The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

29 December 2008

Anastacio C. Torres

Anastacio C. Torres was the nephew of my 2nd great grandfather, Crespin Torres. I found this brief biographical sketch of him in the book "The Leading Facts of New Mexican History", Volume IV.

A. C. Torres

In all phases of New Mexico's development A. C. Torres is equally interested and along many lines of progress he has been an active worker. At the present time he is serving as chairman of the board of regents of the New Mexico School of Mines. He makes his home in Socorro, where is (sic) is filling the office of postmaster and is also editor and proprietor of the El Defensor. He was born in Socorro county on the 28th of February, 1868, a son of Canuto Torres and Isabelita Padilla de Torres, both of whom were natives of Socorro county. The father has now departed this life, while the mother makes her home in Socorro.

A. C. Torres is one of a family of seven children, of whom six are yet living. His youthful days were spent in his native county and during the period of his boyhood he attened the public schools, making good use of his opportunities, so that he eventually took up the profession of teaching, which he followed for several years. He was also county superintendent of schools for four years and has never ceased to feel the deepest interest in the cause of education, while the efforts that he has put forth have been resultant factors in promoting educational instituation in the state. His fellow townsmen appreciative of his worth and ability have on various occassions called him to public office and he enjoys the respect of the adherents of the repubican party as well as the confidence and good will of the followers of democracy, among whom he is numbered. He served as city clerk and is now occupying the position of postmaster at Socorro, to which he was appoined by President Wilson. His public duties further embrace service as chairman of the board of regents of the New Mexico School of Mines, in which connection he has put forth every possible effort to raise the standard of the school and make it of the greatest possible benefit as a source of practical instruction to those who will probably become factors in development of the rich mineral resources of this state.

Mr. Torres has been married twice. In August, 1898, he wedded Miss Encarnacion Torres, who died February 8, 1912. In March, 1915, he married Miss Margarita Telles. He owns an attractive home in Socorro, together with a number of city lots and several substantial buildings. He takes an active and helpful interest in all public enterprises of town and county and cooperates heartily in all well formulated plans for the development and improvement of city and state. He is a member of the Spanish-American Alliance and he is interested in every movement which bring into close connection the Spanish and American population of the state in their effort to utilize and develop New Mexico's resources and improve her opportunities for making this one of the great states of the Union.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, editor, The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Volume IV (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1917), 377-378.

For more information about Anastacio C. Torres, including a photo of him, check on this link.

Rev. P. J. Pelzer

Recently, I was searching through vital records from the San Marcial Mission. San Marcial is about 30 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico. It was once a fairly prosperous town until floods destroyed it the 1920s. Now, only a few people live there.

While looking at the marriage and baptismal records of that mission, I kept seeing the same name. This was P.J. Plezer, the priest who officiated these sacraments. I was wondering who he was, when I happened to find a short biographical sketch about him in "The Leading Facts of New Mexican History" Volume IV. Below is that biographical sketch:

Rev. P. J. Pelzer

Rev. P. J. Pelzer, whose priestly offices are performed at San Marcial and outlying missions in the Catholic church, was born in Holland, July 9, 1873, a son of Dominic and Catherine Pelzer, the former now deceased. He persued his early education in the schools of Holland and afterward attended the Louvain American College, where he studied theology, thus preparing for the priesthood, to which he was ordained in 1897. He was ordained for the Santa Fe diocese of New Mexico and was first assigned to mission work at the Guadalupe church at Santa Fe. There he spent a year and in November, 1898, arried in San Marcial, where he assumed pastoral charge of San Marcial church. He was also given charge of the Catholic church at San Antonio and several other outlying missions and under his direction there are now about three hundred and fifty Catholic families. He has been instrumental in building the San Antonio church and also at the San Antonito church and the churces of Carthage and Contadero. He also erected the parochial residence at San Marcial and his entire thought, purpose, and activity are given to his work.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, editor, The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Volume IV (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1917), 376.

