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.


  1. I love this post! Can't wait to read more of what you may find. Your journey has been amazing.

    1. Thank you Andrea...It has been an amazing journey, and I am so glad I am getting over the fear of sharing this part of my life as it pertains to my adoption and wanting to know more of my ancestry.

      I realize we all want to know our ancestry, adopted or not...I am just getting over the stigma of worrying about what others think. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Kristin. It's been a little while since I have shared...but its coming. Thanks for checking me out.

  3. What captured me was the side bar and the thought about the breath. I have always felt that and I am going to Tennessee to research my great grandmother. I expect to find traces of here there and your post just reinforced what I have always believed.

    I applaud your search for your family. My husband was adopted. His birth mother had 13 children and abandoned them all. We recently found seven of them. More interesting, his family was in New Mexico where they have been since the 1500's. It wasn't Mexico, it was called New Spain. Not only did he find his family but a proud history to go with it and for the first time in his life, looks like someone. I can't wait to see how your story develops.

    1. Ann,
      Thank you for coming by to read my blog. I appreciate your encouraging words. I feel time and time again that our Ancestors guide us to where we need to be in our research. When I was researching my adopted mother's ancestry, I felt the spirit of those that came before me, it was like they opened the door for me to walk.

      It sounds like your husband has a very interesting story. I would love to hear more. Thank you for following.