Faces of NextGen: Meet Cindy Medina

Cindy Medina, 40, Texas

What five words would you use to describe yourself? Perpetual learner, seeker, adventurer, researcher, and writer.

Why genealogy? Genealogy was instilled in me at a young age. My father would always talk about his grandparents and great-grandparents very fondly. Every chance he had he would talk about them. Fortunately, I also have a baby picture at the age of one, with five generations of women, including myself, aunt (in lieu of my dad), grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother.

On my mother’s side, an aunt and uncle would talk about my great-grandfather, James Gallardo, working for the Alton, Illinois railroad. My grandfather and his siblings were born in Alton. With all this, I knew how important it was to remember who you are.

I was always the kid or teenager that asked my friends questions about their family. If they had vintage pictures, I would run to go see them. I always connected with my friends by pictures and stories they told me about their family, always was inquisitive, and at that age I didn’t realize I was already practicing GENEALOGY. Throughout the years, I have asked my living grandmothers (maternal and paternal) questions and inquired about their life stories. They have always been open and I am thankful for that! I always kept a mental note or jotted down any name they mentioned. Uncles, aunts, cousins, first, second, third, etc. They all matter! And due to that information I have been able to knock down many brick walls. There is no doubt I have Native American and Spanish heritage. I can’t claim a tribe, because Mexico has been mixing for five hundred years and all their birth certificates till 1750 so far state “Mestizo” which means of mixed heritage. I am definitely of Spanish Colonial heritage of the 1700s, not sooner. It is my aim and goal to find out my “Missing Spanish Link” and find out who was the first Spanish ancestor to arrive in “New Spain” a.k.a Mexico.

What’s the coolest discovery you’ve made? I found two months ago my sixth great grandmother, Roberta Baylon, and my sixth great-grandfather, Jose Gutierrez, married in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1793, then “New Spain.” The certificate shows their parents’ names, my seventh great-grandparents. I was so excited to see this!

What are you working on this week? I am working on organizing all newfound research of the past months, which has been vast, on all lineages, maternal and paternal. Once I am ready to continue to do more research I will continue with Roberta Baylon and Jose Gutierrez.

What’s the number one secret to your success in genealogy? PERSISTENCE! It never fails. I can take a break, but once I am ready, BOOM, I find something awesome! As a genealogist, you can take a break, but don’t let too much time pass by. It should be something continuous, something you do for a minute every day or weekly. When the minutes add up, it is a bank of knowledge and research! Last, if one website doesn’t give you anything, always try other routes and get more information, then try again and you will find something!

What are we most likely to find you doing when you’re not researching family history? I knit! My Facebook Page is “A Knitting Journey.” That is another passion of mine. I come from a line of “crochet ladies” on my dad’s side (five generations) and I took the road for knitting with two needles. I can crochet, I can definitely hold my own, but knitting is my FORTE!

Anything else you’d like to share? I have researched my own family, helped friends with “brick walls,” and I have also met great people in the genealogy industry in the states and abroad. I look forward to growing my network more. I would like to support others and be supported. What we do is not easy. We do it because we have a passion for it and we know the value of it. It is nice when you have other passionate people in your circle that share the same genealogy dreams and struggles. I look forward to connecting with many!

The NextGen Genealogy Network is made up of young genealogists with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Faces of NextGen showcases a different member of our community each month. If you would like to be considered for an upcoming feature, simply complete our questionnaire and submit a selfie.