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Sernas of the World
This blog is posted by Louis F. Serna, historian, author, and genealogist who developed the earliest family history of the "Sernas" of New Mexico, descended from the de la Sernas of Spain. The genealogy he developed is the basis for current studies of Serna families today.

About Me, Lou Serna
I was born and raised in Springer, NM in northern New Mexico. My maternal family are the Vigil family from the Mora - Chacon area. I graduated from Cimarron High School where I met and married my sweetheart of close to 50 years...! Gloria Martinez de Serna. We live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Welcome..! I hope you find my blog both interesting and informative.

If you are a past reader of my "Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER", (see below), you will remember some of the subjects I wrote about, namely, the Serna family history, the history of the people of New Mexico, and the many short stories about people, places, and events around New Mexico and the world! You will also remember that I encouraged everyone to send me their questions, comments, pictures, and "things" that interested them, and NOT JUST ABOUT SERNAS, but about anything that might be of interest to my worldwide readers.., and boy! did we have a good time and learn a lot about history..!

I want to welcome you to "visit" with me again..! and let's talk about old times, la familia, New Mexico, and our many wonderful cousins around the world..! and again.., I welcome all families and friends... not just Sernas..!

If we have never met, let's do that now and let's enjoy some history, some good food, and some great memories of our great family histories..!

Louis Serna luisdelaserna@comcast.net
The Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER
From 1997 until 2006, I produced a family history newsletter about my family, the Sernas of New Mexico. I had previously done some 40 years of research on my Serna family, taking that history back from me, through the years back to 1626 when my first ancestor, Luis Diego de la Serna came to what is now New Mexico in 1625. I then went back through the family's history in Spain when we were the "De La Serna" family, to 1360 in the mountains in the north of Spain. I wrote a book titled: "The Sernas of New Mexico, a Family History" in which I documented that family history and included a genealogy of 20 generations, and much more. I wrote several other books about historical people, places and events that in many way affected the development of the state of New Mexico and even of the United States. In 2005 I wrote another book titled: "The Sernas of the World" in which I included much of our family history, but also added a great deal of new information regarding the family's origins before 1360, into the region of the Middle East..! I also included many conversations and newly discovered family history from distant cousins in Argentina, Cuba, France, Spain, and even the Ukraine..! In postings that will follow, I plan to share that history I mentioned, and a great deal more..! I hope you will enjoy and learn from the postings that follow. I also hope that as you did before, with the Serna Newsletter, that you will send me your questions, news items, pictures, and anything that you would like to share with my worldwide Serna family and others..! Louis Serna

Book: THE SERNAS OF THE WORLD, A FAMILY HISTORY
By Louis F. Serna
Louis is a native of northern New Mexico in the United States. He was born in Springer, and lived in Cimarron during his High School years. Two years after graduating in 1959, he married his High School sweetheart, Gloria Martinez. In 1966, Gloria’s mother gave Louis a packet of old pictures, telling him that they were her ancestors and asking him to “find out who they were” as she was very proud of who she was. She asked Louis to tell her children who their ancestor's were. Many of the pictures were of her Maxwell ancestors, of the famous Maxwell Land Grant family of northern New Mexico. She died of cancer in March of that same year.

Louis, knowing nothing of genealogy or the process of doing a family history study, and to honor her wishes, started writing letters to the departments of Vital Statistics of several states, asking for help in determining who the people in the pictures were.

In 1975, Louis had amassed enough information about the Maxwell’s that he self published his first book, titled; “Tessie”, in memory of his mother in law. By then, he had become quite knowledgeable in the processes of family history study and in 1994, he had completed the history of his own family and self published another book titled, “The Sernas of New Mexico, a Family History”. On completing these books he published several other books having to do with the history of northern New Mexico, including some of its “desperados’ such as Black Jack Ketchum, Clay Allison, and others.

The Sernas of the World, a Family History is a compilation of the original “Serna” book, and the latest information Louis has researched about the origins of Sernas (and other Spanish families), through their earliest migrations from the Middle East and the Celtic Isles which later became the British Isles and across Europe to what is now Spain. He covers their development in what is now Spain, their Moorish occupation, their establishment of a united Spain, free of the Moors and their sailings to the New World., a period from before Christ to the present.

Louis has included a genealogy of his Serna’s and the De La Serna’s of Spain from 1360 to the present. He has included many Coats of Arms of De La Serna’s in Spain, and has included Interviews he has personally done with Sernas and De La Sernas from Spain, Argentina, the Ukraine, France, and others…, thus the title; “The Sernas of the World…..”

The book is full-size 8 X 11, spiral bound, and contains 200 pages of Serna history. There are 103 pictures including many Coats of Arms.
Source:
Louis F. Serna
11831 Bucking Bronco Trail SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123

Marcelino Serna - Outstanding World War I Hero
Introduction to Marcelino Serna

Every nationality in every war has its war heroes…. Men who go far beyond the call of duty and distinguish themselves by their bravery. They are first of all, men with commitment to “ideals”, perhaps implanted by their upbringing, their family life, religion, or something in their past that makes them dedicated to what they are. They are also men who have developed a sense of commitment to their “fellows in arms,” better known as “their buddies,” and see them as more than a fellow soldier, perhaps something akin to a real brother… someone who you must look after…, as he looks after you! Finally, war heroes distinguish themselves by their actions in the face of deadly circumstances!

Who knows what that last thought is in a man’s head when after seeing his buddies maimed by gunfire or blown apart by explosives, decides he has had enough and rushes into the face of enemy fire…! Most of them don’t survive to tell the story, as they too are cut down by enemy fire! Seemingly, only a very few find themselves facing death time and time again, and their bravery is so unselfish that it is not they who tell of their bravery, but their buddies or others who witness their almost unbelievable deeds!

Through the great wars that the U.S. has fought, there have been a few outstanding heroes who are immortalized in books, movies, and grand parades down main streets… perhaps the most publicized was Sergeant York who in WWI, single-handedly picked off many German soldiers as they poked their heads up from their trenches and then took scores of prisoners all by himself..! Truly an outstanding warrior who deserves the praise he received. There was however, another soldier in WWI who performed the same feats of bravery and outstanding heroism, and although he saved many American lives by his bravery, he would not receive the same hero’s welcome or be immortalized in books and movies. It was perhaps, because his name was Marcelino Serna… a Mexican who was not even an American citizen! This is his story.

I am taking the liberty here to tell his story as it was written in a Borderlands article by Elena Gomez. In keeping with my blog theme of featuring “outstanding Sernas of the world”, I feel that Marcelino’s story needs to be told and re-told to honor his memory and to give credit where it is due…

Outstanding World War I Hero
Marcelino Goes to War
When World War I was raging in Europe, a young, undocumented Mexican immigrant was working in a Kansas railroad maintenance crew, for the Union Pacific Railroad. He had been born in Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico near a mining camp on April 26, 1896. In 1916, he passed through Juarez on his way to El Paso to seek employment “al norte.” Eventually, he made his way to Colorado in search of work in the sugar beet fields. In 1917, the United States declared war against Germany, and that same year in Denver, federal officials picked up a group of young Mexicans, including Marcelino. While waiting for their draft status to be verified, and their citizenship, Serna decided that he would volunteer for the Army instead of risking deportation.

He spent only three weeks in training, and at the age of 20, he was shipped to Liverpool, England. Private Serna was assigned to Company B, of the 355th Infantry, of the 89th Division, also known as the “Midwest Division.” This division was to see some of the heaviest, bloodiest action of the war and is well chronicled. It was know as the Midwest division due to the great number of soldiers who hailed from Kansas, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Arizona. Serna would see action with this group in some of the most rigorous campaigns of the war, including the Lucey Sector, Puvenelle Sector, Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel, and Ennezin.

