Discovering Two More Sets of 3rd Great Grandparents: Sanches, Ochoa, Salas, and Cerna!

Jimenes Francisco - Salas Clara - marriage - 1879 - English
The translated transcribed entry for Francisco Jimenes and Clara Salas is at the top, the final entry for 1879. New Mexico marriages, Belen, New Mexico : 1 February, 1856 – 1 December, 1900.

Two weeks ago yesterday, I set out on my now annual research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, in conjunction with the RootsTech conference (I presented this year) and for the first time, the FGS conference. I got to enjoy 4 whole days of research prior to the conferences. And Day 1 started out with a bang!… my biggest score of the trip. Identifying the names of two more sets of 3rd great grandparents. This proved to be my only big find of the trip, but that’s okay. This had previously been such a brickwall line (see: Rosie Salas (b. ca. 1923): Busting Through a 15 Year Brickwall), that this find alone made the trip totally worth it.

Francisco Jimenes & Clara Salas

One of my goals this trip was to make further progress on whom I believe is my 2nd great grandfather Francisco Jimenes [Jimenez] (1841-1911), the Mexican-born U.S. Civil War veteran about whom I recently started writing. See:

It was from the paper trail I’ve been following this past year, tracking down my great grandmother Victoria Jimenez (1890-1940), that I first identified the names of her parents, my 2nd great grandparents Francisco Jimenes and Clara Salas (1863-). Victoria’s 1940 California death index entry lists Jimenez and Salas as parental surnames and her birth place as New Mexico. The 1900 US Census shows 10 year old female “Victoriana” Jimenes living in San Juan, Grant County, New Mexico with parents Francisco and Clara Jimenes, along with a bunch of Victoria’s siblings. I don’t find another Francisco Jimenes and Clara (Salas) Jimenes married to each other, with those same children’s names, in New Mexico at that time. So although I do not yet have a birth or baptism record for Victoria providing more concrete proof, I feel fairly certain that these are Victoria’s parents. Francisco’s Civil War pension applications also identify Clara Salas as his wife.

FamilySearch has an entry online for Francisco and Clara in their New Mexico, Marriages, 1751-1918 index that records them married on 27 November 1879 at the Catholic church Nuestra Senora De Belen in Belen, Valencia County, New Mexico. No further information.

Identifying Francisco & Clara’s Parents

One of the first tasks I set out to accomplish that first day in the Family History Library was to find an actual copy of the marriage record. A transcribed English-translated copy was easily located in the very well indexed book New Mexico marriages, Belen, New Mexico : 1 February, 1856 – 1 December, 1900, located on the 3rd floor. And there it was… the names of Francisco and Clara’s parents, my 3rd great grandparents. The transcribed record identifies Francisco as the single legitimate son of Manuel Jimenes and Petra Ochoa, both deceased by the time of their son’s 1879 marriage to Clara. Clara is identified as the single legitimate daughter of Trinidad Salas and Maria Jesus Cerna, with no mention of Trinidada or Maria being deceased at the time of their daughter’s marriage. Francisco and Clara both resided in Belen at the time the marriage was recorded, and the marriage sponsors (padrinos) were noted as Bartolo Chavez and Antonia Vaca. That record is displayed at the top of this post.

Two new maternal surnames to add to my list: Ochoa and Cerna! And four new ancestors!

I was thrilled, but didn’t want to just settle for a translated and transcribed copy of the marriage record. I wanted a copy in the original language and original writing. Fortunately, the Family History Library also had that on file, in its U.S. and Canada microfilm collection. I spent the next morning patiently scrolling through microfilm roll 16734 of Church records, 1793-1956 by Catholic Church, Nuestra Señora de Belen (Belen, New Mexico).

Bingo! The Spanish language marriage record entry. My hope is that this record was written in the hand of the priest who actually married my 2nd great grandparents (I assume that’s his signature at the bottom), but I have no way of actually knowing that.

