The Foods We Eat

Sometimes I really hate being the youngest child, the youngest grandchild. I feel like my kids got cheated out of a life with my parents. They did, no question. The best way I know how to share my parents is with the foods they would prepare. The foods that permeated our lives. Chile and beans, tortillas, biscochitos. These are the foods that mean so much to me, the meals my dad enjoyed. Dad always used his tortilla as his spoon. So these are the foods that I’ve passed on to my kids. While away at college, my youngest asked me where I bought my chile from in New Mexico. My usual place was closed due to Covid but I gave her the name of a different place. She ordered it for herself and then I made a video that we sent to her so that she would have directions. I thought, oh boy, my dad would have been proud. I sure was. When I post something to Facebook that I’ve made, my cousins all comment on it, making everyone feel that pull of our past, of our parents.

Hailey’s chile

Chile and Beans

We have so many family friends and relatives that would show up at our house on Sundays and Dad would make chile and beans. He would have sweat dripping from his forehead but it was a damn good meal. After my mother died, Dad stayed at my house for a bit. He would put himself on a bar stool next to my stove and direct me how to make chile. Thank goodness he did that. Dad had made chile for so much of my life but I never paid attention to the process. Now, I’ve taught my children to make it so that our tradition will continue.

New Mexican food is so different and so much a fabric of our lives, even those of us raised in California. My ancestors brought their food with them and each of our families eat in the same way. My father used to drive to New Mexico from California, just for a weekend, just to eat dinner. He’d leave California on a Thursday, get to New Mexico, eat dinner on Friday, eat on Saturday and make sure he had one more meal on Sunday then drive home, making sure he had his fill until the next trip.


When my parents married, my mother sat with her mother in law and watched her make biscochitos because she knew how much my father loved them. Now, my father didn’t like the flavoring of Anise, so my mother removed it and replaced it with vanilla flavoring. My father just loved those cookies. I made them with my mom a lot, as I was the youngest kid left at home and she needed help kneading the dough. I was glad I was there to help. The shapes of the cookies are made by knife and they were the shapes that my grandmother had used.

Traditional shaped biscochito cookies

Fresh Flour Tortillas

My mother made the best tortillas. She always used Bisquick and always kneaded them, taking off her rings and spent time getting them just right. She said that her friend from high school, Alice Garcia, had taught her how to make them. Once in a while, she would save part of the dough and turn them into bunuelos.  You can deep fry the flour tortilla and she would serve it with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Pinto Beans

The first time I made a pot of beans, my kitchen filled with a smell so delightful that I said, “Oh my gosh, it smells like Uncle Fred’s house!” I was so happy. Being at my Aunt or Uncle’s houses were always great places. Our families would be gathered and the sharing food, people coming and going and the smell of pinto beans permeated the kitchen.


My Dad was not someone who ate vegetables. Meat and potatoes? Yes. Vegetables? Never. But, once in a while, my mother would make zucchini and fresh corn. I just thought this was something my parents made. I had no idea that it had a name and no idea that it was a dish made in New Mexico.


For me, this is all of my cousins. If it was holiday time, most of our family parties would include Posole (although my mother didn’t enjoy it and she was glad when my dad had it at other homes).

Lamb Riblets

When I was young, I didn’t understand that when my Dad made lamb riblets, it was food that came from a cute sheep. The smell of the kitchen was always peculiar, and my dad would open the oven door and the riblets would sizzle, grease dripping down to the bottom of the pan. My father always told us that his sister Dorothy would pluck the eyeballs out of the lambs and that she would eat said eyeballs. Just the idea of it was terrible. We are not the only family with that same story. Apparently our ancestors heritage, those who raised and ate goats and sheep, runs deep. Every family seems to have a similar story.

Jackie Jacques-Horton -” When I was staying with Uncle Fred, a buck walked past the window and Uncle Fred said, “Jackie, get my gun.” He got the gun then shot the deer. It was snowing, there was blood in the snow. The buck had been frolicking in the snowbank. Uncle Fred took his truck down there, picked it up and then hung it in the garage. Uncle Fred and Aunt Alice had venison that night for dinner and the heart was in the sink. Aunt Alice told Uncle Fred, “If you want Jackie to do the dishes, you better get the heart out of the sink.”

Diane Archuleta – “I also remember coming home from school and looking into the oven to see what was cooking only to discover that my dad was roasting two goat heads. Now that was a scary sight with four big eyes staring back at you. My dad loved those things. To each his own and to me that was never a good experience. Will never forget those giant eye-balls looking straight into my eyes as I bent down to get a peek.”

I remember a trip back to Blanco and my Aunt Esther’s son Dwayne offered me a bite of his sandwich, almost daring me to try it as his sister Karen looked on. Well, after I took a bite and just after I started chewing they both started to laugh and told me it was a brain sandwich. Needless to say, I stopped dead in my chew! I don’t recall it tasting that bad, it was the thought of it all.”

Taken by Ashley O’Shea this goat says he is our friend and we shouldn’t eat friends lol

Sheri Boyman – “Grandpa Pete also ate goat head! I was very young but never forget walking into the kitchen and seeing a goat head on the table.”

Sharon Williams – “When (Grandpa) Celestino lived with us for a short time, I would come home from school and see two goat heads on the counter that my mother had prepared for him. I didn’t eat dinner those nights”

Valerie Sandoval – “…my dad used to butcher lamb and goats in our back yard and our neighbors were thrilled. One time, I looked in the freezer and saw cow eyes and tongue and almost had a heart attack”

From the position, I cannot tell if this is Uncle Onofre or Uncle Bert but someone is getting ready to get the goat

I have to admit that our family members raised in New Mexico probably ate very similar to our ancestors. Our families that came to California brought those food stories/preparations and spices with them, but we were raised with a bit more of a California flair.

In June of 2016, I took my family on a trip to New Mexico. I spent the night with my cousin Frank Archuleta and in the morning, he made fried potatoes and eggs. The smell of those fried potatoes was so similar to my Uncle Fred’s fried potatoes, that I could envision my Uncle Fred. Uncle Fred was a fabulous cook and Frank’s breakfast was spot on.

2016, Jacques, Taylor and Hailey in Chimayo, NM
Stuffed Sopapilla

In August of 2018, Tim, Jackie, Hailey and myself traveled to the family reunion in Blanco. My cousin Donny Archuleta put on a spread that was fantastic and included Sweet Masa Green Chile Tamales, Spit roasted lamb, Seafood Paella cooked in a dutch oven over a camp fire, Green Chile, Red Chile, Beans, Tortillas. It was so good, shared on the land of our ancestors.


Facing the River
Donny Archuleta
Family sharing a meal

I’m going to end my post with the poetic words of my cousin Steven Stewart. If you look for him on Facebook, he is listed as Stiven Kyle Jaquez.

“Generally, I like to think, when I put my masa to rise in the light of day, that my tortillas de harina carry the sun inside of them. That, when I bite them, I take a piece of the glowing sky inside me. To me, making them, they are a pathway, a dance, a ritual through which I follow the movements and patterns of my ancestors on their ranch in Blanco, New Mexico. Making the dough, rolling it out, brings me closer to them. Tortillas de harina are special because, by speaking to different people and watching how the tortilla is made by different family members, I was able to recreate my great grandma Celia’s tortilla recipe. My dad always told me that he remembered his grandma’s tortillas being fluffy and supple. How did she do that? Well, my Uncle Freddy, before he passed on, told me the secret “my mom always used yeast.” Yeast- that means LIFE, living microscopic beings, not baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate and corn starch). When I was making the tortillas, I let the stories guide me as I kneaded the dough, and I let the angels watch over my shoulder as I placed the masa by the fire to rise in the warmth. Along with other secrets to the recipe, they came out perfect, fluffy, supple, and moist, even the day after. And I didn’t even follow a recipe. La cocina is magic, not a measurement.

So, I wasn’t expecting last night to happen at all. It was deep. It was spiritual. I had only been planning to find leña (firewood) in order to boil beans- but I got a message from my cousin Yvonne, asking for tips for flour tortillas- I didn’t think the suggestion would have led me to dedicate my afternoon making typical plates treasured by my family. Making them was special because, just like how it was my mission to relearn and keep the language of my dad’s elders, it has become my mission to keep and preserve our foodways, and especially reviving the ancient “conocimiento”(knowledge) embodied in la cocina.

