Stoltz, Chávez, Dunham, Alvarado, Luján, Rocha, Ivans, García, Marín, Stricker, Cuaron, Balderas, Springston, Todd, Telles, Tamayo, Moraila and more


Through risk, hardship and sacrifice, our ancestors colonized and helped found:

  • New Mexico
  • Plymouth Colony
  • El Paso
  • Ensenada
  • North Dakota
  • Maine
  • California


Downloads are available in the Image Galleries and the Family Trees section.


Our family researchers include Phyllis Maercklein, Helen Stoltz Costello, Jim and Margie Schoenfelder, David Stoltz, Eric Stoltz and Michael Stoltz. We are grateful for the contributions of Gloria Joyce Hernández Alvarado, David Hernández, Norbert Wegmann, Lysa Nabours and many other talented researchers who have assisted us as well as all our family members who have been so cooperative.

Archive for May, 2010

The Wedding of My Great-Grandparents in San Diego

Friday, May 28th, 2010

St. Joseph Church, San DiegoIn a previous post I mentioned that I had discovered that my great-grandparents José María Alvarado and Jesús García were married in San Diego on 10 Sep 1895. But where in San Diego? They had apparently met in Ensenada, and we do not yet know why they chose to be married in San Diego.

The marriage certificate was signed by a “P. Lennon, Catholic Priest at San Diego.” I enlisted the aid of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Up to 1936, San Diego was a part of the Diocese of Los Angeles – San Diego, which would become the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1936.

The archdiocesan archivist informed me that Rev. P. Lennon was at that time assigned to St. Joseph Church, San Diego. St. Joseph Church was founded in 1874. The first St. Joseph Church is pictured here engulfed in flames in 1913. Sometime thereafter it was rebuilt, and today it is the cathedral of the diocese of San Diego.

So the church where my great-grandparents were married was the predecessor of today’s cathedral in San Diego.

Porous Borders in 1895

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Because the first children of my great-grandparents José María Alvarado and Jesús García de Alvarado were born in Ensenada, Baja California, and José María had indicated on his petition for naturalization that he emigrated to Los Angeles in 1899, I had always assumed that they were married in Ensenada.

Marriage license of José María Alvarado and Jesús GarcíaIn a comment to a previous post, my cousin David Hernández told me they were married in San Diego. This was a new twist. So I requested a marriage certificate from the San Diego County Clerk. And what do you know, in today’s mail I received it. José María and Jesús were married 10 September 1895 in San Diego. (By the way, I am so glad the county clerk obliterates information with a big stamp: “Informational: not a valid document to establish identity.” I’d hate for someone to impersonate my 139-year-old great-grandmother.)

Rosario Moraila García (1854-1924)At the time, I know there was a constant stream of everyday travel between San Diego and Ensenada; people would travel between the two port cities practically as day trips for shopping and business—and apparently marriages. Why my great-grandparents decided to get married in San Diego is a mystery. Was it a romantic weekend? Did they have family there? Was it a way for my great-grandmother to reiterate her claim to U.S. citizenship because, as the story goes, her mother María del Rosario Moraila de García (b. abt. 1854 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, d. 17 Nov 1924 in Los Angeles) had given birth to her on the muddy north bank of the Rio Grande on her way to have her child born in San Diego?

The reasons may elude us. What we do know is that four years later they had settled in Los Angeles. Back then, borders were porous; they did not include walls and patrols, and immigration to the United States did not require paying tens of thousands of dollars and waiting for years. At the time they probably filled out a short form and were allowed in as long as they did not appear to have cholera or smallpox.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Where, and when, and how did we lose this vision?

Mischievous Ancestors

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young. And while you’ve got to love having non-conformist ancestors, sometimes their adventures make it difficult to track them.

Sumner Earl DunhamCase in point: my grandmother María Lucia “Lucille” Alvarado Wood Dunham Minasian. She was quite a handful, especially once she met up with my grandfather Sumner Earl Dunham (b. 23 Apr 1899 in Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, d. 22 Apr 1964 in Lynwood, Los Angeles County). They were known to spend all night dancing in the great ballrooms of Santa Monica. And I had already discovered something of their bohemian attitude in the 1930 Census when they gave their names as “Stanley” and “Lorraine.” Oh, it was them all right; the ages and kids’ names gave them away. (more…)

The J. W. Robinson Residence, Los Angeles

Sunday, May 9th, 2010
J. W. Robinson Residence on Bellevue Avenue at Teed, Los Angeles

As my great-grandparents José María and Jesús Alvarado would exit the front door of their modest residence at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and North Broadway in 1900 Los Angeles, two blocks to the northwest they would see this grand house, built in 1887, on a hill above them. This was the residence of Joseph Winchester Robinson (1846-1891), known to history as J. W. Robinson. In 1881 he founded the Boston Dry Goods Store on Broadway, shown below, which would eventually become the grand Robinson’s Department Store.

Undated photo of Boston Dry Goods

Los Angeles, 1900

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Los Angeles, 1900 An unusual color photograph of downtown Los Angeles in 1900. The view is looking south down Broadway, not far from where my great-grandparents lived at North Broadway and Bellevue Avenue. The tower visible at the top left is Old City Hall.