Making my way to my Navajo line via Atanacio Ortega- The baptism of Jose Atanacio Ortega 15 August 1838 Belen, New Mexico

So, in my last entry I posted the marriage record for Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez, my third great-grandparents. That record gave me the name of the couple’s parents. For now I’m going to focus on Atanacio’s folks because I’m anxious to get to showing the records for my Navajo ancestor.

I am including here Atanacio’s baptism record found in a Catholic church register book from Nuestra Señora de Belen in Belen, New Mexico. He was baptized the 15 August 1838.

Jose Atanacio Ortega baptism Belen 15 Aug 1838 cropped


Jose Atanasio

En esta Sta. Yga. Parroquia de Nura. Sra. de Belen, el dia quinse del mes de Agto. de mil ochocen. treinta y ocho. Yo el Br.(?) Oes(?) Franco. Ygo. Madariaga cura encargada de esta Parroq.a baptise solemnemte. puse los stos. oleos y sagrada crisma a un parb.a de un dia de nacido y le nombre Jose Atanasio, hijo de Ortega y Juana Montano. Ab.o Pat.os. Ant.o Ortega y Relles Quintana, Ab.os. Bartolo Montano y Dolores Ribali; fueron pat.o Ant.o Ribali y Ribali, ambos de esta jurisd.n a adverti su oblig.n y esp.l parentesco y pa. conste y lo firme. Yg.o Madariaga. 



Jose Atanasio

In this Holy Church Parish of Nuestra Senora de Belen, the 15th day of the month of August of 1838. I, the (some illegible abbreviation for a clergy member) Francisco Ygnacio Madariaga priest charged with this Parish, baptize solemnly, place the holy oils and sacred chrism on a child of one day old and give the name Jose Atanasio, son of Francisco Ortega and Juana Montano. Paternal grandparents Antonio Ortega and Relles Quintana, Maternal grandparents Bartolo Montano and Dolores Ribali; his godparents were Antonio Ribali and Francisca Ribali, both of this jurisdiction and whom are advised of their spiritual obligation and relationship and for this I sign. Francisco Ygnacio Madariaga. 

This record contains many abbreviations, and luckily I’ve read through so many records enough to know what most of them mean! Ay ay ay! Some records have beautiful clear handwriting and everything fully written out, and then there’s gems like this one where it’s a workout for the eyes and the brain. I like it. It’s fun, actually.

This record is great because it provides not only the parent’s names, but also the abuelos, the grandparents. This is what every researcher hopes to find. The key to my Navajo ancestry lies with the Montano’s in this record. I know, spoiler alert, right? But I am stating this so that it will make sense as to why I will now follow up the Montano line rather than the Ortega. For the moment anyways. I’ll return to the Ortegas later.


The marriage of Atanacio Ortega & Maria Cecilia Velasquez in Belen, New Mexico 4 November 1862

Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez were Adelina Ortega’s grandparents, making them my third great grandparents. Below is their original marriage record found in the marriage records from Nuestra Señora de Belen, Belen, New Mexico. This particular record is found on FHL film 16734, available to view on the Family Search website.

Atanasio Ortega & Ma Cecilia Belasques marriage Belen 4 Nov 1862


Atanasio con Maria Cecilia. Pueblitos. 

A los 4 de yo case a Atanasio, solt. hijo leg. de Ortega. dif. y de Juana Montaño con Maria Cecilia, solt. hija leg. de Toribio Belasquez y de Teodora Rivera. ambos de los Pueblitos. Padrs. Juan Simon Gurule, Maria Trujillo. E. Paulet


Atanasio with Maria Cecilia. Pueblitos. 

On the 4th of November I married Atanasio, single legitimate son of Francisco Ortega, deceased and of Juana Montaño with Maria Cecilia, single legitimate daughter of Toribio Belasquez and of Teodora Rivera both from Los Pueblitos. Godparents Juan Simon Gurule, Maria Trujillo. E. Paulet


Where did Maria Martina Ortega go?

After reviewing the 1870 Census for the Ortega family, I became curious as to what happened to Maria Martina, Jose Ortega’s older sister.

Maria Martina Ortega 1863 baptism Belen

Above is Maria Martina’s baptism from Nuestra Señora de Belen in 1863.


A los 11 de Oct. yo bautize a Ma Martina de 4 dias hija leg. de Atanasio Ortega, Cecilia Belasquez. Padr. Toribio Belasques, Teodora Rivera. E. Paulet (?)