When I was preparing the dough, I thought “well, if I’m making beans and tortillas, I might as well make some chile verde, too!” I was worried when I started making it, because I had, in my head, the idea that to make green chile I needed Hatch chiles and in Nicaragua you can’t find those. But I remembered on the rancho in Blanco, my family probably used whatever was in the garden, watered from the river. I almost could hear in my intuition “agarra del jardín/take from the garden” So I trusted my gut, and threw all the chiles I could find (bell pepper, chiltoma, jalapeño) together with a TON if garlic, onion, squash, a bit tomato, pepper, salt, oil, naranja agria (sour orange)…

While I was boiling down the different chiles….the revelation/conocimiento came to me- there here is potent medicine in chile. It has heat, volatility, it burns like a sun in your gut, giving you life-fire. And it reminds you, above all, of your connection to this earth, in it’s simplicity and power- a reduction of chiles. Of course, it isn’t anything wildly popular like tacos al pastor, but it represents the sting of life, and the struggle in the deserts. It was beautiful, for a moment, to feel close to my ancestors in that distant place in the rancho. It was beautiful to intuitively recover the knowledge that la comida is both magic and medicine. Making a make-shift chile verde took up new meaning with the looming fear of the Coronavirus- it felt like a protective potion, my secret weapon to ward off COVID-19

Stay healthy friends- make some chile! – Stiven Kyle Jaquez

I couldn’t have said it better, my family. Stay healthy and make some chile for dinner!

New Mexico Family Reunion, Myself, Steven Stewart, Tim Jacques, Hailey Bennett, Jeanne Nixon, Magic Jaquez

1918 Spanish Flu/Covid 19 Alfred and Ivy Burgess

So, today is the anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This year, for as slow as it has been, has gotten away from me. Last year at this time, my youngest had come home from college, worried that she was living in a dorm and that she would contract Covid. I agreed and we moved her home lock, stock and barrel. Her classes would continue but they had moved all classes to online study to finish out her freshman year. Covid-19 was everywhere. At one point in March, I’d decided I better get to the grocery store to fill up my cart with flour, eggs, meat, and anything I thought we’d be able to use. It was devastating to walk into a Walmart Grocery Store and see row after row of empty shelves. I ended up leaving with a box of cake mix and some canned peaches and that was it.  It was depressing. From there, I decided I’d better hit another grocery store, one that I knew was not as well shopped. I had better luck there but the prices of the food they had were exorbitant (which is why I only shopped there periodically, their prices were not raised because of the pandemic, they were just expensive). After that, I had my groceries delivered every week. No more choosing my own fruit and vegetables, no more making my dinner plans and instead basing my menu upon what the grocery store had delivered or what restaurant we had deliver food.

Almost all of our occasions were spent at home. On my birthday, we did go on a hike but we ate our takeout dinner in the car on the way home. Amazon became my friend. It was great to have a place to order anything I needed and get it to my house with relative ease. I got used to wearing a mask anytime I left my home but I really only felt comfortable at home.

This year has given me plenty of time to research and to think. I had been searching for a long time and I had spotted two ancestors, husband and wife, who had died within days of each other. I thought, oh dear, that is not a good sign.

Alfred Burgess and Iva (Ivy) Blossom Nichols Burgess

Ivy Burgess’ headstone
Alfred Burgess’ headstone

Alfred Burgess was born in Kansas on February 2, 1878, 6 years after his brother Henry Carter Burgess. Alfred is the youngest child of John and Rutha Burgess. Rutha was 42 years old when she had him. When Alfred was born, his oldest siblings were 20 and 22.

Alfred married Ivy B. Nichols Burgess on January 19, 1898 in Durant, Indian Territory. He was 20 years old and his bride was 16.

Alfred and Ivy’s marriage license

On the 1900 Census, they still lived in Durant, Indian Territory and Henry C. Burgess lived with them. Henry Carter Burgess was 28 years old and met his wife LuWilla while he lived there. Grandma Flora (Burgess, Hardin, True) was born in Durant as well.

By 1910, Alfred and Ivy had moved to Taylor, Texas.  Their oldest daughter Maybelle was born in 1903 (just one year younger than Flora), daughter Rosa was born in 1906 (one year younger than Aunt Ovola), and daughter Lora was born in March of 1910.

The next document that I found for Alfred was a WWI Selective Service System draft registration card.  

They were living in Taylor, Texas and his wife Ivy was listed as his next of kin.  He was working as a laborer and was 40 years old. His description was listed as medium build, medium height with blue eyes and starting to bald but brown hair.  This form was filled out in 1918. The next form was his death certificate.

At 44, On January 3, 1919, his physician began caring for Alfred. He died six days later. His cause of death was Pneumonia with a contributing factor of Influenza.

The Spanish Flu/Influenza Plague of 1918

When the 1918 Influenza pandemic began, it was not thought of something to be panicked about and symptoms were simple sore throat, fever and headache. People were advised to follow a healthy diet. As the soldiers who were stationed at forts began to exhibit more deadly symptoms, their cases were misdiagnosed as other diseases. At an army camp in Massachusetts, one soldier was sent to the hospital. The next day, it was 15 soldiers. At the pandemic’s worst point, 1,543 soldiers were diagnosed with the flu in one day. And so it goes.

That camp was 35 miles from Boston. From there, it spread to other cities until it had reached across the U.S.. By November, physicians said that death came fast upon the people suffering from influenza.

It was thought that the origins of the influenza pandemic began with a bird flu and that perhaps it had transmitted to a pig and from there to humans.

Alfred Burgess died on January 7, 1919 and his wife Ivy died on January 13, 1919, just a week apart.

When I first discovered that this couple had died so closely together, I was saddened. I had met my grandmother’s cousin Maybelle Carthen, as my grandmother stayed close to her. Here she is with my mother and Grandma Flora on a trip to Aunt Kay’s house in Fresno. Maybelle was 17 years old when her parents died, Rosa was 13 years old and Lora just 9 years old.

My mother Jubie, Maybelle, Flora in Fresno

Alfred’s brother Jimmie and his wife Maggie had one son, Ralph, who died at the age of 20 and one baby girl that had died early. Jimmie and Maggie took in all three of the girls and finished raising them.

Maggie Nichols Burgess and her sister. She took in and raised the three orphan girls.

Maybelle and OB Carthen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary

Now, this pandemic has certainly brought home the anguish those who lived through the 1918 Pandemic must have gone through and the terrible devastation it would have left on their psyche.

I recently received my second shot of the Moderna vaccine. I decided to go grocery shopping last week. It had been a long time since I picked my own food off the shelves and I really missed buying what I saw in the store instead of what I had ordered. Walking down the aisles, I could only picture the empty shelves I’d seen the previous year. I still wear my mask at work (I’ve been tucked away in my office, by myself, for a year!) and anytime I go to a store or am near other people. Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since we received the second shot and after that, we can be with other people who have had both of their shots too. I can’t wait for that to happen. To gather with family and friends and not be panicked.  I feel so sad for all of the families who have had devastating losses and whose lives are forever transformed because of the pandemic. We can count our blessings that our family has arrived on March 12th intact, if not a little worse for the wear. I think I shall continue researching and will continue my work on my ancestry blog. It is time to get back to the business of living.

Jose Julian Jacques 1758-1820


So, as we wind our way through and past the Covid-19 Pandemic, we can spend a little bit of time on our ancestors. Their stories are important as we look to how we came to be, how our DNA imprints our lives and how we are connected.

I ordered a magazine by the name of “Herencia” (Heritage in Spanish) and Volume 14 Issue 4 from October of 2006 has a wonderful article about Jose Julian Jaques, the son of Juan Joseph Jaques and Maria Rosa Villalpando. Jose Julian was the child (probably about two) who escaped the brutal attack on the village and was most likely raised by his mother’s family before M.R. was carted off by the Pueblo Indians.

I was given permission from Ronaldo Miera, the President of Herencia, to share this article with you on my blog. This article contains letters regarding J.Julian. How cool is that?

