Jose Ortega & Juliana Molina with baby Adelina in 1900 US Census Santa Rita, Socorro, NM

Jose Ortega & Juliana Molina & Adelina 1900 US Census Santa Rita Socorro NM

1900 is the first census my great grandmother Adelina Ortega appears in with her parents Jose Ortega & Juliana Molina. She is 1 year old! I wonder what kind of baby she was. Jose & Juliana have been married for 7 years, and Adelina is their first child. What was it like being a first time mother in 1900 Socorro? Looking at the entire page, I noticed that there are several Ortegas living near them. These were likely Jose’s family. Jose, 26, and Juliana, 25, are both listed as day laborers. Jose and Juliana were both born in New Mexico, as were their parents. At the end of the line, there is an H indicating they live in a house, and not on a farm.

Jose Ortega & Juliana Molina & Adelina 1900 birthplace & occupation detail

Santa Rita later became known as Riley, and is now a ghost town. This pdf brochure from the Socorro Chamber of Commerce tells a short history of the town.

Santa Rita history

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Adelina Ortega with parents Jose V Ortega & Julianita in 1910 US Census

Jose V Ortega & Julianita with daughter Adelina 1910

In 1910, Adelina is 12 years old, living with her parents Jose V Ortega & Julianita in Mangas, Socorro, New Mexico. Jose is 39 years old and Julianita is 36 years old. The M1 shown means it was their first marriage, and the 20 shows they have been married 20 years. Julianita is the mother of 3 children, with only 1 living. Jose and Julianita were both born in New Mexico, as were both of their parents.

Jose V Ortega & Julianita & Adelina 1910 occupation info

To the question if they speak English, or if not list language spoken, the answer Spanish is written by the enumerator. Jose is a laborer doing sheep herding. The no is answering whether he was out of work. The 12 means he was out of work 12 days in the year 1909. Under education, Jose is listed as not being able to read or write. His wife Julianita, however, can read and write. Adelina is listed as not being able to write, and has not attended school anytime since September 1, 1909. This seems curious to me if her mother can read and write, and Adelina is listed in the 1920 census as being able to read and write. Were both censuses accurate regarding Adelina’s education? Did she learn how to read and write after 12 years old? She was married at 15. Who would have educated her? Her mother? Her husband Federico??? Or perhaps this 1910 census was inaccurate. Who knows.

The Ortegas own their property free and outright (not mortgaged), and they live in a house.

Interestingly, on the same page, they live 6 households down from Adelina’s future in-laws, Severo & Isabel G Rael along with her future stepdaughter Emilia. Having already seen earlier census records in which Federico appears with his parents, I knew this was them.

Severo Rael & Isabel G 1910 census

This tells us that Adelina most likely grew up knowing the Rael’s. Federico and his first wife do not appear in Mangas in 1910. The fact that his daughter Emilia is staying with her grandparents makes me wonder if Federico’s wife was already deceased.

What’s the deal with farm schedules?

Last night I searched for the farm schedule that correlated to the 1920 US Census for the Rael’s. A few sites have farm or agrarian schedules also sometimes called non population schedules. However they are very limited. I came upon this website that gave an excellent overview of what became of these records throughout the years.

Agricultural Schedules of the United States Census

Unfortunately many of them were destroyed by the government, including most of the records for 1920. My first reaction was anger– why the heck did they do that?? Clearly this is valuable family history info!!! (I know, I laugh at these moments later. Obviously the government’s daily decisions don’t include whether or not it will benefit my personal genealogy quest!) But then I remembered a couple jobs I had in which part of my job description was handling archives. Some old records were sent to storage and others were destroyed. The reality of keeping what must have been an overwhelming amount of farm records for the United States sunk in. I can see why after a certain amount of time had passed, the government would no longer have needed them. Reports of broad statistics were made, but individual farm information was destroyed.

The only surviving farm schedules for 1920 New Mexico are for Santa Fe. This doesn’t help me, but I figured I’d save the info in case it might help someone else.

The details of the Rael farm in Mangas, Socorro, New Mexico remain lost in time.

Adelina Ortega & Federico Rael with children in 1920 US Census

In 1920, my great grandmother Adelina Ortega and her husband Federico Rael and children are found living in Mangas, Socorro County, New Mexico.

