Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fernando M Munoz Find-a-Grave Memorial

Maternal Birth Ancesty

With the Memorials from Find-a-grave and the linking of them to, it has made it easier and possible for people to locate and see their ancestor's headstones and memorials.  It is very possible that we can not travel to our ancestral lands, and visit the resting places our ancestors.  So I am very grateful for the love of these volunteers that make this all possible.

I have been a contributor for Find-a-grave for almost 5 years now.  I have found it very rewarding.  I am not a top contributor, however, when I have spare time, I like to add memorials, or improve on the ones that I am managing.

Doing research on My great grandfather Fernando M. Munoz, the shaky leaf waved at me, and lead me to his memorial page on findagrave.  The birth year on his grave marker was not correct, and I figured they estimated the year.  This is one reason why an ancestor's headstone can not be considered proof of one's date of birth, death or sometimes name, as names can be misspelled.  As a family historian, one must have other supporting documents to substantiate what is written on one's headstone.  It is true that other documents that your ancestor has pertaining to their lives may be incorrect, however, it is important to analyze by making a comparison, noting the differences, and making a proof statement based on the analysis.

My great grandfather was born May 31, 1897, and died October 16, 1944.  So as you can see, the headstone has 1900-1944.  

I will be making some corrections to Fernando's memorial once it is transferred to me.  One of the things that one can do, is to make an inquiry to the cemetery office, and request information of who purchased the gravesite.  Most places will release this information, however, check with the cemetery for their rules for a request.  I have done this for a few ancestors in various cemeteries, so I know it can be done.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Fernando M Munoz Death Certificate

Maternal Birth Ancestry

I have been spending a lot more time researching my maternal birth ancestry line.  Within the past few weeks, I discovered some of the names and surnames of my mother's grandparents.  I had discovered that my Great Grandfather was  Fernando M. Munoz.  I know very little about him other than his vital statistics.  I am hoping over time my research will bring him to life.  

Since I am just beginning my family research in Arizona, I needed to get familiar with some of the online databases and off line research resources.  One of the sites I discovered was Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates.  I decided to plug Fernando's name in the database.  When I clicked enter, I had no idea anything would happen....but wallah!  his death certificate appeared.  I was thrilled!  How easy was that?  I had assumed all certificates and indexes in Arizona were not made public and you had to show proof of relationship in order to receive anything...So here we are!

My Weekly Treasure!!!

Fernando M. Munoz Death Certificate
Arizona State Department of Health
Division of Vital Statistics


Fernando M. Munoz died in Maricopa County, Tempe City, at the Clinic Hospital.  He had been there ten (10) days.  He lived in Arizona for nine (9) years.  His usual residence was in the State of Arizona, County of Coconino, in the City of Flagstaff.  The Street Number was General Delivery.  He had citizenship of a foreign country which was Mexico. I am unsure what it says on line (b)  "If Veteran, name war.  It looks like 30g...[If you have any idea, let me know].
Fernando was listed as White, Married to Maria Z. Munoz, was 37 years old at the time of Fernando's death.  Fernando was 47 years, 4 months and 16 days old, and born on May 31, 1897 (The year may be questionable, he might have been a little older.  He was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and his usual occupation was a laborer.
Fernando's father's name was Melquiadez Munoz and his mother was Bartola Herrera, both born in Aguascalientes  Mexico.  The informant was Fernando's wife Maria Z. Munoz at Gen. Del. Flagstaff, Arizona.
Fernando died on October 16, 1944 at 10:45 PM.  Fernando died of Syphilis Myocardial Decomposition.
So my treasures also are in the new names I did not know about.  I discovered the names of my Great Great Grand-parents!!!  I learned more about where they were born, and where my Great Grandfather was born.  So now I can begin to look at records not only in Arizona, but New Mexico & Mexico!!!

There is a lot more to come...The Ancestor's are Speaking...Can you hear them???

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Thomas S. Moore & Maggie Ruth Hawkins Wedding Certificate

My Descendants Paternal Ancestry

I happened to come across a wonderful resourceful blog site Gen Roots, and there was so much information as to where you can find records.  This site lead me to Cook County Records @  I went there because my mother-in-law was married in Chicago, Illinois, and I was curious if I could find any records available.  This is what I found!  I couldn't help  but show my children the wedding license of their paternal grandparents.  Thomas S. Moore died years before my children were born and before I married their son.  Maggie is still living, and she has been a wonderful mother-in-law.  Even though I am no longer married, I still call her "Mama Moore".

On another note...I thought Mama Moore is so similar to me.  She married a man that was 13 years older than her, like I did and she was 8 months pregnant when she got married, like I did...She married on January 31st, 1955.  A week before my x-husband was born.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Felipe Espinoza Jr

Maternal Birth Ancestry

In this series of Tombstone Tuesday, I will be posting my Ancestors headstones and their burial locations.

