Placido Chaves & Nicolas Chaves election officers for El Tule

By using the newspaper search site, I came across a newspaper mention I hadn’t previously seen for Placido Chaves and his brother, Nicolas. The paper is St. John’s Herald dated August 25, 1910. The board of supervisors chooses election officers. It’s a bit confusing the way it reads, but it looks like one person is appointed to oversee the election of each office. At first I thought it was a list of the actual officers. Placido is the election officer for Marshal and Nicolas for Inspector for El Tule, Arizona. El Tule is a small community very close to St. Johns, Arizona. This is a link to the original article.



Antonio Chaves nightmare

So there appears to be more than one Antonio Chaves & Trinidad couple living in Valencia during the same time period. In reviewing baptism and census docs, I think I’ve figured out that I am mixing couples.

However the couple that has a daughter named Serafin I believe is the one with the mexicano alias, and thus possibly my placido’s father.

I need to organize and separate out all the potential Antonio’s.

The Placido Chaves mystery

The puzzle I’m currently trying to solve is who exactly were Placido’s parents, and why he was not living with them as a child.

In my previous post, I wrote that Placido’s parents were Antonio Jose Mexicano (aka Chaves) and Maria Jaramillo. On census records, however, Antonio and Maria, Placido’s parents appear as Chaves, and Maria is listed as Trinidad rather than just Maria or Maria Trinidad.

In the 1860 US Census, Placido’s parents, Antonio Chavez and (Maria) Trinidad are living in Sevoyeta (Cebolleta), Valencia, New Mexico. They are both 26. There are 5 children living with them: Serafina (10?), Juana (7), Felix (6), Cruz (4), Filemon (2). Placido was baptized in 1857, so was about 3 years old. Where was he?1860-sevoyeta-nm-terr-antonio-chavez

Well, he’s living with another Chaves couple in Cubero, Valencia, Juan Jose & Maria. 1860-cubero-nm-terr-juan-jose-chavez

In 1870 there is an Antonio Jose Chaves in Cubero living with a Manuela and a young male Trinidad. There is no Antonio Jose Chaves in Sevoyeta. Though there is no Maria here I’m tempted to think this is the right Antonio, Placido’s father. But again, where is Placido?1870-nm-terr-cubero-antonio-jose-chaves

Placido again is found in the household of Juan Jose and Maria Chaves. So it seems to me that in 1860 he didn’t happen just to be staying or visiting with them. Juan Jose is 30 and Maria is 34. Placido is 15. Because Juan Jose is so young, I feel that this rules out the idea some people suggested to me that perhaps Juan Jose was also known as Antonio. I’m still learning a lot about New Mexico cultural history but it seems that while the women frequently married very young in their teens, most men married in their 20’s and 30’s. It seems unlikely to me that Juan Jose could have been Juan Jose Antonio or some iteration of that. He’s too young to be Placido’s father. 1870-nm-terr-cubero-juan-jose-chaves

There must be an explanation as to why Placido is shown living in the household of Juan Jose Chaves and a Maria (who is also named Maria Jaramillo according to church records for their other children). On Ancestry, most trees show Juan Jose as being Placido’s father. But this clearly does not match with his baptism record. Pauline Chavez Bent’s family however thought Juan Jose was his stepfather. So my question is then, why is Placido living with Juan Jose and Maria when his parents are clearly still living? Both men are Chaves, and both women are Jaramillo. Are the Chaves men brothers or otherwise related? Are the Jaramillo women sisters or otherwise related? Or perhaps the Maria who Placido is living with is his mother, but then why is his father Antonio with another Jaramillo? Did they divorce? I thought the Catholic church did not allow divorce. So many questions!

Placido Chaves’ baptism and the Mexicano alias

My great great grandfather Placido Chaves’ baptism is as follows:

Cebolleta Baptisms*

Feb 11, 1857 – Jose Placido Mexicano the son of Antonio Jose Mexicano y Maria Jaramillo. A.P. Jose Antonio Mexicano y Maria de la Luz Salas. A.M. Marcos Jaramillo y Maria Teresa Jaramillo.

(A.P. is an abbreviation for abuelos paternos which means paternal grandparents. A.M. is abuelos maternos which means maternal grandparents).