Jose Julian Jacquez was born in approximately 1758 to Maria Rosa Villalpando. I have written extensively about her but haven’t shared the story of Jose Julian. His father was Juan Joseph Jacquez and on August 4, 1760, a Comanche attack occurred at the Villalpando Estancia in Taos Valley, NM. This Estancia comprised of about seven different households and many people were killed in the attack. Over 56 women and children were taken captive, including Maria Rosa. Juan Joseph was killed in the attack but Jose Julian, age two was not harmed nor was he kidnapped. (Truthfully, they probably took all the children they could turn into slaves and he was too young).

With his mother kidnapped and his father dead, we are not positive of his upbringing but can only assume his mother’s family raised him. We know that Pablo Villalpando, Maria Rosa’s reported father, escaped the attack as he was not at home when it occurred. We suppose that her family members that were left raised him.

In 1783, in San Juan Pueblo, Rio Arriba, Jose Julian, now 25 years old, married Maria Paula Martin.

They had 9 children as follows:

Juan Manuel Jaquez                                                       1784

Maria Gertrudis Jaquez                                                 1787

Juan de Jesus Jaquez                                                      1788

Felipe de Jesus Primero Jaquez                                  1789

Maria Manuela Jaquez                                                   1790

Maria Pacifica Jaquez                                                     1792

Manuel Benancio de los Dolores Jaquez                 1794

Felipe de Jesus Segundo Jaquez                                1795

Maria Ysabel Jaquez                                                       1797


Maria Paula Martin, wife of Jose Julian, passed away in 1798. Jose Julian remarried in 1798 and had two more daughters.

So now that is the background to Jose Julian’s story. And, just in case you don’t know, Felipe de Jesus Segundo Jaquez is our direct ancestor and the father to Jose Eusequio Jaquez, grandfather to Juan Nepomuceno Jaquez, great grandfather to Celestino Fidencio Jaquez, great-great grandfather to Tim Jaquez and great, great, great grandfather to myself.

Now back to the Herencia article. My favorite thing about this article is that the authors, Patricia Sanchez Rau and Henrietta Martinez Christmas have cited the letters that they found in relation to Jose Julian. Their article does judge Jose Julian but we can discuss that after we look at their article.

The article supposes that in 1802, Jose Julian, in some unknown fashion, is made aware that his mother is still alive and resides in St. Louis. He sets out for Missouri. It was a dangerous time to travel and he could not have left without permission. He must have farmed out his 8 children to relatives and then he left with his second wife and two daughters for Santa Fe where he obtained permission from Governor Nava to go to St. Louis. In 1803, J. Julian has met his mother and half sister, Helene Sale Leroux. He signs a document yeilding his claim against his mother’s estate. For his signature, he was given $200 and the document was witnessed by Jose Ortiz and Francois Valois.

Here is the first article

page 1 J. Julian-1

page 2 j.julian

The article says that “Jose Julian Jacques the amount of 200 pesos in hard currency” in exchange of transfer to his sister Helene his inheritance”.

Jose Julian must not have left St. Louis immediately but eventually made his way back down the Mississippi River to Natchitoches, Louisiana then San Antonio, Monclava, El Paso then Santa Fe. Julian was stopped by the military of Texas and made a declaration of goods to Governor Joaquin Ugarte. The Governor describes Jose Julian’s appearance in this document (the listing of items Jose Julian was carrying with him) and he says that Jose Julian was very dirty in appearance (good lord, in the document it claims that Jose Julian hadn’t bathed or cleaned his clothes in two years!!).  This letter is dated March 4, 1804.

page 3 j julian

Just thinking about this travel/path, on the road, either by boat, horse or walking, and carrying these objects with him. But our Julian doesn’t head right home. For someone who was trying to take these fine belongings to his family, he simply disappears.

After the meeting with Governor Ugarte, he was not heard from for a while. The next document is a letter written in 1809 from Maria Francisca Pacheco looking for information or news about her missing husband Julian Jacques. “Her letter is the sad pleading of an anxious wife to have her husband shipped home.”

The Governor writes back that he has been located and that a Vicente Cruz has loaned Julian 150 pesos to pay his debts so that he can return to New Mexico.

But, as you can see in the next letter, that didn’t happen. Julian goes into hiding again and no way to know where he is during this period.  Finally, a warrant for his arrest is put out for his immediate return to New Mexico for his family.

Brigadier General Antonio Cordero indicated that Julian has given a deposition as to his whereabouts.

Page 35

J. Julian Jacques is finally brought in person in front of Governor Antonio Cordero at San Antonio De Bexar.

J. Julian was very surprised that anyone was looking for him. The actions of the Governor are unknown.

On October 9, 1815, Julian Jacques was escorted by a militia and that Jose Julian has made his way back to New Mexico and to the arms of his loving wife on October 9, 1815.

So there it is. Jose Julian Jacques left to visit his mother in 1802 and returned home to a loving wife in 1815, twelve years later.

I think the saddest thing is Jose Julian dies in 1820, five short years after his return. Did he reunite with his own children, those that he’d abandoned, our ancestor and his siblings?

The very last document listed in this article is the will of Maria Rosa Villalpando.


The writers of this article, Henrietta M. Christmas and Patricia Rau are not related to the Jacques family. But they do have questions posed in the article. The best person to have answered their questions would have been Tommy Martinez. I wish he were still here because i know he would have had an opinion about this article, these letters and the questions posed.

I did ask Henrietta Christmas her thoughts about Julian. She said she thought of him as a “scoundrel” haha. Her thoughts are that he got to see St. Louis and venture out and coming back to sheep and plowing fields wasn’t in his plans. Clearly, his descendants are ages 18-5 when he leaves, not including his second wife and her two daughters. When he returns, all living children are grown, no need for him to parent anyone.

I think of my father as a good father and a good man. I think of Juan N, his grandfather as a good father and a good man. My Grandfather Celestino, may have been a bit more like Julian. Good to some of his children, not great for all of them. This is just my opinion. But, I have to look kindly on Julian, too. He produced 9 children, one of which was Felipe de Jesus Segundo. He married Maria del Carmen Lujan in 1817 in San Juan Pueblo, NM and we have a book that shows his descendants (it was revised in 2016) and compiled by Tommy Martinez. The total number of those descendants listed in his book are approximately 4000 people. Could we be at 5000 now? I’m not sure, but it would not surprise me.

Tommy's book

So thank you J. Julian Jacques, for your perseverance and your genes, good and bad.


DNA Surprises


I like to periodically review my DNA matches on my Ancestry account. Most of my matches in the early days of DNA tests showed all of my cousins that I’d grown up with or at least knew of them and could point to someone on my tree and know how they were related.  However, I came across a name that I couldn’t match with any line and she was listed as a second cousin. After tons of messages, I realized she must be a descendant of an Archuleta cousins and I’m pretty sure I was correct. She came to a family reunion and she met an Aunt and Uncle, and it was so great to get to know her.

I also ran a DNA test on my daughter Hailey. I found a surprise on her Bennett line. A relative that had been adopted was a DNA match and we found that Paul’s aunt shared a father with Paul’s grandfather. Confusing, right? Jerry Springer would have loved that story.

Now, I have a DNA match that is fun and surprising, especially for my Jacques/Archuleta cousins.

Mom and her sisters
Virginia, Ruby and Kathleen Hardin

Escaping the Dust Bowl, Charles, Virginia, Ruby (center) Kathleen and Flora

When my mother arrived in California, her father, Charles Hardin, had driven them from the Texas and New Mexico area, looking for work. Mother had a lot of cousins in Alabama and Missouri, as that is where her parents had been born. The Dust Bowl travelers arrived in 1935 California and headed to a place where Charles had family, in the Corning area. Charles’ mother, Lula Young Hardin, had a sister by the name of Eugenia Adderine Young Trapp. Eugenia had married Henry Trapp and their son was Jack Trapp. Jack married Etta Thomas Trapp. These people were family, friends, just about the Hardin’s entire world.