Jimenes Francisco - Salas Clara - marriage - 1879 - Spanish.jpg
The original handwritten Spanish language marriage entry for Francisco Jimenes and Clara Salas. Church records, 1793-1956 by Catholic Church, Nuestra Señora de Belen (Belen, New Mexico). Microfilm roll 16734. Click the image for larger view.

Although New Mexico was ceded to the U.S. by Mexico in 1848 as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (New Mexico Territory was formed in 1850; statehood was granted in 1912), at the time of my 2nd great grandparents’ marriage in 1879, records for their church (probably the whole diocese) were apparently still kept in Spanish.

Emotional Impact

I cannot describe how exciting a discovery this if for me and my father.

Dad’s maternal line had been a total brickwall to us until just a couple of years ago, when we first learned the names of his maternal grandparents, which allowed me to find and start tracking their New Mexico roots. Not having been raised by his mother, Dad knew nothing about his mom’s family history except her maiden name, and that she was supposedly from Nogales, Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Dad didn’t know his grandparents’ names, didn’t know his mother had two older half-brothers, and had no idea that her roots were actually planted in New Mexico instead of Arizona. Until I found that marriage record in May 2013 for his parents (my grandparents), which named his mother’s parents and their birthplaces.

For 15+ years, I have made good progress on some of my mother’s lines, decent progress on Dad’s paternal Nieto line, yet nada on his maternal line until that 2013 marriage record discovery. Each time I would share a new find with Mom about her ancestors, Dad would ask if I had found out anything about his mom’s family. It always crushed me to have to say no.

So this past year’s progress on Dad’s maternal line has been a really really big deal for us. When I opened up that book at the Family History Library two weeks ago today, and saw the marriage entry for Francisco and Clara, which identified their parents’ names (my 3rd great grandparents), I sat at my 3rd floor research table — with a bunch of new rowdy genealogy buddies who crashed my table — and silently cried while they chatted away. Eerily, Dad, who rarely calls me (he usually has Mom make the calls), called me at almost that very moment to answer a question I had texted him a few seconds prior asking about a Spanish language term I encountered in the marriage record (padrinos; I was only familiar with this for baptisms as the Godparents). So I quickly ducked into a quiet area of the stacks (those rowdy ladies were loud!) and got to tell my dad the names of his 2nd great grandparents. We both got really quiet on the phone. I have no doubt he had tears in his eyes on the other end of that phone call.

Fortunately, Dad’s maternal line has started displaying some AncestryDNA matches for me, so I am hoping to escalate my progress on these new lines this year.

Ironically, Belen is about 45 miles away from where an aunt, uncle, and several cousins live in the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area. Yet they are from my mother’s side of the family (who has no other connection to New Mexico), not from Dad’s side of the family.

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U.S. Civil War: Francisco Jimenez & the 1st New Mexico Cavalry

Francisco Jimenez, Civil War Pension Index Card
Civil War Pension Index card for Francisco Jimenez. Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
A few days ago, I wrote about discovering my first ancestor who fought in the U.S. Civil War — my Mexican-born 2nd great grandfather Francisco Jimenez [Jimenes] (1841-1911). I found this information through his Civil War Pension Index card on, which indicated that Francisco served in the 1st New Mexico Cavalry — when New Mexico was still a U.S. Territory, that also included present-day Arizona.

I did a little more digging this week, and found additional records that corroborate Francisco’s service in the Civil War and in the 1st New Mexico Cavalry.

The versions of Francisco’s Civil War Pension Index cards that Fold3 has on file look identical to the one available on Ancestry, but include a bit different information. The Fold3 cards do not include the name of Francisco’s widow, Clara Salas, who applied for his pension after his death. The application numbers and date of filing match up with the card on Ancestry, although Fold3 shows a 3rd date of filing — 1907, due to invalid status. The Fold3 versions note a date of death for Francisco, 18 May 1911. They also provide a bit more information about Francisco’s military service (although still no actual dates of service) — he served in Company H and in Company L, both with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry. The Ancestry version only identifies the regiment, not the specific companies.

Francisco Jimenez Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index Company H
Francisco Jimenez, Company H, 1st New Mexico Cavalry. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. Courtesy of Fold3.
Francisco Jimenez Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index Company L
Francisco Jimenez, Company L, 1st New Mexico Cavalry. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. Courtesy of Fold3.

