The family of Asa Dunham is recorded in the 1790 United States Census as having five members, including Asa and his wife Lydia. At the time they were living in Number 4 Plantation in Cumberland County; in 1790 the community had a population of 344. This area had first been settled in 1779, and would be incorporated as Paris only three years after the census.… Read More


The weakest link in my Dunham family tree is that of my 3x-great-grandfather James Dunham Jr. of Orland, Hancock, Maine. He was the father of my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham, who came to California during the Gold Rush. While his parents are generally assumed to be James Dunham (12 Sep 1758-18 Aug 1829) and Elizabeth Robbins… 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


June marked the 10th anniversary of my ordination as a deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is passed on in direct line, from the Twelve Apostles, according to ancient Christian belief. It was only after the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that certain sacramental records were ordered to be maintained.… Read More


I feel like Ruth Mendell could tell me a lot. Here’s the background. On 17 Nov 1864 my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham married Lavina Jessie Springston in Napa, California. He was 38; she was 15. This particular genealogical mystery is about Lavinia’s ancestry. Lavina’s parents were William Springston, born about 1818 in Ohio, and Nancy, who… Read More


TCatedral de la Purísima Concepción, Mazatlán

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


My second great-grandfather Fernando Alvarado married María Eugenia Trinidad Tamayo probably sometime around 1840 in Sinaloa. Recently I received the 1822 baptismal record for Maria Eugenia Trinidad from San Pedro de Chametla in Sinaloa. The record clearly states that she was “mulata,” meaning one of her parents was black. Here’s what the record says: María… Read More


When my great-great-great grandparents James Dunham (1788-?) and Betsy Gilpatrick (1795-1860) were married in 1814 in Orland, Hancock County, Maine, they created a link between my Dunham ancestors and the ancestors of John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Governor Hancock is actually my second cousin. He is seven times removed because he and… Read More