Friday, June 5, 2009

The plot thickens-or doubles as the case may be

I received some new information on the traveling nature of my 3rd great Grandmother Maria Euginia Ynes Robles de Castro grave site from the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz county.I had requested a search for a obituary as the society has extensive holdings of early newspapers on film and will do some research for a modest fee.They were not able to find a obit for her.Already by 1867 the lives of the founding Spanish family's were at best reduced to a one line mention and more often not worth mentioning at all.When we do research on our family's it is good to remember that those who were poor,or out of society's(whatever society was the In one of the time and place) main group may not be reported in the news papers and other main records of the time.Often they don't even make it into the census.But it does not mean they were not there.Having baby's,birthdays,party's and fiestas.Living and dying with ceremony and passion as best they could.It just did not make the local news.
Both Ynes and her husband Jose Saturnino Trinidad Castro are listed as buried at Old Holy Cross.As both of their death dates precede the date I have for that cemetery being consecrated I will assume they made the move from the mission cemetery.I need to ask some more questions about the sources for the records the society has and confirm the founding date for Old Holy Cross.They apparently have a compiled records of interments for this cemetery.Now I really need to get back to Santa Cruz and visit the Genealogy room at the main library!The Genealogical society maintains a wonderful collection there and if you have research to do in the area I highly recommend it.
They also were able to send me some of the local news paper stories about the removal of the body's and I will share those in another post.It makes for some eye opening reading.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

I can't always get over to the coast or down valley to explore were my own family rests so sometimes I go visiting in my local cemetery's.I am close to the gold country of N.Cal with its rich history.This headstone is in the little cemetery of St. John the Baptist in Folsom CA. I have been photographing there lately.I had to fight my way into the Oleander bush to get this one.I have to go back so I can get how old he is and what it says on the bottom! Darn leaf!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The lives and history of the early Spanish settlers of California have been pretty much forgotten,ignored or romanticized to somewhere between just silly and downright racist.Sadly, I have found there is as little left of their deaths, as of their lives.
Marie Eugenia Ynes Robles was a infant when her parents sailed into Monterey Bay on the schooner Conception on May 12,1797.Her father was one of the founders of the Villa de Branciforte which would be incorporated into the modern city of Santa Cruz CA.
Inez(the Americano spelling) would marry Jose Saturnino Trinidad Castro,one of the sons of Mariano Castro who walked as a boy from what is now Sinaloa Mexico to then Alta California.
Inez lived her life at Branciforte and at the early California Missions and Presidios with her husband and children.She died in Branciforte June 1,1867 and was buried in the Mission Santa Cruz cemetery.

But she did not stay there.I don't know from my research at this time if she ever had a marker,I may never know.If she did I did not find it on my visit to her final resting place so it may or may not have made the move.Because in 1885 in order to build the new Holy Cross church in Santa Cruz the cemetery for Mission Santa Cruz was dug up and 6 wagon loads of remains were reburied in a unmarked mass grave at what today is Old Holy Cross Cemetery.
Some of the markers were moved and some left behind,my photo taken behind the church shows broken headstones that were left(taken in 2009).

The other picture shows the open meadow at Old Holy Cross cemetery that is the grave site.Where she may or may not rest.Because 6 wagon loads isn't very big.The existing death records for Mission Santa Cruz(there are records missing for this mission) indicate over 200 deaths before 1850,the majority would have been buried at the mission cemetery.How many burials after 1850 is not available easily so I have no idea.That some got left behind is pretty much a given. I kind of hope one of them was my great,great,great Grandmother Maria Eugenia Ynes Robles Castro.Because we do have photo copies of her last will and testament and in them she states she wants to be buried"in the holy Catholic cemetery under the care of the Franciscan monks".
Not that Old Holy Cross cemetery is such bad spot really.I thought it was pretty,much nicer than the new cemetery.The only sadness was the vandalism and some needed repairs.This article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel talks about it visit there in April 2009 showed signs of people trying to clean and repair some of the damage and I did not find it as bad as the article states.I'm a sucker for cemetery's that are not sterile.No one wants to see vandalism or neglect but who wants to visit dead people in identical cubicles?I was in contact with a nice lady who forward my name on to some people who are trying to organize to help Old Holy Cross get the help it needs,I hope they get back to me.I really want to go back and spend some more time there exploring and taking pictures.
Sources for information.
Inez Robles Castro Will -part of the Leon Rowland collection,U.C. Santa Cruz
The Huntington Library, Early California Population Project Database, 2006.