I was also able to find Francisco Jimenes on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) available online through the National Park Service. The CWSS entry notes the same regiment and company numbers that were identified on the pension index cards. What is nice here is that the CWSS provides some new information, his rank when enlisted (Wagoner) and rank when his service ended (Private).

Francisco Jimenez - Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Datbase
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS)

Interestingly, the CWSS lists another Francisco Jimenes [Jimenez, Jemines] in Company H of the 1st New Mexico Cavalary. This Francisco Jimenes is only listed in Company H (not L), entered service at the rank of Private and left at the rank of Bugler. It is very possible this is my same Francisco, but it is also likely this is someone else with the same name. I guess this is just one more puzzle for me to investigate.

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Mexican-Born 2nd Great Grandfather Francisco Jimenez is My 1st Identified Civil War Ancestor

US Secession map 1861. Civil War.
US Secession map 1861. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The Territory of New Mexico at this time included present-day Arizona.

Although I have been a history buff my entire life, and majored in history in college, studying the American Civil War never held much interest for me. Mainly, because I have lived in California my entire life — a state that did not actively participate in the war. No Civil War battles took place here. But my disinterest was also due to not being aware of any ancestors that fought in the Civil War. Both sides of my family primarily immigrated to the U.S. after the Civil War — from Mexico, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Canada. It wasn’t until I married my husband Jeff and started researching his family history that I found ancestor connections to the Civil War.

So what a pleasant surprise it is to finally discover a Civil War soldier ancestor of my own! And even more of a surprise to find that this ancestor is Mexican-born!

To add a bit more complexity to this surprise, this Civil War ancestor is from a family line that I only learned about less than 2 years ago — the maternal line of my paternal grandmother, Rosie Salas (b. 1923). I have mentioned before that Rosie did not raise my father and was never really a part of our lives, so Dad knows almost nothing about Rosie’s childhood or her family history. It wasn’t until May 2013 that I discovered the names of her parents, and their New Mexico origins.

My first identified Civil War veteran ancestor is my 2nd great grandfather Francisco Jimenez [Jimenes] (1841-1911).

About Francisco Jimenez

According to 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census records, Francisco was born in Mexico in April of 1841. He immigrated to the United States in 1852 or 1853 as an 11 or 12 year old boy. I don’t find a trace of Francisco again until his 27 November 1879 post-Civil War marriage to Clara Salas in Belen, Valencia County, New Mexico. Francisco was 38 years old at the time of this marriage; his wife Clara was just 16 years old. Clara and Francisco went on to have at least 6 children together, including my great grandmother Victoria J. Jimenez (1890-1940). They spent their lives in New Mexico, primarily in Grant County. Francisco died on 18 May 1911 at the age of 70. He would never know his granddaughter (my grandmother) Rosie, who was born after his death.

Civil War Service

Francisco Jimenez served with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry, who fought on behalf of the Union. This is confirmed on his Civil War Pension Index card. His dates of service and places of service are not noted. The index card lists his wife Clara Salas as his dependent and widow. Francisco’s pension was first applied for in 1898 — while Francisco was still living — due to the applicant (I assume, Francisco himself) becoming an invalid. His pension was once again applied for on 21 June 1911, one month after his death, by Francisco’s widow Clara.

Now the hunt begins to find more details about my 2nd great grandfather’s Civil War service!

New Mexico did not become a state until after Francisco’s death, on 6 January 1912. During Francisco’s life there and Civil War service with the 1st New Mexico Calvary, New Mexico was a U.S. Territory.

Francisco Jimenez, Civil War Pension Index Card
Civil War Pension Index card for Francisco Jimenez. Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
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#52Ancestors: Rebecca “Becky” Haley (1916-1991)

Rebecca Haley, 1944
Becky in 1944, after their family had already moved to California.

My 37th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge.

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.

My 37th ancestor is my husband’s grandmother, Rebecca “Becky” Haley (1916-1991).