When he arrived in France, so soon after his encounter with the officials at Denver, his record caught up with him and his Captain asked him if he wanted a discharge as it was now clear that he was a Mexican National. In the broken English that he knew, like 67 other men in his outfit, Serna refused the discharge through a bilingual soldier who translated for him. He told the Captain, “I want to stay with my buddies.” The Captain agreed.

Serna’s unit began advancing towards the Meuse River and Argonne Forest, located in the northeastern region of France between the Meuse and Aisne Rivers. At St. Mihiel, they were moving in heavy rain through thick brush when a German machine gun cut down 12 soldiers in a quick volley. Serna assessed the situation and asked permission from his lieutenant to try to get closer to the machine gun nest. At 5 foot 6 inches, he was the scout for the unit and he felt he could move ahead more easily than the others who were content to lie as low as possible to avoid getting shot! In 1962, in an El Paso Times interview, he recounted that experience to reporter, Bill Birch;

“I jumped up and ran about ten yards and then hit the dirt. I kept this up until I was in the machine gunner’s left flank. He had hit my helmet twice with machine gun fire when I was running. When I got close enough, I threw four grenades into the nest and eight Germans came stumbling out with their hands up. Another six lay dead. I held my prisoners until help arrived.”

Serna recounted another battle to Birch that occurred during a second scouting mission at Meuse-Argonne. In that battle, he captured 24 German soldiers with only his Enfield rife and several grenades. He recalled;

“I saw a sniper walking on a trench bank and wounded him from about 200 yards away. I followed his blood trail into a trench and heard Germans talking. I saw four of them and started shooting, dropping three of them. When the rest of the Germans came out, I changed positions several time, fooling them into thinking there were more of us than just me.”

About 45 minutes later, Serna was close enough to throw grenades at their position. He added;

“They ran into the dugout and I lobbed three grenades into it right behind them. They came out with their hands up and I realized there were 24 of them! 26 more lay dead! I herded them into a tight group with a .45 automatic in one hand and a Luger which I had picked up in the other. After a few minutes I was able to fire a SOS flare and my buddies came to help me.”

Serna continued to display that kind of heroism in many battles that followed and at some point he must have felt that his luck must run out soon as others were falling all around him! He told Birch in the interview, that after months of combat without a scratch, he was shot by a sniper through both legs, four days before the Armistice was declared! He recalled,

“I went down and that probably saved my life. In a little while I was able to get up and hobble toward our lines using my rifle as a crutch.”

In a 1978 El Paso Times interview with Ramon Villalobos, Serna said that he had spent several months in an Army hospital in France recovering from wounds. While he was there, Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces, pinned the Distinguished Service Cross on him. This was the second highest American combat award. A few days later, Field Marshal Foch, Supreme Commander of the Allied troops, awarded him with the French Croix de Guerre for bravery!

For his gallantry in action, Marcelino Serna was awarded;
two French Croix de Guerre with Palm medals,
the Italian Cross of Merit,
the French Medaille Militaire,
the British Medal of Honor,
the French Commemorative Medal,
the WWI Victory Medal with five stars,
the Victory Medal with three campaign bars,
the St. Mihiel Medal,
the Verdun Medal, and
two Purple Hearts.

Serna was the most highly decorated World War I soldier in Texas!

Serna served the remainder of his military time with occupational forces in Germany. In May 1919, he was discharged at Camp Bowie, Texas. He married and settled in El Paso. In 1924, he became a U.S. citizen and worked at the Peyton Packing Company. Later, he became a Civil Service employee at Fort Bliss, Texas.

In 1960, he retired as a plumber from William Beaumont Hospital. In 1973, the Marcos V. Armijo VFW Post 2753 honored him with a 40-year pin for continuous membership.

During his retirement, he spent most of his time tending to his flower garden until his house and others in the neighborhood had to be removed to make way for the Chamizal Highway. He moved his family to a new residence on Buena Vista Street and continued gardening. He participated in Veteran’s Day parades for years. On February 29, 1992, Private Marcelino Serna died at the age of 95.

Although he was once contacted about writing a book of his war experiences, nothing ever came of it. Neither did Hollywood bother to take notice. Nevertheless, Marcelino Serna has a place in history in the U.S., British, French, Italian, and other historical archives as well as in the hearts of the men who knew he surely saved their lives by his actions. He joins thousands of Latinos who have quietly served and sacrificed for their native or adopted country, the United States of America. Perhaps.., for them.., that was enough.

Final Tribute to the highest decorated World War I Veteran in Texas History!
After his death, the Honorable Texas Representative, Ronald D. Coleman introduced legislation before the House of Representatives, as a Tribute to the late Marcelino Serna – H.R. January 17, 1995 -

In that legislation, Coleman requested that Serna be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, which he clearly deserved. In his statement, Coleman stated that although other countries had awarded him their highest honors, the U.S. had not, citing as reasons;

“that he was a buck private, and because he was not a citizen of this country at the time, or because he could not speak English well…”

Poor testament for a man who wanted to stay with his buddies and proved to be one of the bravest soldiers in WWI...!

Louis Serna, from an article by Elena Gomez.

Ref: http://www.epcc.edu/nwlibrary/borderlands/23/marcelino%20serna.htm

GENEALOGIES of LOUIS and GLORIA SERNA
Following are the paternal and maternal genealogies of Louis Serna, from Alvar Gomez de la Serna, c.1360 and Lucas Montes de Vigil, c.1500 of Spain. The Serna genealogy of Spain applies to all Sernas / de la Sernas of the World. Also shown are the paternal and maternal genealogies of Gloria Martinez de Serna from her maternal Hugh H. Maxwell and Piere Menard, c.1700. Go to the links provided to view the genealogies. http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/e/r/Louis-F-Serna/index.html
Another Outstanding Serna of the World... Pepe Serna - Movie Star..!!!

