A Fresh Start for Immigrant Great Grandfather Jose Robledo (1875-1937)

My 1st entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015. The theme for week 1 is: Fresh start — Seems appropriate for the beginning of the year. What ancestor had a fresh start? What ancestor has been so confusing to research that you’d like to have a fresh start?

Jose Robledo

My 1st ancestor is my great grandfather Jose “Joe” Robledo (1875-1937). Great Grandpa Joe was the 8th ancestor I profiled in last year’s challenge.

I discussed in that post how he was my biggest brickwall at that point in February 2014. That remains true today. It is incredibly frustrating that I have made no further real progress on his history.

I also mentioned in that post that I had recently ordered a DNA kit to test my dad in hopes of identifying some cousin relationships that might provide clues about my great grandfather. It’s even more frustrating that the DNA relations Ancestry has identified for me have no as-yet identified connection to the Robledo surname — just to the Nieto and Compean side (Joe’s wife’s ancestry). I suspect that I won’t make progress on Joe unless I go down to the small town of Armadillo de los Infante in which the family lived in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico…which I am hoping to do with Dad this year.

So, what’s with the fresh start?

A New Country

Jose Robledo, his wife Maria Nieto (1887-1974), and Maria’s extended family immigrated to the United States with nothing, after losing everything — including the family hacienda — during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). According to Jose and Maria’s children, the family had been well to do in Mexico. I have no idea if the family were supporters of President (and dictator) Porfirio Diaz, or if they were simply guilty of being members of the landed class. But, the family was forced to escape Mexico and start over.

Wife Maria in 1915 crossed over the Laredo footbridge on 27 October 1915 with their infant son Refugio Rafael “Ray” Robledo (1915-?). Husband Joe is not listed as traveling with Maria, and I still have not been able to find a border crossing record for him.

Home in California

According to Joe’s WWI draft registration card, by 1 September 1918, Joe and his young family were living in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California at 123 E. 4th St. (rear house) where Joe worked as a laborer for the San Pedro Habor Department. They were still here at the time of the 1920 U.S. Census, living with five families all in the same rear house (all seemingly related), with great grandfather Joe employed as a laborer doing day work. At time time of the 1930 U.S. Census, the growing family lived on their own in Los Angeles city, but did not own the home, and Joe — previously a laborer in a pottery factory — was unemployed. City directories list Joe and Maria living in Glendale, Los Angeles County from 1931 until 1936, with Joe still identified as a laborer. Joe died on 4 July 1937.

Dad, born after his grandfather died, says that his father (Joe’s son) told him stories about traveling with Joe as a child working as migrant laborers.

Fresh Start Legacy

Although Joe died — according to family —  never recovering from losing everything and having to juggle poor sporadic menial work, he did indeed provide his family with a successful fresh start. Joe just didn’t live long enough to witness most of these successes. His wife and oldest daughter became U.S. citizens. His wife and most of his children would go on to own their own homes. At least three of his sons served in the U.S. armed forces and fought for his new country during wartime. My dad (Joe’s grandson) became the first in the family to graduate college, and most of Joe’s great grandchildren are college graduates. Among Joe’s great grandchildren are educators, a nun and pastor, a nurse, and business professionals. Many of his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and now great great grandchildren remain a tight close loving family.

Leave a Comment, Question, or Suggestion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 thoughts on “A Fresh Start for Immigrant Great Grandfather Jose Robledo (1875-1937)”

Scroll to Top