Becky was born on 25 August 1916, I think in McRae (White County) Arkansas. I don’t have any primary first-hand documentation supporting her birth date or location, but the U.S. Censuses and Social Security Death Index do identify the date and state. I find it unusual that Becky was born in Arkansas, since both parents and all of her siblings were from Tennessee. She was the second youngest of ten children born to Hallie “Hal” Corder Haley (1878-1942) and Gedie Webster (b. 1881).

By the age of four, according to the 1920 U.S. Census, Becky and her family were living in Nashville, Tennessee. The family was enumerated there again on the 1930 Census, and — according to the 1940 Census — Becky was still living in Nashville as of 1 April 1935.

Rebecca Haley and Siblings
Five of the six youngest of the Haley siblings. Left to Right: Eleanor, Norman, Rebecca, Frances, and Comer. Based on Becky’s age in this photo, it was probably taken around 1918 or 1919. Youngest sister Nana was born in 1922.

Somewhere along the way Becky met and married Roy Delmar Pace (b. 1914), from Texas and New Mexico. The married couple were living in Lordsburg (Hidalgo County), New Mexico, when recorded 07 May 1940 on the U.S. Census, along with their six month old son and an adult lodger. Roy worked as a miner, Becky as a nurse at the hospital. A daughter joined the family the following year. In 1943, A second daughter — my mother-in-law Betty Pace — was born, but by this time the family had moved to California.

Rebecca and Roy raised their children in Kern County, California, where they spent the rest of their lives. Becky died on 27 April 1991.

Rebecca Haley and Jeff Greene
Becky with her grandson (my husband), Jeff.

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#52Ancestors: Tracking Down My Great Grandfather Estevan Salas

My 28th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge.

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.

My 28th ancestor is my great grandfather Estevan “Steven” SALAS (b. 1888). I did not even know the name of my great grandfather until the May 2013 discovery of the marriage records for my grandmother Rosie SALAS and my grandfather Benjamin ROBLEDO (1919-1990). He is identified on that marriage record as Steven Salas from New Mexico.

I blogged in January about Estevan’s wife, my great grandmother Victoria JIMENEZ (b. ca. 1891), which provided some discoveries and details about Estevan. I do not have a marriage record for them.

Estevan and Victoria show up together on the 1920 U.S. Census, living in Deming (Luna County), New Mexico with Victoria’s sons Richard and David from a previous marriage. Their daughter Rosie is not born yet. Estevan is described as:

  • 33 years old, white, male, married.
  • Unable to read or write. Able to speak English.
  • Born in New Mexico, with both parents also born in New Mexico (both Spanish-speaking).
  • Employed as a laborer in a building.
1920 U.S. Census showing Estevan Salas, wife Victoria, and stepsons Richard and David. Image courtesy of

By 1921, Estevan and Victoria had moved to Phoenix (Maricopa County), Arizona, where they show up in city directory records (Estevan’s name is spelled “Esteban”). 

A bit more detail is available about Estevan from his World War I Draft Registration. 

Estevan “Steven” Salas registered for the draft on 05 June 1917 in Luna County, New Mexico. He states his date of birth as 24 January 1888, and claims to be a natural-born U.S. citizen (New Mexico became a U.S. territory in 1850, and state in 1912), born at the Mimbres River, near Deming, New Mexico. Estevan was employed at this time as a laborer at the Deming Smelter. Estevan claims no prior military service. He notes that his wife and two children (this would be Victoria and her sons,) are solely dependent upon him. The draft board describes Estevan as medium height, slender build, with brown eyes and hair, no baldness, and no physical disabilities.

Word War I Draft Registration. Estevan’s signature is at the bottom. Courtesy of
Word War I Draft Registration. Courtesy of

I have no information about Estevan beyond 1921, including a date of death.

But by the 1930 U.S. Census, Victoria and the children were living in Orme (Maricopa County), Arizona. Son Richard is listed as the head of household, and Victoria is listed as widowed. So, if she was indeed widowed by 1930, Estevan died sometime between 1921 and 1930.