A visit with an Outstanding Actor - Pepe Serna
I received a phone call on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, about noon while I was in the process of building a deck at our home in Albuquerque. Gloria called out to me to say that Pepe Serna was on the phone. I dusted off and came in to take the call, wondering if it was indeed THE Pepe Serna, or another Serna wanting some help with “Serna” genealogical research. Gloria was preparing a light lunch for us, and looked at me with that look that says, “is this going to be another one of those one hour phone conversations…?” When I got on the phone I was very pleased that it was indeed Pepe Serna, (the Actor), who I had sent an email to some time ago, asking if I could do an article on him as an “Outstanding Serna of the World” in my Blog, “THE SERNAS OF THE WORLD”. We exchanged pleasant introductions and I noticed that he was very friendly and gracious… in the way that we Hispanos my age, seem to converse… immediately respectful and ready to oblige… something from our era as children in the late ‘40’s, early 50’s, when we were taught respect and honor before we learned anything else..! (Pepe was born in 1944 and I in 1941.) I knew we would soon become friends. We made some small talk about my Blog and some of the personalities I have featured as “Outstanding Sernas of the World.” Pepe was particularly impressed with the Sernas of the Ukraine and the fact that we Sernas have spread to so many lands across the globe over the centuries. He was also impressed with Joe Serna Jr.’s call to me a few years ago when he was Mayor of Sacramento, California, and joked that he didn’t get a chance to visit with Gloria on the phone as Joe had. He indicated that he was looking at my Blog as we spoke and made reference to my article on Joe Serna Jr., and how I kept him waiting on the phone also, while I broke away from a project I was working on in my shop…. He said it was comical that when I finally came in, Gloria was laughing and joking on the phone with Joe so I assumed it was someone we knew locally…. To my surprise, it was THE Joe Serna Jr. and now here was Pepe finding himself in the same situation! We were soon talking about things we have in common… a love of our heritage, a desire to help others to understand our culture and our history, and our artistic projects and our teaching experiences… Pepe started telling me about growing up in Corpus Christi during the musical explosion in the ‘50’s that became Rock ‘n Roll..! “Corpus” became one of the musical hotspots in that era. I asked Pepe about his family and how he got his start in the movie business and he quickly told me that he has actually been “performing” all of his life…! And that he always knew that he would be a “performer” since he was five years old back in 1949…! He told me how when he was five, his family was invited to some social event at some relative’s home, and the kids started doing some skits and “play acting” and he just stepped right into the middle of it and according to him, “made a fool of myself”… Someone in the crowd had a movie camera and actually filmed him doing his “performance” as he was by then, the center of attention…! Later, that person and his family came to visit with Pepe’s parents and they brought the film along and showed it to them. They all thoroughly enjoyed Pepe’s antics and Pepe saw himself for the first time, performing before an audience who were obviously enjoying his “performance”… He knew then, at the age of five, that he was going to be a performer..! Little did he know then that he would later go on to appear in more than 100 feature films, 300 television shows, and countless improv workshops where he teaches and motivates youngsters to develop their skills in front of the camera. (Pepe’s list of movies is so long that I will simply suggest that you type “Pepe Serna” in your search engine and read the many articles about him and his movies.) Some of his movies of particular note are, Scarface (1983) with Al Pacino, Silverado (1985) with Kevin Costner, The Rookie (1990) with Clint Eastwood, and American Me (1992) with Edward James Olmos, Conagher, Caddyshack II, Red Dawn, The Jerk, The Streets of L.A., and many more. Pepe was fortunate to have been “discovered” by the legendary producer, Hal Wallis, who also discovered such talents as Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Elvis Presley..! Hal Wallis debute Pepe in his film, Red Sky in Morning in 1971. Coincidently, New Mexico was the site for some of that movie. By then, Pepe had been in many local school and community “productions” where he was often the “main act.” He was in the controversial Mexican production of “Hair” and in many of the sometimes raucous productions of the 50’s and 60’s when the music and youngsters were all caught up in “Rock and Roll” and all the trends and lifestyles that went with it. After high school he spent six months in the Marine Corp Reserve program, and even then, he saw the rough training as just another “production”, with the Drill Sergeant as the Director and he, as an “actor.” He found the whole experience quite enjoyable in that way..! After his military service, he headed for Los Angeles where he hoped to make it in show business and he continued to work in the Performing Arts. He said that the day after he arrived in Hollywood, he met a young lady, Diane, who would become his wife of now 38 years..! He said that she actually “supported” him through the first year of their marriage while he developed the contacts and performances that finally broke him into the movies. His first break in movies came in 1970 on the Roger Corman directed film, “Student Nurses.” Early in his career he played the lead in a movie called “The Bullfighter.” From there, he went on to play in a variety of supporting roles, filming four significant movies in New Mexico with actors such as Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Michael Douglas, and recently, Danny Glover. I asked him how he came by the name “Pepe” and he said that when he was a child, his older brother, Bibi, could not pronounce babe, and so he called him “Pepe” and the nickname stuck throughout his life. Over the years, he has traveled to places in the world where his acting skills were part of major movies. Well after that performance as a five year old, Pepe has displayed the skill as an actor which earned him prominent roles in great movies with great actors. Now in his 60’s, he can afford to be more selective about taking roles that continue to highlight his talents as a proven actor and his loyal fans continue to enjoy his performances….! No longer the child “making a fool of himself,” he is now a “headline” actor known around the world..! Quite an accomplishment for a Chicano kid from Corpus Christi…! During the years that he was developing a great reputation as a prominent actor, Pepe never forgot his origins and his struggle to “break” into the world of movie making. He has developed acting groups and has been part of community productions by aspiring your actors, to help them develop their acting skills and hopefully make it in show business..! He is a frequent speaker at events where he is asked to share his views and experiences as an inspirational speaker. He has even visited with Grade School students teaching them to verbalize and role play in a way that brings out their natural talents. Always the actor, and sometimes the teacher, Pepe welcomes every opportunity to share his skills and experience to help youngsters of every age. As he was telling me about this enjoyable part of his life, I sensed that Pepe really enjoys working with the youth and he went on about how rewarding it is for him to see kids grasp what he is trying to teach them about making the most of their talents.

Pepe... working on one of his production workshops with acting students.
More on Pepe Serna
Pepe is known to be a master of the improv. He has created a character similar to the character, “Chuco” who he played in the movie, “Car Wash.” He developed the character and a wardrobe from his 1987 stage production of “Zoot Suit,” and created a one-man show he calls, “El Ruco, Chuco, Cholo, Pachuco…!” The production is Pepe’s version of the panorama of Latino cultural history. He performs in the brightly colored zoot suit of the “pachuco” era, complete with a pheasant feather in his hat..! I could tell that Pepe really enjoys this part of his life as he recited several “lines” from that production for me over the phone..! Much to my delight..! Pepe told me that during filming in New Mexico, he became inspired by all the beautiful scenery and the colorful artwork that was being produced by so many artists. He said he decided that he would try his hand at expressing his artistic talent and so he bought himself a watercolor set and started painting, although he had never studied art. His wife, Diane immediately saw great potential in his work and encouraged him to continue to paint and he soon develop a style that became much in demand..! Most recently, he was commissioned by the Los Angeles Annenberg Project and the Mark Taper Foundation, to paint an inspirational canvas on the subject of reading! It became a poster and was given to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Pepe has received many awards for his acting and his artistic talents.
Samples of Pepe's colorful artwork. Above is "Chulo", then "Chula", and the "Mona Risa..!"
By the time we arrived at this point in our phone conversation, I decided that I should not keep him much longer as he mentioned that he and Diane were preparing for a trip to Garden Groves for a week or so. I asked Pepe about his ancestral roots. He said a relative by the name of Esteban Salinas had done a study on their family tree and he would do his best to get a copy to send me so we can share it with his many fans in this article, or a later addendum. He also said he hoped to find some early family pictures to also share in this article. By the time we ended our conversation, we were laughing, talking, and thinking on the same level and we were both thoroughly enjoying our “platica.” I could tell that neither of us wanted to end the great “chat,” but he had other commitments on his valuable time and I had lunch to eat, although my sandwich was by now folded up at the corners and my soup was quite cold….! Gloria, by now, had also moved on to other important chores of her own. No matter…. It was a wonderful way to spend a once-in-a-lifetime hour with a wonderful primo who is Pepe Serna. Since that first conversation, we have continued to communicate. I only hope that in this article, you can see what a powerful actor Pepe is, and what a gracious and down-to-earth human being he also is., and that is why he is an Outstanding Serna of the World..!!! (To contact Pepe, visit any of his many websites and go to the “contact” link.) This is an exclusive interview with Pepe Serna by Louis F. Serna for the “Sernas of the World Blog.”

The Sernas of the Ukraine

Ivan and Maria and son Oleksandr and Oksana

Oleksandr, Maria, Oksana, and Ivan Serna

Outstanding Sernas of the Ukraine..!