The Trapp family began in Tennessee and South Carolina. The 1930’s arrived and along with the Great Depression, the teenage Etta was living in Texas. Her stepfather had died, leaving her mother Mary with seven children and 160 acres of land to be farmed. Etta and Jack were married about this time, hoping for a better life. Dropping prices for cotton forced farmers to search for other employment but in Texas, there was no other employment.

trapp couple
Jack and Etta

The Trapps had their first two children, Dorothy Fay in 1928 and Doris Jean in 1930. Dorothy remembered, “My sister and I would be outside playing and a big sand storm would suddenly come up. The sand would blow against our bare legs and sting so bad. They would run to the house as fast as they could, screaming, “Mama, Mama.” After the storm, the sand would pile up in big drifts like snow.

jack trapp and kids
Jack Trapp with the children

Etta and Jack were forced to walk away from 160 acres in Texas and Jack became a wandering wage earner, taking any job he could find. They traveled to New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and back to Texas.

Etta’s sister Cora and her family had moved to Corning, CA where her husband Carl and her father in law found work picking olives, peaches and prunes. Knowing that times in Texas were bad, she urged Jack and Etta to come to California. Etta had four children: Dorothy- 5, Doris- 4, Bill- 2 and Bobby, a new born baby. They were living with Etta’s mother and her own 5 children. Jack traveled to California, alone with no money and no transportation. He hitched rides along Highway 66, and jumped trains to California. When he reached Corning, he worked picking fruit until he had enough money to send a train ticket to his wife and four small children. One train ticket. The children were allowed to ride for free.

Etta packed all she could carry into a few boxes and started to board the train with her belongings and her four children. The conductor wasn’t happy and said if the train was fully occupied, she could only take up one seat. He told her he couldn’t promise she would make the connecting train in Barstow. Bill had a leg infection and couldn’t walk and with an infant, she relied on her 4 and 5 year old girls to carry their belongings. She had no money for a second ticket.

Dorothy could recall being a small girl and being carried by some CCC boys (Civilian Conservation Corp) who worked at the station. Etta was grateful to reach her final destination of Vina, California but the train pulled into the only public building. There was no one to meet her. She watched the train pull away, still clutching her meager belongings and her babies.  She had been afraid she’d gotten off at the wrong stop. Not too long after that, her husband Jack and sister Cora came running up for a joyous reunion.

Image (2)
Henry Trapp (father of Jack), 1-5-1857 to 12-1957…100 years old

Etta, Jack Trapp and Charles Hardin in the front yard of Shafer Drive, Santa Clara

My grandparents, Charles and his wife Flora had three daughters: Kathleen, Jeanie and Ruby. Jack and Etta had five children, Dorothy Fay, Doris Jean, Bill, Bob and Harley. Etta’s sister Cora also moved to the same area. She was married to Carl Smithers. The Smithers had four children, Onera, Jeremy, Imogene and Joyce. My mother used to call Cora Smithers “Aunt Cora” and she considered her children to also be her cousins, although they weren’t. But the little Hardin family was so relative poor, they clung to these family members. Whenever my mother would tell a story about them, I’d always ask, are these the real cousins or the fake ones? Mama would laugh.

Smithers and Hardins
Cora and Carl Smithers, Flora and Charles Hardin

Onera Smithers, Jeremy Smithers, Jubie Hardin (top row, L to R), seated Imogene and Joyce Smithers

Doris and Dorothy
Doris and Dorothy

Bobby and Bill
Bob and Bill


I visited with Bill Trapp and his wife Margaret not too long ago. I just love them and  I have known them all my life.

bill and margaret and me

So, last week, I was tooling through the DNA matches on my tree and I came across this one. “MCasados70”. It showed that we had ancestors in common – with both have a direct line to G.W. Young and Mary E. Duncan. I knew Uncle Bryan called her Grandma Young, and then I stopped on the button that shows what the ethnicity is, how it compares to my own and what we have in common.

                                                                         Me                                           MCasados70

England                                                          47%                                              58%

Indigenous Americas—Mexico           18%                                              14%

Ireland                                                          14%                                              8%

Spain                                                             10%                                            4%

Odd, I thought, he has almost as much Native American as I, that is kinda funny. So I pull up our matches…

2nd Cousin

Doran Archuleta

Gregory Quintana

Jennifer Kosich

I thought, how is that possible? Our matches are Jennifer Kosich (my cousin’s daughter on my mom’s side) and Greg Quintana and Doran Archuleta from my dad’s side…What the heck?? Hahaha so, a relative of my father’s married a relative of my mother’s and yes, my parents would have loved knowing that. Mother’s cousin Doris, was born the same year as my mother. She had three daughters, Virginia, Gladys and Patricia. Patricia married Rudy Casados and their sons were Manuel and David.

In the 1980’s, my mother had a family reunion of sorts at our home in Stockton. The whole Trapp crew arrived to a backyard bbq with stories, songs and love.

Mother would have said it was “old home week”. These were the people she had grown up with, who’d known her mother and father and had so many shared experiences.

When I went to their home, Bill and Margaret Trapp had shared the Trapp family book with me. It was written by Dorothy Trapp’s daughter, Abbie Ehorn. She very graciously allowed me to share the Trapp family story and their pictures.

Trapps and Hardin
Charles Hardin, Carl Trapp, Henry Trapp, Minnie Trapp and Minnie’s daughter Roxie

Casados Family Line:

So, I have not solved this connection as yet. I can see (because I am obsessed with family lines that are not my own lol) that the Casados line starts in the Los Angeles area with a Rudolph Casados born about 1925. He was born in Abuelo in Mora County, New Mexico. His parents were Benjamin and Francisquita Casados. Mora County is very close to Santa Fe, NM. A lot of our relatives came from Santa Fe. Benjamin’s mother may be Valdez although I haven’t confirmed that.

So, to the Jacques/Archuleta family, and the rest of you, I will continue researching. I love making a connection.

At the end of the Trapp Family Book, Abbie writes that she’d inherited all the old photos and albums and that her mother had started an album with stories and some names and dates. On the last page of her mom’s album, she’d placed a note that said, “Would it be worthwhile, or fun to get together some sort of remembrance or book? Please think about it”. I appreciate Abbie sharing the Trapp family story, photos,  and her mother’s words. Her mother was correct.

A Gift

My favorite show on T.V. is called, “Finding your Roots” with Dr. Henry Lewis Gates (or Skip, as he’s called by his friends.) One of my favorite parts of his show is his “book of life” he creates for each guest. He tells the story of how he named this part of the show, “It comes from a black spiritual…Oh Write my Name, Oh Write My Name, Oh Write My Name-In the Book of Life”. Dr. Gates always says that we all have ancestors waiting to tell a story and our job is to find those ancestors, open the door and let them tell their stories. He pulls out an enormous book along with a poster size family tree and details stories, stories of the ancestors that have been lost to time and distance. Dr. Gates is a Harvard professor, very intelligent, and you can always tell how amazed he is with the stories he reveals to his guests. There are many people on my tree that I’d love to find a picture of, a picture I could hang my hat on, a picture to point to and say, there, that is my ancestor.

Now, we’ve received a gift.

I had an email today from a dear woman by the name of Diana Landry. She had reached out to me, and wanted to contact and get some information from Mark Redohl. As you will recall from my last post on Maria Rosa Villalpando, Mark was the person who had given us the information about where Maria Rosa had been buried. Diana’s grandfather was Jose Vicente Rivera. His maternal side is the line to Maria Rosa Villalpando. Diana spoke to Mark and then had a chance to visit the St. Louis Arch. Now, she has shared what she found.


This is Maria Rosa Villalpando, along with her story which is now displayed at the St. Louis Arch Museum. I am so pleased about having received this photograph. Diana Landry, thank you.

One other thing I was going to share with you was some information shared by a gentleman by the name of Dave Silva. Dave reached out to let us know that Maria Rosa’s house was on Spruce

Street, between 3rd and 4th streets in St. Louis. Third Street no longer exists, but it would be about one city block east of Busch Stadium and about three or four blocks south of the Old Courthouse and Arch grounds.

So there you have it. We now have a photograph of Maria Rosa Villalpando. We are so lucky to have had someone looking out for us Jacques family members, willing to take the trip then share what they found. I can’t thank you enough, Diana. I am absolutely going to get myself to St. Louis one of these days, so I can see that photograph in person.