This week I am highlighting my maternal grand-father Felipe Espinoza Jr., born March 3, 1926 in Wickenburg, Maricopa, AZ & died October 8, 2010, Los Angeles County, CA.

He was buried:

Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Plot: Garden of Reflection Lawn Crypt, 143A
Found on

Found on

Courtesy of Espinoza Family

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mappy Monday: Trail of my Maternal Ancestors: Flagstaff, Coconino, AZ

Maternal Birth Ancestry

Mappy Monday is a daily blogging prompt that is highlighted at Geneabloggers.  It allows family historians the opportunity to post about the places our ancestors lived.  

I have been researching my Munoz & Espinoza families through the U.S. Census.  In the 1940 Census, both of my grandparents Felipe Espinoza & Esther Munoz lived next door to each other.  Also according to the census, it documented that both families were in the same location since 1935 in Flagstaff, Coconino, Arizona.

Here is a map of the state of Arizona and the county boundaries.

Map of Arizona with County Seats

My families had also lived in Maricopa County, and I currently have a brother residing in that very county.  

Below is a map of Flagstaff, AZ.

Flagstaff is a city located in Northern Arizona.  The county seat is Coconino.  Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928.  Some of today's tourist highlights are the Lowell Observatory and is also one of the throughways into the Grand Canyon National Park. 

The major rail corridor running through Flagstaff is the Southern Transcon originally built by the Santa Fe Railway.

According to the 1940 Census, my male ancestors worked as laborers.

My Munoz ancestors migrated from Aquascalientes, Mexico to possibly New Mexico, then to California to Arizona and back to California, while some family still remains in Arizona.  My Espinoza family also had a migrating pattern of some of the same areas.  Still looking for the city of Mexico my Espinoza's are from..however, they seem to have a longer history in New Mexico, which really could have been Mexico, however when the boundaries changed the name of the area changed.  New Mexico Territory, of which my ancestors lived also included parts of Nevada, Arizona and what also became New Mexico.

A further research study of the land maps and census records of my ancestors during the various time periods may actually reveal that they stayed in the same place over many decades. [Saved for another Mappy Monday]

Since I am very interested in my Native American Ancestry, I must also not overlook the Native American Tribes that are in this area of Flagstaff:  Navaho [being the largest tribe], The Hopi, Havasupai, Kaibabpaiute and the Hualapai.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Journey of Discovery: Felipe Espinoza Jr., Part #1

Maternal Birth Ancestry

This is not the first time I have written about my grandfather Felipe Espinoza Jr.  In a previous post, I mentioned that he was the first Espinoza family member I met when I went to reunite with my Maternal Birth Family.  It was mentioned in the post  Felipe Espinoza Jr Funeral Card on July 8, 2011. [check it out]

My Espinoza research begins with Felipe Espinoza Jr., who took his first breath on March 3, 1926 in Wickenburg, Maricopa, Arizona and returned to the Great Spirit on October 8, 2010 in Torrance County, Los Angeles, California.

So the things I discovered through his obituary and supporting documents, is that my grandfather was married over 60-years and, lived in San Pedro, California for over fifty. He had served in the Army during World War II and was a member of a labor union during his civilian years.

My Goal was to find a document other than the wedding certificate that showed who Felipe parents were.  I was interested in seeing what his family composition was and who some of his siblings might be. I do not have the advantages of having close relational ties with my Espinoza family besides my mother and siblings.

When doing research on any individual, it is so important to exhaust all research documents that are readably available.    So going through Ancestry and Family Search I was able to locate the 1940 U.S. Census.  

(Note) [If you are not able to find the document on one search engine, always look at the other, because sometimes there are transcription errors or the census enumerator spelled the names according to how they heard it.]

Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Flagstaff, Coconino, Arizona; Roll: T627_101; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 3-3.

Let's get a closer look and see who is in my grandfather's household.

Felipe Espinoza, Sr. Household in 1940

Felipe Espinoza, head, 49 yrs, Mexico [My Great Grandfather]
Sophia, Wife,  48 yrs,  Mexico [My Great Grandmother]
Maria, daughter, 21 yrs, New Mexico
Lupe, daughter, 17 yrs, New Mexico
Magdalena, daughter, 15 yrs, Arizona
Felipe, son, 13 yrs, Arizona [My grandpa]
Oscar, son, 10 yrs, Arizona
Carmen, daughter, 8 yrs, Arizona
Ricardo, son, 6 yrs, Arizona

So in 1940 my Great Grandparents Felipe & Sophia Espinoza had 4 daughter & 3 sons living in the home.  My spirit feels so good being able to put names on my tree, and writing them into history.  