Found My Great-Grandmother Victoria Jimenez (b. ca. 1892) on the 1910 Census in Historic Mogollon, New Mexico

1910 U.S. Census record for Victoria Jimenez and her husband David Coleman.

I am still organizing and analyzing records I have found the last couple years for my great grandmother Victoria Jimenez (b. ca. 1891). In May 2013 I found this 1910 U.S. Census record, during which time she was married to David Coleman, the father of her two boys Richard and David Coleman. She later married Estevan Salas, my great grandfather, the father of Rosie Salas (b. ca. 1923).

About the Family

Per the 1910 U.S. Census (taken April 1910):

  • The family lived in Mogollon, Socorro County (became Catron County in 1921), New Mexico in a rented home. The street address and name are not legible.
  • Victoria is listed under her husband’s surname Coleman, Mexican, 19 years old, married for 6 months, no children, speaks English, can read and write, not in school, and a housewife. Reportedly born in New Mexico, father born in Mexico, mother born in New Mexico.
  • Her husband David Coleman is the head of household, Mexican, 36 years old, married for 6 months, a miner who had been out of work for 26 weeks, speaks English, and can read and write. Reportedly born in New Mexico, both parents born in New Mexico.
  • David’s 21 year old brother Charlie and 67 year old father Richard also lived with them. 
Since Victoria and David had only been married six months at the time of this census, they must have been wed in late 1909.

About Mogollon

Mogollon is now a ghost town, and old mining town that is a historic district. According to Wikipedia, Mogollon was founded in the 1880s and was one of the wildest mining towns in the west in the 1890s. The Little Fanny mine provided most of the town’s employment. The town was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 as the Fannie Hill Mill and Company Town Historic District.

Wikipedia describes what Mogollon was like in 1909, the year before the 1910 census.

In 1909, the population of Mogollon was about 2,000. That same year the town boasted five saloons, two restaurants, four merchandise stores, two hotels and several brothels located in two infamous red light districts. The town also had a photographer, the Midway Theatre an ice maker and a bakery. The Silver City and Mogollon Stage Line provided daily service, hauling passengers, freight, gold, and silver bullion eighty miles between the two towns in almost fifteen hours.

Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mogollon, 1914. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Locating My Great-Grandparents: Victoria Jimenez (b. ca. 1892) and Estevan Salas (b. ca 1877)

1920 U.S. Census record for Victoria Jimenez and Estevan Salas. Courtesy of

After my last post about the 1940 and 1930 U.S. Census records for my grandmother Rosie Salas (b. ca. 1923) and her mother Victoria Jimenez (b. ca. 1892), I continued to sort through my research notes and get my findings for my Salas and Jimenez lines in better order. Turns out that back in July 2012, I had also stumbled upon the 1920 U.S. Census Record for Victoria, showing her married to my great-grandfather Estevan Salas (b. ca. 1877).

According to the 1920 U.S. Census Record (dated 12 March 1920):

  • The family lived at 842 West 2nd Street in Deming (Luna County), New Mexico in a rented home.
  • Victoria is 29 years old, married, able to read and write, spoke English, and not employed. She was reportedly born in New Mexico. Her father was reportedly born in Mexico (native language Spanish) and her mother reportedly born in New Mexico.
  • Her husband Estevan Salas (head of household) is 33 years old, married, not able to read or write, spoke English, and employed as a laborer in a building. He was reportedly born in New Mexico. His parents were both reportedly born in Mexico (native language Spanish).
  • Victoria’s oldest son Ricardo Coleman is 8 years old, attending school, able to read and write, and speaks English. Reportedly born in New Mexico. Both parents reportedly born in New Mexico.
  • Victoria’s youngest son David Coleman is 5 years old, and can read and write. Reportedly born in New Mexico. Both parents reportedly born in New Mexico.
My grandmother Rosie Salas was not yet born. Victoria and her sons moved to Arizona sometime after this census, yet before Rosie was born (in Arizona) in 1923 or 1924. Not sure about Estevan.

Current Google Street View look at location of their 1920 home. These dwellings do not look like they date back to 1920 structures.

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