I can’t help but believe Dr. Gates would be so pleased.

Maria Rosa Villalpando = Marie Rose Salle dit LaJoie


I know I have previously written about Maria Rosa V. but there is so much ground to cover and she is just fascinating. To review, she was married to Jose Juan Xaquez (Jaquez) and on August 4, 1760, 3,000 Comanche Indians descended on the Taos Valley, killing most of the men, a lot of the women and children, then capturing others. Our ancestor, Jose Julian, about two years old at the time, was left behind. However, Maria Rosa was carried into captivity along with 56 other women and children. She spent ten years as a captive, during which she had another child that was half Native, then was traded to the Pawnee Indians. It was with this tribe that she was found by Jean Sale dit Lajoie in 1767. He lived with her for a few years and then he traded for her and they went to the small village being established which became St. Louis, Missouri.


On July 3rd, 1770, Jean married Marie Rose. Jean Sale dit Lajoie was considered one of the thirty original settlers of St. Louis. Her marriage contract identified her as Maria Rose Vidalpane. The child that Marie Rose had in captivity, Antoine Xavier, was given the last name of Sale dit Lajoie until he was old enough to live on his own but with the understanding that he would have no claim as an heir.


Marie Rose had another child, Lambert Sale dit Lajoie, and he was a child of Jean, before they were married. After that, she had daughter Helene Sale dit Lajoie.


Jean Sale dit Lajoie left St. Louis in 1792 and returned to France alone. He never returned to St. Louis.


Jose Julian, our ancestor, traveled to St. Louis upon the news that his mother was alive. He signed a document on August 3, 1803, 40 years after losing his mother, relinquishing his rights to his mother’s estate and giving them to his sister Helene.


So, I know you guys know all of that but here is the interesting thing…I had an email from a gentleman by the name of Mark Redohl. Mark is a descendant of Maria Rosa Villalpando through her son Lambert. Mark has kindly shared this map with us.




M.R. S.D. LaJoye

As you can see, this is a portion of the St. Louis map that was made in 1804. One block to the left of the Catholic Church is a house marked M.R.S.L.. This is the house that Marie Rose lived in with her family. I used to hear people say she was buried under the St. Louis Arch but I never really understood what they meant. Back in the 1800’s a Catholic Church was built on the banks of the Mississippi River. The current church, Basillica of St. Louis, King of France, was built in the same location in 1837.

Old Cathedral
Old Cathedral with the Arch of St. Louis just behind it

Many founders of St. Louis were buried in the cemetery attached to the church.  The map hangs inside the museum for the St. Louis Arch. Maria Rosa Villalpando died on July 27, 1830 and was buried in the cemetery of the Cathedral Parish and her age was given as 104 years old.

Mark also shared a video that depicts what St. Louis would have looked like in 1804, including the church and cemetery where Maria Rosa would have been buried. Here is the link which takes you to the U.S. National Park Service website for the St. Louis Arch.

The Battle of St. Louis:

The Battle of St. Louis occurred on May 26, 1780 and involved the Native Americans and French Traders, who fought against the Spanish soldiers, colonists, merchants and slaves. This battle would have occurred at the steps of Maria Rosa’s home. I can’t imagine how frightening it would have been, after having been through the Native American raid twenty years prior, when she witnessed family and friends massacred, only to be held captive for ten years.

battle of St. Louis


Helené Sale dite Lajoie was born shortly before she was baptized on August 11, 1773. She was the child of Jean Sale dite Lajoie and Marie Rose de Vial Pando (Villalpando). This is her picture.

Helene LeRoux

Helene Sale married was married to Benjamin Leroux D’Esneval at the Catholic church in January of 1792. Her children were Joaquine Leroux, Gregiore Leroux, Sylvester Leroux, Marie Angelique Leroux, Watkins Leroux and Helene Leroux.

Helene Sale’s grandson, Judge Wilson Primm, 1810 – 1878 was the first historian of St. Louis. He was baptized Jean Baptiste but his father didn’t like the French sounding of his name and thus called him Wilson.

Judge Primm

Judge Primm's residence
Judge Primm’s residence in the late 1800’s

Primm residence today
Same residence today, only the brick wall is left


So Mark Redohl’s father’s grandmother was a woman by the name of Myrtle, her father was John Lambert, his father and grandfather were both named Jean Lambert. Jean Lambert’s father was Jean Lambert Salle dit La Joie, the son of Rose Marie Salle dit La Joie and Jean Salle dit La Joie. The first Jean Lambert was born in a Pawnee village, where his father rescued his mother from captivity. Mark has DNA matches to Jaquez descendants. I always feel fortunate to find others who are researching the same subjects as I, others who are willing to pass on the nuggets of information to the benefit of all.  We thank you Mark Redohl, for reaching out and sharing.

Myrtle V. Lambert

john lambert
John Lambert

The Bennetts – 2000’s and beyond





Well, the Bennett household in the 2000’s started out with a bang. I was a little late in realizing that Hailey J. Marie Bennett had decided she needed to join our family. One day, in fact, September 30, 2000, I was tired and had laid down on the bed. I felt something move inside me. I had no idea I was pregnant. She joined our family on January 18, 2001. Once again my in laws treated me as if I were their daughter, rather than their daughter in law. I felt so bad that my own mother, who’d already passed away the year before, wouldn’t be there. Maxine was there for me, just like she’d been both other times.

Diary entry for Hailey


I think the Bennett’s were so shocked that Hailey didn’t look like either of the other two kids. Both Taylor and Jacques and in fact, the entire Bennett Clan, including all of their grandchildren, had blue eyes. Hailey came out with big brown eyes, black hair and was just beautiful. She looked like I did, as a baby.

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Ryan, Hailey, Lauren, Taylor and Jacques

Everyone doted on her and it was clear she was going to be spoiled. Hailey, too, spent a lot of time at her grandmother’s house.

hailey at grandma's house

By 2003, the Bennett household had once again returned to normal. There were Sunday night dinners, Christmas with Lloyd playing Santa to everyone and drop-in care, when needed. Lloyd, Maxine and Bea often took day trips and had visits with family and friends after Lloyd had retired.

Bea, Lloyd and Maxine


hailey and maxine

By June of 2003, Paul had gotten a ticket in the Modesto area. He wanted me to go with him to court (he disagreed with the ticket) so I asked my inlaws if they would mind watching the kids. My own dad was ill, in a rest home, and not eating. When Paul and I returned to town, we stopped and got my dad something with crab in it, hoping to lure him into eating it. We returned to the Bennett’s house early evening and sat and visited with Lloyd and Maxine on the back porch. We sat there for a long while and just talked. Before we left, we offered the scrumptious dinner that my father had refused to eat to Lloyd. He took it gladly and was pleased to have it.




We took the kids home and that night, at about midnight, we had a phone call, saying Lloyd was at the hospital. My sister picked up my kids and we left for the hospital. When we arrived, we were told that Lloyd was already gone. Paul and I went into the room and sat with him for a while.

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The life we’d known as a family changed that night. It was such a difficult time. Lloyd had eaten the dinner we brought him but was then feeling ill. He decided perhaps there was something wrong with the food and simply went to bed. He’d been in bed for a while when he must have realized something was wrong. I think he must have had a major heart attack and in fact, that was probably why he was feeling ill. I don’t think it was the food at all. But one doesn’t know things like that as they happen. It is only after reflection on an event, can we see more clearly. I suspect he’d had pains that he must have ignored, to have a major heart attack like that. It was very difficult to tell Bea what had happened and she’d been given a sedative only to have her walk out and ask for Lloyd again, forcing us once again to explain the awful news that Lloyd had died.

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Lloyd is buried in Lodi at the Lodi Cemetery. He was the most patient, pleasant man you would have ever had the good fortune to meet. He left a loving family and returned to his maker’s arms.

Bea declined quickly after Lloyd passed away. She died on December 18, 2005. She is buried in Salt Lake City with her love, Bill Bennett, just as she requested.



