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My mother, Micaela Castro Cardiel, and my mother-in-law, Mary Madrigal Ambriz, both shared a life goal that most people complete by the time they reach their 19th birthday - completing their education and receiving a high school diploma.

Both of them left high school, married at a young age, and started families. They raised families, and watched as their children completed their education.

My mom and Mary both returned to school, and earned their diplomas.

I was able to watch my mom walk across the Excelsior High School Auditorium in

1967 and Mary in 1978 as they reached a goal started many years past. This is a picture of my mother Micaela at her graduation. She passed away in 1971.

My mom started high school at Lincoln High school in Los Angeles, and Mary at Excelsior Union High School.

Mary recently celebrated her 94th birthday.

Both my mom and mother- in-law were able to show their families the importance of reaching a goal no matter your age.

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My great-grandma Abelina was born on 10 Nov 1883 in Villanueva, San Miguel, New Mexico to Joaquin Duran and Herculana Gonzales. She married Patrocinio Fajardo. According to the census records she and her family lived in various areas of New Mexico such as: La Cuesta, Los Tanos, San Ignacio, and Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Abelina Duran and Patrocinio Fajardo

Abelina and her husband Patrocinio were married for about 56 years and had seven children:

1. Eloisa Fajardo

2. Florentina (Flora) Fajardo

3. Ismela Fajardo

4. Virginio Fajardo

5. Jose D. Fajardo

6. Ildefonsa (Alice) Fajardo

7. Joaquin Fajardo

The below picture is of the Fajardo siblings at one of our family reunions in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Pictured left to right are: Alice Fajardo Romero, Virginio Fajardo, Ismela Fajardo Romero, Eloisa Fajardo Romero, and Flora Fajardo Sena (my Grandmother).

Abelina and Patrocinio's son Jose Fajardo served duty in World War II and died after being rescued from the Bataan Death March. He was a prisoner of war.

“PVT Jose D. Fajardo, C Battery, 515 Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), ASN, 38011957, Born 11/15/1915, Resident of Guadalupe County when entered service in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 3/18/1941. Died 6/1/1942 at Camp O’Donnell (Death Non-battle Related), Buried Manila American Cemetery. Pvt. Fajardo’s service number indicates he was a draftee who joined the ranks of the 200th after it was federalized and sent to Ft. Bliss, TX.”

Abelina and Patrocinio also raised Lorenzo Duran (he was her half-brother).

This is a picture of great-grandma Abelina's half-brother Lorenzo Duran working in the cotton fields.

One of my favorite pictures is of my great-grandmother, Abelina, is with her sister in-law Prudencia Duran who was married to Lorenzo Duran, her younger brother that she raised and two other women.

In the below picture, left to right is Prudencia Duran, Abelina Duran and I don’t know the order of the other two women. However, on the back of the picture the names are listed as: Juanita Lopez and Ecolocita.

Abelina’s mtDNA is: "Haplogroup B: Native-American Origin. Haplogroup B is found in eastern and southeastern Eurasia and throughout the Americas. This haplogroup was present in the populations that initially colonized the pre-Columbian Americas, and using American samples dates to at least 12,500 years ago. Future work will resolve the issue of how many distinct colonization events there were in the original peopling of the Americas, and the role of individuals bearing Haplogroup B.” Family Tree DNA breaks the Haplogroup for Abelina’s line to B2a2.

Although, I did not know my great-grandmother, I did ask some of her grandchildren to tell me about her. My cousin Frances Romero told me that my great-grandma Abelina was tall and lanky, dark complected, a smoker and that she liked to walk. She told me she was a boisterous woman and had a commanding way about her. Frances stated that great-grandma Abelina was in charge and you knew it. My cousin Tony Romero said that he loved walking with his grandma Abelina and that he enjoyed her company. I was told by Frances that great-grandma Abelina just adored our cousin Jose (Joe) Fajardo. He was her favorite. He was the son of her youngest daughter Alice Fajardo Romero.

Her husband Patrocinio Fajardo was born 15 June 1877 in Puerta de Luna, New Mexico and he passed away on 31 March 1957 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. He was almost 80 years old.

Abelina passed away on 25 Dec 1958 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. She was 75 years old. She and her husband are buried together at the Saint Joseph Cemetery in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

As one of her many great-granddaughters, I was lucky to have known five of her children.

My father Rolando Sena always took us to visit our Fajardo, Duran, Sena and Romero families in Santa Rosa. We did this trip once a year and the families came to visit us in Pueblo, CO.

For me, it was a blessing spending time with our family. I can still remember the houses, the roads we would walk on, and how our Mom would tell us not to leave the yard. Tio Virginio and Tia Luz Segura Fajardo, Tia Eloisa and Tio Pablo Romero, Tia Ismela and Tio Ernesto Romero all lived in the same block. They lived in the area for most of their lives. My grandmother Flora Fajardo Sena and grandpo Herculano Sena lived in Barstow, California and Tia Alicia Fajardo and Tio Ricardo A. Romero lived in Amarillo, TX. I never met my great-uncle, Jose Fajardo; he died during the war, and my other great-uncle, Joaquin Fajardo, was five years old when he passed away. He was a twin to his sister, Alicia Fajardo.

I want to wish all the women in this article a very Happy Mother's Day. You are gone, but not forgotten.


1. New Mexico, U.S. Territorial Census, 1885, La Cuesta, San Miguel County, New Mexico

2. 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Los Tanos, Guadalupe County, New Mexico

3. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, San Ignacio, Guadalupe County, New Mexico

4. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, San Ignacio Guadalupe County, New Mexico

5. U.S. Find a Grave, 1600’s - Current

6. Granddaughter Frances Romero,

7. Grandson Tony Romero

In 1895, California native Fred J. Feldman leased and later purchased the photographic business of the Bushong Studio in downtown El Paso, Texas. The Fred J. Feldman Studio thrived during the 1910s and 1920s and became the premier photographic business in El Paso.

9. Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico, Inc.

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In the early 1960s, Navajo Dam, displaced many communities in northeast San Juan County, northwest Rio Arriba County and southwest Colorado. Patricia Boddy Tharp interviewed many who were displaced from their homes and ranches and has written a second volume. The first first volume, 48 pages, was about the community of Los Martinez.

This second volume, 110 pages, is about Los Pinos, Rosa, and Los Arboles. They include many personal photos of the families that were displaced. The books are published by the San Juan County NM Historical Society and can be ordered for

Santa Rosa Church on Jan 22, 1912. Courtesy of Ramond Gallegos.

$10 each plus postage. Postage: Vol I $1.60, Vol II $2.20, or one copy of each $2.89. They can be ordered by calling 505-334-7136, emailing or writing to the society at P.O. Box 1252, Aztec, NM 87410-1252.

Here is a YouTube video with the author, Patricia Tharp, being interviewed:

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