Doña Ana, New Mexico

My husband, Ron Ruiz, and I recently took a trip to retrace his family’s history. One of the highlights was a visit to the town of Doña Ana, New Mexico. My husband’s g-g-grandparents, Pasqual De La O and Nicolasa Fernandez, settled here in about 1850 with their eight children. Their next daughter, Martina De La O, was born in Doña Ana in 1853 and was raised there and perhaps in the nearby area of Mesilla / Las Cruces. She married Juan Lopez in 1867 and they had two children in Doña Ana before they made the move to El Paso, Texas around 1873. Some of Martina’s siblings stayed in Doña Ana and raised their families and their De La O descendants still live there today.

De La O Saloon with patrons out front..jpg

The old De La O Saloon has been turned into a visitor’s center. IMG_0563.jpg

Martina’s Baptism Record 1853









Photograph of Martina De La O










Martina De La O and Juan Lopez’s youngest daughter, also named Martina, was raised in El Paso and married Manuel Ruiz. Below is a family photograph of Martina De La O with the Manuel Ruiz family.

Martina De La O Lopez w/Ruiz Family

Ruiz Children: Left to right – Isaac “Chapo”, Eloise “Loche”, Esther, and Joel


Your Literal Place In History

Sometimes connecting the familiar dots is as simple as finding an address. I was helping a friend verify who her father was. She knew his name and that he had been her mother’s landlord. I found an announcement of her 1949 birth in the local newspaper – that listed an address. I found the name of her “potential” father – as the owner of that address. The one picture of her father, that her mother had saved – He was painting a building – with that address visible.  I found that address on google maps – and it was the same building in the photograph of her father. Eventually, we were able to verify it all with DNA, but it was nice that all the facts lines up so nicely, all because of an address.


Buying A Baby – Legally

We Bought Our Baby – Legally.
This article is from 1957 about the Adoption Institute of Los Angeles. I have been helping a friend that was adopted through the Institute find his birth family and it was quite a frustrating search. I have recently found his family using AncestryDNA —  but I wasn’t very happy to find this article about “buying” babies! 😦


The Beginning Of The End For The Indian

Librada Varela Lopez

My Husband’s G-Grandmother: Librada Varela Lopez (1863-1951)

“When Texas became a state in 1845, it was the beginning of the end for the Indian.”  Alan Minter, the Assistant Attorney General of Texas

Despite a DNA test confirming 25% Native American, my husband’s heritage has been difficult to document. Over time, his southwestern ancestors forgot the native language, lost their tribal identity, had their land stolen, and eventually married outsiders. Although he has relatives that are part of the Tiguas in Ysleta, Texas—none of his close family has ever been legally registered with a tribe.