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Genealogy

The House They Lived In

The person who currently owns the house that Dionicio Ortega and his wife Sarah Jane Taylor lived in recently contacted me in hopes of learning new things about the house.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cool stories for them but was very happy they contacted me with new information.  They provided me with some of the paperwork that listed Sarah Jane Taylor and Dionicio Ortega as the deed owners of the house which I took as evidence their story was true.

They asked me not to share any of their identifying information which I agreed to withhold for their privacy (I am using the singular pronoun they/their to speak of this person).  This person was such a great storyteller that I’m going to share their words with you verbatim.

They started out with some interesting questions such as, “When I first moved here, an elderly man said that an Irish woman married a man from Tesuque Pueblo and moved into our house long ago. That sounds like it could have been Dionicio, and if so, he would have been Native American. Does any of that ring true? Do you have any idea what brought Sarah to the rough ’n tough New Mexico of the 19th century?”

I told them I didn’t know for sure, but on the 1860 census, she was five years old living with her father, her older full brother Isaiah, and her father’s second wife Geraldine Dennison in Missouri.  We know that Isaiah died in his childhood, up to that point they were the only living children from her father’s first marriage to Mary Ann Brummett, daughter of William Brummit and Sarah Evans.  On the 1870 census, she was about 15 years old living with her father and stepfamily in Cañon City, Colorado (as mentioned in the book History of Howard and Chariton Counties, Missouri).  Her stepmother Geraldine Denison died there in 1875.  My guess is she was coming of age in this radically different place and met Dionicio at some point as he was traveling.  Another cousin who rescues horses and mules has told me Dionicio was a muleteer on the Santa Fe Trail, but I haven’t verified it.  I do think they met in Colorado though.  On the 1880 census, she was living as Juana Ortega with Dionicio and their child Crisostimo in Cordoras, Taos, NM.  Almost all of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire.  Sarah and Dionicio are in Santa Fe on the 1900 census.  Sarah Jane died in 1927, Dionicio died in 1936.  I think Sarah Jane Taylor learned early to roll with the punches and was rather adventurous.  It seemed she was a curious person and was eager to embrace new places and cultures; I like to think I inherited that from her.

The person who contacted me about the house was an out-of-towner who immediately liked it and was lucky to have noticed it during a price-drop.

“A little investigation and it turned out it was because this was a “haunted house”. Neighborhood children wouldn’t go near it, and throughout the 70’s and 80’s no one owned it for more than a year or two before selling, due to all the bizarre things happening there. It was common knowledge that these ghosts were mischievous and frisky.

That was a great stroke of luck for us because we didn’t believe in ghosts. We bought it and the neighbors would shake their heads and say “You won’t stay long – nobody does”.

So that was [many] years ago, and we never experienced anything the least bit unusual, nor have any of the many guests who have stayed here.

What is now the main living room area was the original one-room adobe house. We did an extensive renovation, and when the floorboards were pulled up temporarily to put a heating system under there, I did some digging. A couple of inches down I found a lime-coated floor, and that was probably what was there when Sarah Jane and Dionicio moved in. They may have later put in the wood planks that are still there because they are very old. Two inches beneath the lime floor was another floor made of animal blood mixed with dirt, which makes for a linoleum-like surface. Nobody knows how old this place really is.

Our guest room used to be a detached stable, and when it rained we could still smell the animals that your ancestors kept there. I carved a niche into one of the adobe walls and found a donkey’s jawbone embedded in it.

Although plumbing had been installed by the 1950’s, the original outhouse for the house was still standing in one corner of the property when we moved in. We had to remove it to build [further]. You can still see the remains of a well that was the main water source for the house all those years ago. But you would have to lift the brick pavers in our courtyard and dig down about a foot to find it.
I also found a horseshoe and some smaller animal bones in that wall. All of the old adobe walls are 2 feet thick, so who knows what else is in there?”

I forgot to mention that when I dug down and found those 2 layers of flooring, I kept digging. About 2 feet down I found pottery shards in typical black and white patterns for Native Americans in this area. So people have been living on this spot for a VERY long time.”

I asked about using their stories on this blog:

“Using this info on your blog is okay if there is some way to discourage people from googling around to find me and then show up at my door.” So I am not giving out the address or the name of the person who contacted me, just passing along the story.

I can’t express how grateful I am to have been able to receive these stories as it’s put a little more flesh on my ancestors’ bones.  I feel a little closer to knowing them and their personalities now.

Ortega House email

Genealogy

Uncle C. Sauceda’s Genetic Communities

My uncle appears as a closer match to cousins from the Sauceda and Garza side of the family than my mother does, so I decided to focus on his genetic communities instead of hers.  I think Ancestry did very well with this feature.

C Sauceda Settlers of Central and South New Mexico
“Since the 1700s, New Mexico has been shaped by the clash and co-mingling of people and cultures. Native Pueblo peoples and Spanish settlers shared similar farming techniques and joined in defense against raiding Apache and Comanche bands—with whom they also traded. War, railroads, and homesteading brought Anglo settlers, who sometimes married into Hispanic families and sometimes encroached on traditional lands. Together they faced the changes drought, boom and bust, and war brought to a harsh and beautiful land.”

