Category Archives: Valenzuela Family

My great-grandmother Rufina Valenzuela is very important to me. While I love the Escalantes, Leonardo didn’t birth 9 babies successfully all by himself. I would love to know more about her parents and siblings.

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 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.

One more thing about Tia Cuca…

Greetings all! Look at me. Another post. In the same month!

I have been doing family history for a very long time. I started about 1986, two years after my grandfather passed away and I could no longer ask him questions. Before a visit to Calexico, California, to visit my aunt, we purchased a video recorder. She was going to go with us to visit Tia Cuca in Mexicali. The recorder would allow us to ask her questions and record them for posterity.

As many of you know, I cannot speak Spanish. It is a very painful truth, but there it is. My parents only spoke Spanish to each other when my birthday and Christmas were coming. I had anticipated that during this visit to Mexicali, my escorts might share some of Tia Cuca’s knowledge with me. We never did have a post-interview meeting on it. So, not knowing all of what she had to say was my fault.

Flash-forward to about 4 years ago. I found the video tape. Guess what? Tia Cuca shares quite a bit of the information with us that it took me 20 years to dig up. Sigh. What we did manage to do is capture a bit of her on video. You will see her kitchen. I learned to love mole there. This footage is very raw, even having the camera lie sideways on the table. There is nothing fancy to it. Even the questions are shoddy at best. I know what to ask now. But alas, that time has passed.

I realized many of you might want to see this.  The primary reason for this blog is to share all I find (or have) with you. Every day I slap my forehead thinking “They might want to know about this!” So here she is. We loved her kindness and hospitality. You love her for reasons of your own. Please enjoy.

We are Family.

Greetings! I have been working WAY too much recently. My computer has been acting weird too, so my ability to search for family has been disrupted. However, I found that a kind person shared my blog entry regarding the Palacios family on her Facebook page. Many have been visiting and I’m so glad! Connecting with family to share stories is the reason I do this.

As the Palacios’ are my traffic right now, I thought I might share some information with them that they may or may not know. I am surprised how many family circles are in the radius that is Calexico and Mexicali, but they DON’T know it. My mom’s first cousin was Dr. Leonardo Sepulveda, pediatrician. He worked in Mexicali. She never met him. ACK!

I am a notorious Facebook stalker. I see who knows who. Some may know this next batch of information, but many may not.

My connection to the Palacios family is two-fold. My Great-Uncle Ruben Escalante married Maria Del Refugio Palacios. Her sister married my Great-Great-uncle Jose Maria Valenzuela. I have often wondered how Jose Maria’s two sets of children viewed each other.

Jose Maria’s first wife was Maria Luisa Lopez. They had three children that I can find so far. I really love to draw charts. I’m sure one day I’ll get fancy and do it on the computer, but that is no fun for my brain.


Jose Maria’s first marriage and resulting off-spring.

Adela was important to Margarita Valenzuela (Gil Samaniego) because she was a 15 year-old who was at Margarita’s 2nd wedding as padrino. How cute she must have been at her aunt’s side. I could not find leads on the other children of this first marriage.

Maria Luisa died between 1910 – 1913. In 1914, Jose Maria marries his second wife, Armida Palacios.


Wedding Registration for Armida Palacios and Jose Maria Valenzuela, 1914.

Now Armida is a married young woman with a few step-children, one her own age. She gets pregnant quite quickly. While they have a baby girl, Francisca, she only lives 5 months.


Grandfather Francisco Palacios was the one to report the death of the baby to the officials.

This must have been devastating to the new mother. She did move forward and proceeded to have 9 children. [If she had more, please let me know].


This wonderful picture shows Armida with her first three living children. The 10-year old, I can’t find on record.

This post has many images. I thought everyone would like to see photos from waaaay back in the day.


Many years of using his Travel Manifest. Oscar Valenzuela-Palacios.


Armida Valenzuela de Cota.

Armida’s husband was Lauro Cota. He was a local singer in the Mexicali area. His Manifest says he “sings on the radio.” I found an article in this e-magazine. Page 5 discusses Cota quickly, as well as another man who married into the Palacios clan, Armando Toledo.


Juan’s manifest. Noting he was going to Heber to see his brother-in-law Arturo Hernandez.

Let’s see. What else. I found Maria Guadalupe Otilia Valenzuela Palacios too. She shortened it and went by Otilia. She was very pretty.


How does one take such a great picture? Honestly.

She married a Gilberto Castro Millan. A later manifest says she had two children; a boy named Fernando and a girl whose name I couldn’t find.


Mario. One of the last of the children. He looks like L. Escalante.

In my records I have a Cesar Valenzuela listed, but have no idea why. I could find nothing on him.


The Valenzuela-Palacios tree.

So there is what I could find on this family. All of these people are first cousins to my grandfather – Alberto “Tony” Escalante. Also to his brother Ruben. But because Ruben married Armida Palacios’ sister, they are also Rubens’ nieces and nephews. Excellent!!!

