Friday, June 24, 2011

Crespin Torres: The Real Deal

In case you’re new to this blog, you might be asking who is Crespin Torres? Simply put, he was a family man. He was born just one year after U.S. Gen. Stephen W. Kearny proclaimed New Mexico part of the United States. He lived during the rough-and-tumble Wild West era in Socorro, New Mexico. From Territorial times until after New Mexico became a state of the U.S., Crespin lived in the same town and he became a farmer. Crespin lived almost 90 years in Socorro as a gentle and honest citizen. He was never in a shootout. Nor could you spin a Western tale that would show him shooting or cussing out some cowboy or Indian. Instead, he is remembered for offering many kindnesses – as he depended on the kindness of others.
According to his obituary, (Click HERE and search for 'obituary') his parents died when he was a toddler (their deaths were separated by seven months). He lived in households of cousin Candelario Garcia and his Aunt Guadalupe.

After he married, he and wife Andrea raised eight children – all in the same town. They raised their children in a Catholic household, and they exposed them to music and dance. The family lived in a plain adobe house not far from the central plaza, where the youngsters attended chaperoned dances. Crespin’s favorite song was the ballad “La Golondrina.” The couple were well-known in the community. She was a midwife, who delivered many babies born in the town. He taught catechism. Many family members remembered calling their elder “Papa ’Pin” and laughing with him.
Robert Baca wrote a piece about Crespin called “The Story Behind the Photograph: Crespin Torres’ Genealogy” for “New Mexico Genealogist,” where he unveils his misimpression of his ancestor from a family photo (above). Baca states that as a teen he thought the photo of his great-greatgrandfather in a full beard represented an old man who was stern and fierce. But as he learned more through genealogy and relatives, Baca said he realized the depth of the man.
Click HERE to see Baca's blog.

Sources: Interviews with family elders by Maurine Pool.
“The Story Behind the Photograph: Crespin Torres’ Genealogy.” By Robert J. C. Baca. “New Mexico Genealogist.” Vol. 47. No. 1, March 2008. Pgs. 3-16.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Should Play Crespin in the Movie?

Let’s have some fun. If we were to make a movie out of Crespin’s life (and no, there is not a script in the works), who should play him? To get the ball rolling, we checked out facial recognition software used by After uploading this picture of Crespin, these are celebrities in the myheritage database who looked like him.
Some matches included:

  • Tim Roth: That guy in “Lie to Me” who has played villains in many movies – a bit too scary.

  • Dennis Hopper: Way too scary – and dead.

  • John Travolta: He’s playing John Gotti now. Again, whoever plays Crespin should not have a villainous vibe.

  • Christopher Lambert: He was in “Mortal Kombat” and “Highlander” movies and even a few French flicks early on. Not that well-known, so maybe he’s a good pick.

  • Bono: The U2 singer? Too busy with the troubled Broadway version of "Spider-Man." Maybe when that closes, he could turn to "Crespin: The Musical."

    Of course good actors don’t have to look and sound like the individuals they portray (there’s debate whether these guys look like Crespin anyhow). So who would YOU like to see play Crespin Torres?
    Note: Scanning Crespin's spouse Andreita’s photo yielded limited results, but there were matches for Avril Lavigne and Tim Roth!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Do You Know the Name José?

In some old records, the name José often appears as Joseph or Josef. You might think that scribes were adopting an English spelling or other European spelling, but that’s probably not the case. Could it be bad transcriptions of the Old Spanish form of the name, which was Josepe?

Fray Angelico Cháves makes brief mention of the old-style name Josepe in his book, “Chávez: A Distinctive American Clan of New Mexico.” (Cháves also mentions that Bernalillo is Old Spanish for “Little Bernie.”)

José is a common name in our family, passed on from generation to generation. It – like María for women – was often a first name. For example: María Andrea Trujillo and José Crespin Torres. Most of our ancestor Crespin’s brothers had the first name of José, as did his father, José Anastacio.

For those who were born in the early 1900s, their name appeared in Latin on their baptismal records because the Catholic Church was using Latin forms at the time. So some José boys were recorded as Josephus.

Then when English became more prevalent, many Josés in the family started to go by the name Joseph, or Joe. And the accent mark had long faded from use.

An exception was Crespin’s son, José, who had no middle name.
Some 20th-century records do show him as Joseph, but at some point he decided on a signature that suited him.
He signed his name José T. Torres. The T was for his mother’s maiden name, Trujillo, and he used an accent mark over the é. Here’s a copy of his signature from his daughter’s 1931 report card.