 

C Sauceda Mexicans in Nuevo Leon Tamaulipas and South Texas
“Those who answered Spain’s call to settle the Texas frontier were brave, determined, and incredibly resilient. For more than 100 years, they fended for themselves taming wild horses, raising livestock, and defending themselves against raiders, unpredictable weather, and the indifference of their government. When Texas joined the United States, Mexican and Anglo American settlers came together, creating the vibrant, rich culture that still distinguishes the area today.”

 

C Sauceda Mexicans in Tamaulipas Nuevo Leon and South TX
“Fiercely independent, for generations the people of the Rio Grande Valley demonstrated a determination to not only survive a brutal and unforgiving land, but thrive in danger, instability, and war. Decades of conflict created a legacy of strength in the face of opposition and dedication to their land, families, and heritage. Their descendants carried this legacy with them as they migrated north throughout the 20th century, adding it to the rich fusion of Tejano culture that still distinguishes the borderlands today.”

 

C Sauceda Mexicans in Nuevo Leon North Tamaulipas and South Texas
“Mexicans in Nuevo Leon, Northern Tamaulipas and South Texas were known for their fierce independence, persistence, and courage. They were instrumental in winning independence from Spain. And as history transformed their home from the Spanish frontier to the Mexican border (and even the United States), they came to embody the merging and clashing of Anglo and Mexican lifestyles on the border and in Texas Tejano culture.”
Genealogy

Romero Family of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Grandma Dolores didn’t speak much of her father, she said she didn’t remember him very well.  When I was a child I didn’t think much of it.  She did always claim her middle name was Salomé though, but no one on her mother Domitila Gonzales’ side of the family had that name.

After she passed I took another look at her birth certificate and saw she didn’t have a middle name, though she did use the middle initial “S” on some of her important documents, such as on the affidavit for her marriage license.  She insisted that it stood for Salomé.

Eloy Martinez Dolores S. Romero Marriage
Marriage of Eloy Martinez and Dolores S. Romero January 1950 in Phoenix, Arizona. Eloy Martinez was grandma’s legal husband though not my grandfather.  The “S” here is exactly like the “S” for South in the street address listed above.

Her parents Manuel Romero and Domitila Gonzales were married in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1924.  On the application for the marriage license, Manuel says his birthday is February 11, 1891.

Manuel Romero marriage part 1
The marriage of Manuel Romero and Domitila Gonzales June 1924 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Manuel Romero’s birthday is February 11, 1891.
Domitila divorce Manuel Romero
By April 1934 Manuel Romero and Domitila Gonzales were separated. My grandmother Dolores would have been around 7 years old.

In the book, New Mexico Baptisms, Santa Fe, NM, January 1884-December 1899 there is a record for Manuel Romero born February 20, 1892.  The day and the year are off, but the month is the same.  His parents were Luciano Romero and Salomé Montoya.  I believe this Manuel is my grandmother’s father.  I had seen them on the Santa Fe census in the past and wondered if they were Manuel’s family, but I didn’t have any clue about Manuel’s birthday back then.  The scanned page of the baptism book was provided to me by Denver Public Library.

Manuel Romero baptism
Manuel Romero born February 20, 1892 to Luciano Romero and Salomé Montoya.

Luciano Romero and Salomé Montoya were married November 27, 1886, at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.  Their parents were Desiderio Romero and Guadalupe Lujan, and Baltazar Montoya and Eleanor Ribera.  On other documents, she is written as Leonor Ribera. From the book Santa Fe Marriages, St. Francis Church/Cathedral January 1858-October 1889

Luciano Romero Salome Montoya marriage 1886
Luciano Romero and Salomé Montoya married November 27, 1886, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

After Salomé died, Luciano married Ursula Rodriguez.

Luciano Romero Ursula Rodriguez marriage 1900
Luciano Romero, widowed of Salomé Montoya, married Ursula Rodriguez in 1900.

On some census records, Manuel’s birthday is in May, but the names all match up so I’m sure this is the correct family.

Manuel Romero 1900 census
1900 Census in Santa Fe, here Manuel Romero’s birthday is in May of 1891. This might be why he believed he was born in 1891. He is listed with his siblings, stepmother Ursula Rodriguez, father Luciano Romero and his paternal grandfather Desiderio Romero lives nearby.

Salomé Montoya’s parents Baltazar Montoya and Leonor Ribera were married December 11, 1850 in Santa Fe. Their parents were Juan José Montoya and Juana Gonzales. From the book New Mexico Marriages, Santa Fe, St. Francis Parish and Military Chapel of Our Lady of Light (La Castrense) 1728-1857

Baltazar Montoya and Maria Leonor Ribera 1850
Salomé Montoya’s parents Baltazar Montoya and and Maria Leonor Ribera were married December 11, 1850 in Santa Fe. Their parents were Juan José Montoya & Juana Gonzales, and Francisco Ribera & Marcelina Quintana.
Genealogy

CS_DNA AncestryDNA

My maternal uncle agreed to take an AncestryDNA test for me and it was just received by Ancestry yesterday.  The website notes that lab processing times have increased.

