Monday, October 20, 2014

DNA And The Mystery Of Martina

Nestor Gonzalez and Salome (Gonzalez) Gonzalez probably married sometime around 1869-1870 in Santander Jimenez, Tamaulipas, Mexico.  They are my 2nd great grandparents, parents to my great grandfather Ines Gonzalez.  They had around 10-11 children and are the source of a number of great mysteries in my family tree.   This is a story how a DNA test with help me break through a couple of their brick walls.

I followed this Gonzales branch of my family down to Santander Jimenez.  As I combed the church and civil registrations of this town I found many of their children, but no marriage record.  Oddly enough, for the years in which they could possibly have gotten married, both church and civil records are missing.  One of their children was my great aunt Martina Gonzalez. 

Martina was born in 20 November 1868[1].  Her parents do not appear to be married in her civil registration of birth, but by the time she is baptized on the 30th January 1870[2], she is recorded as being legitimate.  I have yet not come across any additional records regarding Martina until she dies in Santa Rosa, Cameron County, Texas on 23 October1952[3]. 

I found both her baptism and her death records rather early in my search of family.  In this early period, I called my Aunt (my dad’s sister,) and asked her what she may remember about this aunt.  I told her the facts of her name, Martina, and that she died in Santa Rosa in the 1950’s.   My aunt remembered that she had a Gonzalez aunt that lived in Santa Rosa and she was married to a de la Fuente.  This is where the mystery begins.  The informant for her death certificate is a Manuel de la Fuente, and is emphatic on her certificate she was “Never Married”. 


Subsequent searches in Cameron County for a Martina de la Fuente or Martina Gonzalez proved fruitless.  Not in the census; no records of birth of children.  She pretty much stumped me.  And it was not due to the birthdate.  By now I have come to realize that they can often be off by a few years.  

Then, several months later I came across a Mexico death record for a Nestor Gonzales, her father.  That record in itself was interesting.   I didn’t realize at the time, that a DNA match on Ancestry would help solve the mystery of Martina, and confirm I was on the right track for Nestor.

[1] "México, Tamaulipas, Registro Civil, 1800-2002," images, FamilySearch (,203611301 : accessed 21 Oct 2014), Jiménez > Nacimientos 1864-1886 > image 86 of 560; citing Archivo General del Registro Civil del Estado de Tamaulipas.
[2] "México, Tamaulipas, registros parroquiales, 1703-1964," images, FamilySearch (,144320602,144367801 : accessed 21 Oct 2014), Santander Jiménez > Los Cinco Señores > Bautismos 1846-1882 > image 447 of 714.
[3] Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 []. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.  Original data:Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah.

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