Sunday, December 23, 2007

End of the the Year Family and Genealogy Update:

Genealogy and Family Update: This has been an unbelievably extraordinary year for our family. Several cousins from several branches but with a common ancestor have reconnected. This year I met, Juanita De La O Gordon, of New Mexico, daughter of Juan De la O, son of Manuel De La O, who is the brother of my grandfather Santiago. Juanita and I communicate regularly. Secondly was Carol Herrington. Carol was married to the late John Garza, son of the late Emma De La O, the daughter of Manuel De La O. Our common ancestors are Rafael and Margarita (Madrid) De La O, our great grandparents . Juanita’s father Juan De La O was an accomplished musician and was recorded for an arts project for the in Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Within a few days I heard from both Joseph Valles of Georgia, great grandson of Buenaventura De La O, a famous and prominent teacher and musician from the early days in New Mexico, and Mary De La O Kersey, of Diamond Bar, California, the great granddaughter of Buenaventura De La O. I also met her nephew Michael De La O. Buenaventura is the brother of my great grandfather Rafael De La O, father of Santiago and Manuel De La O.

The oddest and yet a very personal reconnection was meeting (online) my cousin Randy James De La O. We thought it was cool that we both had the same first, middle and last names, but when we found out that we shared the same birthday as well, it became somewhat eerie. I was born May 8, 1954, he was born may 8, 1979, twenty five years later. I halfway expected Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone to be looking over my shoulder. Randy’s great great grandfather is Manuel De La O. Pablo De La O is Manuel’s son, Arturo De La O is his grandson, Richard is his great grandson and Randy’s father.

Last but not least was an email from Hugh Rowlett Jr. Hugh is the son of Delia De La O, my father’s oldest sister. I never knew my aunt Delia, who lived in on a farm in Tennessee and passed away years ago. You can imagine my surprise and joy to hear from him. I hope to continue to communicate with him.

I mentioned in an earlier post on this site, that Jeri and I, had met Mary Kersey and her husband Dave, a great guy by the way, as well as Michael De La O, Mary’s nephew. We were also invited on Saturday December 15th to the grand opening of their son Robert’s new dance studio in Woodland Hills, California. It was a great night. Their daughter Cari and her husband Juan, recently won a national Salsa championship in Puerto Rico, and gave a great performance at the studio. We were honored to share the night with them.

Jeri and I also met Carol Herrington at the Whittier Area Genealogy Society and had lunch with her and had a chance to get to know her. She is a very nice person and we hope to see her again.

Also, a very probable solution to the mystery as to how my father came to be born in Albuquerque, when he and his family were from southern New Mexico. The majority of the family history takes place in Las Cruces, in Dona Ana County. According to Juanita, Alejo De La O (Santiago’s brother) and his wife Aurora owned rental property in Albuquerque. Manuel De La O (Juanita’s grandfather) having previously moved to Colorado, would return for the winter and stay with them. Why not Santiago and Gumesinda? Alejo and Aurora are my fathers Godparents. So it’s possible that the family would meet there during the winter months and the Christmas holiday and then return to Las Cruces. My father was born on December 16, 1923, so it is entirely possible that he was born during one of those visits.

I should add that all my cousins have been more than helpful, in fact they are light years ahead of me in their research and have been very generous with their information. My father used to say that De La O meant “of the circle”, I have no idea at this time if it’s true or not, but I do know that in this case, it’s an apt description because we have become like a circle, a family circle. As my cousin John Valles said “it is no small act of God that we have reconnected”. I consider them all a blessing.

A little closer to home, my auntie Margaret continues to bless us all with her Biblical Information Ministries (BIMS) and I want to thank her for all she does. Thank you auntie.

This month my son Andrew’s service in the Coast Guard comes to an end . Friday the 21stof this month will be his last day. His time officially ends in February but because he has accrued vacation time, he will be off until his official release date. Andrew and Anaphone have decided to continue to live in Seattle, Washington where Andrew will continue to work and further his education. We are grateful for his service and thankful that he is safe.

All the girls , Meranda, Savannah, Deedee and Lori are doing fine and are either busy raising children or working or both. All the grandchildren, Mariah, Maddie, McKayla, Sidney and Trevor, are healthy and happy, and for that Jeri and I are grateful.

My brother Dennis , his wife Teri and daughter Samantha are all in good health. My niece, (Evelyn’s daughter ) Sunshine Montes, married earlier this year and lives Florida with her husband Brian Harvey.

We continue to pray for my sister Evelyn’s emotional and physical health and are planning to visit her in Phoenix, Arizona sometime after the holidays. My mother Anita continues to be in good health. We will be spending Christmas with her.

My wife Jeri and I are ending the year on a high note and we want to wish all our family and friends, new and old a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Take care and God Bless you.

Above: Granddaughter Mariah Guardian
(center wearing stripped sweater)singing
Christmas carols at Calvary Chapel in Montebello.
Above and below: Jeri and I with granddaughters
Maddie and Mariah at Calvary Chapel Montebello

Above: At the grand opening of Robert's Dance Studios,
Jeri and I with Mary (De La O)and Dave Kersey
Above: My wife Jeri at the grand opening.
Above: Cari and Juan de Dios (Mary and Dave Kersey's daughter
and son in law, and recently returned from Puerto Rico
where they won a national salsa competition.
I apologize for the quality of the photo. Several photos that
Jeri and I took that night were too blurred for uploading and viewing.
Above: Jeri and I with Robert Melgoza, Mary and Dave Kersey's son,
and owner of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Woodland Hills, California.
Above: Sisters Sarah, Lucy, Emma and Mary De La O.
(Manuel's daughters and Juanita's aunts)
Cousin Hugh Rowlett Jr. and family. Hugh in the back and from
left to right are daughter Vanessa, wife Amanda and daughter Jessica.
This photo is in the Azores island where Hugh's wife Amanda grew up.

Above and below: My niece, Sunshine Montes Harvey
(Evelyn's Daughter)and her husband Brian Harvey


Cindy said...

Hi from another De La O cousin. I'm descended thru Sebero De La O's daughter Juanita De La O Barela. Love your year end wrap up!

Mary Kersey said...

Dear de la O family

It was truly a wonderful year for family connection. Thank you Randy for this website for now we have a means of sending it out to the universe for others to find us. I'm so proud to have Randy and Jeri's in our lives. Dave and I have enjoyed meeting with them both. They were kind enough to attend our Dance Studio opening and join us in our celebration. We are equally happy that their son Andrew has returned from his tour of duty safe and sound.

Sincerely, Mary de la O Kersey

Joseph Valles said...

You are so right, Randy, 2007 has been an exciting year for a lot of De La O descendents. I think our Great great-grandparents would be amazed that we could all reconnect after nearly a century and a half!

Apart from the very apparent physical resemblances we all share, the genetic imprint for music, education and artistic endeavor is the most surprising thing that crosses our T's and dots our I's, as it were.

Thanks for making your website such a welcoming portal and a place for celebrating family!

Roxanne Espinoza said...

Hi Randy,
Although I'm not a family member, I'm a long time friend of your sister, Evelyn, who I've lost contact with but have been thinking about her often. I saw Sunshine's pictures and can't believe how much she looks like her mother. My name is Roxanne and I went to high school with Evelyn. I hope you can contact me and give me info on Evelyn. I've been hoping I would find a way to contact her.