I hope that all of the siblings got along. From both marriages. I hope that they all had birthdays, baptisms and weddings together. The age difference might have been an issue. Some of my mom’s best memories were visiting with the Palacios family. She had no idea she was related to them. Twice.

If there is anyone out there who can supply me with corrections, additions, photos, please share whatever you can. I want to report as accurately as possible. Have a wonderful November!

Guadalupe Valenzuela de Garcia

I recently made contact with Margarita Valenzuela’s grandchildren. They have been so wonderfully gracious in sharing information with me. While my blog is generally about the Escalante family, I realize that Rufina grafted the Valenzuela branch onto our tree. Rufina is kind of my favorite and I’m finding so much more about these relations of ours.  So the Valenzuela branch earned its own category today.

The basic run down is this:

Guadalupe Valenzuela married Francisca Moreno in Sonora, Mexico. They were supposed to be from Tecoripa. They farmed in Santa Ana. After he died, Francisca moved to Hermosillo with Margarita.

They had four children which I have been able to find. Those were:

  • Rufina Valenzuela b. 1868 (married Leonardo Escalante)
  • Jose Maria Valenzuela b. 1872 (1st wife – Maria Luisa Lopez; 2nd wife – Armida Palacios)
  • Guadalupe Valenzuela b. 1878 (married Manuel Garcia)
  • Margarita Valenzuela b. 1881 (1st husband – Tomas Gil Samaniego; 2nd husband – Jose Lopez; 3rd husband – Luis Barragan)

This write-up is about Guadalupe. The first time I “came across” this aunt was on Rufina’s death certificate. Guadalupe is the official “informant.”  She was also listed on Tia Panchita’s delayed birth certificate. She was out there as a mythological being, but no one tangible. On one lovely visit to Tio Ruben’s son, he generously opened up his photo album. He is the baby in this picture, with Guadalupe in the center. My heart melted as I saw Rufina’s sister.

Son, Tia Cuca, Tia Guadalupe and Tio Ruben, around 1937, Calexico, CA.

Son, Tia Cuca, Tia Guadalupe and Tio Ruben, around 1936, Calexico, CA.

And then, I had to keep on digging until I found out more. This branch of the Valenzuela de Garcia branch has been very difficult to reach. I have met those who know them, but I haven’t been able to make contact with a direct descendant. Here is what I have been able to piece together. Starting with Guadalupe’s husband…..

Manuel Garcia was born August 17, 1872, in Ures, Sonora, to Manuel Garcia and Trinidad Zamudio. This is Manuel at his elder brother’s wedding. The photo was shared by A. España. She is a relative of the groom.

Back From Left to Right: Trinidad Zamudio de Garcia, Manuel Garcia, Dolores Moreno de Martinez. Groom: Alejandro Garcia Sr. Bride: Maria I. Rosa Martinez.

Back From Left to Right: Trinidad Zamudio de Garcia, Manuel Garcia, Dolores Moreno de Martinez. Groom: Alejandro Garcia Sr., Bride: Maria I. Rosa Martinez.

[If the names sound familiar it is because Alejandro Garcia, Sr. is father to my Tia Panchita’s husband, Alejandro Garcia, Jr. Whew!]

Guadalupe was born in Sonora on September 23, 1878. She and Manuel probably married around 1897. They proceeded to have many children. I’m going to gratuitously list them. You never know who will be doing a Google search. AND, many of my cousins could very well know their offspring, never realizing familial ties.

Carlos Octavio – Born in Ures, Sonora, August, 1898. Married Isabel Guillen.

Victor Manuel – Born in Naco, Sonora, July 1900. Had children, can’t find name of wife.

Trinidad – Born in Nacozari, Sonora, May 1902. Married Luis Noriega Peralta.

Francisca Belen – Born in Naco Sonora, March 1907 (although her gravestone says 1908). Died single.

Hermenegildo Rene – Born in Cananea, Sonora, June 1911. Died young in 1943.

Rene's graduation picture found at the Pioneer's Park Museum.

Rene’s graduation picture found at the Pioneer’s Park Museum.

Enrique Felix – Born in Naco, Arizona, June 1913. If you read his birth certificate below, you will see he was the 11th child born, the 6th living. This would explain the large gap in children between Trini and Francisca, Francisca and Rene. I theorize that he died early as he is never listed in any of the US Census’ later.


Manuel – Born in Calexico, CA,  June, 1915, . Married Enriqueta Davalos.

Guadalupe – Born in Calexico, CA, December, 1917. She died young at the age of 20. She is buried with her father in the historical section of Mt. View Cemetery, Calexico.

Eloisa Martha – Born in Calexico, CA, January, 1920. She married a man named Perez. I cannot find an obituary even though she only recently died in 2003.

