I have never been big on genealogy, but of course curious about where my own ancestors came from and why. And I changed mind a bit after attending, with a friend, a meeting of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America-Southern California.
There was a speaker who talked on the history of the area around San Bernardino and Riverside called Agua Mansa and La Placita settled in the early 19th century by Spanish colonists from New Mexico. Many of the members were descendent from those pioneers who trekked all that way along the trail lacking water and attacked by Indians. Nothing remains of Agua Mansa today, except the burial ground, on the hill above the river.
Afterward I reflected on how these historic connections give these people a sense of identity. I have been appalled by some young person, when asked about his unusual name, would give me a blank look. While knowing we make our own mark by our actions today, it still gives one a sense of foundation to have some connection with the past. The meeting itself was held in the Southern California Genealogical Society Library in Burbank, CA, itself an interesting place. There on the Texas shelf I found a thin book that explained how the alligators in El Paso’s central San Jacinto Plaza got there in 1896. They were still there when Arthur, the penniless Norwegian met his love in my book, “Dos Gringos” — and when I grew up there as teen. Only concrete ‘gators remain today. History is full of details.
Buy a copy of “Dos Gringos” here.