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About Familia

The organization is inactive at the present time and the material presented here on the web is for informational purposes only. Copyright rules still exist, please see informational tab.

We are a research association whose members specialize in discovering and preserving the history of their Mexican-American, Mexican (European and indigenous) ancestors. We promote and encourage the study of our ancestors in historical and cultural contexts. In order to foster understanding of our past and to preserve our heritage, we promote genealogy education in public schools, colleges, and in the community at large. Our membership embraces people from all backgrounds and a variety of occupations. We span the gamut from retirees to college students. We offer membership to anyone desiring to research and preserve their Mexican and indigenous roots. Our meetings are held at several locations throughout Southern California, but primarily at Golden West College, Huntington Beach and California State University Northridge.

This is our Mission Statement:

"The Familia Ancestral Research Association is an organization dedicated to the research, documentation and preservation of our Hispanic-American ancestral heritage. It is the organization's explicit intention to serve as the catalyst in facilitating the research of its members, as well as that of other organizations, societies, or associations, which are committed to similar objectives. Familia Ancestral Research Association also recognizes the importance of cultural and historic developments upon ancestral research and views these factors as an integral, if not inseparable, aspect of the organization's objectives."

The following was a sample of the benefits you received as a FAMILIA member:

Networking Sessions where you can meet and share information with other members who have similar surnames and areas of geographical interests and research. As a member, you can purchase a surname guide containing the names being researched by out membership.

Workshops that offer you problem-solving techniques and strategies that may help you overcome research obstacles.

Discussions that involve you in topics such as: acceptable research standards and ethical concerns pertinent to the genealogical community.

Lectures and seminars presented by knowledgeable speakers on the History and Culture of Mexico and the American Southwest, are available for you, as a scheduled part of many of our general meetings.

You will receive Familia News, our bi-monthly newsletter to keep informed of FAMILIA events, accounts of research done by fellow members, tips on research and archival sources. Furthermore, the newsletter puts you in touch with community events, exhibitions, lectures, and book signings that are of particular interest to our members, in the realm of the arts, literature, history, or culture.

Publications and resource materials such as books, census records,microfiche index and other research materials are available to help you in your research. Resources and records are on sale, with a small profit going to support FAMILIA's mission.

Funding of Projects of historical and genealogical value within the U.S. and Mexico are undertaken. Field Trips and Excursions* designed to help strengthen the understanding of our ancestry are organized for our membership. (*Transportation, accommodation, and any travel related arrangements are the sole responsibility of the individual and are not sponsored or provided by Familia Ancestral Research Association.)

If you are interested in Latino or Hispanic Genealogy (Mexico and the American Southwest with indigenous and European roots), than the Familia Ancestral Research Association is the group for you!

An invitation to Join

FAMILIA is a creative new genealogical organization specifically designed to meet the educational and research needs of the Mexican-American ancestral researcher like you. By belonging to such an organization, you can take advantage of the numerous resources and materials offered to facilitate your personal research and make genealogy more fun and exciting. If the identification and documentation of your ancestry is important to you, then don't miss out on this opportunity to become a member of the Familia Ancestral Research Association!

Please click on the "Membership" tab and be directed to download an application.


The Familia Ancestral Research Association held its inaugural meeting October 11, 1997, at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. The organization grew out of two existing groups, the August Chihuahua travelers and the Chihuahua Networking Group who embraced the goals and mission of Familia.

