Hold Onto Your Hats, M’Dears

We knew I’d get to the scandalously juicy parts of the family stories eventually, right? This is a Valenzuela story. It has to do with Rufina Valenzuela’s family.

Let me start at the beginning.

My mom recently had her DNA tested via ancestry.com. This was fun and informative! She thought it was great. It also gave me leads on possible family members. *clapping hands!* I had sent about 15 messages to various people asking if they want to “share their tree” with me. Many don’t have trees or families listed – just their DNA facts.

Yesterday, I went looking again at results. I felt rejected. All forlorn. No one was answering my pleas in cyberspace. So I took up my own cause. I went snooping.

For those kind few who put up trees, they are more like little seedlings. Two to four people in a tree. The names did not sound remotely familiar. I saw one that had two people listed. Ancestry says she should be a 3rd or 4th cousin. I went on a hunt. And Oh My Goodness!!!


The state of Sonora, where our drama begins….

Rufina was supposed to be born in San Pedro Palominas, which is near Imuris. My grandfather said it was in Santa Ana, not far from there. Our story takes place in that neighborhood, Tecoripa, Suauqi Grande, Cananea, then north to Tombstone and Bisbee, Arizona.

The DNA results showed that we were cousins to a Guadalupe Valenzuela, via his daughter Petronila. Great! Just like the name of Rufina’s dad. So cool. But after finding names and dates it didn’t add up. Who are these kids of his? This can’t be right. MY chart looks like this:

Guadalupe Valenzuela married Francisca Moreno. They had: Rufina, Jose Maria, Guadalupe, and Margarita.

This lady was related to a Guadalupe Valenzuela (GV) who married Justa Duarte. They had: Catalina, Damaso, Petronila, and Maria Simona. {Petronila’s great-granddaughter is the one who has her DNA in play. My starting point.}


Baptism record for Maria Simona Valenzuela – GV and Justa Duarte.

My mind was all bafflement. Does not compute! Then, I started to read the fine print. Justa Duarte’s children are “hijos naturales.” This indicates they are not a product of a marriage. When I stopped to think about it, I have never found marriage records for GV and Francisca Moreno either. Although none of the records indicate “hijo natural” listed, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.


At possibly 18, GV starts having relations with these two ladies. At the same time.

This is how my new chart was sizing up. Looking at the original map of Sonora, Justa is a girl from his hometown area: Tecoripa. Francisca’s children are born in Santa Ana. I’m starting to think GV is more of a traveling salesman, not a miner. During this searching, I’m singing to myself “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” The DNA said I connected to Petronila on the tree above (as well as my own). How could every one NOT know? It gets better.

They did.

In 1934, the Great Depression was underway. The boon of mining was probably on its way to slowing down. Petrolina had a daughter named Carmen Aldecoa. She goes to visit her cousin Trinidad Garcia de Noriega in Mexicali. Trinidad is our Tia Guadalupe’s daughter. And reading the typed line: Carlos Octavio Garcia – Tia Guadalupe’s son.


They knew about each other!!!

This is the link to the two branches of family.

But why stop there?? I look back on suggested trees. There is another GV listed. Those dates don’t add up either, but this has been a crazy weekend so far. Keep looking! I find this branch of the family had a more committed GV living with them in 1900.


One GV with his family in Bisbee, Arizona, 1900.

The above census says he was married. The 1910 census says married 30 years, so no concrete date, but he is with her for many years. If this branch finds my blog, they might not be to happy with me. But I think we all have to get a little uncomfortable, if legitimacy is important to you. After some hysterical laughter, I did some more digging. By the end the chart looks more like this:


There is a very large tree of Valenzuela’s there. But it has this: Guadalupe Valenzuela marries Carmen Cota (although other trees list her as Carmen Navarro). They had: 7 children, 4 who lived. Francisca, Guadalupe, Andreas, Hilaria.

I am now connected to 11 Valenzuela offspring and their families. I’m not sure if GV really married Carmen either.


Baptism Registration for Ma. Dorotea Valenzuela.

If you look right after Dorotea’s name you can read HN. The padrinos are Pedro Nido and Manuela Avila (GV’s mom).

Could there be a connection between the other two families? GV’s children say they are born in San Pedro Palominas (like Rufina). I think this area was located on the old Elias Family Ranch. It became the San Pedro Custom House area.


Link #2 – Andres knows them too.

Andres uses one Catalina (Valenzuela) Arvallo as his contact in Santana, Sonora. He calls her his aunt. But she is almost 20 years his senior. And his mom may not have wanted them to know. But it appears they know they are related. And the DNA ain’t lyin’ either!

One mistake I have found on this branch’s trees are the fact they name Carmen Cota as Navarro. All of the children appear to have used Cota in their names. General naming of children was First Name, Paternal Name, Maternal Name. As they all seem to share this, and American border agents switched it around, I’m pretty sure Cota is the name.

Here is what the chart looks like a little fuller. You know I love to draw me some charts!


And this is how the Sonoran World Turns.

I can find no death records on any of his partners. Carmen disappeared. I cannot find any death records for her in Arizona. Had she stayed with him, or in the area, there would be records. GV dies as a widower.

AND our dear sweet GV lived to be 82 years old. I think we all may know his health regimen. *wink, wink*  I didn’t think it would be quite this tawdry of a tale. I was only mildly aghast. But you know, the ladies seemed to have known. Was he so incredibly irresistible? He must have been.


The great thing about this whole adventure is that his death certificate (above) tells us his parents names. The family tree got much wider, but it also got a little taller. I hope that Carmen Cota’s descendants contact us. If they have any additional documentation, I welcome it. I love seeing the whole picture. I am very much of the opinion the more the merrier. I’m super duper merry today.

2 thoughts on “Hold Onto Your Hats, M’Dears

  1. Margaret Carpenter

    Wonderful research & writing. I believe my father’s grandmother is from Guadalupe Valenzuela line. His mother was Margarita Zavala Valenzuela, grandmother: Francisca Valenzuela b. 1867, illeg. dau. of Guad. & Anta. Parrales. My Aunt’s claim their Valenzuela family was from Bisbee area & they had an aunt named Rita Flores & grandmother named Rita Navarro.


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