Updated: Jun 28

Welcome to the GSHA blog where our members can add stories of genealogical interest, photos, maps, and tidbits that other GSHA members, and the public, would enjoy reading.

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Send your stories to the GSHA secretary, Lynda (Sena) Kouba, at gsha.secretary@gmail.com

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by Henry Kamen (NY, NY: Harper Perennial, December 2008) paperback 544 pp.

According to one review, “This is a fascinating study from an old hand and one that looks afresh at a crucial theme in Spanish history.” Author is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London and an emeritus professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona. He is the author of Empire: How Spain Became a Great Power, 1492-1763, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest living historians of Spain.

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It was a warm and clear summer afternoon in August of 1991. There sat my grandfather, with a smile, handsome and strong; and in front of him, a birthday cake, lit with “90” candles, as three generations sang happy birthday to him!!!!

Juan de los Reyes Santistevan, my maternal grandfather was born on August 11, 1901, in Costilla, a small agricultural community in northern New Mexico. He was the second generation of his family to be born in Costilla; which was established in the early 1850’s.

I remember him to be always happy and friendly; never did I see him sad or angry at anyone. His kind and playful disposition attracted his grandchildren to sit on his lap and play with him. For me, it was rather unusual to see a tall and strong man be so gentle with so many young grandchildren around him.

I was fortunate to have lived with him and my grandmother for three years during my college experience. As a young adult, I came to admire, and appreciate him ever more. His fluency of the Spanish language, and appropriate use of “dichos” (expressions or sayings), made him a treasure of forgotten traditions. I recall several times his advice to me, “Cuando andes en silla, maneja bien” (When you have something good going for you, stay with it.) When I was down and sad, as I was going through a divorce, many times to pick me up, he would tell my grandmother, “Rebeca, con los listones a Juan”, (Rebecca, lets put some colorful ribbons on John to cheer him up.) It was a New Mexican tradition that people would wear colorful ribbons at joyous events. As a devout Catholic, he would use several dichos. One that I remember, “Dios tarda pero no olivida” (God will answer your prayers sooner or later.)

Grandma Becky and Grandpa John at home in Avondale, CO.

There are many more memories, I have of “Grandpa John”. I will save them for a later time.

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Blog info

Welcome to the GSHA Blog. This is for YOU to share your genealogy news.  Share your stories and  photos. You can send them directly to the GSHA Secretary, Lynda (Sena) Kouba.

For details see this file:

Story Requirements

To comment on a post, first click on the title you want to comment on. In the new window, scroll all the way to the bottom an click on comment. 

Membership Info

You have four choices to become a GSHA member. You can belong to a Chapter of the GSHA:

  1. Fray Angelico Chavez Chapter (FACC), Pueblo, CO

  2. Southern California Chapter, Santa Fe Springs, CA (SoCa)

  3. Utah Chapter, Salt Lake City, UT

  4. Member at Large


Choice the one that is best for you. Membership with the closest chapter will allow you to attend General Meetings and Presentations without travelling to far.


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