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


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


[Update: The name of the group was Stoltz Blues Chasers. No one seems to know where the Nighthawks name came from.] 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… 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