We moved next door to Maxine as way to keep track of her. That way, I would cook dinner and she’d come over for a short visit, eat dinner, then go back home. She was definitely “losing track” a bit, and soon, she was having a difficult time remembering what she’d done, what she had eaten or where she’d been. By 2010 or so, she couldn’t remember what the driving rules were and thus couldn’t pass her driving test. But we were right next door, able to take her to the store and her running around.

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Maxine and her dear friends

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Maxine at the ocean
In Santa Cruz with us

Maxine had a dear friend that lived around the block by the name of Liz. Liz relied on Maxine, as she couldn’t leave her home, so Maxine did errands for the both of them. Finally, Maxine had a few incidents like leaving the stove on and it was decided she shouldn’t live alone any longer.  Maxine had been given a choice, she could move in with whomever she wanted to, or she could move into a care facility where she could still have some freedom. She choose to live at Somerford, a residential facility for Alzheimer’s patients. She enjoyed it there and had the opportunity to have her hair and nails done (not something she was accustomed to.

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Listening to Taylor read

We saw her a lot but it still wasn’t as much as we liked. We would pick her up for holidays, take her to our homes, then return her. She had an active role at Somerford and they called her their Choir Director. As she had at her church, she loved to lead the choir.



Picture day at Somerford

Maxine had received a diagnosis of Dementia/Alzheimers and time took its toll on her. Eventually, she could no longer get up and about. She’s always had such a good appetite but ultimately the care facility started feeding her mushy food and she wasn’t eating. She could no longer leave her room and I couldn’t be there as much as I wanted. We needed to find her a new room.

My sister in law called and said she would start looking for a new place. I had volunteered to help her search but I really didn’t have my heart in it. Taylor had just graduated from UC Davis and I asked her if she’d be able to stay at home for a bit and help if we took grandma in. She agreed and then we had a fantastic idea. We knew it would be necessary to have one more person to help. Taylor and I both worked during the day and we needed someone we could rely on for that additional assistance. Enter my best friend, Tammy Lender. We also had assistance from Hospice visiting nurses. Couldn’t have gotten by without them.


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As soon as I got Maxine home, I started feeding her real food again. She perked right up and ate like a champ. They’d been worried about her “choking” but really, i think they were worried about the liability of choking.  She started to put a bit of weight back on.

tay and grndma
Grandma Maxine is safely ensconced in her room and Taylor is on her bed next to her and I said Taylor don’t squish Grandma and Grandma said “No, we are just happily together.” I think she will be happy with us!

Living with teens/twenty-somethings, Maxine became a selfie-queen

Maxine was 89 years old and her memory of current events had faded but she spoke often of her childhood. She would call down the hall, “Miriam, where are you?” There were times when she’d look at Taylor and call her “Carol”, her daughter’s name.

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Maxine in the “good ole days”, dressed as a witch!

One of the hardest fallouts having Maxine in our home was that she was constantly looking for her children in “childhood” form. She’d ask me for Paul and I would point to him and say, “He’s right here.” She’d get a look on her face and say, “Not that one. I want the real Paul”. She was looking for the face of a twelve year old. Often, I’d tell her that he’d gone to a sleepover. She’d continue to fret and ask for him. Eventually, I had him call from the other room haha. She bought it but seriously, she was intent on finding him.


Other times, she’d call down the hall, “Momma?” That was always tough for me. One day I was home sick from work and I could hear Tammy in the other room, asking Maxine to sing her a song. She sang a lot. Tammy would read to her and took such good care of her, brushing her hair and washing her up on days when Hospice wasn’t due in. I was grateful Maxine was in good hands.

She did well for a couple of months but then in August of 2015, she took a bad turn. She wasn’t doing well. The hospice nurse said she probably wouldn’t last two weeks. But she got passed it and rebounded. I wanted her to make it to her 90th birthday. She had always talked about her father not making his 90th birthday and how bad she’d felt that he’d left this earth before that momentous day. By early fall, her condition was up and down.

We had a lot of crazy days with Maxine but no time was crazier than Halloween. I’ve always been a nut for Halloween, decorated my house with cute Halloween ghosts and witches. Sometime in late September, I decided to buy myself a Halloween costume for work and got a witches dress and hat. I showed it to Maxine.

Then Maxine began to act oddly. One day we were eating dinner and Maxine toddled down the hall. She wasn’t supposed to be walking about, so I had her sit in her chair and wheeled her down to the kitchen with us. She said, “Whom are we eating?” She was using a sing-song, lilting voice, a tone I’d never heard her use before. I looked at her confused, “Chinese food?” I responded. She said it again, this time with a little more force behind her words. “Whom are we eating?” I laughed uncomfortably. I decided it was just “crazy talk” and ignored it.

After that, Maxine would, at times, speak in a high, fake voice and say things like, “I’m going to eat you.” Now, I knew she was trying to scare me and inside I was scared haha. But on the outside, I used my stern voice and said, “You’re just trying to scare me. Stop it.”

She looked up into the thin air and said, “They won’t let me.”

Now I was starting to freak out. I said, “You’re just trying to scare me, and I won’t allow it.”

She continued speaking to “something.” Taylor said she could understand how some people can be thought of as “insane” as Maxine was truly believing of what she was saying.

I thought it was a momentary blip. It would be fine after a good night’s sleep. I was wrong. The next day, my son was walking down the hall and Maxine called to him. He stopped in her doorway to say hello. He had to walk past her bedroom to get to his own. He smiled and said, “Hi Grandma”.  She grimaced and said, “I’m going to eat you.” Then she tried to stand from her bed as if she could levitate. To say Jacques ran from the room would be putting it mildly. He left and went to a friend’s house and I had to consider that this was a bit more than a momentary issue.

I really did think it would just be better after a couple of nights of rest but that didn’t happen. One day, Taylor was helping her eat her dinner and Maxine pinched her side. “You’re almost just right to eat.” she said.

Needless to say, I removed any hints of the holiday and it eventually stopped. By the end of October, she’d taken a turn for the worse. Her birthday was November 13, and that year, it would be on a Friday. Maxine’s 90th birthday on the horizon, and I wanted all of her children and grandchildren to be there for that night. I planned a simple pizza party with cake and had our family over to the house. Unfortunately, Maxine was out of it for most of the day, but she did recognize her girls as they sat for hours holding her hands.



Whenever Maxine was talking nonsense, I’d think, does she know me? But then I’d quiz her and she always knew it was me. I think I may have been her bit of reality, her bit of what was happening to her now.

So she slept through her 90th birthday. The momentous day I’d really wanted her to have and she didn’t get to enjoy it. By the next month, she was better. That is how it was, that year, just like a roller coaster. Just when you thought she was so ill, that she couldn’t possibly come back around and then she would wake up in the morning, asking for breakfast.

One day, about this time, I was laying in bed on a Sunday morning and I could hear an insistent prattling of speech coming from Maxine’s room. Her room was next to ours and anytime she moved, I’d hear her. I got up and went to sit with her a while. She was having a non-stop conversation with herself. She was saying all kinds of things, talking about a shelf up high, not waiting for an answer, not conversations, just words. It was difficult to follow. I expected that to not last very long but no, she went on like that for the entire day. At one point, I sat in her room during the afternoon and was just listening to her. She was looking up at the ceiling and says, “Oh, there’s a car pulling up in front of the house.”

This peaked my interest and I said, “Oh yeah, who is in the car?” She paused then said, “Oh, it’s Tim and Jubie.” That made me cry. I told her, “Tell my mom and dad I said hi.” I knew it was just in her mind but it also felt good that my parents were there, in her mind. The talking stopped about a day later and she had another low period.

Christmas morning 2015

By Christmas, my sister-in-law Anita had bought Maxine a new nightgown. I opened it up and put it on her, then told her that Anita had bought that for her for Christmas. Maxine’s response was, “Well, good for her.” She was so funny and always made me laugh.


My cat Marmalade spent long hours with Grandma Maxine.