Chernivtsi Region in Red

The Sernas live in Mamajivtsi, a village in Chernivtsi

AN OUTSTANDING SERNA FAMILY - THE SERNAS OF THE UKRAINE
The Sernas of the Ukraine, another Outstanding Serna Family of the World..! During the many years that I have produced “The Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER,” and now “The Sernas of the World” Blog, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful Sernas from wonderful places in the world! The pleasure has certainly been mine..! ALL of them have been “outstanding.” Once again, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a beautiful family in one of the most beautiful places in the world..! The Sernas of the Ukraine..! Where is the Ukraine, you ask? The Ukraine is just above the Black Sea, bordered on the east by Russia and on the west by European countries like Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldavia. It has a long, exciting, and durable history..! Always threatened by one country or another, but always one of the leading countries in Industry and Government. By now, you must be asking yourself, “How did Sernas come to be in the Ukraine?” A good question since most Sernas around the world expect to find Sernas in Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, South America, Mexico, the U.S., and elsewhere. So how did Sernas come to be in this area, prone to the Slavic and Russian languages? As some of you recall, who know me from my books and lectures on the Sernas of the World, I wrote many years ago, that there was Serna influences in the region of Moldavia, Ukraine, and Russia, in the regions bordering the north shores of the Black Sea. There are even people, villages, and rivers named “Serna” there. So how did they get there? I contend that they were transported there by the early Masters of the Sea, the Phoenicians! About 500 BC, the Phoenicians were sailing from their ports in the Middle East, to far off places like today’s British Isles and today’s Spanish coasts in search of tin ore which was being mined in those places in abundance by then Celts.., early ancestors of some of the Spanish. The Phoenicians were also sailing far into the Black Sea, in search of the same metal which was being mined in that region as well. The Phoenicians used the metal to forge weapons and other trade wares. It made sense to me, and history seems to back up my theory by recent DNA testing that has been done in those same regions, which indicate that similar blood lines appear in those areas and those areas only..! Since we know that the very name Serna is a Celtic name dating back to the time that the Celts were in the British Isles, and then in Spain, and then across Europe, it is a foregone conclusion that Celtic Sernas, as miners or workers, or seamen, were transported to those locations courtesy of the seafaring Phoenicians! There is much more to my contention, all in my book, “The Sernas of the World, a Family History.” Could Ivan’s ancestors be from those origins? So who are the Sernas of the Ukraine? It is my great pleasure to introduce to you, Ivan, Maria, their son, Oleksandr (Sasha), and the beautiful Oxana Serna..! (also spelled Oksana). Sometime in 2005, Oxana was working at the Philmont Scout Ranch, just outside my hometown of Cimarron, New Mexico. She was there on a temporary work visa. Many youngsters from Cimarron work at Philmont in summer jobs. At the Ranch cafeteria, one of those kids noticed a young girl go by the food line with a nametage that read "Serna." He asked the young girl if she was related to the Sernas of Cimarron? The young girl replied, "You mean there are Sernas here???" From that chance meeting, Oksana was able to meet my monther Vangie Serna and my brothers in Cimarron. She had never met Sernas outside of her village of Mamajivtsi in the Ukraine..! In fact, they are the only Serna family in her village that she knew of. That chance meeting at the Philmont Scout Ranch started for me, a wonderful communication with Oxana who at the time was a young school girl, living with her parents when she wasn’t traveling to various places related with her schoolwork. Oleksander was living in Canada at the time, enjoying a successful career in music. Ivan, followed in the carpentry craft of his father and Grand-father and also in the faith of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He is and has been a Minister for many years. There is much more to this beautiful family, which I will share with you in a recent interview I did with Ivan, through Oxana. No longer the school girl, she recently graduated and will probably move on to greater adventures. For the purpose of this article, I sent a series of questions to Ivan, hoping that he would share his response with me. I was very pleased when Oxana responded, as she is the “English” speaker in the family. Their responses were so poignant, that I decided to share them unedited, so the Sernas around the world who read my Blog, can know more about the Sernas of the Ukraine! Here are my questions and Ivan’s response; Louis: How long has your Serna family been in the Ukraine? Ivan: My parents were from Chernivtsi. They came from a region called Bukovina, from a village called Beregomet. I don’t know much about my grand parents or great grand parents, only that my Serna ancestors have lived in the Ukraine for some 200 years. Louis: Where were your father and grandfather born? Ivan: They were born in Beregomet. Louis: Did your ancestors migrate to the Ukraine from somewhere else? Ivan: Since my surname is not Ukranian, I have sometimes thought that they migrated from somewhere as my ancestors were the only Sernas here. I know there are Sernas in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America but I don’t know of any connection to them. Louis: What was your father’s occupation? Your grand-father’s occupation? Ivan: My father was a Carpenter. He lived during the “hard” time of our country. Most people couldn’t study at college or university. Very few could study in the big cities. Because of that situation, people, especially men, tried to master some practical occupation where they could use their hands. My grand-father was also a Carpenter. He taught my father the profession. It was rather difficult to survive at the time. People had to struggle. I’m not sure if he attended school. Many children didn’t have clothes for school so they didn’t attend. They didn’t have such childhood as we do, they had to work from their early childhood. They helped the parents with the garden and with the cattle. Each family had a cow or two, hens, geese, dogs, pigs, etc. At that time there weren’t as much markets as now, to provide themselves with food. They had to plant food, then gather it and then cook it. I went to school in the town of Luzhany which was situated 10 km from Beregomet. I attended school for eleven years, nine of them as a full-time student and two years on a part-time study classes in the evening. I had to work to help my family. My grandfather moved to my grandmother’s place. (By coincidence, my father and grandfather were also Master Carpenters..! Lou Serna) Louis: I know you are a man of God. When and where did you decide to become a Minister? Ivan: My parents belonged to Seventh Day Adventist Church. During the Soviet time it was very difficult and dangerous to attend church. The ideology of the Soviet regime was that there was no God. They said the Party gave people everythings! Christians were prosecuted. A lot of them were at prison because of their commitments. It was forbidden to have Christian literature, especially Bible, so people had to hide it. It was much more difficult for Adventists as according to our commitments, we keep the Sabbath Day (according to the 4th Commandment), we don’t work during this day, but there wasn’t democracy and everybody had to work 6 days a week including Saturday. If one doesn’t work, he is fired and nobody else will hire him. Children were forced to attend school on Saturday. There were even cases when children were taken away from their parents because they “didn’t allow their children to go to school that day.” I became a member of the SDA church when I was 16. I was doing building work at that time. I married my wife, Maria, when I was 22. Our first child, Oleksandr, (we call him Sasha), was born he next year and then Oxana was born the next year. I became a Minister in my 30’s. The Church proposed that I become a Pastor, and I hesitated to take the responsibility. I prayed with my wife and we decided that if God wants me to become a Pastor, I will be. At first, I worked as a Pastor in our local church and then I was elected to work as a Youth Director at the Bukovinska Conference. I was responsible for the youth ministry in the territory of 3 regions. I really liked it because I was a very active and energetic person and I liked working with the youth. Four years later, I was elected as the Youth Director for the entire Ukrainian region so I was responsible for the youth ministry of the whole territory of Ukraine. The main office was in Kiev, our capital. I had to move there and leave my family in our home. My son, Oleksander was already in college and Oxana was attending school and music school. I did not move my family to Kiev because I had to do a lot of traveling. I went home to see them twice a month. I worked there for 4 years and then I was invited to work at Vinnitsa City as an Administrator in the position of Secretary at Podolska Conference. I worked there almost 10 years. My wife Maria and I live here now. In May of 2007, there will be elections and I don’t know if I will stay here or be invited somewhere else. We hope we can return to the Chernivtsi region, back to our lovable home. We pray on it but we will accept God’s will. Louis: Did you serve in the military? Ivan: Yes, I served one year from 1973 to 1974 in Mukachevo. It is situated in the Karpathian mountains on the border with Hungary. Louis: What was it like for your family during World War II? Ivan: My parents were lucky. They didn’t feel much of WWII. At that time the west part of Ukraine was under European countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech, and Romainia. Chernivtsi, (Bukovina), was under Romainia. But it was terribly difficult for people who lived in South, North, and East. They were occupied by the Soviet Army. Russians wanted to destroy our Ukranian culture, especially our language. All educated and smart people were taken to Syberia or put into prisons. The food was taken away… the West part of Ukraine was occupied by Soviet Union in 1945, the other parts earlier in 1918 During WWII Soviet Union wanted to destroy our culture and everything. The policy was to make all people equal, the middle class, to destroy religion, to control all spheres of people’s life, no democracy, people couldn’t go to another country. They were told that the best place in the world was the Soviet Union. They said that the other countries were beneath us, especially the USA. It was a rather difficult time because the government tried to kill a person personally, they had to follow totalitarian ideology. People were told where to study or live. Adventists didn’t have any opportunity to study at college or university, first because they were not members of the Socialist Party and second because they didn’t attend classes on Saturday. People laughed at Christians. It was very hard to get Christian literature. Almost all literature was reprinted by people. My wife Maria used to do that. She printed a lot of books from the originals. She had to do it in the basement of her house because if the government noticed, she would be arrested. A lot of people were arrested at that time…. Louis: Do you travel around Europe on business? On vacation? Ivan: Yes I travel a lot in the territory of Ukraine. I go to Europe not too often. I go to Russia, Germany, Hungary, Czech, and Poland with my work. I took the family to Russia and to Italy but we were not able to travel a lot because of finances. It’s very expensive, especially for the Minister. Louis: Are you retired from work now? Do you plan to retire soon? Ivan: Yes, I am tired of work but I like it and I enjoy it. I am quite devoted to my work and I am a spiritual person so I try to do my best in everything, especially my job. I’ll retire in 7 years, but you know, frankly speaking, I think I’ll work until the end. I hope Maria and I can live in our home in Mamajivtsi this summer. The present term of my job ends this Spring in May. We’ll see what happens then. Louis: What does the future hold for the Ukraine? Ivan: I love the Ukraine. It is a young country that has a rich history. It’s history began in the 11th century during the ruling of the Kievan Rus. At that time it was the second most powerful country in Europe after Visanty (modern Turkey). It had reached culture and a stable economy. At that time, countries like Germany, France, and others had tribes at their territories and weren’t developed. I’m not sure how long it existed, but some period. It had a very good geographical position as the Ukraine was situated at the centre of Europe. A lot of trade crossed the Ukraine. It had very good soil, (the black one), good climate and nature. That is why other nations and tribes tried to occupy Kievan Rus and after some period of time it was destroyed. From that start came the Ukranians, the Russians, and the Belarussians. Then many countries like Vizanty, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Czek, and Russia occupied us. We released from them but then another occupied us… We have a cruel history. Modern Ukraine is a young country. This year in August will be 16 years old. Nowadays we have democracy in our country but still sometimes we experience the influence of the Soviet Union. After the destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was very difficult for Ukraine because Russia took almost all money and resources from us and other countries too. I remember at that time a lot of people were depressed because they had a lot of money at banks and after the destruction, the ruble lost it’s value so people lost big sums. There was high inflation. The government was very corrupted. Now the situation is much better, the cities and towns are renewed and they look pretty modern. There are lots of goods in supermarkets. You can live very good if you have money. You can live even better than in the USA, because the food and clothes are more natural. The biggest problem is still money. The government doesn’t provide enough work places and because of that, a lot of people work in other countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, the USA, Canada, Germany, etc. Nevertheless, our culture and history is very rich and people are hard-working. Ukrainian nation is famous for it’s food, songs, women, and language. Our language is melodic, and in third place behind Italian and French in it’s pleasant spoken language. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Orange Revolution which took place in the Ukraine 2 years ago? It was a time for Ukrainians to show the world that we are a nation with our own language. We love our country and we want everyone to come here and enjoy our nature. We have everything. Mountains, flat areas, two seas, a lot of rivers, and our nature is fantastic..! Louis: What do you want for the future of Ukraine and Europe? Ivan: I want people of Ukraine and Europe to live in peace and love. I want people to know about Jesus Christ and his love for us. I want everyone to think about eternal values and to prepare for the second coming of Christ! Louis: Would you like Sernas and other people to contact you? Ivan: Yes..! I appreciate the work you do and I thank you for it. I would like Sernas from other countries to write to me and my children. Here are our emails. Ivan and Maria Serna serna_ivan@vn.ua Oleksander and Rita Serna sanya-ca@hotmail.com Oxana Serna oxana_serna@hotmail.com Oxana Serna Corazon.17@gmail.com There is much more to this wonderful family and especially Oxana who is full of energy and has traveled throughout Europe and the United States with her school studies. It has been my pleasure to present this beautiful “Outstanding” family to you and I hope you can find the time to send them an email and let them know that we are all one big family after all…! Lou Serna louserna@comcast.net
Dr. Hilda Serna - Alternative Body Health Practitioner
Preface: I first became aware of Dr. Serna, while reviewing the University of New Mexico Fall Semester Lecture schedule for September 2005. She was scheduled to read from her latest book, "Angel's War," a biographical fiction based on the life of Juan Guerra, a District Attorney in Texas. I contacted her by email to learn more about her. We exchanged several communications and I was left with a very good impression of her and her work. I consider her, another "Outstanding Serna of the World..!"

