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Monday, March 4, 2013

A Hundred Years Ago

If we were to drop into the lives of our family members 100 years ago, we mostly would home in on Socorro, N.M. Some families had moved to Albuquerque, but our Torres clan had not yet spread far and wide.

Albuquerque’s city directory shows that in early 1913:
José Torres was a baggage man at Albuquerque’s Alvarado Hotel and was living at 311 W. Silver Ave. with his wife, Josie.
Francisco Sanchez was a blacksmith’s helper living at 1123 S. Broadway with his wife, Maria.
Victor Sanchez was a carpenter living at 1224 Barelas.

What were our families doing? The three young men mentioned above got their start with the Santa Fe Railroad, it appears. In Socorro, our families were probably farming. The women worked hard at home. The children were going to school. And families undoubtedly attended Mass every Sunday – perhaps every day.

Did they read the daily newspaper? Did they follow politics? It’s likely that they did. One of the cousins -- A.C. Torres, who was Crespin’s nephew -- ran the local Spanish-language newspaper. It would be interesting to see the front page of that paper 100 years ago, but no copies of that publication are available online.

The closest we can come to a snapshot of today in history is pretty interesting, though. The website http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/ offers up some newspaper pages for online perusal and on this day in history, Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as the U.S. president. The Albuquerque Evening Herald dedicated the entire front page to the topic.

Family, we should keep an eye on the Chronicling America website. If it grows, we may be able to search for names of our own family members in the news.

And for those interested in Socorro's El Defensor del Pueblo newspaper, published from 1904-1950, you will have to look up editions on microfilm at these libraries.