He is under the username CS_DNA (always google interesting matches, it’s worth a shot) and I don’t plan on filling out the tree.  His tree is the same as my mom’s “Sauceda Romero Family Tree” since they are full siblings and the link to her tree is included in his profile, anyone looking at his profile will be able to pull it up.  You can also see my tab at the top of the page “Maternal Family Tree”. When I started having family members test at Ancestry I didn’t realize you could administer multiple tests from one user account so I had a bunch of separate accounts that I have access to.

I am glad to have another child of my maternal grandmother’s test with Ancestry since I didn’t think she could produce enough saliva to take their test (she was only tested with Family Tree DNA).  I will transfer his results to FTDNA where he has Y-DNA results.

C Romero Sauceda AncestryDNA
CS_DNA’s test kit received yesterday, although Ancestry hasn’t registered the fact yet. I don’t plan on filling out his family tree but the link to his full sister’s tree is in his profile.

 

CSDNA Ancestry Profile
CS_DNA’s profile on Ancestry. You can copy/paste the link to his sister’s tree “Sauceda Romero Family Tree”.
Genealogy

Jose Dionicio Ortega, husband of Sarah Jane Taylor

He was born on April 6, 1852, in the Village of Rio Tesuque, New Mexico to Jose Miguel Ortega and Francisca Romero.  He was baptized in Santa Fe, New Mexico on April 11, 1852.

I somehow failed to notice his death certificate partial information on FamilySearch which gave me the date of his death and the names of his parents (ok, one was wrong, it happens).dionicio-ortega-death-record-familysearch

Someone on Facebook was able to find his obituary, which read:

“Dionicio Ortega, aged 84 passed away at his home this morning after an illness of several months. He was born in Tesuque but had made his home in Santa Fe for the past 60 years where he made countless friends who will mourn his passing. He was a member of the Cathedral parish and had taken a very active part in church affairs. Surviving Mr. Ortega are four daughters, Mrs. Carolina Garcia, Mrs. Frank Narvize, Mrs. Frank Armijo, and Ms. Isabel Ortega; two sons Celestino and Manuel, all of Santa Fe, [?] grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren also survive. The body was taken to the home 323 Rosario Street this afternoon and will lie in state there [?] of funeral services, which will be announced later by the [?] Andrew funeral home.”
dionicio-oretga-obit-santa-fe-new-mexican-mon-july-6-1936-page-4
Dionicio Ortega born 1852 Tesuque, Santa Fe County, New Mexico died July 6, 1936 in Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This obituary appeared in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tue, Jul 7, 1936 – Page 2
I looked to see if he was in Rosario Cemetery, the same cemetery Sarah Jane Taylor is buried but he wasn’t listed in this index.  We visited Sarah Jane Taylor last December.
sjt-in-rosario-cem
Sarah Jane Taylor (born 1855, Livingston County, Missouri death June 20, 1927), wife of Dionicio Ortega in Rosario Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Taken December 2016.
I asked this Facebook group where I would find a baptism record for Dionisio if he were born in Tesuque in 1852 and the esteemed Patricia Sanchez Rau told me he would have been baptized in Santa Fe, and that she already had the information on Dionisio and his family. Approximately 75% of this journey has been me asking the right people poorly worded questions.
psr-to-the-rescue
“From Santa Fe Baptisms 1851 to 1867, published by HGRC, Alb. NM p. 20 – page 74 of the church register Jose Dionisio Ortega, bap 11 Apr 1852 ae 5 da; s/ Miguel Ortega and Francisca Romero, ap/ Pablo Ortega and Tomasa Gonzales, am/ Natividad Romero and Vitalia Garcia, gp/ Rafael Sandoval and Ynes Benavides.”
For the record, Patricia sent me her tree for Dionicio Ortega’s family, but she doesn’t have Vitalia Garcia as Francisca Romero’s mother.  Since I am just starting on his family I haven’t worked it all out yet.  I’ve just looked for the 1860 Census since that would be the first Dionicio would appear. Out of curiosity, I looked up the family on the 1850 census as well.
miguel-ortega-francisca-romero-1850-santa-fe-county
1850 Census, part of Santa Fe County, New Mexico. Pre-Dionisio Jose Miguel Ortega is listed with his family Francisca Romero, Maria Andrea, and Romulo. The next family are his parents Pablo Ortega and Maria Tomasa.
pablo-ortega-tomasa-gonzales-1860-rio-tesuque
1860 Census, the Village of Rio Tesuque, Santa Fe, New Mexico. We see Dionisio Ortega written here as Leonicio Ortega, and Romulo Ortega named twice. Here the children are living with their paternal grandparents, Pablo Ortega and Tomasa Gonzales.
This is all in my mother’s tree linked to her AncestryDNA profile: Sauceda Romero Family Tree