Sunday, September 22, 2013

Onofre Duran and Ranchos de Atrisco

Since starting my genealogy research, I have been curious about the community of Atrisco, especially since the first Chaves families settled there more than 300 years ago – just before the Villa de Alburquerque was founded. My interest only grew after my Great-Uncle Lalo Chavez told me that his own grandmother, Telesfora Duran, was from Atrisco. Most interesting to me was the name of my great-great-great grandmother; her name was obviously passed on to my Grandpa Louie, whose full name is Louis Telesfor Chavez.

Telesfora was the daughter of Onofre Duran and Placida Sanchez. My Uncle Lalo knew of Onofre Duran, as he was the namesake of Onofre Chavez – one of Telesfora’s many sons, and a favorite uncle of my Uncle Lalo and Grandpa Louie.

For all of those reasons, Onofre Duran and his home in Atrisco were always in the back of my mind. Thanks to a cousin who also descends from Onofre Duran, I got back on the genealogical trail of the Duran family.

The biggest find, thanks to my cousin, Tina Rizkallah, was Onofre’s last will and testament. A friend at the State Archives helped me track down the document, and another friend generously translated the old Spanish of 19th Century New Mexico into English.

Aside from the intense preamble, which is worth the read on its own, the will affirms that Onofre owned property and a house in Ranchos de Atrisco – a three-bedroom home with a backyard. He mentions real estate “on the paternal line,” which he was leaving to his children. My guess is that is land that he inherited from his father. But thus far, I have not been able to establish that his father, Franciso Duran, lived in Atrisco; nor that Onofre was born there. In fact, I haven’t figured out where Onofre his wife, Placida Sanchez, or his siblings – Maria Valentina, Dolores and Maria Luisa – were born. I’ll keep searching.

The other interesting new information in the will is the fact that Onofre was first married to Lugarda Samora. Together, they had a daughter, Monica, in 1850. She was baptized at San Felipe de Neri church. The 1850 Census listed the young family (Onofre was 26 years old, meaning he was born about 1824; Lugarda was 25; and Monica was a few months old.) Lugarda must have died soon after, because Onofre remarried Placida Sanches in 1856. Their first child, Jose Maximo, was born in 1857. My great-great-great Grandmother Telesfora was born in 1867 in Ranchos de Atrisco.

It appears that Onofre Duran died in December 1880, at the age of 56, and his estate was settled in 1881.

Here is a translation of Onofre Duran’s last will and testament, dated May 5, 1880:

Onofre Duran

In the name of God Almighty and Mary Forever Virgin be it manifested that I, Onofre Duran, being gravely ill but of sound mind thanks to our Revered God, revoking and annulling, as in fact, I revoke and annul all and any wills and codicils made by me before this one, I declare and it to be my disposition that this is my last will of all my property in the following manner.  First, commending my soul to God, its Creator, to whom I humbly beg for His infinite grace and mercy that, by deliverance from my Lord Jesus Christ, my Creator and Savior; by the powerful intercession of the Queen of Angels, Mary the Holiest, True Mother and Lady, Worthy Mother of my Lord Jesus Christ; and by the intercession of all the angels He may place my soul with all the saints in His Glory, amen, and being clear that I was married to Lugarda Samora who died in the year of eighteen hundred and that at the time of her death I was left with an only child, a daughter of lawful wedlock. 
And I declare to have remarried to Placida Sanchez.  And I also declare that in this time in which God has granted us life we have had the following children: Maximo, Clofio, George, Telesfora, Bonifacio, Jose Ynacio, Luis, all of which were born from my wife in lawful wedlock.  And to which, after my death I leave as heirs of my real estate on the paternal line, which I state as follows:
It is clearly known that I own the house of my dwelling which has three bedrooms and a backyard and it is also clear that I own the land stated in the documents issued to me by Law in this location in los Ranchos de Atrisco; and I also state to own a three-oxen wagon; I also state to own two calved cows; and I also state to own the lands recognized and acquired by the documents issued in my favor, which were acquired by means of my work, lawfully in this location by my wife and purchased by both of us; and I also state and direct that after my death that my body be buried in the chapel of los Ranchos de Atrisco at a cost affordable to my wife and children; and I also state and direct that once my funeral and legal debts are paid for that the rest be divided, one half for my wife Placida Sanchez and the other half be divided among all of my aforementioned children in equal shares; and I also declare and direct that my executors and administrators be my wife, Placida Sanchez and Marcos Lovato, who survive me, and who I hope execute this, my last will, and for its due execution I signed this Will in los Ranchos de Atrisco on this day May 5, 1880, aided by my witnesses, Melquiades Carbajal and Manuel Sanchez.
Onofre Duran, Testator
Melquiades Carbajal
Manuel Sanchez y Tapia, witnesses
Approved today, July 1st, 1880
J.R. Armijo
Probate Judge
Registered today December 1, 1880



  1. hello, I was looking up my Grandfather Telesfor Eduardo Duran JR, son of Rosanita and Telesfor Duran. Reading your family tree, it appears that they may be relatives of some sort. Telesfor moved to an area near Taos. I do not know much about his history, other than he was born in New Mexico and served in WWII and died honorably at his home. My grandfather was a great man.

  2. I am also a descendant of Onofre Duran as well, Jose Ignacio was was my great great grandfather! We just started looking into researching our family genealogy and it is so interesting. I'd love to exchange pictures if you have any, I've uploaded a few on My username is abdewitt.