitude at sea. He was a soldier on the S.S. Marine Swallow, and likely filed away the certificate in his personal belongings right before he returned to the United States on February 15, 1946. The certificate is what the Department of the Navy (Navy Historical Center- Washington Navy Yard) calls “unofficial,” still it is intricate and gorgeous. Apparently, sailors, soldiers, and marines were given the certificate when they passed the 180th Meridian. I also have some 5×7 black and white images of soldiers getting on and off the S.S. Marine Swallow while carrying their bags. Unfortunately, there was no metadata on the back of these images, so I am making an educated guess on the date they were taken. I do wonder if my grandpa took the photographs? If so, he was “documenting” history! Wow! My grandpa Phil passed away in 1973. He died young of a heart attack, and sadly he never got to see my face, and I never got to hear his voice (even as a baby)…

Editor? Questions? Edification?

November 19, 2011

Tonight I followed up on a tip from one of my friends. I heard that the New Mexico Genealogical Society had a post on their web site looking for a new editor. I did shoot out an email for more information on what all “editor” entails?? You know: software (Photoshop, PageMaker, Quark); hardware (is access to their severs in the cloud- cuz people gotta work from home). I had a few questions. The info may be old because I noticed the site hasn’t been updated lately- but who knows?

While I was on the site I did notice some good articles available online for genealogists. I gotta plug my good friend (and the only Certified Genealogist I know in New Mexico) Karen Stein Daniel. I love that gal!! She is sweet, beautiful, and smart- the trinity of loveliness.
Online Articles for Genealogists

Historiography for Genealogists- A Perspective in Understanding, by Karen Stein Daniel, C.G.SM

The Genealogical Proof Standard– Five steps established as a guide to serious researchers for evidence when providing facts in their family history, by Karen Stein Daniel, C.G.SM

Sapello New Mexico: A Case Study of New Mexican Changes, by Salena B. Ashton

Men from whom San Miguel and Guadalupe County’s Quotas will be taken for 1917 draft, by Armando Sandoval (Las Vegas Daily Optic, New Mexico, July 23, 1917)

Guardianship Law in New Mexico, Territorial Period forward, by Robert Greene

Discovering Your Native American Heritage Using Genetic Ancestry Testing, by Ripan S. Malhi, Ph.D. and Amy J. Schilling, MS

*****Posted using WordPress for BlackBerry*****

King Tut and Haplogroup R1b1a2

November 18, 2011

It is amazing to see the hits when one searches the information highway for stories about King Tut’s DNA. Sometime back, I discovered that the men in my paternal line share the same Y-DNA of this king. Tut’s DNA derived from Haplogroup R1b1a2. There are still a great number of people at odds over his origin, but I’ll bet most of them are not scientists!! 🙂

Half of European Men Share King Tut’s DNA
Originally published on the Reuters Africa web site (8.1.2011 by Alice Baghdjian and edited by Paul Casciato)

LONDON Aug 1 (Reuters Life!) – Up to 70 percent of British men and half of all Western European men are related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, geneticists in Switzerland said.

Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy centre, iGENEA, reconstructed the DNA profile of the boy Pharaoh, who ascended the throne at the age of nine, his father Akhenaten and grandfather Amenhotep III, based on a film that was made for the Discovery Channel.

The results showed that King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group, known as haplogroup R1b1a2, to which more than 50 percent of all men in Western Europe belong, indicating that they share a common ancestor.

Among modern-day Egyptians this haplogroup contingent is below 1 percent, according to iGENEA.

“It was very interesting to discover that he belonged to a genetic group in Europe — there were many possible groups in Egypt that the DNA could have belonged to,” said Roman Scholz, director of the iGENEA Centre.

Around 70 percent of Spanish and 60 percent of French men also belong to the genetic group of the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

“We think the common ancestor lived in the Caucasus about 9,500 years ago,” Scholz told Reuters.

It is estimated that the earliest migration of haplogroup R1b1a2 into Europe began with the spread of agriculture in 7,000 BC, according to iGENEA.

However, the geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun’s paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin.

The centre is now using DNA testing to search for the closest living relatives of “King Tut”.

“The offer has only been publicised for three days but we have already seen a lot of interest,” Scholz told Reuters.

Origins of my Familial Y-DNA for Haplogroup R1b1a2

November 16, 2011

Thomas, Isaiah, & Gilbert Lujan (these men contain my familial Y-DNA- my brother, my nephew, and my father)

Near the end of June 2011, I posted about the test results of my exploration into the Y-DNA (paternal) of my family. In the last week, I received three electronic notifications regarding our DNA. A new person has been connected through the New Mexico DNA Project. Once each new test is complete, a notification is sent out to all the individuals the test has been linked to. In other words, I got an email at 12 markers, 25 markers, and then 37 markers for the new person. The project site will say when the last connection was made, and to what degree, but the list of individuals does not have a date.

Unfortunately I had no record saved of those individuals listed in June, so it is difficult to say who the new guy is? I have learned it may be a good idea to keep a running spreadsheet of data on the test results, so I have created one. At this point, I have only documented the Y-DNA for Haplogroup R1b1a2. Keeping a working document makes more sense because it will allow me to further manipulate the data for a closer analysis of these connections. I originally created the spreadsheet in a proprietary Excel format, but will manipulate the data using OpenOffice Calc since I adore open source. I have created the following tabs for my data sheets: Sort by Type of Match; Sort by Surname; Sort by Individuals; and Sort by Exact Matches. Each sheet has been color coded and somewhat altered so that I can easily see relationships.

In June, I informed everyone that our Y-DNA was connected to the Aragón surname (probably a connection to Ignacio de Aragón). At that time, there were 13 matches within the New Mexico DNA Project. Now there are 18 matches which likely point to Spain as the country of origin. The Project Administrator said my ancient forefather was likely a Celt-Iberian. These Celtic people were living in the Iberian Peninsula in what is now north central Spain. As of today here are some of the statistics I can derive from the data I have manipulated.
*****There are 18 total matches for the 12 marker, 25 marker, and 37 marker Y-DNA tests for Haplogroup R1b1a2.

*****There are 11 Aragóns, 1 Archuleta, 3 Bacas, 1 Garcia, 1 Lozano, and 1 Salazar.

*****Out of 18 people, the highest number of connections can be made to 2 men- 1 is a Baca the other is an Aragón.

*****10 of the 18 individuals came up as “exact” matches.” Of those 10, 7 were Aragóns, 2 were Bacas, and 1 was a Garcia.

As more people begin to participate in the New Mexico DNA Project, the picture will change. At this point, after conducting my own mini study, it is safe to say that although I am a Lujan, my paternal DNA is indeed historically rooted in the Aragón surname.

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