Featured Speakers

October 1997 The Inaugural Meeting

December 1997 Dr. Ken Yglesia, President of Golden West College; "Personal Ancestral Research, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, USA"

January 1998 Reuben Martinez, Community Leader, Educator, Martinez Books & Arts; "Personal Family Migration"

March 1998 Rodolfo Acuna, Celebrated Professor and Author, California State University Northridge (CSUN); Research process in the San Joaquin Valley and current work, "When the Moment Comes: The role of the Historical Memory in the Revolt of the Cotton Pickers-1933"

May 1998 Paul Vanderwood, Author and Historian, San Diego State University (SDSU); Research on the Mexican Revolution, current work, "The Power of God Against the Guns of Government"

July 1998 Lic. Elsa Rodriguez, Directora Centro de Informacion Del Estado de Chihuahua, C. Chihuahua, Chih., Mex. Organizational overview of the CIDECH; and Claudia Constantin, International Relations Specialist on the Archivo General de la Nacion, Mexico. Mexico's National Archives, private collections, map collections, genealogical resources and library

September 1998 Dr. Reynaldo Ayala, noted Librarian and Researcher; "Parras, Coahuila, the Caste System in Colonial Mexico"

November 1998 Tim Blevins, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces (NMSU); Durango Microfilming Project and sources in the Rio Grande Historical Collections

May 1999 Judith Marti, Associate professor, CSUN; "Women vendors and the marketplace in Mexico City and Guadalajara"

July 1999 Angelina Veyna, Professor of History and Ethnic Studies Santa Ana College (California); "Colonia Women in New Mexico;" Carolina Sexton Roy, Professor of Latin American History, SDSU; "Colonia Women in Parral, Chihuahua"

September 1999 Dr. Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, Professor Emeritus, University California San Diego (UCSD); "Mexico Yesterday and Today, and the Relevance of Mexican History"

November 1999 Professor Everto Ruiz, Chicano Studies, CSUN; "The Regional Music of Mexico"

January 2000 Robert Marshall, CSUN, ArchivalCollection; Urban History Collection

September 2000 Dr. Jess G. Nieto, Exec. Dir. of The Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation; "Primeros Pobaladores of Bakersfield"

February 2001 Dr. David J. Weber, Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dallas, Texas, "Readers, Writers, and the Meaning of the Spanish Frontier in North America"

April 2001 Marta Duron, Mexican Genealogist, founder of Sociedad de Historia, Genealogia y Heraldica de Aguascalientes; "Endogamia/Marriage Within a Group"

June 2001 Dr. Francisco Balderrama and Ray Rodriquez, authors of "Decade of Betrayal Mexican Repatriation in the 1930's"

November 2001 Dr. Miguel Tinker Salas, Prof. of History, Claremont College; "Sonora and the American Southwest"

November 2002 Dr. Eric Van Young, Prof of History, UCSD, "The Pearl of the West, Colonial Guadalajara and its Historical Documentation"

February 2003 Jose Pantoja, founder of Santa Clara County Hispanic Society, "Bancroft Library"

August 2003 Randle M. Biddle, Marine Historian and Marine Model Artist, "Looking it Up: Research as a process of creative discovery"

February 2004 Sylvia Mendez, "Living History: her family's struggle to end segregation in the schools."

June 2004 Dr. Francisco E. Balderrama, Prof. California State University, Los Angeles (CSLA); "Testimony of the elders: Repatriation, Oral History and the Mexican Community"

August 2004 Dr. John R. Johnson, "New Information about Familia Ancestries: How Genetic and Archival Research Are Helping to Trace the Origins of California's Indigenous and Hispanic Populations."

October 2004 Jose Esquibel, "Restoring Family Memory: Uncovering Family History and Genealogy through Original Spanish and Mexican Records."

January 2005 Dr. Rick Hendricks, "The American Southwest in the Greater Latin American Colonial Experience"

March 2005 Dr. Jack Williams "San Diego Presidio and recent research on the northern frontier of the Spanish Empire in the Americas."

June 2005 Professor Rita Sanchez "The Five Sanchez Brothers In WW II: Remembrance and Discovery" and Dr. Ricardo Griswold del Castillo "The Treaty of Guadalupe and Mexican Families of the Southwest."

October 2005 Dr. John Johnson presented new information on Mexican-American Mitochondrial DNA.

