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


How can this photo not make your weekend just a little better? This is my grandaunt Maybelle Margarete Stoltz with Maybelle’s Nighthawks, according to family lore the first band in El Paso led by a woman. Maybelle was born in El Paso on 23 May 1909 and died there on 20 Apr 2001. Her entire… Read More


This undated post card shows the Fremont Arms Hotel, which was located at 542 S. Fremont Avenue, immediately across the street from the residence of the Alvarado family ca. 1917-1921. The description of the hotel on the back of the card reads: New and strictly modern. European plan. Rates [crossed out] and up per day;… 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


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


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