San Antonio is 11 miles south of Socorro, San Antonito was near San Antonio, Carthage was 10 miles E. of San Antonio, and Contadero was 4 miles south of San Marcial, across the Rio Grande from Ft. Craig.

24 December 2008

Obama Pick Claims New Mexico Family Ties

President-Elect Barack Obama's nominee for Interior Secretary claims a New Mexican genealogy going back to the late 16th Century. Colorado's United States Senator Ken Salazar announced during his presentation earlier this month, that his family has been in what is now the Western United States for more than four centuries. He claims that he can trace his lineage back to late 1500s Santa Fe. Of course, Santa Fe has only been around since the early 1600s, but we get the picture.

If he is claiming his lineage through his Salazar surname, his family may have not arrived in New Mexico until 1625 or later. In his book "Origins of New Mexico Families", Fray Angelico Chavez notes that a Francisco de Salazar appears in records as a soldier-escort at that time. Of course, Senator Salazar may have been refering to another line in his genealogy.

Another source, Congresspedia, claims that Salazar can trace his lineage back to 12th Century Spain.

Senator Ken Salazar has an older brother who is also in the United States Congress, Representative John T. Salazar. The elder Salazar brother had been vetted for Agricultural Secretary, but was not appointed to the post.

It would be interesting to find out more about Senator Salazar's family. Of course, until proof is offered, his claim is unverified. However, it is not unlikely that he does have New Mexico roots going back a number of centuries.

Click on this link to read the story about Senator Salazar's appointment.

Chavez's "Origin of New Mexico Families" and other books of New Mexico history and genealogy can be found on the New Mexico Genealogical Society link to Using this link allows for a portion of your payment for books and other items to go to the New Mexico Genealogical Society, which we use to help out the Albuquerque Special Collections Library. Please use this link whenever your are on

By the way, books published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society may be found on our website at this link.

This article was also posted on the New Mexico Genealogical Society blog.

23 December 2008

New Mexico Genealogical Society 2009 Membership

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's that time of the year to renew your membership, or start a membership, with the New Mexico Genealogical Society! A $25 membership gets you the following:

* Four issues of the New Mexico Genealogist, the quarterly journal for New Mexico genealogy. This includes our special "Aqui Se Comienza" March 2009 issue, in which genealogists expand our knowledge of the founding families of Alburquerque, as detailed in the popular NMGS book of the same name.

* FREE shipping on orders from NMGS Press .

* Confer with others who understand your interest (obsession?) in genealogy.

* And so much more....

If you are already a member, check your December 2008 issue of the New Mexico Genealogist for an Application for Membership. You should receive the issue soon.

If you are not already a member, click on this link, and print up a copy of the application. The first issue of the year is sent out in March 2009.

Thank you, and have a safe holiday!

Robert J. C. Baca
President, New Mexico Genealogical Society

16 December 2008

Who are You? I Really Want to Know.

The post below is a entry for the 9th Edition of Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images. The post is titled "Who are You - I Really Want to Know?"

As they say on T.V., this is an encore presentation. I posted the following photos in September of this year. If you know who these people are, please post a comment on this blog or send me an E-mail at

A couple of years ago, my uncle gave me the photo below:

He didn't know who the people in the photo were. They may be from our family (Baca, Bourguinon, Torres, Trujillo), or may be from his late wife's family (Peralta, or other families.) The family is probably from the Socorro, New Mexico area.

Based on clothing styles, it appears that this photo was taken in the early 1900s, possible as late as the late 1910s. I used a great book called "Dating Old Photographs: 1840-1929" to figure this out.


Anita, one of my readers, sent me the two photos below:

She says this about the photos:

Here are a few photos that I'm curious about. This is from my grandmother's collection. My grandmother's name is Maria Gumecinda Gonzales (1905-1995) her husband my grandfather was Jesus Eleodoro Gomez (1910-1986), Grandma was born in Sanchez, lived in Sabinoso in 1910 and grandpa was born in Montoya, then lived in Chaperito. They married about 1931 then spent most of their adult lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I'm guessing these men are relatives or friends of theirs.