Dr. Hilda Serna, Allopathic Doctor
Dr. Hilda Serna - Another Outstanding Serna of the World
Dr. Serna has treated patients as a western medical physician for twenty years. Her experiences with her many patients, their afflictions, their treatment, and their eventual outcome, sometimes good and sometimes sad, led her to look at the world of medicine and the treatment of many illnesses, with a new vision of what really helps a patient., and what doesn’t. Her open-mindedness led her to seek other alternatives that in her experience, led to complete recovery for some and greatly improved conditions for others. That’s when Dr. Serna decided that she would seek the advice and instruction from others who were providing profound, effective treatment to their patients. That’s when she decided that she would dedicate herself to Alternative Body Health. What is Alternative Body Health? It is treatment for those who want to return to optimum well being by first of all, recognizing that they have to take a really good and honest look at how they are living their lives. What they are consuming, how they are exercising, how they approach life from a mental and even spiritual point of view. It is for those who are ready to take control of their lives as best they can in order that their bodies are as healthy as they can be, thus assuring a better and longer life experience. To that end, Dr. Serna offers “4D Light and Energy” therapies. Who is this for? Anyone battling depression, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, gastritis, cancer, insomnia, addiction, and other afflictions that traditional medicine has not helped. 4D therapies are non-invasive, gentle, and do not require the traditional use of drugs. In 4D anatomy, the liver is the most important organ of the body. For this reason, she administers, as part of the treatment, a 7-day herbal bitter tea to detoxify the liver So how and why does a traditional medical doctor turn to alternative medicine? According to Dr. Serna, “she never looked for it; it found her!” She became aware of it, first hand, when she experienced an illness that would not be cured by even two of the leading medical specialists in that field. Her condition, a disease of the blood, worsened daily. On the advice of a trusted friend who told her, “Let me take you to a doctor who WILL cure you,” she was soon off to see this doctor. She was surprised to see that when they arrived at the doctor’s address, he was a psychologist..! Reluctantly, she submitted to his treatment which started by him telling her to remove any metal objects from her body and not to cross her arms or legs during treatment, as that would interfere with her flow of energy… From there, a treatment started that within a few short weeks, had her recovering until she was cured…! Dr. Serna was so impressed with her treatment that when the doctor offered a seminar for teaching this alternative medicine, she immediately signed up and became her teacher’s apprentice for the next three years. She finished the Master’s course, started applying the therapies that had cured her and many others, and has never looked back. Who is Dr. Serna? She’s a fourth generation Texas native of obvious Spanish origins. She lived mostly in Mexico, returning to Texas some years ago. Aside from being a doctor, she is a consummate writer. She published two novels in English and a prose and poetry book in Spanish. The Eagle’s Destiny, “Quien Toca?”, REALIDADES Y CONTEXTOS, and Angel’s War. Recently, she produced a narrative short film entitled, America’s Children. The film won 5 awards at the 13th Annual CineSol Film Festival 2006, which were; First Runner Up, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer, Best Sound and Audience Award. She is also engaged with art, culture, and literature. Her hobbies are; kayaking, cooking, reading, and traveling to the jungles of Mexico as a clinician and as a friend, to engage with indigenous communities. Much of this article is from her website; http://alternativebodyhealth.com/default.aspx I highly recommend that you visit her website and get in touch with her to learn more about her and her life saving and life altering treatments. Lou Serna
Mi Rancho en La Higuera, Mexico by Dean Whinery
Preface: Dean Whinery is a long-time friend and supporter of my "Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER." Over the years, he has sent me many letters, telling me about the Serna family he married into, in his beloved little village of La Higuera, Mexico. I finally convinced him to prepare an article for us, describing his involvement with the many Serna families that inhabit that region of Mexico. His article is a wonderful glimpse into this tiny community and the people who are Dean's friends and now relatives... I hope you enjoy his thoughts and his love of this little village as I have. Lou Serna

