The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.
I am still quite behind on the challenge due to a summer school course.
My 32nd ancestor is my great-aunt Celedonia Robledo (b. 1913).
A few weeks ago, while strategically perusing through Mexico Civil Birth Registrations for as-yet-unfound birth records for the two children born to my great-grandparents when the family still lived in Mexico, I made an unexpected discovery. I came across the birth registration for a third child born in Mexico–a daughter named Celedonia Robledo. This is not a name known to the living descendants of my great-grandparents. This is not a name that I have come across in any of their U.S. records.
My great-grandparents Jose Robledo (1875-1937 ) and Maria Hermalinda Nieto (1887-1974 ) apparently gave birth to Celedonia Robledo on 3 March 1913.2 This daughter was born in between oldest daughter Guadalupe (b. 1910) and oldest son Refugio Rafael (b. 1915), two years and seven months before the young family immigrated to the United States.
Genealogy SnapshotName: Celedonia Robledo (1913-1914)
Parents: Jose Robledo and Maria Hermalinda Nieto
Spouse: Not applicable
Surnames: Compean, Nieto, Robledo, Sanches
Relationship to CJRoots: Great-Aunt
The Birth Record
Although generally not as rich in genealogical information as Mexico Catholic church records, civil registration records do also provide highly valuable information and clues.
Mexico Civil Registration
The civil registration system in Mexico is mandated, requiring that all births (nacimientos), marriages (matrimonios), and deaths (defunciones) be reported to local authorities. The system began in 1859-1860, but was not strictly enforced until 1867.3, 4
The Original Record
The birth register entry for my great-aunt Celedonia is handwritten across two folios. The beginning of the entry is on the back (or recto) of folio 23, and the end is on the front (or verso) of folio 24 (see image at the top of this post). For ease of reading and translation, I cropped each section to display a larger image and merged them together below.
I have mentioned before that I do not speak Spanish, and my reading ability is rudimentary. I can make out the basic details of these types of records, but I risk missing important information relying on just my own reading ability. So I again enlisted the help of my Spanish-fluent father in translating the birth record for the aunt he never knew about.
In the village of Armadillo on the 6th day of March, 1913, in my presence, Nerusio Maldonado, judge of the civil state of this village, Cinto Oruelas, single 25 years of age, a resident of Temescal, appeared to report the live birth of a girl on the 3rd of this month at 8 AM and was named Celedonia Robledo the legal daughter of Jose Robledo, married age 32 and his spouse Maria Nieto, married age 24. The fraternal [paternal] parents [grandparents] are Silverio Robledo and Jesus Sanchez, both deceased, and maternal parents [grandparents] are Refugio Nieto, deceased, and Aurelia Compeon, alive. Feliciano Ramires witnessed this report. This report was read to the interested persons by me, Nerusio Maldonado.6
It turns out that my rudimentary translation skills did indeed miss important information…the reference to the actual date of birth! I only caught the birth registration date. Score Dad!
What genealogical information does this record tell us?
- A female child was born on 3 March 1913 at 8:00am. The birth was reported on 6 March.
- She was likely born in the village of Temescal, municipality of Armadillo de los Infante, state of San Luis Potosí, since that is the village where the informant resided.
- She was the legitimate daughter of Jose Robledo (32 yeas old) and his wife Maria Nieto (age 24).
- Paternal grandparents, both deceased, were Silverio Robledo and Jesus Sanchez.
- Maternal grandfather, deceased, was Refugio Nieto. Maternal grandmother, still living, is Aurelia Compean.
What doesn’t this record tell us?
- Who is the informant, Cinto Oruelas? A friend or neighbor of the parents? Or a relative? He is a lead worth investigating.
What comes next in learning about Celedonia?
- Because I have not come across this child’s name in the family’s immigration records or any other U.S. records, I have to assume she died before the family left Mexico. This means looking for Mexico death records–both civil registration and church sacrament registers. This step should answer the research question: Why didn’t Celedonia immigrate to the U.S. with her parents and siblings in 1915?
- I also want to look for a Catholic baptism record for Celedonia in Mexico, because those records can provide additional genealogical clues about her ancestors.
- Armadillo de los Infante, San Luis Potosí, Archivo del Registro Civil (Civil Registration Archive), 1913; entry 84, Celedonia Robledo, 6 March 1913, folio 23 (back); digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search : accessed 30 September 2015) > Mexico > San Luis Potosí, Civil Registration, 1859-2000 > Armadillo de los Infante > Nacimientos 1913-1919 > image 34. ↩
- Armadillo de los Infante, San Luis Potosí, Archivo del Registro Civil (Civil Registration Archive), 1913; entry 84, Celedonia Robledo. ↩
- George & Peggy Ryskamp, Finding Your Mexican Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide (Provo: Ancestry Publishng, 2007), 15. ↩
- “Mexico Civil Registration,” FamilySearch Wiki (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Mexico_Civil_Registration : accessed 20 October 2015). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- (Name withheld for privacy), translator, “Celedonia,”; privately held by Colleen Greene, Placentia, California, 12 October 2015; Word document containing English translation of civil birth registration original record for Celedenia Robledo. ↩