By late February, 2016, Maxine had a fall. The entire time she lived with us, they did not want her walking. It was difficult to keep her down, She’d fallen and I could tell she wasn’t doing well. She was wily at times and she’d stand before I could get to the other side of the room. This time, the fall was too great. Hospice came in and she slipped into a coma. Sunday morning, February 28, 2016, I knew Maxine was much worse. I went and sat on her bed and called Hospice again. I could tell by her breathing that she wasn’t going to last long. I laid my hand on her hip and all three of my kids came into the room to sit with me. My husband choose not to come in but the kids and I sat with Maxine until she’d taken her last breath. This woman who had to work to accept that things were not always the way she would have preferred, that had taken such great care of my children, loved those children until her last breath, left this world with her family’s love. She took the skin she was born with and our love. Maxine passed away peacefully.

Lloyd bennett cemetery




grands and great grands

kids at funeral

mother's day 2015

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trip to dc

wedding picture




Bennett family in the 1990’s


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Maxine and Lloyd

Okay, so when we left the Bennett family in the 1980’s, Paul and I had been married and first up in the Bennett household, Ryan Patrick McBride was born on May 30, 1990. He was Anita’s first born child and Lloyd and Maxine were just ecstatic!  He was the first new baby in ten years and he was named after his big cousin Wesley Ryan Lamb.

Baby Ryan and his dad, Scott

Ryan with his Aunt Mary and cousin Wesley

Baby Ryan

I had a difficult time getting pregnant and tried for two years before I became pregnant. Finally, a long awaited granddaughter was born to the Bennetts on September 14, 1992.  One of the greatest attributes of Maxine was how faithful she was to her daily diary. I’m so glad that we have her words from that night.


Diary Entry


Maxine stayed by my side, when my own mother was in too much pain to keep sitting with me. Maxine held my hand and comforted me, helping me get past the pain and fear, especially when my husband went to dinner with my parents. I was a little annoyed. But Maxine treated me as if I were her daughter. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me, that my mother trusted her enough to walk out the door, knowing Maxine was there for me.

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The Bennett household was starting to fill out. As soon as I was released from the hospital, I had my parents drive me to the Bennett house, so that we could visit Grandpa Bill, and let him meet Taylor.

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Bill and Bea were spending more time in Stockton. Grandpa Bill suffered a heart attack and Lloyd decided to move them to Stockton. Scott McBride was employed to build a “grandparents’ room” for Bea and Bill. As we readied to bring them to Stockton for good, Bill passed away on December 2, 1992.

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Taylor bathing at Great Grandma’s in Salt Lake City


We all flew to Salt Lake City that December. Taylor was only three months old. Paul’s aunt flew in with her son, his wife and grandchild, too. That little boy was about a year older than Taylor. Bill and Bea’s grandson Bill arrived from Canada. My mother in law Maxine had decided that since Paul and I, and Rodney and his wife were there, we should have time to go out and that she and Aunt Darlene would watch the babies. I agreed, although I was a little worried. My mother in law said there was nothing to worry about. Paul’s cousin Bill took us to downtown Salt Lake City for a few hours. When he returned to pick us up, we all got in the car and Bill says, “Boy, your baby has cried the whole time you were gone!” I said, “What? Taylor cried?” I was horrified, as I wouldn’t want my baby to be a nuisance to anyone.  He said, “No, not your baby. Their baby.” Poor Darlene had a tough time babysitting her grandchild. Taylor, on the other hand, was as good as gold. I needn’t have worried. She was always good with her grandparents. As Maxine was in fairly great shape physically, she helped me with Taylor all the time. Truthfully, Taylor could stay with the Bennetts for weeks on end and she wouldn’t have cared.

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Great-Grandma Bea and Taylor

By 1993, Lloyd had sold Grandma Bea’s house and moved her to Stockton. The room that had been planned for her and Grandpa Bill became her room for all of her furniture. She slept in the house, however, as she was 84 and didn’t want to sleep out in the annex by herself.


In approximately 1993, Lloyd rented a large condominium on the beach so that we could have a family vacation together. Everyone was there. Incidentally, Taylor tried to take out the entire Bennett family that weekend. She had been ill the day before we left but seemed better the day we were to go. However, Taylor shared her illness with the entire family. It was a rough weekend. But it was also so great to just spend time together as a family.

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Mary, Anita, Wesley, Taylor, Me, Brent, Scott

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Anita, Taylor, Wes

By February 15, 1995, Lauren Allison McBride joined our family. Maxine was always so good about keeping the kids. She played Tiddly-Winks, play-dough, plastic magnetic letters on the refrigerator and a kitchen drawer full of plastic toys. Well, she considered them toys, but really it was a junk drawer full of odds and ends. I can clearly remember there being a hot roller (look them up kids, girls used to use them on their hair) and a stray Lego or two. She would play word games and she could keep kids busy for hours.

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Grandma Bennett announces the birth of Lauren Allison McBride

Baby Lauren and big brother Ryan

Baby Lauren

Enjoying a cupcake

Anita and Scott had moved to the Santa Cruz area, but by the time Lauren came along, they moved back to Stockton and our kids were together a lot at Grandma Maxine’s house. There were plenty of times that Maxine had plans but if someone was sick or we just needed someone to watch the kids, she was there.

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Taylor and Lauren in Grandma’s backyard

Hometown Buffet Days
Taylor and Maxine

Maxine worked at Village Oaks Elementary School and was a classroom aide. Lloyd had a master’s degree in psychology and worked as a counselor at the juvenile facility/jail in Stockton. He worked at Karl Holt School and was very well respected.

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Ryan and Taylor, hiding in the ivy

By the time Taylor was about 4, Grandma Maxine and Grandma Beatrice would take Taylor to Home Town Buffet every single Wednesday afternoon. They would pick her up from school or from the babysitter’s house and off they would go. Grandma Maxine would help Taylor get a plate of Taylor food (carrots, peas, chow-mein noodles, cheese and ice cream for dessert). She would get chocolate milk and their complete attention.

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Taylor at Grandma Maxine’s house

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Tay and Lauren

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Playing on the porch

My father in law and Great Grandma didn’t say a word about Taylor being a girl, but I do believe they were relieved when I had a boy. On October 27th, 1997, Jacques was born. I did name him William Jacques Bennett, although we call him Jacques. Paul’s full name is William Paul, his father’s full name was William Lloyd and Great-Grandpa’s full name was William George Bennett. I didn’t think it was fair to break that tradition.

Jacques' announcement
Diary entry for William Jacques Bennett

Lloyd and Jacques
Jacques and Lloyd

Grandma Josephine, Grandpa Joe, Grandma Georgette, Grandpa George
Taylor, Jacques, Ryan, Lauren

Playing at Grandma Bennett’s house became the hot spot for the Bennett grandchildren. The tire swing was replaced with a pillow case, where Grandma Bennett was always free to give someone a swing. Grandma Maxine always kept chickens in a hutch in the backyard. She would name them fun names like Mildred, Millicent, Penelope, Henrietta, and lots of cats like Blue and Gray.

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Ryan, Jacques, Taylor (Lauren in shadow)

Taylor and the chickens
Taylor and the hens

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Anita, Ryan, Lloyd, Lauren

showing off tats
Showing off their tattoos

inappropriate computer games
Jacques and Ryan

By 1998, the Bennett family was in a good place, when tragedy struck. I hate having to remember that time because it was so heartbreaking and one of the worst things that our family had experienced. On October 22, 1998, Wesley Ryan Lamb died in a car accident. I’ll never forget my father in law calling at my office, to tell me of the awful news and to see if I could get in touch with Paul. I left right away and went straight to the Bennett’s house. Paul was a truck driver at this point and I knew it would be tough to get him on the phone (those pre-cell phone days). When I think of Wesley, I always picture that little boy face, his grin and bright blue eyes. Wes was Mary’s youngest boy and to lose him like we did, we were heartbroken. Jacques was only a year old and Taylor six. They never got to know Wes and I wish they had.

One day I had walked into the Bennett house and someone was playing the piano with such musicality and talent, it was shocking. Wesley was one hell of a pianist. I wish he’d had more time to pursue that craft. He was very talented and a sincere young man. Paul had spent a lot of time with both of his nephews when they were little. After we’d begun dating, his nephews hung out with my own nephews so we saw Brent and Wes a lot. The entire Bennett family lost a lot that day. When we sang “You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine” at his funeral, it was heartfelt by everyone in attendance. Wesley Ryan Lamb is buried at the Stockton Rural Cemetery and his headstone has a VW bug symbol on it, along with the words Hakuna Matata.