Where did the “Mexicano” come from? Well, a genealogist who has been helping me knew Pauline Chavez Bent who was a granddaughter of Nicolas Chaves who was related to Placido. She knew about the Mexicano alias.

According to Fray Angelico Chavez, there was a branch of the Chaves family that began using the alias of Mexicano to differentiate themselves from the many Chaves’ in New Mexico. Below is an excerpt from his book Chavez: A Distinctive American Clan of New Mexico. 



*Cubero and Cebolleta were part of the Gallup diocese and the records are only available on microfilm in New Mexico. I am unable to order film to view at a local Family History Library. So for now I am relying on record transcriptions from publications from HGRC (Hispanic Genealogical Research Center) and NMGS (New Mexico Genealogical Society) that other genealogists have generously offered to look up for me.

Placido & Maria Chaves and their children

Placido and Maria Chaves my great great grandparents were from Cubero, New Mexico. They had at least 8 children, possibly 9. Their names were Maria Esfrada, Tomas, Toribio, Pedro, Paul, Pilar, Maria, and Justiano. There is also a Polo listed on a census, but it is likely the same person as Paul. These were my grandma’s aunts and uncles, so she knew them as a child. When I asked her about their names she thought there was both a Polo or Paolo and a Paul. I have not done further investigation about whether they were one in the same. Justiano, my great grandfather, also known as Justo, Justin, and to his grandchildren Joe, was the youngest of the children. Toribio and Esfrada were baptized in Cubero. I suspect Tomas was as well, but need to find his baptism record. The other children were most likely baptized at San Juan in Arizona, as was Justiano.

Maria Esfrada Chaves 1887-1925

Tomas 1887- ?

Toribio Chaves 1890- ?

Pedro Chaves 1893- 1981

Paul Chaves 1896- ?

Pilar Chaves 1898- 1979

Maria Chaves 1902- ?

Justiano Chaves 1907-1996

Justiniano Chavez

I am currently researching my dad’s Chavez family via his mother’s paternal line. My great grandfather was baptized Justiniano Chavez, son of Placido and Maria Chavez in the parish of St. Johns (previously known as San Juan), Arizona. His baptism record is written in Latin, unlike the Spanish records I’ve grown accustomed to reading from Mexico while researching my mother’s family. His baptism record says he was born in “Tuzas” Arizona. I recently found some info on the small villages of north eastern Arizona bordering New Mexico, and apparently Las Tusas was a small community not far from St. Johns, but no longer exists as it is “now under the waters of Lyman Dam” according to an article written by Pauline Chavez Bent for the New Mexico Genealogical Society.

Justiniano Chavez

You gotta start somewhere…


I started this blog with good intentions of regularly blogging my genealogical findings but alas, I was more interested in the chase itself than the documentation of it. I have become a full blown family history nut. Haha.

I’ve struggled with how to present my findings, and wanting it to be logical and easy to follow for anyone who stumbles upon this page. And now here I am many months later with a blog devoid of posts. The desire for perfection has long been an enemy of mine, and so now I say to heck with it!

I will never get this thing going if I don’t just start somewhere.

So when I first started I was going to blog about my mother’s Fernandez family. I was so enthralled with the research and then finally hit a brick wall. We’re talking a records burned by revolutionaries brick wall.

I then switched over to researching my dad’s Lucero family via his mother’s maternal line. And boy did I hit the jackpot with that line. The Lucero family had migrated to Arizona from New Mexico. I had been following the facebook page for the New Mexico Genealogical Society for at least a year but I had not been actively researching my New Mexico family until I got burnt out with slogging through random parish records for the regions surrounding where my mother’s family was from. I began posting questions on the NMGS fb page and engaging with the posts, and with the help of several experienced and very knowledgeable genealogists, I was able to gain new info that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. So now I’m pretty involved in researching my New Mexico roots.

I want to document as I go along for my New Mexico family. I will also try to post info about the Fernandez family from Mexico. I’m going to start by separating these lines into separate tabs so my various family members can easily find info pertinent to them. I may change the format if I find it doesn’t work. I am open to suggestions as well, so please if you have any ideas on how to present this work, feel free to comment, or email me.