February 2006 Dr. Nicolas Pineda Pablos, author of the book "Rio Abajo: Cronica de una familia sonorense"

March 2006 Ruben Salaz, author. Illustrated lecture about the history of the Southwest, book signing, "Epic of the Greater Southwest"

April 2006 Dr. Sarafin A. Zasueta. Subject; "The Basque People"

June 2006 Dr Andres Resendez. Subject; "Genetics and the History of Latin America" and addressing the phenomenon on how Europeans, Indigenous People and Africans underwent a rapid transformation to give rise to new social groups in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

October 2006 Andres De La Garza "Music and Dance of Mexico: Popular Folklorico Traditions of Los Angeles"

January 2007 David Vasquez Hernandez, Nahuatl Speaker and Teacher, Lecture on Native Mexican Culture "The first written alphabet on the Nahuatl language"

February 2007 Dr. Michelle Molina "Jesuit History Lecture and Genealogy Presentation."

May 2007 Barrio History Symposium "Documenting Our Barrio History" Co-sponsored by The Orange County Mexican American Historical Society, The Golden West College Student Center, and The Familia Ancestral Research Association. Two panels of speakers: Marjorie Mota of FAMILIA Ancestral Research Assoiciation, Harvey Reyes of Orange County Mexican American Historical Society, Sergio Jimenez of La Historia Society of El Monte, the Hon. Frederick Aguirre of Latino Advocates for Education, Inc., Robert Gonzalez Vasquez of Inland Mexican Heritage, Toberta Martinez of Latino Heritage, and Francisco Balderrama of California State University, Los Angeles. Display Organizations: Genealogical Association of Hispanic America, Hispanic Heritage Project, Inland Mexican Heritage, FAMILIA Ancestral Research Association, La Calle News, La Historia Society of El Monte, La Purisima Social Club, Latino Advocates for Education, Inc., Latino Heritage, Orange County Mexican American Historical Society, San Pedro Historical Society, Westminster Olive Street Reunion, United Mexican-American Veterans Association.

September 2007 FAMILIA Lecture and Book Signing with;Alex Moreno Aretan, author of "Mexican Americans in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach", and Ron Arias, author of "Moving Target", "The Road to Tamazunchale", and co-author with Paul White, of "White's Rules".

October 2007, FAMILIA Lecture and Book Signing with Prof. Rodolfo Acuña "Corridors of Migration; The Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, 1600-1933."

January 2008, Historian Rick Hendricks with a presentation titled, “Witchcraft and Religious Conflict in New Mexican History”

Work Sessions

December 1997 Beginning/Intermediate and Advanced research

January 1998 Marriage Dispensations, Mexican Civil and Parish Records

March 1998 Betty Carlson, Director, Huntington Beach FHL Sylvia Magdaleno on "The Value of Research on the Documentary Relations of the Southwest" (DRSW) files.

May 1998 Networking by Surnames and Geographical Areas

July 1998 Chihuahua Research Trip

September 1998 Reading Paleography

November 1998 Networking Session

January 1999 Family Reunions

March 1999 Networking

May 1999 Microfilm Research on the Parral Archives

July 1999 Networking

September 1999 Beginning Your Family Research

October 2002 How to use the Parral Archives at CSUN Library

June 2003 Networking, Memorabilia, Pedigree Charts

January 2004 West Los Angeles Family History Library, use of fiche, microfilm, computers, International Genealogical Index

February 2005 West Los Angeles Family History Library, use of fiche, microfilm, computers, International Genealogical Index

May 2005 West Los Angeles Family History Library, use of fiche, microfilm, computers, International Genealogical Index

Lectures by Familia Members

December 1997 Nueva Viscaya History-Part I

January 1998 Nueva Viscaya History-Part II

March 1999 Nueva Viscaya History Part III

May 1998 Mexico and the American Southwest July 1998 Chihuahua Trip Itinerary

September 1998 Familia Experiences in Chihuahua, Mexico November 1998 Introduction to Photo Restoration

