The Hispanic Connection
November 7, 2018
HISPANICS? How long have they really been in the United States? Do they belong just like the majority of the rest of the people in this country? These are questions that seem to cross someone’s mind in today’s political dilemmas. Perhaps they don’t truly understand the history and roots behind the Hispanic culture.
Who’s fault is it? Let us begin with the school system. Clearly, U.S. schools will talk about their history first and foremost before anything else. It is the victor history that matters. But if we truly reflected on the history and genealogy of the Hispanic population we will be amazed that indeed they were here first before the pilgrims and many of U.S customs and foods come from what they created and their legacy still lives today in the American culture.
The core of any Hispanic, and it is proven with a simple DNA test, is that they are part Native American. Of course, they are! The natives were here first before the Spanish arrival of the Conquistadores. Natives roamed North/South America and the Caribbean. They were a large population each with their unique niche of culture and traditions, but nevertheless, they were still related and cousins in the Americas.
The Spanish Arrival changed everything. The Spanish were mesmerized by the cities, customs and especially the gold that was in abundance. Their eyes shined to see that such precious gem was underappreciated by the natives and used for decor and not as equally important in value as it were to the Spanish. That became one of their goals, to obtain such riches but first, they had to settle and conquer the natives which was no easy feat.
Challenges, struggles, battles and ultimately the defeat of the Aztec empire in Mexico City and surrounding regions were reasons to celebrate their newly claimed territory which did not come easy. The Queen of Spain was angered originally by the treatment of the natives. They were also having sexual relations with the natives, so she then declared that they must respect the natives, teach them the gospel and gave them permission to marry and reproduce as they pleased under Catholic tradition and rules.
The Spanish brought innovation, new ideas and technology:: the Spanish language, wheat, barley sugar cane, farming and unloaded animals such as horses, pigs, goats, chickens and cows. The natives learned farming techniques and how to use farming tools such as plows. They helped the natives build more durable homes. The soldiers brought weapons that allowed them to more easily hunt.
Due to all this the first original cowboy originated. Many of the cowboy’s wear and terms are still used today in the Anglo American Cowboy culture. Early Mexican techniques & words for handling cattle can be seen/heard throughout the modern livestock industry, like whenever a cowboy cinches a saddle on his horse, straps on chaps (from chaparreras, Spanish for leather leggings), competes in a rodeo (from rodear, Spanish for to surround), or ropes a horse from his remuda (from remudar, Spanish for exchange). Branding migrated from Mexico. On the Pacific Coast and on Nevada ranches, buckaroos (from the word vaquero) still carry long ropes (nylon these days), ride slick-fork saddles, and use silver-mounted spade bits and spurs.
Hence, 500 years later here we are from the initial Spanish arrival in 1492. We have coexisted for this long and thrive today. We are of different shades of brown, some of us reflecting the native and others looking just like our Spanish Pioneers ancestors. We are “mestizos” of a mixed heritage that connects the old with the new world.
States like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Florida etc. were all under Spanish and Mexican rule at one point. Slowly the Spanish territory started to minimize when the U.S. colonies saw best to expand to the west. Needless to say, for many Spanish and Mestizos their culture stayed intact for those whose territory ceded to the U.S. Today, you see a richness of culture and pride grasping strong to their Native and Spanish roots.
After the Mexican-American War and even before that in Spanish Texas, many people of Anglo descent mixed with Mexican families and today you see a vast number of families that share both cultures and heritage. Our mutual Mexican and Anglo ancestors intermingled then and intermingle today. Many people are proud of this mixed heritage as well.
The Hispanic rich history has deeply impacted the genealogy community and the influx of Family Search & Ancestry members. Many enthusiasts have been tracing their roots for more than 20+ years and have a vast and luscious tree to show off. Many have connected to royalty, to African roots, to their Jewish roots, Anglo ancestors and so forth. It is an overwhelming joy to know how far they have come in the past 500 years.
FamilySearch and Ancestry have been the epitome of the treasure of their findings for many researchers. They do not need to make expensive trips abroad to find their roots if they don’t have to. As we know research is a painstaking task. Spanish Colonial documents are wonderful once the individual gets a hold of the nitty gritty way of doing things. They must pay attention to the abbreviations, and learn the different cursive writings used in each century which is the hardest thing of all if you ask me. The abbreviations are repetitive and the documents flow like a prayer since the Catholic church was so stern in perfection. In such documents you will find plenty of information to grow your family tree; parents and grandparents names are included. What a beauty to see such names flourish, it will take the Hispanic individual a further step back to the next generation. Many times it will tell the researcher what part of Spain they originated from and if they are lucky, what native tribe they are from. As for me, with all the records I have found, I have one proven lineage that originated from the Apaches, for it stated my 9th great-grandfather who was Apache from the northern frontier of New Spain (currently Chihuahua state), circa 1790’s was adopted by a Portuguese family that settled in that area of New Spain, which is today Mexico.
Lest we forget that not only do Mexicans have Native and Spanish but also have an array of other ethnicities that came to New Spain/Mexico and called this their home as well::: Blacks, French, Irish, Middle Easterns, Greeks, Italians, Polish etc.
Genealogy is not easy or should be taken lightly and surely they shouldn’t throw the towel right away just because they get stuck. There are various ways to get the help they need if they are stuck and truly want to get beyond the brick wall.
They must join common Hispanic genealogy communities. Today, you will find a vast number of them online with business websites as well as Genealogy groups on Facebook.
There is one for every state, region and city if you look hard enough. The first I’d like to emphasize is MEXICAN GENEALOGY led by Mr. Moises Garza which I am a moderator for. He has a wonderful group of 7K members that are ready to help anyone with a translation and extra encouragement. A DNA match can quickly establish a relation to them and begin the conversation process, exchange of info and photos. “Mexican Genealogy strives to provide its readers with resources and tools to help them find their roots and ancestry”
The second group I’d like to recommend is one just started by Family Search volunteers just recently on Facebook and I also moderate in the group, it is called “Mexico and Central America Genealogy Research Community”. “This group was created to give people researching Mexico & Central America a place to ask questions, collaborate, and share research with one another”
I am excited to be a 2019 Ambassador for Rootstech this year! Spreading the word on what the genealogy community has done is exciting to share. I’d like to say congratulations to Rose Wischnewsky who won tickets recently through my contest to attend this amazing genealogy conference in Salt Lake this coming February. www.rootstech.org
Mexican genealogy is booming! As people discover their roots you will see more of a movement of pride as they discover their Native, Spanish and Mexican achievements and time of arrival. We are all on the same boat finding our roots so we can pass the valuable information to our younger generations, so they never forget who they are so they can move forward with a strong armor of esteem and pride toward the future. As humans we all deserve to know who we are, that in turn will help us understand each other better and more mutual respect will exist amongst all cultures.
I have various culture and history pages and groups on Facebook, one history group is called “New Spain and Mexico History”.
You can easily find me on Facebook, Twitter, & Linkedin as Cindy A. Medina. Thank you for me giving me the time to talk about Mexican History and Genealogy for this wonderful organization!
GRACIAS Y HASTA PRONTO AMIGOS! 🙂
Cindy A. Medina