Drama, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

My life was a lie.

Just kidding, it wasn’t that dramatic.  My dad’s parents are Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel, although I didn’t really think about that until recently.  I wasn’t very close to these grandparents because, when I was born to teenage parents who did the best they could (a damn good job if you ask me), these grandparents didn’t feel old enough to be grandma and grandpa.  Amelia also tried to convince my dad I wasn’t his daughter.  I thought of her when my dad’s DNA results came in and did a little jig, even though we never doubted I am my father’s daughter.

My last name was Rangel, as was my dad’s, so I always assumed that was my grandfather’s last name.  Later I noticed some of my aunts and uncles were Conde.  As I got into genealogy I neglected my dad’s side because I feel very distant from them.  As time went on, I questioned my dad’s (and his dad’s) last name.  First off, it’s weird that my father has his mom’s maiden name but I had him join the Rangel Project at Family Tree DNA just in case.  I couldn’t find a Conde project.  In any case my father’s Y-DNA at 12 markers has no matches.  None!

My dad asked an older brother about all of this, and my uncle admitted to having asked my grandfather because he also had his suspicions.  My uncle said that my grandfather admitted his last name was false and told him his real last name which my uncle did not remember although he said “it sounded very indigenous.”

My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel.  Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel. Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
Dad's mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel's birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
Dad’s mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel’s birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
1940 census
In 1940 we see Amelia Juarez Rangel’s parents, Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez living with Benito’s family. Benito’s father Miguel is the farmer and his sons are farm laborers, suggesting that Miguel Juarez owned the land. Interestingly, living with them are some Conde relatives. I think this is how my grandfather Joe Conde took his last name.
1930 census
In 1930 we see a very young Maria Rangel living with her family. This seeks to explain the different last names used by my father’s family: Conde, Juarez, and Rangel

AJR tombstone

Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

So that Finding Your Roots Episode Got Me Thinking…

Purely speculation.

According to the New Mexico project on FTDNA:

“DNA studies on Hispanics show a higher European admixture. *Anthropologist Andrew Merriwether and colleagues conducted a study on Hispanics living in Colorado. Using classic genetic markers they estimated an admixture of 67% European and 33% Native-American.

He further tested their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is a test to find the origins of your great, great…grandmother, going back 10’s of thousands of years. This one ancestor which is your families “Eve” so to speak, showed up as Native-American 85% of the time and European in origin 15% of the time. Thus showing that the majority of unions in this admixture were of European males and Native-American females.”

Why does my maternal genetic history reflect a European female rather than a Native American female (The Mystery of Juana Ortega)? I’ll be honest, since skin color and appearance aren’t reliable indicators of genetic heritage I was really hoping for a strong Native American ancestry.  I think many Americans desire that feeling of rootedness and since my family is Hispanic it wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to assume.

I haven’t researched my father’s side but that’s largely due to 1) not being close to or identifying with them and 2) not being able to get truth from them.  For example, as I was preparing my family history for Case 2, I noticed my father’s birth certificate clearly states that my  grandfather is white (ok, not uncommon, all of my ancestors are listed as white) and that he was born in Texas.  My paternal grandfather is most definitely not white (I could be wrong since I’m going by phenotype) and he recently won his immigration case allowing him to stay in the US after some 50+ years of living here, paying taxes, and owning a business.  I’m certain he was born in Puebla.  I hope I don’t get my father or grandfather in trouble, but how does that happen?  Let’s pretend my father’s name is John Peterson Jr.  I would assume my grandfather’s name was John Peterson and my grandmother’s name was Woman Father’slastname Mother’slastname (Spanish naming custom).  Well, my grandfather must have provided a false name on the birth certificate.  According to the birth certificate my grandfather’s name was John Mother’slastname.  He took my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name for the birth certificate and no one questioned it!

My paternal grandmother, A. Juarez Rangel. Haplogroup A2d1a

This would probably show up as the much desired Native American I was hoping for but since it’s on my father’s side it has the potential to fade over a handful of generations.  I didn’t inherit something genetically lasting from him or my paternal grandmother.  I’m still young enough to be able to say DH and I would like to have children in the future, so I must ask, what would they inherit from me?  Let’s say we lost our immigration case, went back to Europe and started a family.  After 5 generations would I be that darker-skinned, strong-cheekboned woman in old pictures my family thinks might have been a Real Native American?  I guess that happens more often than not.

At this point in my research my maternal line is still in New Mexico.

*Interesting tidbit: My paternal grandmother A. Juarez Rangel was born in 1941.  I was able to find her parents on the 1940 census and her Texas credentials check out.  I noted that the year before she was born, her family had some cousins staying with them that have the same last name (his real last name, not Rangel) as  my paternal grandfather, her future husband.  Hmmm.


Juan Valdez Obituary

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Juan Valdez, a land grant activist who fired the first shot during a 1967 New Mexico courthouse raid that grabbed international attention and helped spark the Chicano Movement, has died. He was 74.

Valdez died peacefully Saturday at his Canjilon ranch after recently suffering two heart attacks, his daughter Juanita Montoya said.

Heir to a northern New Mexico land grant, Valdez was 29 years old when he and a group of land grant advocates, led by Reies Lopez Tijerina, raided a Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla. Their goal was to attempt a citizens’ arrest of then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez over Hispanic land rights issues.

