Monday, January 30, 2012

Los Chaves, Los Gallegos and Cebolleta

There has always been a connection – through marriage -- on my mom’s side of the family between the Chavez and the Gallegos. My mother, Beatrice Chavez, married my father, Gilbert Gallegos, of Las Vegas; my Uncle Mike Chavez married Charlene Gallegos, of Cuba; and my Grandfather, Louis Chavez married my Grandmother, Lola Gallegos, of Grants.
Grandma Lola Gallegos and Grandpa Louis Chavez

Aunt Charlene Gallegos and Uncle Mike Chavez; My mom, Beatrice Chavez and dad, Gil Gallegos, Sr.

The running joke was always that the Gallegos spouses brought a certain, um, feisty quality to the Chavez side of the family, led by my Grandpa, who would never be described as feisty. I’m not sure feisty is the best adjective, but it’s the first word that came to mind. Grandma Lola, on the other hand, was anything but reserved. By extension, the children of the Chavez-Gallegos unions were always – half-jokingly – put either in the Chavez or the Gallegos category. We laughed it off every Christmas, just as we joked that Uncle Mike must have been adopted.

However, a recent discovery during my genealogy research sheds a more direct connection between the very early Chavez and Gallegos ancestors. My research also shatters my Grandpa’s life-long belief that his Chavez family, with roots in the small village of Cubero, never had any connection to the many Chavez families in the nearby village of Cebolleta.

In fact, I have traced our Chavez line to what I believe to be one of the 30 original settlers of Cebolleta in 1800. My Grandma Lola’s Gallegos line also appears to reach back to another of those 30 settlers. And to make things more complicated, those Chavez and Gallegos families (back then it was Chaves and Gallego) were linked, possibly twice, by marriage.

I’ll try my best to explain it all. My Grandpa Louis Chavez was the son of Diego Antonio Chavez, who was the son of Preciliano Chavez, who was the son of Diego Antonio Chaves, who was the son of Jose Chaves. I believe Jose was the same Jose Chaves on the list of Cebolleta settlers. I do not know where he was born, but his parents were Manuel Chaves and Juana Baca, who were married in 1745 in Belen.

My Grandma Lola Gallegos was the daughter of Jose Pablo Gallegos, who was the son of Merced Gallegos, who was the son of Jose Pablo Gallegos, who was the son of Felipe Gallegos. I believe Felipe was the same Felipe Gallegos on the list of Cebolleta settlers. I haven’t been able to pinpoint Felipe before that, but records show that he was the son of Juan Ysidro Gallegos and Maria Luisa Marquez.

 Here is the connection: Felipe Gallegos, my fourth-great grandfather, married Rosalia Chaves, the sister of Jose Chaves, also my fourth-great grandfather. The Chaves siblings, Jose and Rosalia were the children of Manuel Chaves and Juana Baca. So, if you look at my family tree, Manuel Chaves and Juana Baca show up as my 5th great-grandparents in two different branches.

To make matters more confusing, Jose Chaves (Rosalia’s brother) married Paula Gallego. My educated guess is that Paula is the same Paula Gallego who is the daughter of Pasquala Gallego, who may have been Felipe Gallegos’ sister. The best way to sum it up is that the Chaves brother and sister married the Gallegos uncle and niece. That’s not terribly unusual in those days, I suppose, except that four generations later, a Chavez descendent (my grandpa) of Manuel Chaves and Juana Baca married a Gallegos descendent (my grandma) of Manuel Chaves and Juana Baca.

Obviously, my grandparents had no way of knowing they were distantly related. My grandpa didn’t even know that his roots stretched to Cebolleta, more than 30 years before anyone settled in Cubero. Back in 1800, Cebolleta was considered the western frontier of the Spanish settlements. I will tell the story of that dangerous journey in another post. For now, it is safe to draw at least one conclusion about a character trait that Jose Chaves and Felipe Gallegos had in common more than two centuries ago. They both had a sense of adventure and were willing to risk their lives to carve out a future in an unfamiliar land.

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