January 1999 The Mexican Revolution-Part I

March 1999 The Mexican Revolution-Part II and Aaron and Sylvia Magdaleno, "El Paso Del Norte, History, Documents and Families"

May 1999 Parral Archives, Colonial Documents of Nor. Mexico

September 1999 Reviewing Mexican Documents

November 1999 Sylvia Magdaleno "Exploring Census Records" and Marty Grajeda "The Presidio on the Mexican Frontier"

January 1999 Sylvia Magdaleno "Colonial Land Documents, Solares"

March 2000 Bob Orona, "Filibusters, Manifest Destiny, and Intervention on the Mexican Nation"

May 2000 Sylvia Magdaleno "Marriage Dispensations" and Ed Flores "Selected Documents from the Archivo General de la Nacion"

July 2000 Marjorie Mota "Family History Center for Beginners" and Ed Flores "Census Records" and Sylvia Magdaleno "Testamentos" and Marty Grajeda "Cristero Revolt"

September 2000 Jaime Torres "Religious Ambivalency of Mexicans Over the Centuries and its Impact on History"

April 2002 Marjorie Mota, "Mexican Independence: the Impact of the Insurgency on Genealogical Records"

October 2002 Lillian Ramos Wold "Dispensas/Marriage Dispensations" and Marjorie Mota "The Reputation of Genealogy in the Academic World"

February 2003 Val Villa, "Spanish Research in Salt Lake City and Spain" and Carlos Yturralde, "Parral Archive: El Rescate"

April 2003 Jaime Torres, author of "Return to Aztlan: A Journey into an Ancestral Past"

June 2003 Elma Valdes, "Report on Trip to Salt Lake City

October 2003 Fernando Rodriguez, "Beginning Research" and Marty Grajeda, "Research, Archives, Access to Seldom Used Documents in North Central Mexico"

April 2004 Marty Grajeda, "Mexican Civil Records" and Diana Teran Blaisure and Elma Valdes "Sonora: Historical and Cultural Tour"

September 2004 Mona Hernandez, "Primary vs. Secondary Sources: What You Need to Know When Researching Your Family." and Marjorie Mota, "Credibility on Trial: How to Track and Cite Sources."

Sylvia Magdaleno presented a research class "Esto Es Mio; Solares y Linderos.

August 2005 Elma Valdés“Cooperative Groups: Oral Component of Writing” and Marjorie Mota, “Pre-writing Thinking Maps, Drafting, Peer Encouragement”

November 2005 Sylvia Magdaleno, conducted a workshop on genealogical research, Family History Center, Orange CA.

May 2006 Stella Cardoza and Doug Danials. Subject DNA use as a powerful adjunct to documentary research

February 2007 John Schmal on Naturalization and Border-Crossing Records.

October 2007 Connie Rodriguez on Internet research and Sylvia Magdaleno on Border Records.


August 1997 -- First Research Trip to Chihuahua-8 days

Santa Eulalia, original site of the City of Chihuahua and tour of the city of Chihuahua. Breakfast meetings with historians. Plaza de Armas and personal tour of La Catedral de San Francisco by Father "Paco" Avieta. Round table discussion with Director Elsa Rodriguez and the local press. Tour and introduction of CIDECH (Centro de Informacion Del Estado de Chihuahua), and the Archivo Municipal, Palacio de Gobierno, Hacienda Carolina, Museo Revolucionario. Day trip to the Copper Canyon "Sierra Tarahumara," with lunch on the rim of the Barranca, and visited Creel on the return trip.

August 1998-- Second Research Trip to Chihuahua-8 days

Visit to Santa Eulalia and tour of the city of Chihuahua. Breakfast meetings with historians and visited La Catedral de San Francisco, and the Plaza de Armas. Tour and introduction of CIDECH, and the Archivo Municipal, Palacio de Gobierno. Chartered bus day tour of Parral and surrounding mining towns, Archivo Historico de Parral, Valle de Allende, lunch at an old hacienda, San Francisco de Conchos Pueblo and Presidio followed by a late night fish dinner at a lakeside resort. Day trip to the Copper Canyon "Sierra Tarahumara," with lunch on the rim of the Barranca, visited Creel on return trip. Chartered bus and guided tour of Aldama, visited Franciscan and Jesuit missions.

Note: on both of these trips some members did additional research at the Panteon Dolores, the Obispado, and other sites. Some met with family members in the city and fabulous meals were enjoyed by all.

September 1999-- Bancroft Library

Research trip to one of the largest repositories of Colonial and National period documents on Mexico and the Southwest. Members had firsthand exposure to techniques necessary to conduct research in a major archive. Important historical and ancestral information was evaluated and extracted, and over 20 rolls of microfilm were purchased for our membership. Several members were able to visit museums in the area, dine out with the group and absorb the unique Berkeley atmosphere.

--Research Trip to Zacatecas

Group bus to Zacatecas after initial gathering in Aguascalientes, with a stop at San Blas de Pabell6n, an old hacienda converted into the Insurgence Museum. El Eden, a mine on a hill named la Bufa overlooking the city of Zacatecas, tram ride to the city. Walking tours of the historical colonial city. Breakfast with local historians. La Toma de Zacatecas Museum (Pancho Villa's victory over Huerta). Museo Rafael Coronet (a convent established in 1593) Templo de Santo Domingo tour by Father Masoco, meeting with archivist Judith Medina. La Catedral, built in 1707, city of Guadalupe Archives, tour by Manual Gonzales Ramirez, Archivist. Visit to the archaeological site of La Quemada (Chicomostoc). Visit to the city of Jerez de Garcia Salinas, tour by Leonardo De La Torre Berumen. Visit to the hacienda Cienega de Flores, a working ranch. Many members took side trips to visit places of special family importance.

April 2001-- Research Trip to Tucson, NACCS-3 days

The itinerary included a guided tour of the Documentary Relations of the Southwest (DRSW), participation in the National Association of Chicano Studies Conference, and a field trip to the Clifton mining area.

April 2003- Research Trip to Salt Lake City-5 days

Family History Library orientation and stay at Plaza Hotel. Individual research on microfilms pre-ordered from the vault. Local sight seeing and Tabernacle Choir rehearsal. Members were able to make significant headway in their research with microfilm available at the Library.

July 2006 Research Trip to New Mexico State University and to University of Texas El Paso.

The group discovered some very important information on northern Mexico at the New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM. Also the group made a trip following the Silver Trail from Chihuahua south into Mexico, listened to genealogical research seminars at two outstanding universities, and visits to outstanding historical sites in, Old Mesilla, Ysleta, Soccoro, and San Elizario.

August 2007 FAMILIA mtDNA Lecture and Tour of the Santa Barbara Mission Archives-Library

FAMILIA met in Santa Barbara for a lecture by Dr. John Johnson, curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Dr. Johnson will provide information on the results of the individual and group mtDNA tests given to FAMILIA members. This will include a final result on 90% of the tests taken to date, with the remaining 10% awaiting further analysis. Dr. Johnson will also be taking “free” samples from anyone wishing to have their mtDNA tested. In addition to the DNA lecture, Dr. Johnson has arranged for a tour of the Santa Barbara Mission Archives-Library with Ms. Lynn Bremer, Director of the Archives. Our members will be informed on the archives’ mission to acquire, maintain, and preserve books, maps, photographs, and other documents relating to the history of the California missions and the early history of Spain in the American Southwest.


Familia General Meetings are held on the third Saturday of the months of January, March, May, June, August, October. Meeting dates are subject to change in order to make opportunities for special programs or featured speakers. The venue alternates between Golden West College in Huntington Beach and California State University Northridge, or other venues appropriate for workshop activities.