Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Find Family History @ Your Library

Recently while visiting with relatives in northern New Mexico, I learned that my grandfather immigrated to the United States from Mexico sometime in the 1920s. No one is sure why he decided to come to the United States so I decided to do some detective work using the resources available at BPL. I don’t remember a lot about my grandfather except I remember him telling me about the day General Pancho Villa and his army arrived in his village.

Who was Pancho Villa and why did he need an army? Using the online catalog I checked out these books: Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution by Frank Mclynn; The General and the Jaguar : Pershing's Hunt for Pancho Villa by Eileen Welsome; and Pancho Villa and Black Jack Pershing : the Punitive Expedition in Mexico by James W. Hurst. They provided some understanding of what was going on when he was growing up Mexico and about the colorful character, Pancho Villa.

To learn more about the Mexican Revolution and Cristero War, I went to the library’s databases that are available from the library and at home. From, I selected “Databases” then selected “History” from the subject list. From here I chose History Reference Center which includes full-text articles about US and world history. I searched Britannica Academic Online and Ebsco’s Master File Premier which offers biographical information as well as scholarly research. For biographical information about some of the notable personalities related to the Mexican revolution such as Emilio Zapata, Francisco Madero, and Porfirio Diaz, I searched Gale Biography in Context. With the wealth of family history tools available at BPL, I will continue to unravel the mystery of Jose R. Garcia and learn more about my Mexican ancestry.

William Darby
East Lake Library

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