Knowing Those That Came Before You


My family and I at Mount. Rushmore National Memorial. 2011.

Zoe Marquez, Editor

I have always been proud of my ancestry. Proud of my Spanish speaking roots, the vibrant culture in which I was raised and the strong family that raised me. It was a Saturday night in which my aunt came over to visit and we stayed up talking that my perspective on my family history broadened. She told stories about my ancestors that I never knew, and sparked my interest in getting to know my roots furthermore.

To the left is my dad being photographed with my grandparents, on the right is my mom.
Grandparents on my mom’s side, Benjamin Hernandez and Erlinda De La Cruz.

She spoke on how when she was younger her grandma, my great-grandma, had been hidden from Pancho Villa, a key figure in the Mexican Revolution. She told me of how whenever they heard the train passing through their home my great-grandma’s mother would hide her and her sisters, due to the kidnapping of young girls at the time. Furthermore, when my great-grandmother grew up and my aunt was younger, my aunt found newspapers with Chinese language. When she asked about this, my great-grandma told her that her mom was Chinese, which completely blew my mind as this meant I had Asian ancestry closer than I could have ever imagined.

Parents of my Grandpa Benjamin. On the right is Bonifacio Hernandez and on the left is Paz Erives, who was hidden from Pancho Villa.

On my dad’s side, a story like that of Romeo and Juliet was also taking place. My grandpa’s grandma was part of a rich, land-owning European family in which my grandpa’s grandpa, who had indigenous roots, worked. As the story goes, they fell in love, and due to the un-approval from her parents, she was disowned. Through this, the couple got married and had kids, some of which were pale with colored eyes, and others darker with more indigenous features.This story really opened up my eyes as to how the love of others, and of those who came after that brought me here. It is a beautiful thing to know that everyone came out of the love of so many before them.

Grandparents on my dad’s side, Fidencio Marquez and Rosa Gamez.

My family history is something I could talk about for an eternity. The love of those that came before me, all the events that had to occur and the stories that had to be made in order for me to be writing this astonishes me. I am beyond proud of my ancestry and getting to know more about it is something I will never get tired of. I hope to bring joy and a sense of pride to the future generations of my family. I will never stop encouraging people from looking into their history, their family trees, traditions and the stories that bring generations together. It is a beautiful thing being able to speak to your family and to feel connected to your ancestors even if you’ve never met them. Take time to listen to the stories and to know where you came from, as these are stories that are part of you and I believe it is one of the most important and amazing connections you could ever make.