APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2005-12 > 1136009493

From: Sheila Ruiz Harrell <>
Subject: Re: [APG] How old were you when you started your genealogy? What got you started?
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 22:11:33 -0800

On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 22:48:12 -0500 Tom Kemp <>
I'd like to do a survey.

Hi Tom,
I was 13 (1961) when my grandmother died. My mom and I went through all
of Nana's stuff and we came across a little red address book with names
and dates written on the pages...Nana's handwriting, listing her
siblings, her parents...and their parents. I was delighted and
fascinated, not so much with the names and dates, but one name in
particular. My great, great grandmother...Juana Bojorques.

In the years that followed I asked a few questions, filed things in my
head, and kept on wondering about the name I found in the little red
book. Unfortunately a few years later the book disappeared, and of course
I hadn't written the names and dates anywhere! My mom had a newspaper
article written about my great uncle and the time he spent working for
Henry Mill from the Miller-Lux cattle organization in the late 1800s into
the early 1900 in California. He spoke of his wife's family...his wife
and my grandmother were half sisters, sharing the same mother. At least I
had a few clues.

I learned that my great grandmother had been born under the American
flag, her mother under the Mexican flag, and her mother under the Spanish
flag...all here in California! I was hooked...and have spent all these
years tracking down my ancestors who arrived here in California as early
as 1769...and all those born here in California beginning in 1780. I've
spent about a jillion dollars, and more time than I can imagine on these
first families of California...and how many of them married into the
families of those native to California. My own DNA shows no connection to
any native tribe of California, but my families have been very connected
to the native people of Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San
Francisco, and San Juan Bautista areas.

I still haven't found the death date for my Juana Bojorques...but I have
found her marriages, all her children (I think!) and most of their
descendants which include well over 100 live cousins! I know Juana was
born in 1832 and the last record I found for her was a baptismal record
for 23 Jun 1899 in Fresno County...but I can't find her in the 1900
Fresno County, CA Census. Because of this one great, great grandmother
I've found so much about my own Hispanic heritage, and have learned that
I'm a 7th generation born-in-California girl...and my grandsons are 9th
generation California born. I can now read the old Mission records in
Spanish or Latin (for the most part!) and I have a pretty good grasp on
the overall history of early California...before it became the State of

Oh, a few months ago my mom found the little red book...I was so excited,
but soooo hesitant to even open it for fear of finding something, or not
finding something! Amazingly, all the names and dates were exactly as I
remembered...amazing because I almost forgot why I was writing this!! I'm
sure you can tell I'm completely hooked, addicted to, and obsessed by my
genealogy and research.

Sheila :)
Sheila Ruiz Harrell

This thread: