Tag Archives: Arizona Memory Project

Family History Month: A True Story of Finding Family in the Archives

28 Oct

As Family History Month in October 2013 closes out, another family history holiday begins: Dias De Los Muertos/Days of the Dead, November 1 and 2.  Family and friends gather to remember departed loved ones during this traditional holiday, with Aztec roots, from Mexico. Many American communities with Mexican American and Mexican populations also celebrate Dias De Los Muertos.

Full disclosure: This entry is not written by an Arizona Historical Society librarian/archivist, but I am an educator with AHS.

I want to tell you about the importance of archives and librarian/archivists in learning family history.  In this instance, my family history, and the role the Arizona Historical Society played.

My grandfather, Feliz Ruelas, was born in Tucson, Doña Ana County, New Mexico in 1860 before Arizona became a territory. He died in 1930, decades before I was born.  Growing up I never saw a picture of him.  I wondered what he looked like and who in the family might resemble him.

I heard that information about the family might be available at the Arizona Historical Society, so I went over to check it out.  Bottom line, I found a lot of information, including the first photo I ever saw of my grandfather!

If not for knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly staff in the AHS library/archives, my interest in family history and Arizona history might not have developed.

So, the next time you visit any library/archives be sure to thank the amazing dedicated staff who help you with your research.

One more thing—several cousins and my baby brother resemble our grandfather.

PC 1000-Portrait-Ruelas, Feliz-#

PC 1000-Portrait-Ruelas, Feliz-#18225.  As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Archivists’ note:  We’d like to thank Mary Ann for sharing her story of finding her relatives in the archives.
The photograph accompanying this post is one of several photographs of Mary Ann’s grandfather Feliz Ruelas. The picture information tells us that this was taken at his first ranch, Ruelas Ranch, near Patagonia around about 1885. He had just run a race on the horse pictured here.

Another photograph of Mary Ann’s relatives, this one of her Aunt Adelina Ruelas, was chosen to be put online as part of the digital reunification of the Mexican Heritage Project. You can view that photo online through the Arizona Memory Project or come in to the Arizona History Museum and check out the Mexican Heritage Project exhibit where this photo is also being displayed.

Mexican Heritage Project Event this Saturday!

21 Aug
Fliers for the Mexican Heritage Project event can be picked up in the Arizona Historical Society Library & Archives.

Fliers for the Mexican Heritage Project event can be picked up in the Arizona Historical Society Library & Archives.

In celebration of Tucson’s 238th birthday The Arizona Historical Society presents a panel discussion with the founders and leaders of the Mexican Heritage Project- Patricia Preciado Martin, Dr. Thomas Sheridan and Dr. Norma González  

When: Saturday, August 24, 2013, from 10:30-12:00pm
Where: Arizona Historical Society in Tucson (949 E. 2nd Street)
Free to the Public (please enter through the Auditorium doors to the right of the main entrance)
 
Background:
Mexican Heritage Project Photographs: La Herencia del Pueblo was a groundbreaking effort at the Arizona Historical Society to help preserve and tell a story of Tucson’s Mexican American community from the Gadsden Purchase until World War II. During its approximately five years of active collecting by scholars, field historians, archivists, librarians and community members, the Mexican Heritage Project collected business papers, oral histories, diaries and over 4,000 historical photographs directly from community members, all of which were catalogued and added to the permanent collection of the Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives in Tucson. The photographic collection has been accessible to researchers at AHS as individual photos since the mid 1980s, but has never before been viewable or searchable as a united collection. Technology now allows for digital unification of this rich and varied collection of photographs spanning the 1860s through the 1950s. These photographs portray a wide range of subjects, including formal studio portraits of individuals and groups, street scenes, parades, wedding portraits, interiors, ranch scenes, musical groups, workers, theatrical productions, school class photos, and casual family snapshots. If you wish to donate photographs to our collections or if you have additional information to share, please contact us at: ahsref@azhs.gov .
 
This project was supported with funds granted by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Agency, a division of the Arizona Secretary of State, under the Library, Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
 
Visit the digital exhibit of the Mexican Heritage Project Photographs collection, which is hosted online by the Arizona Memory Project.
 
 

Mexican Heritage Project Exhibit in the Arizona History Museum

18 Jul

The Library and Archives is proud to announce that a new exhibit featuring photographs from the Library and Archives’ Mexican Heritage Project is now up in the Arizona History Museum here in Tucson. Mexican Heritage Project Photographs: La Herencia del Pueblo was a groundbreaking effort at the Arizona Historical Society to help preserve and tell a story of Tucson’s Mexican American community from the Gadsden Purchase through World War II. Exhibit curators Alexandria Caster and Lizeth Zepeda created an exhibit to highlight some of the amazing images from the collection. For more information on the Mexican Heritage Project, check out its front page on the Arizona Memory Project website then have some fun looking through the photos. And the next time you’re in Tucson come by the Arizona History Museum and see the physical exhibit!

A small peek at the Library & Archives' new exhibit in the Arizona History Museum featuring the Mexican Heritage Project.

A small peek at the Library & Archives’ new exhibit in the Arizona History Museum featuring the Mexican Heritage Project.

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The Mexican Heritage Project has Arrived!

11 Jun

The Mexican Heritage Project has gone live on Arizona Memory Project! Congratulations to archivist Alexandria Caster, Knowledge River volunteer Kari Quiballo and Knowledge River graduate assistants Lisa Aguilera and Liz Zepeda on seeing their hard work accessible and available to the public!

We encourage all of our lovely blog readers and those of you who come into the archives in person to check out the Mexican Heritage Project on Arizona Memory Project. You can read up on the history of the Mexican Heritage Project and then view the photos in the digital collection. Also remember that you can come here to the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson to view all of these photos in person if you’d like as well! As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen on the Mexican Heritage Project on Arizona Memory Project please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Enjoy a sample of what you’ll find in the Mexican Heritage Project: this portrait below of Ramona and Alberto Maldonado on an adorable pony. And please stay tuned to the blog, because later this week graduate assistant Liz is going to be writing a post about her work on the Mexican Heritage Project.

Portrait-Muniz, Gloria Romero, #63004. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

PC 1000-Portrait-Muniz, Gloria Romero, #63004.
As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Taking Notes: Nancy Godoy’s Guest Lecture on “Collecting Archival Materials from Mexican Communities”

19 Mar
A photograph from the Mexican Heritage Project. To find this photograph, ask for: #63527 in Picture-Transportation-Railroad-Personnel-1a.Identified in the photo are: Celia Morelos Pain, Brijida Vasquez, Rebeca Andrade (also identified as Rosa Sonoqui, by aquaintance), Ramona Herran Robles, and Juana Lujan.

A photograph from the Mexican Heritage Project. To look at this photograph here at AHS, ask for: #63527 in Picture-Transportation-Railroad-Personnel-1a.
Identified in the photo are: Celia Morelos Pain, Brijida Vasquez, Rebeca Andrade (also identified as Rosa Sonoqui, by acquaintance), Ramona Herran Robles, and Juana Lujan.

As a student in the School of Information Resources and Library Science and a Knowledge River Graduate Assistant here at the Arizona Historical Society, it is inspiring for me to see a former student of both succeed. On Friday March 1st archivist Erin Wahl and I attended a presentation put on by the Society of American Archivists University of Arizona chapter who brought the curator/librarian from the Chicano/a Research Collection at Arizona State University (ASU), Nancy Liliana Godoy to conduct a workshop called “Collecting Archival Material from Mexican Communities.” Godoy, a Knowledge River Scholar and former Graduate Assistant at AHS, presented on the importance of outreach to under-represented communities via non-traditional methods, like Facebook, Twitter, and other technology. Additionally, Godoy has utilized Facebook as an avenue to introduce Chicano/a Research Collection materials to younger audiences. She emphasized the need for archivists to actively be a part of and advocate for the community they serve.

The work that Godoy does at the Chicano/a Research Collection is similar to the efforts made through the Mexican Heritage Project at the Arizona Historical Society. In the 1980s, Patricia Preciado Martin and Thomas E. Sheridan announced a call to action for people in the Arizona community to bring forth photographs of Mexican Americans in Arizona. These four-thousand-plus images include family portraits, businesses, organizations, traditions, celebrations, and much more. The grassroots project did and still does work to document the Mexican American communities of Tucson during the turn of the century from the 1870s-1940s. This term, my graduate assistantship includes making progress towards developing the Mexican Heritage Project further. This progress currently involves the digitization of these images gathered for the Mexican Heritage Project, which will be exhibited as part of the Arizona Historical Society’s contribution to the Arizona Memory Project.