Adelina Ortega & Federico Rael family 1920 US Census Mangas Socorro.jpg

They own their home. Emilia is 18, so clearly, cannot be Adelina’s child who is 21 here. I believe “Selia”, 4,  is the same child as Cecilia seen in the 1930 census. Jesus Maria is 3. Sebero is Federico’s father who is 56, and widowed.

On this census, we also learn that Federico & Adelina do not speak English. The “yes” written next to each person above is stating that they can both read and write. On every household on this census page, the enumerator had written Spanish as mother tongue, and then lined it out. This is interesting to me, considering that New Mexico had been part of the US since 1850. Emilia, however, does speak English. I learned through a descendant of hers, that she later became a teacher.

Adelina Ortega & Federico Rael family occupation details 1920Federico is listed as a stock man with a ranch, working on his own account, meaning he is not an employer, or a wage earner. Adelina is listed as having no occupation.  Her father in law, Sebero, is listed as doing labor on a farm as a wage earner. Number of farm schedule is 13– I just noticed this detail. I wonder if there are more details on this other schedule.

Adelina Ortega & Federico Rael with children in 1930 US Census

In 1930 my great grandmother Adelina Ortega is living with her husband Federico Rael and six children Cecilia, Jesus, Liberato, Pedro, Isabel, and “Angelina” who’s name was actually Evangelina. Federico is listed as Fred G. The G was for Garcia which was his mother’s maiden name. He is 52 years old, and Adelina is 30.

They are living one house down from her parents, Jose B Ortega and Julianita M, and her brother Fred. Jose’s mother’s surname was Velasquez, but V and B are often used interchangeably. I would be interested to know what happened to Adelina’s brother, Fred. I wonder if there are any pictures out there of him. He’s 15 years younger than Adelina, so was likely born around the time Adelina got married.

A hint here that I hadn’t paid much attention to before is that it provides the age at first marriage. For Federico “Fred” Rael, he was 19 when he first married. This could possibly help me find his first marriage record, and subsequently find out not only who his first wife was, but also what happened to her. It is also of note that Emilia Rael, Federico’s daughter from his first marriage, is not here in the Rael household, so she most likely has married at this point.

Adelina Ortega & Federico Rael 1930 census

Discovery of a Navajo ancestor!

There are many wonderful souls in the genealogical community. There is one I consider a friend now who has been such an amazing help, Daria Landress. She offered to do a film lookup for me while she happened to be at her local FHC (Family History Center–a place to do research) and I remembered I wanted to look up a couple in my Ortega line. I told her their names and the date of their marriage, and that’s how it all started. They didn’t have the film I needed, but she owns some books of record transcriptions and was able to piece together a ton of information.

My great grandmother, Adelina Ortega was very dear to my dad and his brothers. They have many fond memories of her. It turns out she was part Navajo! She is descended from Mathias Montano, who was a genizaro criado. I have a lot to learn about the history of genizaro criados but basically they were Native American servants or slaves who could have entered Spanish society a number of ways. Captured and traded or sold by enemy tribes, or abandoned as children and raised by their owner, or expelled from their native communities, maybe captured by the Spanish– these are just some of the scenarios that could be encompassed in the term genizaro. From being involved in the New Mexico Genealogical Society’s facebook group I have learned just a tiny bit about this part of New Mexico’s history. I first became intrigued by this idea when I found a Castillo ancestor with three Indian “adopted” children and a female servant listed with him on a US Census. This was when I first began to realize just how complicated the story of my paternal family could be over the scope of history. I have not found any more info on that particular story, but fast forward to this weekend and what has been uncovered with my friend’s help on this Ortega line, and I am determined to learn more about the complexities of Spanish and native relationships.

I am just straight up floored that I am lucky enough to have this information. So many people who are researching their family history know they have Native American ancestors either through DNA or they assume or suspect it just knowing basic history or perhaps the way a great grandparent looked, or hazy family stories. But to find the actual proof, to find that first mestizo or indio on paper is big. Even more so to have proof of the actual tribe– I’m just beyond ecstatic right now!!!!

I wish I could know Mathias’ story. Was his name always Mathias or did his mother give him another name? Could she have forseen that her son’s descendants would become part of Spanish society and eventually be the head of their own households? Or did she despair that her people would always be subservient? Who raised him? Did he have ties to the tribe at all or was he cut off? How did his owner treat him? So much to ponder.