Monday, November 24, 2014

Mining the Probate Files

I spent part of the early morning research hours this weekend combing through the Barren County, Kentucky probate files on FamilySearch, in the hopes of finding something, anything on the Cain family of my 2nd-great-grandmother Mary Alice Cain Read and her brother Harl Cain. This involved flipping through over 800 pages of probate files, carefully looking for any reference to the Cain family. So far, I haven't found anything, although I am still looking through Volume 14, 1883-1888.

I did find the estate settlement for my 4th-great-grandmother, Emily A.H. Ballard Read. The writing is faint but it looks like the estate was closed on 6 March 1887.
Source: FamilySearch, Barren County probate inventories, Image 261.

The estate was divided among the following: James William Read, Isaac Franklin Read, Guilford Dudley Read, George W. Read, Bland B. Read (all sons of Emily), Richard and Ella Tamblin (children of Emily's daughter Angelina Read Tamblin), Sarah Read Jewell (daughter of Emily), and the heirs of Samuel B. Read (shares held by Bland B. Read).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Christmas Project

Two years ago my Mom and I took the AncestryDNA test. With this season of Finding Your Roots providing renewed interest within the family in DNA testing, my wife took the test this summer. My Dad and sister currently have their tests in processing with the Ancestry Lab. I'm hoping their results will be back before Christmas. Whether the results are back in time or not, I committed to giving my Mom a book highlighting some of the findings on her branches of the family, mixed with photos and lineage details somewhat like the book Dr. Gates gives his guests on the show. This is becoming the "Christmas Project".
Photo by Patrick Jones. Boomer, 25 Dec 2003.
My struggle now is editing the information from various locations, photos, plus details from 713 blog posts down into something manageable, simple and attractive. I'm beginning to pull together ideas for the outline, in order to arrange the contents in an interesting way. I think I am leaning toward just highlighting a few stories, but having this be mostly photos and images. As I go through the process of pulling it together I'll have a few posts, so look for more after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

First Generation Americans

This is a photo of my Granny (on the right, "Lily", Lydia Campuzano), sisters Jessie and Berta and probably some cousins, in an undated photo from the early 1930s. They were the first generation born in Arizona of the family of my Mexican great-grandparents, Plutarco Campuzano and Manuela Portillo.
Photo source: Patty Marple. Campuzano siblings.
My great-grandparents came to this country on foot, and as far as I've been able to tell, they never became citizens. They worked hard and raised a family. My Granny and her siblings were born Americans. Their descendants are now spread across the US (with one in Europe), raising families and working to contribute to America's present and future.

I know this is a divisive issue in this country right now. For me, the closing words of the President in last night's address hit home. If you didn't watch the speech, Time has a complete transcript at

"My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This week I've been tracking the family of my 2nd-great-grandmother Teresa Diaz, following her siblings in the hopes that this might uncover more information on the Diaz family and their parents Jose Jesus Diaz and Dolores Quijada, my third-great-grandparents from Hermosillo, Sonora. In yesterday's post, the 1913 border crossing manifest for Maria Diaz de Mirazo included a sworn statement listing a brother Gregorio Diaz as attending the February 1911 wedding of Maria Diaz and Francisco Mirazo. This post follows the trail of Gregorio Diaz.

Gregorio appears in the California Death Index as having passed away on 18 November 1956 in Los Angeles. It lists a birth date of 12 March 1874, born in Mexico, his mother's maiden name as Quijada and father's name as Diaz. I've ordered a copy of the full death record from LA County to see what else is there.

In the meantime, I put this information into Ancestry's database and hit a match for Gregorio Diaz in the US World War I Draft Registration Cards for 1917-1918 living in Elbert County, Colorado. This record includes his signature, and states that he was working as a farm laborer for Bench Brothers in Agate, Elbert County, Colorado (as of 12 September 1918 from the reverse of the card). He listed is nearest relative as Ysabel Diaz, at an address unknown. Right now I don't know if this is the same Gregorio Diaz I'm searching for, but the birth date makes me think it may be a match.

A few years earlier, there is a Gregorio Diaz who appears in the US Census in La Junta, Otero County, Colorado, working on the railroad. The census lists his age as 38, which is close to the age of the Gregorio born in 1874. It also says that he arrived in the US in 1907. The whole page shows railroad workers originally from Mexico.
Source: 1910 US Census, La Junta, Otero County, Colorado
The Denver Public Library Digital Collection had a photo of an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad engine stopped at La Junta, Colorado in 1915. I'm checking to see if Gregorio shows up in any railroad employment records in Colorado during this time period.
Source: DPL, 1915 AT & SF engine at La Junta, CO
There is a Gregorio Diaz in the Otero County marriage register for 1917. On 7 May 1917 he married Juana Gimenez. Otero County is about a 2 hour drive almost directly south of Elbert County. It is possible Gregorio left the job with the railroad and moved north to work on the farm after he married Juana. It is also possible this is a different person than the one who registered for the draft in 1918, so I'm hoping there is an employment record still available from the railroad which may clear this up.

I was not able to find Gregorio Diaz in the 1920 US Census in Colorado. There is a Gregorio Diaz born about 1874 living in Hermosillo as a widower in the 1930 Mexico Census, but again I'm not sure if this person is the same as the Gregorio Diaz who appeared in Colorado or the one from the death record in California.

I'll post a follow up on Gregorio once I receive the death record from LA County or additional information from the Colorado Railroad Museum.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Diaz-Mirazo Family

On Sunday I posted a copy of the marriage record for Maria Jesus Diaz and Francisco Mirazo from February 1911. Maria was a younger sister of my 2nd-great-grandmother Teresa Diaz. I found a copy of Maria's obituary in the 19 April 1967 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen, which states that she passed away on 17 April 1967. She had lived a long life, some of it spent in Hermosillo and Nogales, Sonora, as well as in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
Source:, 19 Apr 1967 Tucson Daily Citizen.
I already posted a copy of the 1930 Mexico Census showing Maria and Francisco living in Nogales, with brother Manuel Diaz. Maria and Francisco had at least the following children:
- Francisco Mirazo (born 10 November 1911 in Hermosillo)
- Dolores Mirazo (born about January 1913)
- Gustavo Mirazo (born about 1916)
- Leonardo Mirazo (born 27 March 1918 in Nogales)
- Agripina Mirazo (born 15 January 1920 in Nogales)
- Socorro Mirazo (born 1923)
- Aurora Mirazo (born 1924)

Maria and family (husband and children Francisco and Dolores) crossed the border at Naco, Arizona on 4 June 1913. Interestingly it shows that Maria had previously visited the US in 1907.
Source: Ancestry, US-Mexico Border Crossing records

The back of the manifest included hand written testimony of the marriage of Maria and Francisco in Hermosillo on 6 February (the year was actually 1911, not 1913). It also lists attendees of the wedding, including Maria's mother, Dolores Quijada, her brothers Antonio Diaz, Tomas Diaz, Gregorio Diaz, sister Teresa Diaz, Teresa's three children (one would have been my great-grandmother Manuela, as well as Francisco's brothers Jose Mirazo, Leonardo Mirazo, sister Francisca Mirazo, among other relatives. The statement also says the marriage was witnessed, and that they have a certificate, presumably in Mexico. A similar but shorter description of the marriage is on the back of Francisco's border crossing manifest. My assumption is that this detailed information was provided to help satisfy to the border officials that Maria and Francisco were actually married.
Source: Ancestry. Back of Francisco Mirazo's entrance manifest.
The text is hard to read, but according to Francisco's statement it looks like they lived with Dolores Quijada in Hermosillo after they were married, and that she is "very old" in 1913. My guess is she was about 73. It also confirms Teresa Diaz was present at the wedding.

Maria crossed the border again a year later on 6 June 1914 at Nogales. It shows that she had been living in Phoenix, Arizona at the time.

I remember my Granny recalling visiting her cousins in Nogales and also their visits in Tucson. Perhaps the old photos I posted in 2012 for Hispanic Heritage Month include some of the Mirazo cousins.