Friday, November 29, 2013


As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to mention some new family connections I’ve discovered during my genealogy research. No, not “dead ancestors,” as my daughter likes to say, but our primos living across the country.

It’s a little odd to think that I’ve never really known any Gallegos relatives outside of my immediate family. My Dad was the only son to carry on the Gallegos name from his father. He had three uncles whom I never knew.
Luis, Barbara, Gil Sr., Gil Jr. & Isabella Gallegos
Fortunately, I heard from two cousins – the daughters of my Great-Uncle Clemente Gallegos. I first heard from Marissa Curnutte, and later traded e-mails with her sister, Barbara Gallegos. We shared many stories during the past year. This past summer, Barbara came to New Mexico from Arizona and we arranged to meet for lunch, along with my daughter, Isabella, my Dad and Barbara’s brother, Luis Gallegos, who lives in Albuquerque.

My Dad said he remembers visiting his cousins at their Las Vegas home, usually in the summers, when they spent time in their father’s hometown. They lived and attended in school in Peñasco, where their father, Clemente, taught at the high school.
Tina Rizkallah and Gilbert Gallegos
I was also fortunate to meet a more distant cousin, Tina Rizkallah, who lives in California. She determined that we are fourth cousins on my Mom’s side. Our common ancestor is Onofre Duran, who lived in Atrisco. Tina has relatives who live in the East Mountains. We met for lunch earlier this lunch when she was visiting.

More recently, I was surprised to hear from another cousin, Kathie Uribe, who is the daughter of Bennie Gallegos, another of my Grandpa Carlos’ brothers. I’m waiting to hear more from Kathie after the holidays. I’m especially excited because I know the least about her father, Bennie, and his brother, Arthur, other than they both served in the Navy in the Korean War, and they lived in California. Both my Dad and my Grandma Rise were especially fond of Uncle Bennie’s wife, Jeanne.

I also corresponded with a cousin, Adrianna Gallegos, who descends from Ignacio Gallegos, the younger brother of my Great-Grandfather, Luis Gallegos. I need to re-connect with Adrianna, who now lives in Nebraska, to learn more about that side of the family. I know that Ignacio was one of three legitimate children of Manuel Gallegos and Francisca Trujillo. My Great-Grandfather, Luis, and an older brother, Juan, shared Francisca as their mother. They both adopted the Gallegos name.

Of course, I’ve met at least a half-dozen other primos during the past three or so years that I have been researching my family tree. I appreciate hearing from all of my primos and sharing the rich history of our common families.

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