For some time I had been stymied in tracking the ancestry of my paternal grandmother Consuelo Chávez Stoltz (1904-1969). Part of this is due to the fact that her father, Carlos Marín, is said to have abandoned Consuelo, her older sister Aurora (1903-1979), younger brother Carlos (1906-1994) and their mother, Simona Balderas. After that, Simona… Read More


I recently came across one of the oldest family documents I have an image of: the marriage record of my 10x great-grandparents George Morton and Juliana Carpenter. And it’s the only one in Dutch. George and Juliana were refugees who fled religious persecution in England. Together with their fellow Separatists, they were welcomed in Leiden… Read More


Rosslyn Hotel signs (partially) lit, by Jim Winstead (flickr.com/jimwinstead)

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses You been out ridin’ fences for so long now Oh, you’re a hard one I know that you got your reasons These things that are pleasin’ you Can hurt you somehow —The Eagles I have previously written about the unfortunate circumstances of my grandmother María Lucia “Lucille”… Read More


Across the Continent, Lithograph, Frances F. Palmer, 1869.

During the Civil War, Missouri and Tennessee were claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy. The Union dominance in each of these states was achieved by a difficult struggle on many fronts, and my great-great-grandfather William Ivans (1842-1908) lived through the most terrifying years of the war in these two states. He served for… Read More


On 24 September 1704, the Plymouth Colony Court of General Sessions granted liquor licenses to several colonists. Each deposited a bond (“surtie”) with the court to ensure orderly behavior of their patrons, except, for some reason, the last man listed. That would be my seventh great-grandfather Eleazer Dunham (1659-1719). He’s listed as an “inholder,” that… Read More


My fourth grand-uncle Josef Stoltz, together with a group of German immigrants who served in the Civil War, set up a cemetery and constructed the first Catholic church in Wright County, Minnesota. As far as I can tell, the bell they bought still rings from the third Church of St. Peter in Delano, Minnesota. I’ve… Read More


My 2x great aunt Jovita García was the sister of my great grandmother Jesús García de Alvarado. Great Aunt Jovita was born 7 Mar 1893, probably in Ensenada, Baja California, the youngest of nine children. She came to California with her mother, María del Rosario Moraila de García, around 1910, settling in Santa Paula and… Read More


San Quentin State Prison, circa 1910

My great grandparents Sumner Dunham (1871-1947) and Cora Belle Ivans (1873-1963) were married on 8 July 1894 in Cummings, Mendocino County, California, with Cora Belle’s parents William and Mary (Wilson) Ivans serving as official witnesses. It’s unlikely Cora Belle’s brother John E. Ivans, my great granduncle, would have been in attendance at the wedding. Then… Read More


Our family reunion in El Paso will come only days before the 150th anniversary of the enlistment of my great-great-grandfather Peter Stoltz in the Union Army. On 21 September 1864, Peter enlisted as a musician in Company B, First Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery. He may have enlisted as a musician because he was too short… Read More


In response to the posted photo of my grandaunt Maybelle Stoltz Chavez’ El Paso band, her daughter my cousin Margie, points out: Both my Mom and her cousin, Juanito Lujan, were members of the band called The Stoltz Blues Chasers. Richard, Arlene and I remember that band being mentioned by Mom years ago… We did… Read More