I don't know who the little girl is possibly a relative or friend of the parents of grandma Gumecinda Gonzales. They were Clemencia "Lujana" Lujan (b 1865) and Anselmo Gonzales (b 1858). My records show that some of the villages and areas they lived in were, Sabinoso, Sapello, Tecolote, & Trujillo.

I'll send more information about the antique photo after I get it scanned,it's packed away, I'm sure the little girl's last name is Gallegos, which is on the back of the photo.

12 December 2008

Janis' Obituary

The obituary for my sister Janis Marie (Baca) Schwartzenberg was just posted on line. Click on this link to read it.

I found it touching that my family decided to have her students be the honorary pallbearers for the funeral.

10 December 2008

Janis (Baca) Schwartzenberg 1956-2008

Janis Marie (Baca) Schwartzenberg 23 March 1956 - 9 December 2008

Janis holding me. She was 12 years older than me.

My sister Janis was killed in a car accident on Tuesday. She was a teacher at the Alamo Navajo Reservation school in Alamo, New Mexico.

I consider her my hero. She went back to school and began teaching in her mid thirties. This inspired me to go back to school and become a teacher. She was an excellent instructor. She would often give my wife and me advice on how to be better teachers. She also encouraged us both to keep on going when it seemed to tough to continue.

Janis at home. Probably around Christmas time.

The last time I saw her was for Thanksgiving. We invited her family to our house to celebrate. My wife and I were planning on contacting her soon about Christmas plans. Since my parents' deaths nine years ago, I had been spending Christmas with her family. Christmas will not be the same without her.

From left to right, me (Robert Baca), my sister Cindy, Cindy's daughter Teri, and my sister Janis. At the Route 66 Casino, Janis' favorite hangout.

There is so much more that I could say about her, but right now words escape me.

There is an article in the El Defensor Chieftain, the Socorro, NM paper, about my sister's accident. You can find that article at this link. There is one mistake in the article: she was 52 years old, not 42. She would have been tickled to find out that the newspaper thought she was 10 years younger than she actual was.

I will post her obituary once it comes online.

03 December 2008

8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know - The Meme

Well, I got tagged by Kathy at Kathy's Genealogy Blog to participate in the meme "8 Things About Me That I Bet You Didn't Know". Below are my eight things:

1. Although my lineage goes back four centuries in New Mexico, I myself was born in Nevada.

2. My last ancestors to be born outside of New Mexico were born in the 1830s. Samuel Zimmerly was from Switzerland, and Phillip Bourguignon was from Germany. Both came to New Mexico as American soldiers.

3. I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that re-creates Medieval and Renaissance Europe. My wife is a member, too.

4. My wife and I got married dressed in Renaissance clothing. I was a dashing Spaniard, she was in garb that was part French and ... something else..... (I'm either a bad husband for not knowing, or not up to speed on fashion.)

5. For the life of me, I can't spell "Renaissance". I had to use a spell checker to spell it right for this article.

6. However, I can spell "Medieval".

7. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I collect Santas.

8. I'm only two degrees of seperation from Barack Obama. I once had a one to one conversation with New Mexican Governor, former presidential candidate, and current Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson. He commented on a letter to the editor that I wrote. I also spoke to him on the phone twice: once when I was applying to become his intern when he was a U.S. Congressman (I didn't get the job), and the second time when he called my sister and me to give his condolences for my father's death (my dad was a big political supporter of his.) Okay, I'm a name dropper, what can I say.

The rules for this meme are:

1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

Tag, your it! These are the eight people I've tagged for this meme:

* Stephen at Steve's Genealogy Blog

* Renee at Renee's Genealogy Blog

* Maureen at the Photo Detective

* Debra at the Ancestry Detective

* Kathyrn at Looking for Ancestors

* Jennifer at Rainy Day Genealogy Readings

* Lorine at The Paper Trail

* Sasha at Memory Lane