Monday, January 23, 2017

Gabriel Chavez and Gabriel Chavez, What is up in the Chavez Household?

While looking at some genealogical information on an individual(s) we were having problems with, we had to dig deeper than normal to ascertain some facts that at first were confusing. 

The person we were having problems with was Gabriel Chavez the son of Jesus Chavez and his wife Ramona Garduno. At first glance we were confused because we could find children of Gabriel Chavez with what appeared to be two separate women. That in itself is not that unusual but things did not match up with Gabriel, his wives and children. 

Specifically, the marriage dates we found with the birth dates of the children of Gabriel Chavez and either of the women he was listed as having been married to. One was Cecilia Madrid whom Gabriel married May 17, 1874 in Anton Chico, New Mexico, the other was Porfiria Lucero whom Gabriel married on September 3, 1877 at Las Colonias, New Mexico.

At first look it appeared that the first wife, Cecilia Madrid, had died and Gabriel remarried to Porfiria Lucero and continued having children with Porfiria Lucero. But looking forward there appears a birth entry for December 25, 1890 for an Ignacia Chavez, the legitimate daughter of Gabriel Chavez and Cecilia Madrid. Now Christmas presents being what they are, a daughter with a former wife while the current wife is still alive does not fit into a proper Roman Catholic household of the period we were looking at. 

Looking still more we found an entry for the woman whom we thought had passed away, Cecilia Madrid, marrying an individual by the name of Elizario Crespin on October 29, 1896 in Anton Chico, New Mexico. This entry does not indicate that she was  a widow, it is a simple entry listing the groom his parents and her name as well as her parents. But divorce and remarriage by the Catholic Church was not an option open to believers, So we had to believe that Gabriel Chavez had passed away sometime before.

So what was the situation with Cecilia Madrid, it could not have been a divorce as the church does not remarry divorced individuals. And she was remarrying and Gabriel was already married to Porfiria Lucero. Could Gabriel be seeing his ex, now remarried, and continuing to have children with her?

The solution came when we started scouring the U.S. Federal Census.

The screen grab below is from the 1870 U.S. Federal Census for "Las Colonias de San Jose in San Miguel County, New Mexico. It lists the household of Jesus Chavez and his wife Ramona Garduno de Chavez. You will need to click on the image to make it larger.
Click on the image to make it larger

Mr. Jesus Chavez and Mrs. Ramona Garduno de Chavez had at least five (5) different children and for whatever reason the second child was named Gabriel and the fourth Jesus Gabriel. Again, this giving the same name to different children was not really unusual in New Mexican history  It was used frequently when the first child passed away. The next child born might be named in the honor of the recently deceased child.

But this was not the case here, both children survived well into adulthood and both married and both had children. The problem came when they were both listed simply as Gabriel Chavez in the church records. it would be my guess that in the village one was known as Gabriel and the other as Jesus.

The church records made a mystery where none really existed. But to the individual following the individuals a over a century later the situation required looking around to figure it out.

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