On the 11th of Oct. I baptized Ma Martina at 4 days old, legitimate daughter of Atanasio Ortega, Cecilia Belasquez. Godparents Toribio Belasques, Teodora Rivera. E. Paulet (?)


I had saved a note with her marriage info but had forgotten about it. Her marriage record was in the Belen marriages FHL film 16734. Below is the record.

Martina Ortega & Juan Garcia marriage 10 Feb 1879 Belen


En Esta Iglesia de N. Sra. de Belen, a los diez de Febr. despues de publicadas los tres banas, yo E. Paulet. parr. case y vele a Juan, solt. hijo de Inacia Garcia de los Jarales__ con Martina, solt. hija leg. de Atanasio Ortega y de Cecilia Belasquez de los Pueblitos. Padrs. Manuel Sanchez, Tomasa Castillo. E. Paulet. 


In this church of Our Lady of Belen, on the 10th of February, after the three published banns, I, E. Paulet, married and veiled Juan, single, son of Inacia Garcia of los Jarales__ with Martina, single, legitimate daughter of Atanacio Ortega and Cecilia Belasquez of Los Pueblitos. Godparents Manuel Sanchez, Tomasa Castillo. E. Paulet. 

So, mystery solved, Martina did in fact marry at 15 years old, which explains why she does not appear in the 1880 census with her parents and siblings.



Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez family in 1870 US Census Los Jarales, Valencia, New Mexico

1870 US Census Los Jarales Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia family

In 1870, Jose is a 2 month old baby, born in April according to the census. Atanacio is a 35 year old laborer, and Cecilia is 26, keeping house. The slash on the right is a mark representing that they do not read or write. There is a six year old Martina here who does not appear with the family in other census records. We can speculate that either she married young (15 wasn’t unusual at this time period), died young, or went to live with relatives.

Can we take a minute to appreciate the spelling  of New Mexico here, too? Mesico? Haha.

Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez family in 1880 US Census Los Jarales, Valencia, New Mexico

1880 US Census Los Jarales Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez family

In the 1880 census, the Ortega family is in Los Jarales. Atanacio is a sheep herder, and Cecilia is keeping house. They are living next to a Felipe Ortega and his family, who is likely a relative. Living with Atanacio and Cecilia are their children, as well as a Juan Jose Castillo who is described as a step brother, who is a sheep herder, who happened to have been shot in the knee cap of his left leg! Wow. I wonder what the story behind that is! I’m not sure who’s family he is a part of, whether it’s the Ortega family or the Velasquez family. I included the couple living next door to them here since they are also Castillo’s and could be possibly related as well.

Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez family in 1885 New Mexico Territory Census, Jarales, Valencia, New Mexico

Atanacio Ortega & Cecilia Velasquez 1885 NM Terr Census Jarales

Adelina’s father Jose is found with his family of origin in the 1885 New Mexico Territory census. He is 15 years old and a laborer. His father Atanacio is a 45 year old farmer, and his mother Cecilia is 38 and a “housekeeper” which in this case means a homemaker, since most wives in this town are also listed as housekeepers.

Atanacio Ortega family 1885 Jarales NM Terr p2

We also see his siblings, Silvestra 13, Gregorio 11, Francisco 8, and Victorio 6 months.

The marriage of Jose de los Reyes Ortega & Juliana Molina, 19 January 1893 at Nuestra Señora de Belen, New Mexico

Jose de los Reyes Ortega & Juliana Molina marriage Belen 19 Jan 1893


En esta iglesia de Belen a las 19 dias de Enero despues de publicadas las banas yo Fco. Gatiynos par. case y vele a Jose de los Reyes Ortega solt. hij. leg. d. Atanacio Ortega y de Cecilia Velasquez con Juliana Molina solt. hij. leg. d. Geronimo Molina y Simona Montoya. Pad: Ambrosio Paras y Beatriz Gurule.

F. Gatiynos.


In this church of Belen on the 19th of January [1893] after the published banns, I Fco. Gatiynos married and veiled Jose de los Reyes Ortega, single, legitimate son of Atanacio Ortega and Cecilia Velasquez with Juliana Molina, single legitimate daughter of Geronima Molina, deceased, and Simona Montoya. Godparents: Ambrosio Paras and Beatriz Gurule.

F. Gatiynos.

Spanish abbreviations in this record:

solt.= soltero/a

hij.= hijo/a

leg.= legitimo/a

d.= de difunto

pad.= padrinos