Friday, April 13, 2012

1940: Fresno Families

On one April day in 1940, an enumerator walked up to a big house on Anna Street in Fresno, California, and captured a profile of a big, extended family. Two of the occupants of the rented house on the 2000 block were transplants from Socorro, N.M., – children of Crespin and Andreita Torres. They were Jose T. Torres and Domitila Sanchez.

José T. Torres, 59, was a mechanic with the steam railroad, who had worked steadily during the Depression. According to the census, he had worked 52 weeks in 1939 and had worked 44 hours during the final week of March 1940. José and his wife, Josie, had three daughters and two sons living at home.

In the same household was Louis Lubbon, Jose’s stepson (AND the husband of his niece), who worked as a home supply salesman.

Louis’ wife, Mary Monica, answered questions for the entire group – based on a circled X by her name on the census form. She apparently gave the enumerator the name Louis (the family called him Benny) and said they were “stepson” and “daughter-in-law” to the head of household. (Indeed they were, but they also had a double connection as niece and husband). Monica was keeping things simple when she said that her mother, Domitila, 70, was a “lodger” – rather than the sister of the head of household.

All the adults in the household were born in New Mexico, except for Louis, who had been born in Colorado. All of the kids were California-born.

Monica’s name fell on a line on the census form that required answers to supplemental questions. So she told the census taker that her usual occupation was housekeeper in her own home; that she did not have a Social Security number; that her parents were born in New Mexico; and that Spanish was her first language. She also said she married at age 22 and had 3 children.

Family members even today remember the house, where the Lubbon family occupied the two front rooms and everyone shared a kitchen.

All the individuals – except for a 3-month-old – had lived in Fresno in 1935.

Another notation: Domitila and 10-year-old Benedict have “ab” by their names. Enumerators were instructed to use that designation for people who were “absent.” Where were 10-year-old Benny and his grandma on this day? (the census taker came on April 17.) Were they on a visit to Los Angeles, perhaps? Or maybe Socorro?

Within 2 years, most of these people will have moved. The Lubbon family moved to Los Angeles, and Jose’s children will scatter. Two will move to Los Angeles, and two will join the service.

NOTE: Income and names of living individuals are not included in this post, but the information is now public. So if you want to know more, check out the family at this website in Enumeration District 10-55.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Few Socorro Families in 1940

The 1940 census shows us that the post-Crespin and Andreita generation living in the town of Socorro included: Lola and her husband, Vivian Stapleton; Ignacio Torres, and his wife, Andrellita, who were empty-nesters; and Apolonio Torres, who was living with the family of his son, Luis.

It’s been 72 years since that April census was taken, yet some questions seem a little too personal even now.

Reportedly, many people at the time bristled about the census question regarding the previous year’s income. Looking back, you can see disparity in work opportunities. Some in our family had only worked a few weeks in the previous year and others said they worked the full 52 weeks of 1939. None of these Socorro households was considered a farm.

Here are a few notes about these families, who can be found in Enumeration District 27-1 in the first 31 pages. Names of known living relatives are not included here. Relatives in other areas of the nation – particularly California – will be written about in future posts.

As expected, Rogerio Torres’ family was living on Mt. Carmel Avenue in Crespin’s former house, although the 1940 census taker didn’t use addresses. The census states that the family headed by Clara Torres owned the house that was worth $500. (Rogerio had died in Nov. 1934). The children were Annie, Susie and Rogerio Jr. (A circled X next to Clara’s name notes that she was the person who answered the census taker’s questions.)
And as we expected, there was a Luna family living next door.

Next on the census taker’s path was the Stapleton house. Vivian Stapleton was a merchant of his own store. The house of Vivian’s and Lola’s was worth $2,000. He had worked 52 weeks in the previous year, and he had worked 72 hours the previous week of March 24-30. Lola was the one answering the census taker’s questions and she didn’t give an indication of their income.

Note the picture above of the Stapleton house – taken in 2010. The house is in the same spot as it was back in 1940, but the current owners have added an adobe-style wall in front of the home and painted it bright colors.

On another street, Ignacio’s wife Andrellita answered the census questions. She said they were ages 63 and 54, respectively, and that Ignacio worked as a carpenter 20 weeks of the previous year. They owned their $200 home. Ignacio’s name fell on a line that required the couple to answer supplemental questions. From that, we note that both of Ignacio’s parents were born in New Mexico and that the family’s native tongue was Spanish. No other supplemental questions were answered, however.

Farther away but still in the town of Socorro is the family of Luis Torres. (Luis and his father, Apolonio, had been living in Los Angeles, California, at the time of the 1930 census. But in 1940, they were back in Socorro). Luis was married to Petra – who was the respondent to the census questions. She said Luis’ father, Apolonio, was 67. Apolonio is listed as married, not widowed. He was a carpenter who had worked only 2 weeks in 1939. Petra said that Luis was also a carpenter and her family was living in the same place in 1935 where they currently lived. But that line – regarding 1935 residency – was left blank for Apolonio. The children of Luis and Petra are: Andrellita, Viola, Luis Jr. and Gloria.

As for Ignacio’s children’s families:

Mt. Carmel Avenue also was the home of Atanacio Lujan and his wife, Margarita, and two of their sons. Also living nearby were the young couple Anastacio Torres and wife, Piedad. Robert B. Baca and his wife, Teresa, lived on Terry Street and had two sons. Joe M. Torres and wife, Tomasita, had their first three children.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crespin's Line

Crespin’s maternal great-grandparents were among the founding Socorro families who came south, mostly from the Belen area, to settle an area that had not been inhabited by Spaniards since the 1600s. Crespin’s grandfather, Xavier Garcia, wrote a letter in 1818 on behalf of the 70 families occupying the land, petitioning for proper documentation of the Socorro Land Grant – which had been granted by the Spain crown a couple of years earlier. The land grant papers were subsequently lost. Socorro and surrounding communities such as La Parida were part of Valencia County during that time, and did not become a separate county until mid-1850.

Almost all of Crespin’s aunts and uncles were born in Socorro. Crespin’s mother was one of the first Socorro births – that was in late 1819. Some Socorro children were born as early as 1816. Their baptisms were documented at Our Lady of Belen church until San Miguel church was established in Socorro in 1821.

Crespin’s grandfather and great-grandfather, Juan Montoya and Antonio Montoya, show up in early Socorro documents, as well. Antonio died in Socorro in 1822.

Crespin’s paternal grandparents, Santiago Torres and Barbara Ortiz, were married in Santa Fe in 1792 at the military chapel. Santiago and Barbara died in Socorro.

Crespin’s great-grandparents Joaquin Torres and Isabel Padilla lived in Belen at the time of the 1790 census, and great-grandparents Xavier Ortiz and Josefa Tenorio lived in Santa Fe.

Source: “Who Were the Settlers of the Socorro Town Land Grant?” By Ronald Miera, “Herencia,” Vol. 9, Issue 3, July 2001. Pages 8-30
Family History Library Rolls 16993 and 16996, San Miguel Catholic Church, Socorro, New Mexico.