Mi Rancho en La Higuera
Mi Rancho: “La Higuera” by Dean Whinery La Higuera is just a spot, not even on the map of the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. The name itself means “fig tree”., and there are two of them in town…, one in the Churchyard and one in one of the resident’s garden. I don’t know the significance of the name. I first heard of it and the nearby ranchos in eastern Huanusco some 30 years ago when Francisco Serna and his family moved next door to me in Orange County, California where I live. I’m Dean Whinery, a journalist living in California. Through my limited Spanish, (born in East L.A….), we were soon good friends, with his kids spending time at my house. I was often invited for meals at their table and to their family parties. About 20 years ago, Francisco’s brother-in-law, Raudel Ramirez, invited me to spend Christmas with his family in La Higuera.., a wonderful gesture of true friendship..! I spent a couple of days visiting with Francisco’s cousins, Panchita, Carlos, and Juan Serna in Guadalajara and then took the three hour bus ride to the rancho. I immediately fell in love with La Higuera and determined to live there some day. Soon, I was invited to the wedding of another Serna, who I didn’t know, and on Sunday after la Misa at La Capilla de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, I was introduced to dozens of other Sernas and their relatives, including a very old Roque Serna, one of the first settlers of the last century! I spent part of Christmas Eve with Raudel, his wife, Maria Serna, and their children. The next day, after strolling through the little village and ended up at the home of Alfredo Serna and his extended family. I learned that there were some 500 villagers, who were presently “al norte”… (“al norte” means they are somewhere in the U.S. working), and that nearly all of Alfredo’s family now resided in California. La Higuera has a population of about 283 citizens, (per the 2005 Census), and is located midway between the city of Jalpa in Zacatecas, and Calvillo in the state of Aguascalientes. It rests beside the Rio Calvillo that flows through el Valle de Juejucar, at an elevation of almost a mile above sea level. It is surrounded by Ejido Arroyo Soto which is part of the old Hacienda de la Luz. The area is supported by agriculture in the form of corn and guayabas, and cattle ranching. It is said that the legions of Sernas in the valley are all descended from two brothers who came to the area 200 years ago and worked for the prominent de Leon family who owned La Luz and three adjoining haciendas. Roque and his brother, Menardo, came from La Luz and were grandsons of those first two Sernas. Alfredo and his brother Delfino were also from there. My late father-in-law, Raul Serna, was born in Arroyo Soto and his family moved to La Higuera when he was an infant. Arroyo Soto is situated in the gulch of the same name that marks the border between Zacatecas and Aguascalientes. It is now a ghost town as the Sernas moved to La Higuera and the Sotos moved to La Palma. La Higuera has given birth to four Presidentes Municipales of Huanusco., something to be proud of in that little village..! They are Anselmo Vazquez who served from 1965 to 1967 and his son, Humberto, (1974-1976). Both men were teachers. A nephew of theirs, Hugo Vazquez, who was an Engineer, served from 1992 to 1995 and the current Presidente, Humberto Vazquez, is their grandson and an Economist. Needless to say, the Vazquez family is intermarried with the Serna family. I met my wife, Elida Serna de Vazquez about 13 years ago. She has many relatives in La Luz, including the now retired Registro Municipal y Jues de Huanusco, her great uncle; Don Jose Camino Serna who shares a stately casa with his brother, across the street from the Hacienda residence itself. Other relatives are in La Higuera and in the surrounding ranchos, and in California and Oklahoma. Still others from La Higuera live in Oregon, Washington, Michigan, and Illinois. The Capilla (chapel) at La Higuera is built on land donated by my wife’s uncle, Don Juventino Serna and is owned in common by the villagers. It is served by the Priest from San Jose de la Palma which is about 2 kilometers away, under the vicariate which includes about 20 remote village Capillas. Don Juventino served several years as Comisario or town Sheriff, a position appointed by the Huanusco Presidente Municipal. Several other Sernas have been Comisarios of the village through the years. Other important community posts are the Maintenance Committee of the local Capilla, the Council for the Ejido, the Waterworks Committee, and the group that oversees the Annual Fiesta and the Jaripero held each January. These celebrations tend to overlap. A couple of paved streets and several cobblestone calles run through the village of La Higuera. They pass la Escuela de Mariano Matamoros, where el professor Alejandro Carrillo teaches all six grades to some two dozen Sernas and a few cousins. There is a library, a kindergarten, and a telesecundaria. Sewer lines and a new water system beneath the streets, have replaced sometimes “iffy” wells. There are a handful of small stores which are owned by the Serna, Vazquez, Camino, and the Hernandez families. For years I have been asked when I’ll come back to La Higuera to stay. They tell me, “eres familia aqui,” which to me is a huge compliment. It won’t be long now, as I have already acquired a lot on a small hill at the edge of town. A longtime friend, Armando Camino, whose wife Magdalena Serna is a nurse at the clinic at La Palma, is overseeing the construction of my new home. I could write a book about the area, the Sernas, and my experiences with these wonderful people. In fact, with the help of a teacher who lives in La Luz, that book is in the works! This teacher is a grandson of the old hacienda’s carpenter and lives in a portion of the old residence…, and yes.., his grandmother is also a Serna. What’s not to like about La Higuera? Nothing.! Despite being on a Federal Highway, it is tranquil with a capital “T”..! The people., the familias; Serna, Vazquez, Esqueda, Ramirez, Camino, and the others are like the weather, very nice. If one gets itchy feet, it is only a few miles by bus or “combi” to La Jalpa, Calvilo, and to other ranchos nearby, including La Presa de los Sernas. “La Presa” is a small pond, dam, or reservoir and the name probably derives from the many Sernas who live there. There are Sernas everywhere in that vicinity..! With regard to La Presa de los Sernas, I have a neighbor in California by the name of Azucena “Suzi” Serna y Serna de Serna. She married the son of yet another Serna from La Higuera; Jose Manuel Serna y Esqueda… not long after, they discovered that they were “fourth cousins”… She is without doubt, a Serna through and through..! The Primary school there is named for Daniel Serna. Not far from La Higuera, near central Zacatecas, lives Padre Antonio “Tonio” Serna. He has two brothers and a sister at Guadalajara, and they are of course, friends of mine and a joy to know..! Also in Guadalajara is the Chiu-Serna family, who are in clothing manufacturing. They make the uniforms for the famous “Las Chivas” soccer team of great prominence in Mexico. They are also half Chinese and half “Sernas!” Most of the family is very light complected and display none of their Chinese heritage., except for the youngest who is now 20 years of age and could pass unnoticed on the streets of Beijing. Most of the Sernas in Zacatecas are light, some with blue or green eyes, and some with red hair, certainly for their Spanish influence. There is so much to tell about the Sernas of La Higuera, Zacatecas, Huanusco, Guadalajara, La Presa de los Sernas, and all the other Sernas of that region. They have all welcomed me into their homes and into their lives and I can never include all the wonderful stories and feelings I have for them. I hope my upcoming book will allow me to tell all I want to share about these wonderful people..!

