My 9th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.
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.
Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.
The theme for week 9 is — Close to Home. Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits “close to home”?
My 9th ancestor is my paternal grandmother Rosie Salas (b. 1923).
As I have mentioned in prior posts, I did not grow up with Rosie as an active grandmother in my life, because she did not raise my father. Dad was raised by his grandmother and uncle. I barely knew Rosie, and think I only met her a few times; the last time was at her ex-husband’s (my grandfather’s) funeral in 1990. All Dad ever knew about his mother’s family history is that she was born in Arizona (he always heard Nogales). He never knew the names or origins of her parents, and was surprised when I discovered she had half-brothers with whom she grew up.
We think Rosie was born in Arizona around 1923, after her parents Estevan Salas (1888-1930) and Victoria Jimenez (1890-1990) and older half-brothers Richard Coleman (b. 1911) and David Coleman (b. 1914) moved from New Mexico. I have yet to come across a birth or baptism record for Rosie. Her father Estevan was already deceased by the time the rest of the family was enumerated on the 1930 U.S. Census in the Orme Election Precinct of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. In 1935 (according to the 1940 Census), the family still lived in Phoenix. And by the 1940 U.S. Census, they had moved to Coachella, Riverside County, California. Rosie’s mother died just a few months after that Census, in Los Angeles County, California. I think that by 1942, when Rosie married, her half brothers had already moved up to the Fresno, California area. Rosie’s father and brothers were migrant farm laborers.
Los Angeles County Family
Although I grew up in Orange County, California (we moved here from Norwalk, Los Angeles County, California when I was 3 or 4 years old), none of our other family lived here. Both sets of grandparents and their children lived in Los Angeles County, where my own parents grew up. We were the odd ones, moving south to Orange County, away from the heavy L.A. smog and closer to Dad’s job. None of my cousins ever moved to Orange County. Other than my childhood, I have no ancestral ties to Orange County. My parents and siblings don’t even live here anymore…I am the lone survivor.
As far as I know, Rosie had no family in Orange County, and her husband only had distant cousins here.
Orange County Wedding
So imagine my surprise when in May 2013 I came across that marriage record for my paternal grandparents Rosie Salas and Benjamin Robledo (1919-1990), which stated they had been married on 24 October 1942 in Orange County. Orange County?! The record indicates Anaheim as the exact city, next to the very city where I grew up…Santa Ana. I was floored. Dad was floored when I told him. Why on earth did they choose to get married in Orange County, when both of them had residences in the city of Los Angeles?
My husband and I married in adjacent Riverside County, even though we both lived in Orange County. However, that was because my parents lived there and my family church was located there. Rosie and Benjamin had no substantial ties to the county in which they married.
This record opens up a bunch of questions that I most likely will never be able to answer.
- Where in Anaheim? A church? A residence? There is and was no courthouse in Anaheim (Santa Ana and Fullerton house the nearest courthouses).
- Were any family present? Since I don’t think Rosie really had any close family by this time, Benjamin’s family all lived in Los Angeles County, and they chose to marry one county away from their homes, I am guessing this was perhaps an elopement, not a big traditional family wedding. Rosie was already two months pregnant with their first child; my hunch is that Benjamin and Rosie married shortly after confirming the pregnancy.
- But why run off and marry alone? I know my Dad’s family…they wouldn’t have held the pregnancy against the couple. Especially since they were now doing the right thing.
- And why Anaheim, one county over? Neither had close family in the area. I have recently learned of distant cousins in the area, but no one whom I think was a close connection.
What I wouldn’t give to find out where in Anaheim they married, and visit it today.