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Lloyd, Paul, Brent, Wes

Wesley, Maxine, Brent, Lloyd

My relationship with Maxine had started out distant (not on my part haha) but as we grew to know each other better, we began to like each other more and more.  One day, I’d gone to retrieve my kids from her house when she stopped me in the kitchen. She had a serious look on her face and said, “You are a good mother.” Now, Maxine wasn’t known for being flip, and was as sincere as one could be. I appreciated her words. She was such a devote Mormon that it was difficult for her when her children chose differently, but for her to say I was a good mother, was high praise.  She had a difficult relationship with my husband when he was in his teen years, as his father felt Paul would simply “grow out” of difficult behavior and I always felt like her thoughts/feelings on the matter were dismissed. I think she appreciated that I would not follow that pattern and took a firm stance on how I raised my children.

As we ended the 1990’s, we were terribly saddened by the loss of Wesley, and it was a very difficult time. But Lloyd and Maxine kept dear Wesley in their hearts and carried on.

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Family Reunion 2018



Well, we are a week past our family reunion. I have to say, when I held the family reunion in 2016, I had billed the reunion as a Jacques family reunion. However, I had four separate sections of my family show up to the reunion. I knew, this year, that we should bill it as a Jacques/Archuleta/Lujan/Herrera reunion. Boy, did people respond.

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It is so easy to be divided. These times of divisiveness permeate everyone’s lives. But, when we connect, and celebrate, our ancestors, we enlarge our hearts toward each other, toward our family and toward being open to keeping our connections alive.

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Let’s look at our connections.


This first photograph is Rose Marie Lujan, Richard Jacques and myself. Pictures like this make me think of the 1930’s, when our families lived in Jackson and must have reached out to keep their close knit New Mexican connections to each other.

party with mom and dad
My Mom, Jubie Jacques, Milton Archuleta, my Dad, Tim Jacques, Anna and Rose Lujan, Vi Archuleta, Donald Archuleta, Flora Lujan and Henrietta Hayes

This next picture is Fred Herrera and Lissi Figueroa. The descendant of Celia Jacques Herrera and Celestino Jacques. They were two siblings who would have been very touched to see that this connection continues.

Freddy and Lissi

The next picture is Henrietta Archuleta Hayes and myself. She is the very last of that generation, a double first cousin to my dad. She is just as much a Jacques as I am an Archuleta. That is fun to think about. We are so lucky to have one of our original family members with us, well enough to travel and generous enough with her time that she traveled out to California just to attend. Here is a picture of her as a young lady. So lovely.

me and henrietta


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Top row, Sonny, Anita, Flora, Celia, Sandi, Freddy, LeRoy, Bottom Row Terry, Ben Lujan, Edna Marie Lujan, Anna Marie Lujan

The number of parties our family has had in the past led to very fun pictures of different parts of our family, all of our connections.

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Me and Steven Stewart

herreras in the
Polly, LeRoy, Effie, Fred, Celia, Freddy, Geri, Edna Marie


Our Herrera connection is strong. My dad always felt close to his Aunt Celia and I just love this picture of Aunt Celia’s wedding anniversary from the 1970’s.

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jacques kids
Dorothy, Tim, Angie

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Jeanie, Gary and I

Jacques kids
Myself, Lea, Jimmy

donald arch party
Donald Archuleta’s picnic

We have connections everywhere. Each person who came to the picnic made a new connection. We have new connections and new family.

new family
Diane Archuleta, Bob Archuleta, Shirley, Julia, David

new family again
Magali and Frank Lee

archie wedding pic
Pete, Archie, Elsie, Flora

robert me diane monica
Bob, myself, Diane, Monica

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Chris, Me, Trisha

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joe and terry
Joe, Terry

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Jackie, Marisa

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Richard, Henrietta, Freddy

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Rose, Linda


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Gary, Kit

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Laurie, Lauren

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Jordie, Rose, Kit

della and flora

So many lovely pictures, time well spent. My cousin Rose said she’d spoken to me more over the last two months than she had over my entire life. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together and I have a feeling it will continue!





Juan N and AnaMaria
Ana Maria Lujan and Juan N. Jaquez

So, if you follow my blogposts or your last name is Jacques, Archuleta, Lujan, Herrera or any form, thereof, there is a family reunion/picnic coming up. Now, this reunion is being planned for July, 2018. We had so many picnics in the past. That was always one of my favorite places to go with my parents. So, my cousin Rose has found a park that has lots of shade. This park is in Walnut Creek. A nice central location and not has hot as it is in Stockton.  Always important in the summer. We’ll update you soon to the specifics.

We’ve had our DNA tested and it is so interesting. The DNA results are read in “centimorgans”. You receive 50 percent of your centimorgans (cM) from each parent, making up your 100%. However, there is a randomness to your cM. Full siblings won’t have the same genes and only identical twins have the exact same genes.

Parents/Children share approximately 3,400 cM. I had Hailey’s DNA tested and she and I share 3,465 cM across 68 DNA segments. I naturally assumed she was more “Jacques” then Bennett and I am fairly confident that this proves my theory. Haha, well, once we test her father, we’ll know for sure.

Full siblings share 2550 or so. My brother Tim was tested and he and I share 2,565 cM across 64 DNA segments. I’m not too surprised by this number. What would be interesting is if my sister Jackie will consent to a test. I’d like to see how her numbers compare to ours.

I also looked at some of the offspring of my dad’s double first cousins. So the double first cousins share the same four grandparents. However, because of the randomness of DNA that is inherited, there is no guarantee that you will get the same DNA. However, the double first cousins share a higher percentage than regular first cousins.

I looked at my result with Greg Quintana. His mother, Viola and my Dad were double first cousins.  He and I share 528 cM across 31 DNA segments. If you compare that number to my first cousin, Donald Serna, with whom I shared 1002 cM across 36 DNA strands. Pretty interesting stuff. Donald is listed as my first cousin, Greg listed as my second cousin. I wish we’d had my father’s DNA tested compared to one of his DF cousins. Oh well, ever forward.


I have had several requests from people who are confused as to how they are related. I won’t bother going over the “double-first” cousin thing again, but what I will attempt to do is explain they are related.

tim celestino juan n


Most of our relatives will be from one of three lines of the Jacques/Archuleta family. The head of the family is Juan N. and Ana Maria Lujan Jacques

Line of Juan N. Jaques and Ana Maria Jacques

Juan n

These are the children of Juan J. and Ana Maria.

Most of the cousins we grew up with fall in one of three lines.

  1. Josephine and Simon Archuleta
  2. Celestino (brother of Josephine), and Tonita Jacques (sister of Simon Archuleta)
  3. Celia Jacques Herrera

Celia Juan n

Aunt Celia’s family includes the Stewarts, Leroy and Freddie, Raymos’, Effie Knight’s family, Lujan family (Aunt Edna’s family) and all of the lines on the Herrera list. You can refer back to the main list.

Josephine Juan n

archuleta families

Now, I don’t have all of the lists for the Archuleta families. But, as you can see from this list, there were 12 children and their families have grown exponentially.

Great Aunt Josephine’s family (Line #1) Aunt Flora’s Family (includes Anna Marie Lujan, Rose Marie Lujan, Sonny, Nick, Anita and Gloria)

Uncle Pete’s family (families of Richard, Dolly A. and Leilani Archuleta)

Uncle Archie’s family (Bobby and Diane)

Aunt Viola’s family (Greg and Sharon Quintana and family)

Donald Archuleta’s family (Deejo, Dion, David, Daryl Archuleta and families)

Henrietta Hayes and Family (daughters Dawn, Susan, Judy, Jean)

Uncle Milton’s Family (Frank, Donny, Dale, Nolan)

Aunt Esther’s Family (Karen, Damian, ,Duane, Bobby, Norma)

Celestino family tree

Brother Celestino to Josephine and Celia,

Feel free to refer back to the Jacques Grandkids list above, along with the Aunt Celia’s family list.


I hope that clears this up for everyone who had questions. But I know it won’t. Don’t worry, I’ve been studying this stuff for years and years and I don’t always have it correct too.