Valdez had gotten involved with Tijerina’s group, known as Alianza Federal de Mercedes — an organization founded to help Mexican-American heirs to old Spanish land grants reclaim land that was illegally taken by white settlers and the U.S. government.

“Tijerina impressed me when he and most of the people who had walked from Albuquerque set up a camp and refused to leave,” Valdez told retired lawyer Mike Scarborough in the book “Trespassers On Our Own Land,” an oral history of the Valdez family.

During the raid, it was Valdez who shot and wounded state police officer Nick Saiz after the officer went for his pistol and refused commands by Valdez to put his hands up.

“It came down to, I shoot him or he was going to shoot me — so I pulled the trigger,” Valdez said in the book. “Lucky for both of us, he didn’t die.”

The raiders also beat a deputy and took a sheriff and reporter hostage.

After holding the courthouse for a couple of hours, the armed group fled to the mountains as the National Guard and armored tanks chased them.

Valdez was convicted of assault but was later pardoned by Gov. Bruce King.

The episode cemented Valdez and Tijerina’s legacy among activists from the Chicano Movement of the 1970s who favored more radical methods of fighting discrimination over those of the moderate Mexican American civil rights leaders a generation before.

“He loved the attention,” said Montoya, 48. “He wanted people to know our history and what happened to our land.”

Valdez is survived by his wife, Rose Valdez, and seven of his eight children.

RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press [source]


Portabella was a sweetheart

We adopted Portabella from the Arizona Humane Society on December 27, 2010. She was in a large ferret cage with her littermates and was the only little rat to stick her head out inquisitively when I opened the cage door. That’s how I knew I wanted to take her home.

Ideally if you have a rat it should have a rat companion but we decided she would be our only rat as they can be a little expensive in terms of health care. I was home a lot anyway and we planned to let her have the run of our place so she didn’t get too bored. This plan worked out well, but looking back on it I would have liked to have another rat for her to play with.

I also kind of regret not getting any video footage of her being her cute self. If we were petting/massaging her little face she would stretch her arms out for a massage. Sometimes she was over-excited at the prospect of food and would climb all over us. If we were watching a movie and she had her fill of popcorn she would take the excess and tunnel underneath us for storage. Portabella also had a strange rivalry with our toothbrushes. If we teased her with them it was all out war; that was the only time I saw her fierce teeth-gnashing huntress side. It was hilarious to see our otherwise gentle pet stalking a toothbrush. She was a fan of chasing ribbon and could do so as well as any cat, and she had a penchant for catnip filled fishes.

Arms out for a massage!


She liked stashing our things


We knew rats have issues with mammary tumors and respiratory infections. We dutifully took her to the vet any time we heard her sneeze; she never suffered an intense respiratory infection. The first time we discovered a lump we took her to the vet right away and had it removed.  Her recovery was a little tough, she opened her stitches once overnight, but after that she healed quickly.  Her second operation was difficult and she was getting older.  Her recovery time was a lot longer and she seemed so fragile.  She eventually bounced back but we found a new growth within weeks.  After that she developed a fourth growth and we knew our time with her was coming to an end. Friday morning was relatively normal.  She had to be hand fed and watered as she wasn’t eating her pellets, but she was very interested in fruit and beans.  By Friday evening she was having difficulty breathing and was very lethargic.  We took her to the vet so she wouldn’t die alone in her cage over night.  It was a difficult decision but I think it was the right one for all of us.

It’s sad not seeing her whenever we come home.  She was kind of like a dog in that she would stop what she was doing, come out of her cage, and wait for us near the door.  While our time with her was short she brought us so much joy and love. We will miss her very much.

April 2010-August 10, 2012
Educational, Environment, Explanations, Gardening, Global Change, Green, Organic

I am a chicken murderer

A dear friend left me in charge of her garden and chickens while she and her fiancé went on vacation.  DH and I noticed a chicken was laying down and panting heavily, and would not drink water or eat any food or treats.  We unsuccessfully tried cooling her down with ice bottles (I know virtually nothing about chickens).  She was dead the next morning.  We feel crappy about it.  I asked around and experts said it could have been anything from parasites to a stuck egg.  Poor hen, R.I.P. 



Squash and other plants in the back


Eggplants, squash and other plants in the front


I forgot to post the flan my husband made last week due to the death of our cat Nala.  She was old but in relatively good health; she passed quickly and quietly which we were grateful for.  Her mother Mama Cat died in September of 2008.  This seems a little weird to me but what the hell.  Both cats liked sweets : )  


Nala Cat


Mama Cat
Explanations, Not Wedding Related

Senator Edward Kennedy

Senator Kennedy was a man of great compassion who worked for equal rights for all people. His work on behalf of the marginalized will always be remembered. Many people of my generation owe a large part of their opportunities, such as educational opportunities, to Senator Kennedy (as well as others such as the late Senator Pell). I was saddened, but not surprised, to hear of Senator Kennedy’s passing today. I hope we all remember his legacy of compassion and kindness, especially as we engage in discussions about health care reform.

From the Senator’s website:

Family Statement
“Edward M. Kennedy—the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply—died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”