Monthly Archives: September 2013

Just When You Think You Really Know Someone

There are times where I think I have all the answers. I believe that after years of family hunting, I have found as much as I can – whether that be due to my brilliance (haha!) or because I’ve run out of leads and simply must accept what I know.

Kathleen, from the Orange County Cemetery District, was kind to provide me new information on the Romo Family. But with that new info, I had to find new information resources. And in there, I place every name from the tree that I know. Just to see what develops. Well, Boy Howdy! On a dime, it all changes.

Tia Maria. You saucy thing, you. I had thought your marriage was to Gabriel Morales was her first. But, no. (Insert crazy maniacal laughter here.)

Maria and Hipolito's  Marriage License, 1915.

Maria and Hipolito’s Marriage License, 1915.

In January 1915, Maria married Hipolito Sepulveda. It was about 5 months before her father died. He probably got to walk her down the aisle!! They got married in Santa Ana, CA. On September 11, 1917, they had their first child, Elena Sepulveda. This contradicts what the Border Patrol Officer had written on Maria’s travel manifest of “Helen.” (Elena Sepulveda was easier to find than Helen Morales, when Helen doesn’t exist). Believe me.

Hipolito's Manifest, 1920.

Hipolito’s Manifest, 1920.

Hipolito was an Electrician/Electrical Engineer, depending on the paperwork that is read. He was born in Mexico, DF. His parents were Joaquin Sepulveda and Maria de Jesus de la Portilla. He was handsome in his picture. The couple moved down to Mexicali.

Tia Maria, Elena, Leonardo and Maria Luisa (twins), April, 1920.

Tia Maria, Elena, Leonardo and Maria Luisa (twins), April, 1920.

I was quite pleased to have found a picture of Tia Maria with her first three babies. This confirms my theory that the family went to see the new babies, Leonardo and Maria Luisa, in 1919. Possibly for their baptism? And that was about the time the family moves to Imperial County.

One of the major questions I had about Leonardo when he was older and living in Mexicali, was why would his last name go from Morales to Sepulveda. Maybe he had grown up in Gabriel’s household, but in the end, he went back to his legal name.

Elena's Manifest. She lives with her father, Paul (hiPOLito) Sepulveda.

Elena’s Manifest. She lives with her father, Paul (hiPOLito) Sepulveda.

Close up picture of Elena.

Close up picture of Elena.

So then I found the eldest. Elena Sepulveda Escalante (remember the father’s surname comes first in Mexican families, then the mother’s last name) was in Mexicali. She was living with her dad! I found this interesting. So many kids go and live with their moms. Was she a daddy’s girl? I’ll bet she was. The manifest says that she was accompanied by her sister, Maria Luisa. However, that was crossed out and there was another name there. Maybe Hipolito had more children with his second wife, Maria de Luz.

Hipolito lived along border towns for much of his career.  He traveled to New York. He moved to Nuevo Laredo.

I hope to find Elena and Leonardo’s other American cousins. On one of Hipolito’s manifests, it stated in a corner that he visited a woman named Elpidia Aguirre who lived in Wilington, CA, in 1947. Random? Nope. She was his half-sister. And she stayed in that house until she died in 1997. Then I searched Census Reports to find her kids. And kept searching until I found their kids. We’ll see if they respond to my request to chat.

This was fascinating. Maria was willing to divorce in the early 1920’s. Saucy! But why? Was it incompatibility? Social mobility? Was Gabriel devastatingly handsome? We may never know.

Charlie and Lupe's Marriage License, 1928.

Charlie and Lupe’s Marriage License, 1928.

I’m also happy to report that one of many of Uncle Charlie’s mysteries has been uncovered. For me, his love of, and devotion to the Romo family has never ben doubted. After Rufina died, he moved back to Santa Ana, CA. In 1928, he lived at 828 2nd Street. He met the nice girl next door, Guadalupe Navarro. They got married! While I knew this, I now have dates! I have witnesses! David, Jr. and Carmela Romo. And we also learn that Tia Lupe had parents! Joaquin Navarro and Guadalupe Gurrola. They came from Suaqui Grande, Sonora, Mexico.

No living Escalante couins knows what happened to Tia Lupe. Her son never talked of her either. She had a brother who stayed in Orange County. Maybe someone there knows the answers. (I have letters out to the brother’s children as we speak).

After frantic searching and discoveries, I sent Kathleen a Thank You note.  She deserved it.