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Category: Biographies

Memorializing the Fallen Soldiers of WWI

Memorializing the Fallen Soldiers of WWI

More than 500 men from New Mexico ended up as casualties of World War I. In the War’s aftermath, the New Mexico Board of Historical Services launched an initiative to memorialize those fallen men, culminating in a memory gathering project and archive.

Regalo: The Book of My Ancestors

Regalo: The Book of My Ancestors

As a small child about 7 years old I remember my grandmother Martha inheriting a beautiful old photo album shortly after the passing of her father Abe. I remember my grandmother bringing the album home, setting it on the table, dimming the kitchen light and stressing that we had to look through it quickly to preserve the photos. I remember asking my grandmother who the people in the photos were and her response, “old people,” followed by a chuckle, “they…

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HIPÓLITO ESPINOSA – And the Old Spanish Trail

HIPÓLITO ESPINOSA – And the Old Spanish Trail

Imagine that this is how it must have looked when, in the Fall of 1842, 19 New Mexican families gathered along the Chama River in the grassy fields below Abiquiu. They would be the first colonist settlers to set forth on the Camino de California or the California Road – later to become known as The Old Spanish Trail. CAYETANO HIPÓLITO DE JESUS ESPINOSA, our great, great, grandfather, had recruited family and friends from El Rito and the surrounding region with the offer of free land in California, and he would help lead them to their new promised land. This is his story of how this all came to be.

Community Cuentistas – Mapping the Storytellers in Juan B. Rael’s ‘Cuentos Españoles de Colorado y Nuevo Mexico’

Community Cuentistas – Mapping the Storytellers in Juan B. Rael’s ‘Cuentos Españoles de Colorado y Nuevo Mexico’

One of the core lessons I learned from my grandmother was that the best storytellers are those that have mastered the ability to lean in and to listen. In this, I think of the work of now renowned linguist and folklorist, Juan Bautista Rael. As a native son of the region, he had no doubt been raised on stories, however, in the summer of 1930, he returned home, freshly minted with a Master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley….

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Los Argüellos – Connecting Migrations and Memories

Los Argüellos – Connecting Migrations and Memories

My interest about my family history began as a young child during our annual visits to my grandfather Jose Tiburcio Argüello and Antonia (Tonita) Cordova Argüello’s farm in Llano de San Juan Nepomuceno, now known as Llano, New Mexico. During our visits to my grand-parents farm my grandfather always reminded me of how our ancestors were the ones who settled all the villages in the surrounding area many years ago. In 1946 after my father Clarence Argüello completed his military…

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Reflections of Africa in New Mexico

Reflections of Africa in New Mexico

Every village has a remarkable story and Las Trampas, named for the River of Traps that flows through it, is no different. This village in northern New Mexico was settled in 1751 and holds the legacy of the remarkable families that gathered ground, tilled it and through the centuries made community. These families had come from Santa Fe, but at least one of their progenitors had himself carried an older origin story, one that reflected a journey of thousands of…

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