I often hear how the family unit is split up “these days.” Kids go off to college in other states, parents retire to warmer climates and the extended family unit is disrupted. No one stays together any more.
I am finding that I come from a nomadic group of people. No one has stayed in one place for any extended amount of time. Even those who lived their lives in Calexico/Mexicali have children and grandchildren in other places.
Once I discovered that my great-grandmother Rufina had siblings in Imperial Valley, I did a generic search for Valenzuelas born in Santa Ana, Sonora.
Well, well, well.
In about 1881, Guadalupe Valenzuela and Francisca Moreno had one more child that I could find. Margarita was born. She was 13 years Rufina’s junior. They may have been close when Margarita was a baby, but by 1888, Rufina was married, with a child of her own, and starting her nomadic life with Leonardo.
The details I have on Margarita are very slim, but, as I love all my family, here is what I know. She married a Tomas Gil Samaniego in 1897.
Tomas’s parents (Tomas Gil Samaniego and Amada Tellechea) had already passed. He was an older 32 years to her 16 years. It appears that while her dad, Guadalupe had passed, her mother Francisca was at the wedding. Margarita and Tomas had a son Francisco Tomas Gil Samaniego, whose birth was civilly registered on Dec. 11, 1898. The little family lived in Hermosillo, but their happiness did not last long. Tomas Senior died on May 18, 1902.
Margarita and her son would travel to Tombstone, Arizona. They lived there for a few years between 1910 and 1912.
Life must have been rather difficult fora younger widow with a son. On her travels back and forth to the family farm which belonged to her brother, Jose Maria Valenzuela, she met and married Jose Lopez. (His parents had been Jose Lopez Sr. and Dolores Estrella). They marry on January 5, 1914 in Santa Ana, Sonora.
The first page is all blah, blah, blah stuff. BUT, the second page was VERY interesting to me. There are two padrinos listed. One is a Ms. Adela Valenzuela. For a girl who can’t read Spanish this caught me off guard and I felt I really could read it. All I can tell you is that it will be another blog entry to discuss Margarita’s niece Adela.
This is the only picture I could find of her. It appeared that she did have a child by Jose. His name was Rafael. He joined her when she visited the United States in 1918. I couldn’t find any other record of him. She was living in Mexicali by 1929. She was there to be near her eldest son, Tomas.
Tomas’ nearest relative listed on his manifest was his Tio Jose Maria Valenzuela. Tomas is my grandfather Albert Escalante’s first cousin. I am sad to say, we never knew this. Tomas married Refugio Mesa. They had two children together. A son named Eluid and a daughter named Noemi.
I have it flipped upside down so you can see the cute children. Her mother’s name was Luz Beltran. In one of Tomas’ later manifests, he has his occupation listed as Hydrographer. Ruben Escalante had that job too. Did they work together? Did Ruben hook him up with an interview??
Eluid grew up into a handsome 17 year-old here. He used this manifest for a while. If you look to the far right you will see a note that by 1955 he married Celia Ramos. Clues are all over these little pieces of paper.
I have searched all over the cemetery search engines in Mexicali. I could not find Margarita’s grave, or that of Tomas and his wife. I believe Margarita’s descendants are still in Mexicali.
While my great-grandmother Rufina’s family is more grafted on the Escalante branch by marriage, Rufina has my heart. To find that she had three siblings: Jose Maria, Guadalupe and Margarita, makes me happy. That their children were all in Imperial Valley or Mexicali without my knowledge, makes me sad. I would like for many of the Valenzuela family members to see this post. I have tried for years to find a picture of Rufina. There is an outstanding reward for a clear picture of her. I can put her next to the picture of I have of Leonardo in my hallway. Since my Escalante family can’t find one, maybe her great-Valenzuela-nieces and nephews can find one for me. That is what this site is meant to do; bring us together, only about 100 years later, with our common threads.
And please remember, if you have questions, comments or stories to share, I would be honored to hear from you!
I adore this post because I feel a strong connection to my Grandmother Rufina . I can imagine her struggle as a single mother .She is a woman I admire very much. I look forward to you finding her photo. Love Tia