My great-grandfather Louis Stoltz had quite a life. There was that whole hobo riding the rails thing from North Dakota to the end of the line, El Paso. Then there was that living out of the lyrics of the song El Paso: Out in the West Texas town of El Paso I fell in love… Read More


Boat House, Westlake Park, Los Angeles

Sometime before 1920, Charles and Louis Gustave Stoltz, the two oldest sons of Ludwig “Louis” and Apolonia Luján Stoltz, decided to venture out from El Paso as their father had left North Dakota to find a new life. They arrived in the promised land of Los Angeles and apparently quickly found work. It was, after… Read More


Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Culiacán

When I first began working on my family history, I was surprised to hear the maiden name of my great-great-grandmother María del Rosario García (1854-1924), carefully recorded by my mother in her bride’s book: Moraila. That was an unusual Spanish name. Could it have really been Murillo, or something similar? Her mother’s name was Verdugo;… Read More


Last week I visited family in El Paso, and one of the things I did with my dad and some cousins was to see historic San Elizario, just outside El Paso. Aside from checking out the historic presidio chapel, founded 1789, where my ancestors were baptized, married and buried, I was curious to see the… Read More


The hand-written family history provided by my great-grandmother, Jesús García de Alvarado (1871-1966), has proven invaluable in building out the Alvarado line of my family history. At the same time, it has presented some conundrums. This article proposes a theory of our Alvarado lineage back to the Spanish colonial era, seeking to reconcile church records… Read More


For some time I’ve had a mission to find a photograph of the house on Fremont Avenue in downtown Los Angeles where the Alvarado family lived in the late teens and early 1920s. I’ve spent many hours combing through online collections of historical photographs, hoping to find some clue that would give me a window… Read More


Typical sod house built by homesteaders in the Dakota Territory. Peter and Apollonia Stoltz and their children would have lived in a similar house.

From this valley they say you are going. We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile, For they say you are taking the sunshine That has brightened our pathway a while. So come sit by my side if you love me. Do not hasten to bid me adieu. Just remember the Red River Valley,… Read More


We all knew about the eight children my great-grandparents Ludwig Josef “Louis” Stolz (1866-1958) and Apolonia Luján (1872-1929) raised in El Paso. One of these children, Louis Gustave Stoltz, died in 1928 at the age of 30. The other seven are the progenitors of the California and Texas branch of the Stoltz family, while my… Read More


In the spirit of Halloween, when traditionally styled gravestones are popping up on lawns everywhere, I offer the real thing. Through the magic of findagrave.com, which contains some 65 million cemetery records, I found today photographs of headstones of several early Maine relatives, including the gravestone of my 4th great-grandparents James Dunham (1758-1829) and Elizabeth… Read More