An Outstanding Serna Professional
David C. Serna, Attorney at Law And An Outstanding Serna of New Mexico By Louis Serna c. 2007 It has been my pleasure to know David Serna for quite a few years. I have written articles about him and his achievements, most recently, in my Jan 2002 Issue of The Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER. Back then, I wrote about how he takes time from his busy schedule to respond to articles I write, and always with a friendly manner, that makes me feel of him as a brother or close cousin..! David’s father, Edison Coleman Serna, (1923 – 1977), was born in Rincon, New Mexico to Jose Benavidez Serna and Margarita Coleman – Serna. Edison lived his life in the Silver City area. He graduated from the Tulane Law School in 1950 and practiced law for a few years as a Labor Lawyer, defending the rights of the poor and oppressed Hispanics who worked the local mines around Silver City. He was elected District Attorney in the 6th Judicial District and served as District Attorney for over 20 years until his untimely death in a car accident..! David followed his father’s example, graduating from the prestigious Georgetown Law School in 1977. He has been in practice in Albuquerque ever since. It is not enough to merely say that David “has been in practice” ever since, as he has been an outstanding Lawyer for over 28 of his 52 years of age..! His achievements have been many and just to name a few; The Albuquerque Magazine, in its July 2006 Issue, names him one of the “Top Lawyers of Albuquerque.” In a random sampling, the Magazine named him one of the top three lawyers in Albuquerque, and the one “most wanted” to represent you in a courtroom..! David is the only Lawyer in New Mexico, Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, as a Diplomat and Trial Advocate in Criminal Law. He is also Board Certified by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization as a Trial Specialist in Criminal Law. His Certifications, which require rigorous examination, peer reviews, and even opposing counsel reviews, have been renewed every five years since 1986. He is the first New Mexico Lawyer to be named as a Founding Member of the National College for DUI Defense, at the Harvard Law School. He is the only Lawyer in New Mexico, to be interviewed by the esteemed Lawyers Weekly USA Magazine, published in Boston, Mass., for It’s Sept. 2001 front page story, “Drunk Driving Attorneys Use Police Videotapes to Win Cases.” David has been an active National Legal Committee Member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws for many years. He is proud of his involvement since 1955, as a “Defense Mentor” for younger or less experienced Lawyers under the Trial Lawyers Assoc. Mentor Program. In 1994, David was appointed by the late Chief Judge of the Federal Court for the District of New Mexico, Juan Burciaga, to sit on the Justice Act Panel Committee, which he did until 2001, when he was re-appointed by the successive Chief Justice. David has many outstanding accomplishments and qualifications, too numerous to mention here. Visit his website at: www.sernalaw.com to learn more about him, and at www.NewMexDWILaw.com to learn more about his successful Law practice. He is a premier Lawyer and an outstanding Serna who makes us all proud..! Once again, I am very pleased and proud to call David my friend and a primo deserving of an “abrazo fuerte” in the manner that makes us all proud to be a Serna!

Two Outstanding Hunters - Rick and John Serna
Two Outstanding Young Sernas…! John Patrick Stephen Serna and Rick Serna of the Cimarron Serna Family. John is an outstanding young family man and an “apprentice” big game hunter! He has many other “titles and accomplishments” to be proud of, but today let’s look at his Serna family background, his mentor and uncle, Rick Serna, and their hunting prowess..! John is the son of Tom Serna, the son of Vincent Serna, one of New Mexico’s finest craftsmen and big game hunters of the WWII era. Vincent was himself raised by Liben Serna, his uncle, and legendary bear hunter immortalized in a book by his name, “Liben Serna, Bearhunter of the Rayado.” From Liben came the secrets of hunting wolves, bears, deer, lion, and elk of the mountains of northern New Mexico where he learned his skills from his brothers. Vincent Serna had nine sons and all of them are seasoned successful hunters. John always had the desire to learn everything he could about hunting and was fortunate to have his uncle Rick as his closest mentor! Rick is a licensed big game hunting guide and hunter and has been for 15 years and is certainly the master hunter of the family today. John is learning quickly at the very young age of 32. John has been careful to learn all the skills and techniques of the hunt, and from his uncle Rick, who is only 42, has learned the finesse of hunting; how to stalk, how to think and how to out-smart the wily beasts of the mountains and meadows of New Mexico. Today, John is the equal of his other uncles and perhaps in many ways, the young “Jedi” master of the hunt! Here are some of John’s recent hunts and trophies; Most recently he was featured in the March-April 2006 Issue of MULEY CRAZY Magazine, where trophy game animals and their baggers are recognized by the outstanding hunters of North America. Here is John with a trophy Mule deer he bagged in 2005 in southwestern New Mexico that appeared in the Magazine. John also appeared in the 2006 issue of “The Science of Camouflage Magazine,” producers of “Natural Gear” hunting clothing. He is pictured as shown here in the Deer section of the magazine. Go to; http://www.naturalgear.com/. Pictured above is “Uncle” Rick Serna, posing with the same deer. Rick helped John scout, track, isolate, and then advised John on taking the shot. His tutoring of John has him almost ready to apply for his Professional Hunter’s License and Rick is just the man to show him how it’s done..! Rick Serna, is the family undisputed master hunter. Just two weeks later, John and Rick again teamed up on a hunt in the White Sands Missile Range area of southern New Mexico. This time the game was Oryx..! This is the African game animal imported some years ago to see if it would acclimate in New Mexico and indeed it did..! Shown above is John with a trophy Oryx..! On this hunt, both Rick and John each bagged a beautiful Oryx..! This is the elusive, much sought after big game animal of New Mexico today..! Again in April of 2005, John was on a hunt of perhaps one of the most elusive game animals of all..; wild turkey..! And of course, John bagged his in spectacular fashion…. and it was a big 21 pounder..! In September of 2005, the call of the wild had John out on two dove hunts where he took the New Mexico state limit on each hunt..! Did I mention that John is a “dead shot” when it comes to hunting??? He would prove it again in November of 2005 when he was again on a hunt with his uncle Rick and they both bagged a great buck each..! John tells me that he loves to hunt with his uncle Rick because they have done so much hunting together, that they are hunting “geeks!” That is, they carefully plan every stage of a hunt, including the area they are going into, the type of camouflage gear to wear to suit the terrain, scent control to meld into the environment, the type of firearm to use and the appropriate ammunition, some for long distance and some for close distance shots, the weather reports including wind, weather, terrain, maps, GPS, strategy, and even the moon configuration…. No, not to hunt at night, but to know what the game animals are going to be doing that night and where they will be in the hours of first light..! Yes, these are master hunters..! They have become so synchronized in their thinking that John says they can plan a stalk, head out in different directions completely out of sight of each other, and arrive at a planned location at the same time in spite of trekking difficult terrain, fording streams, and sometimes snowy conditions! Both Rick and John are experienced hunters and both can do a “team” big-game guide hunt and are available to take a novice or experienced hunter on the hunt of his or her life!

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice - Patricio Serna
Another Memorable Serna..! In the November 1997 Issue of the Sernas of New Mexico NEWSLETTER, I wrote about my very pleasant personal experience with Patricio. We had arranged to get together on November 12 at his office in Santa Fe, to just visit and talk about our Serna familia genealogy. When I got there, his office was of course, the Supreme Court Office as he was then a Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. He met me at the door of his office and immediately embraced me in the typical Hispano abrazo..! We immediately hit if off and I expressed my delight at being at such an auspicious place. He said he too, was personally in awe of his surroundings and felt privileged to be a part of the Court. I was impressed with Patricio’s easy going manner and his delight in “showing me around”… it was as if I was visiting a primo at his ranch and he was showing me his tack room with saddles and favorite tools… He took me to his personal Chambers and then to the Supreme Courtroom where he presides. It was impressive..! He was constantly telling me how fortunate he was to be in the place and position that he was… I felt he was genuinely modest, but at the same time, I knew he was completely qualified for his office..! We talked about his origins in the Reserve area. He was born in 1939 in Cruzville, a tiny settlement in Catron County in the southwestern part of New Mexico, just a few miles northeast of Reserve on Highway 12. He recalled how his mother died when he was only 2 years old and his father raised the family of 8 in a three room log cabin which they had all helped their father build. His journey from those meager beginnings, to the highest Judicial seat in the State is one of determination, very hard work, and that Serna determination that he is so proud of. Patricio received his Bachelor of Arts from UNM in 1962 and went on to the University of Denver College of Law in 1970. From there he went to the Harvard University Law School at Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971. He was a Special Assistant in the EEO from 1971 to 1975, then worked in the NM Attorney General’s Office as Asst. Attorney General from 1975 to 1981. In 1996, he was named to the New Mexico Supreme Court and served as Chief Justice from 2001 to 2002. He is the only Hispanic Chief Justice before or since. There is much, much more to Patricio’s achievements. Patricio was the perfect host, gracious and polite to a fault..! Although we had planned to have lunch at his favorite lunch spot, time overcame us and we said our farewells. I believe that he was more impressed with the work I had done on preserving our Serna family history, than he was with anything else that day. Another testament to his modesty and his down to earth good nature..! We remain in touch to this day. Louis Serna