Now most of us family researchers know that there are pointers and tips when looking at census reports.  Well, I have the habit of looking at the whole document page of the census, then I look at a couple pages before and a few after the page I am looking at.

Well guess what I discovered?

Take a peek:

Fernando Munoz Household in 1940
I discovered that my grandmother Esther,[Felipe, Jr's. wife] had lived next door to Felipe in Arizona when they were teenagers.  So they practically knew each other all their lives!  I was so ecstatic to see this!!   I am so positive that there has to be a love story when one marries their childhood sweetheart!  [Then I wonder....."Was it an arranged marriage?"  

Fernando Munoz, head, 42 yrs, Mexico [My Great Grandfather]
Maria, wife, 33 yrs, Mexico [My Great Grandmother]
Felice, daughter, 14 yrs, California
Esther, daughter, 11 yrs, California [My grandmother]
Cecilia, daughter, 10 yrs, California
Baudrillo, son, 8 yrs, Nebraska
Fredrico, son, 6 yrs, Nebraska
Mary Lou, daughter, 3 yrs, Arizona
Genevieve, daughter, 1 yrs, Arizona

So according to the 1940 census, my Munoz Great Grandparents had 5 daughters & 2 sons living in the home.

Wow!  I have a large number of Grand Aunts & Uncles.  I wonder how many are still living?

I am very curious of the various locations the family resided.  "Nebraska" kind of knocked me off balance.  I am interested in seeing how the labor force and the need for work, would require the family to move around. [Time to get out the history books.]

So now the 1940 Census has the bonus section where they take two individuals from each page and give extra questions.  I wasn't going to analyze the bottom, but Ancestor's spoke and said, "You Better Look!"  So I did!  

Both of my Great Grandfather's names were on the supplemental questionnaire:


Felipe Espinoza, Sr & Fernando Munoz both were from Mexico and they both spoke Spanish...So now you know I can do better when it comes to learning the language.  Knowing these things really gives me the desire to learn a second language.  It just makes sense.

So now that the Ancestor's have spoken, we will be back with more information of my Grandfather Felipe Espinoza, Jr.  [When you research one, you end up learning about many.] 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"To Death Do Us Part.": Finding Ancestor's through marriage Records

Maternal Birth Ancestry

I find myself very fortunate that I have been able to break down my brick wall of adoption.  My records were and remain sealed, so to be able to find anything beyond one's birth date and place of origin, is very difficult especially when your names have been changed.  I have always had the desire to know who I am and from whence I came.  "What are my roots?"  "Who are my people?"

I was raised in an African American home with the appreciation of my culture.  I have known since the age of eight years that I was adopted and that my birth-mother was of Mexican descent. However, I did not have any frame of reference of what it meant to be of Mexican descent.  Being of a mixed heritage, I felt that in order for me to embrace who I am, I realized that I must allow my ancestors to guide me through this journey of discovery.

Now, I have heard family folklore or oral history from my birth-mom, that we are of Apache and Yuqui Indian. I have heard stories of adoption and annihilation.  This I am searching for, documented tangible proof, even though I know it occurred.  Our family roots in relation to the United States originated in New Mexico & Arizona.  Of course this would have been Mexico territory before it was U.S. territory.

Knowing very little of my grandparents, "The Espinoza, Sanchez, Munoz & Chavez" Ancestry, I was thrilled that I found my biological, maternal grandparent's wedding certificate.

I met my grandparent's one time in 1991 in San Pedro, California.  They made an impression on me that would stick with me forever.  My grandfather Felipe Espinoza, Jr. was handsome and very kind.  My grandmother Esther Munoz Espinoza was welcoming and spent the next two hours from the time I knocked on their door to talk with me about my mother and show me pictures of the family.

So Here it is!!!

Family Search online
Felipe Espinoza & Esther Munoz

This document shows when and where my grandparents were married.  What I was excited to find is that it also listed their parent's names.  So this wedding certificate reveals the names, and will allow me to search further in the census records.

My Great Grandparents names:

Felipe Espinoza Jr's Parents
Felipe Espinoza, Sr.
Sophia Sanchez

Esther Munoz's Parents
Fernando Munoz
Maria Zavala

On the document, it lists my Great Grandparents as being born in Mexico, however I believed they were born in New Mexico.  With a little more digging I hope I will find the information I am looking for.

Felipe Espinoza Jr. and Esther Munoz were married in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California on November 30, 1946.  Esther was 19 and Felipe was 20.  This was both their first and only marriage, and when my grandfather passed away on October 8, 2010, that was when my grandparents parted.