I have tried to track various leads, but no one has returned emails. I completely understand. Not every one reaches out to my “we are cousins!” announcements.  The one thing I cannot comprehend, is how, when Tia Guadalupe lived at 910 E. 3rd Street in Calexico, for what appears to be forever, my mom never knew about her.

Tio Ruben obviously visited her. My grandfather returned to Calexico in about 1945. During the time they lived there, my mom (and aunt) have no recollection of every meeting her. As I keep thinking it odd that family lost touch while living in an approximate 25 mile radius, this Garcia family lived on a street that intersects with Giles Avenue; a street my grandfather and his family lived on. Was it bad blood? Were feelings hurt? Was everyone just too busy to chat any more and then slowly drifted apart?

Rufina came to Calexico to be near her Valenzuela family. And yet, there is no connection in present day relations.

One more photo. Tia Cuca, Tio Manuel Garcia, Baby Escalante.

One more photo. Tia Cuca, Tio Manuel Garcia, Baby Escalante.

Tio Manuel died not long after this picture was taken on February 3, 1936. Tia Guadalupe lived at the same house until her death on February 13, 1960.

I have yet to find any more siblings for Rufina, but at this point I’m not going to say it’s impossible. They could even live right next door to me.  A cousin of mine, a son of my Uncle Jim, lives in Stillwater. I’m going to a wedding where the bride’s surname is Valenzuela. Don’t think I’m not going to corner her grandmother by the punch bowl. “Hi. Sooooo, where are your people from?…..”


Bits and Nibbles – Various Stories and Previews


I have been fighting a sinus infection the last few weeks. Being here in Oklahoma in May is trying on my poor head. Cottonwood seeds float around like little flying saucers of allergen doom. I love it here, but May does have its downside. That, and the traditional spring storms with their meso-cyclones (tornadoes) is always fun and exciting!

But you are here for other reasons. First of all, I have delayed in sharing this a bit too long. I have been in contact with my Gil Samaniego cousins in Mexicali. If you remember they are Margarita Valenzuela’s descendants. They have been so kind in their friendship to me. One cousin sent me this wonderful photograph.

Mexicali, 1935. Photo Courtesty of T. Gil Samaniego.

Mexicali, 1935. Photo courtesy of T. Gil Samaniego.

This is Jose Florencio “Lencho” Valenzuela and his lovely bride Concepción “Concha” Abril. He was from Margarita’s third marriage. He did not take his father’s last name. They were married in 1935. They lived in Mexicali. Lencho is my grandfather’s first cousin. What a lovely treasure. They had quite a few children, most who live in Mexicali.

Let’s see…what else? Last year I was bored and doodling and testing my memory. I managed to put a family tree together that seemed to get most of the families on it.

Genealogy nerd doodles.

Genealogy nerd doodles.

I think this could be helpful for those that might wander onto this site looking for a more collected framework. These are names I can definitively say have documentation to back up the theory of my branches. There are many other “side” friends and family theories that I have. But until I can prove it, they are all just theories.

I am outlining two new blogs in regards to my grandfather Albert. One will be about his third wife, Sara Higuera. I want to give her familial background a fuller picture for her grandchildren who may or may not know much about their past. The second will be more of Albert’s business and career dealings. I am kind of partial to him, so I want to give him the fullest picture I can. Haha!

I am in touch with another family historian who is working on the HIguera tree. Just when I think I have a good basic idea of Sara’s story, I’m told that Sara was married before my grandfather. WHAT?? So I go looking around and find this:

Fengel - Higuera wedding license announcement. Santa Cruz Sentinel, Jan 3, 1934.

Fengel – Higuera wedding license announcement. Santa Cruz Sentinel, Jan 3, 1934.

Neat! But there is a bit more to the Fengel story, so that will probably add-on a few more weeks of correspondence. It’s a never-ending spiral of information!

I’m off to continue researching. If you find you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Send me a message. I really enjoy reuniting family with family that isn’t even mine. 🙂


Margarita Valenzuela

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.

Margarita and Tomas' wedding registration. Hermosillo, 1897.

Margarita and Tomas’ wedding registration. Hermosillo, 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.

Margarita and Tomas visiting Manuel Garcia (her brother-in-law), 1912.

Margarita and Tomas visiting Manuel Garcia (her brother-in-law), 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.

Margarita's second marriage to Jose Lopez.

Margarita’s second marriage to Jose Lopez.

Second page of Margarita's second marriage registration.

Second page of Margarita’s second marriage registration.

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.

Tia Margarita Valenzuela de Lopez.

Tia Margarita Valenzuela de Lopez.

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 Gil Samaniego in Mexicali from years 1928 - 1935.

Tomas Gil Samaniego in Mexicali from years 1928 – 1935.

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.

Refugio, Eluid, and Noemi on her travel itinerary.

Refugio, Eluid, and Noemi on her travel itinerary.

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 Samaniego, picture from 1948 manifest.

Eluid Samaniego, picture from 1948 manifest.

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!