Che Guevara de la Serna
A Memorable Serna
"El Comandante, Che Guevara" (The following is an article by Louis Serna, which appeared in the February 2002, Issue #40 of the Sernas of New Mexico Newsletter.) Those who keep track of these things, say that this is the most famous "picture - poster" in the world….. the image of "Che" Guevera, the ultimate revolutionary…! Some, especially in the U.S., condemn him completely as a Communist, a mercenary, and even "just a plain cold-blooded killer…!" Others in the world, praise him as the consummate hero, the model fighter for lost causes, the image of a knight fighting against all odds for the rights of the oppressed, the poor, the down-trodden, and the hopeless..! There were many, who supported him, and thought enough of him to fight and die for him and the things he stood for… because they saw him as the "last hope" for justice in the face of oppression…! So who was this "Che" Guevara… whose nickname "Che" is Italian for "friend"… And why would Louis Serna feature him in the SNL? And finally, what does this have to do with Serna family history…..??? I think there are many who start out to do their family's history, full of excitement and anticipation, and even "hope", that they will find some famous character is in their "tree"… some even hope there is nobility, or a political hero or two, that they can say "I'm related to so and so….!" and they begin their exciting search with great anticipation. Others find, sometimes early on, that there are some people and events in their "tree" that they didn't expect, and things that the family feels are best left alone, and in making that decision, they immediately begin to slant, edit, and even change their family's history, and in so doing, they create a false history…. Perhaps a worse sin than not doing it at all..! So again, why "Che Guevara…?" Let's find out… To the surprise and amazement of many, Che was a very complicated man… an educated man with a medical doctorate, and learned in worldly affairs, to the point that he could have been an outstanding diplomat or successful businessman…. And yet he chose to live the life of a revolutionary… fighting for the causes of others in countries like Africa, Cuba, and south America. He was not a leader who would send others out to do the dirty work and die for his causes, but one who was in the jungles and in the fire-fights, leading his men… and suffering more than they suffered… as he knew they would follow him anywhere and die if need be.. so he carried the burden of a man responsible for many… and a man who had to be able to negotiate with heads of state or their diplomats… or fight mano-a-mano in the jungles… so this was a man who could do it all, in the business of fighting wars. This is not an attempt to glorify him, only to present him as the worldly man that he was, and as yet another member of our great world-wide Serna family… Yes, he was a Serna, and in fact, he was also part Irish…!!! His name was Ernesto Guevara Lynch de la Serna..!!! He was born in 1928, to a middle class family in Rosario, Argentina. His father, Ernesto Guevara de Lynch, was a successful businessman, with interests in shipbuilding, the tea market, and other ventures. His mother, Celia de la Serna, was a fiery political observer of world politics, educated, with very firm Marxist beliefs! She attacked the U.S. at every opportunity, accusing them of the worst form of imperialism…! The Guevaras had an extensive home library which included books by Marx, Engels, and Freud… and the young Che read, no… he devoured those books and absorbed every word… and he saw the world through the eyes of a young man born to be "of the world"… disgusted with the crimes of the very rich and the desperation of the very poor…. It wasn't long before he set out on a life mission to right those wrongs he saw in his mind and on the streets and jungles of third-world countries...! No doubt he was further fueled in his thinking and in his actions, as he experienced the cruel dictatorship of Juan Peron in his native Argentina… and the criminal and corrupt government of Fulgensio Batista's Cuba, and perhaps, even further fueled by the fiery hot blood of his Irish grandmother, Anna Isabel Lynch, who had been born in County Galway, Ireland… she left oppression there to go to South America where she met a man named Guevara, and the rest, as they say, is history..! In his last letter to his children, Che wrote; "…always remain capable of feeling deeply, whatever injustice is committed". Perhaps words learned from his grand-mother! And in spite of all the turmoil in his life, he actually sought a life in the professional world, even earning a degree as a Doctor..! Coincidentally, Che suffered terribly from Asthma, as I have for many years. It amazes me, knowing what humidity does to an asthmatic, that he was able to function at all in the steamy jungles where he fought so long and hard..! I can only imagine how much he suffered… Unfortunately his fate was sealed and he lived and died the life that he was destined for.., and he died fighting for those causes in his head and in his heart… some say, “lost causes…!” There is much to tell of his life, too much for this little newsletter…. He was killed on October 8, 1967, by a Bolivian army squad… trained by U.S. Special Forces, under the direction of the CIA… and so ended the life of yet another Serna.. Right or wrong…, good or bad…, but committed completely to what he believed….. that he was fighting injustice..!

Mayor of Sacramento, California
Another Memorable Serna - Joe Serna Jr.
Remembering Joe Serna Jr. This month of November is the month for Thanksgiving, and for me, it is also a time of remembering, as it was on November 7, 1999 that another memorable Serna left us for the great beyond. Joe Serna was born in Lodi, California in 1939 and died of kidney cancer, much too soon. I remember Joe Serna from a nice day that I was out in my shop working on some project, when my wife Gloria called out, “you have a call from Joe Serna….” I said, “OK tell him I’ll be right there…” Wondering which Joe Serna it was, I turned everything off and set aside what I was doing and in a couple of minutes or so, went back in the house to take the call… When I came in, Gloria was visiting and laughing on the phone, so I thought it was someone we knew. I said “Hello…?” and a friendly laughing voice came back to me with “got some good project going out in your shop huh?” We laughed and from there the conversation went very friendly, and “Joe” said he was calling about my “Sernas of New Mexico Newslettter.” He said he had just received a copy and he went on and on about how much he enjoyed reading it…! He said a cousin sent him a copy and he couldn’t put it down until he read it all (8 pages). He said he really admired what I was doing for “la Serna familia” and how I was doing it, so he just had to call me. I thanked him for his very generous compliments and finally, a little embarrassed, I asked, “Joe, I’m sorry I can’t place your voice… can you tell me where we’ve met..?” He responded laughingly, “I’m sorry that we haven’t met Louis, I’m Joe Serna…., the Mayor of Sacramento, California…” I gulped a couple of times and quickly apologized for keeping him waiting, what with his busy schedule and all, and he laughingly put that aside and we went back to visiting as if he had nothing else to do… It was as if I had known him since childhood as we talked about everything… THAT… was Joe Serna…, at that time, one of the busiest Mayors of one of the largest cities in the United States! I later learned that he was that kind of person… caring, friendly, concerned, and tough as nails when he had to be. I told him that my mother would sure like to say hello to him and he asked me for her phone number. Mom called me back later to say that she had just had a nice visit with the Mayor of Sacramento..! As a younger man, Joe had worked shoulder to shoulder with Cesar Chavez, the great United Farm Workers crusader. His father had been a migrant worker and Joe was raised in a labor camp, working the fields himself. He rose in politics from one position to the next until he became Mayor. President Clinton said of him that he was “a great leader of Sacramento and a source of inspiration to the Hispanic community and all Americans.” At the time of Clinton’s re-election, it was rumored that Joe was a strong contender for the VP office. There were a great many achievements and honors bestowed on Joe Serna, and his funeral was a grand event, presided over by Bishop William K. Weigand. For me.., I remember Joe as just a great guy who took the time to wait for me to come out of my shop to answer the phone and was one of the friendliest “primos” I have ever met..! I won’t forget Joe…. To know more about him, visit Joe Serna Jr. – Wikipedia and Behind the Viewfinder – Joe Jascewski, Lou Serna