#52Ancestors: My Great Grandfather Jose Robledo (1875-1937), Still a Brick Wall

Joseph RobledoMy 8th week in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

This week’s ancestor is my great grandfather Jose Robledo (1875-1937). Jose was married to Maria Nieto (1887-1974), my great grandmother who raised my father. Jose “Joe” died before my father was born, so Dad never knew him and knows very little at all about Jose. We do not know his birth place or his parents’ names. Unlike his wife Maria, I have not been able to find any record of him on any of the Mexico parish or civil registers, except for his marriage record.

Jose married my great grandmother Maria Nieto in 1908 at Santa Isabel Church in Armadillo de los Infante, a municipality in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. That is the only record I find of him in Mexico. Searching for records is a bit tough without parents’ names to cross-search by.

Santa Isabel Church
Santa Isabel Church. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Armadillo de Los Infante.

While I have his wife Maria’s border crossing record (October 27, 1915, in Laredo, Texas), Jose does not appear to have crossed with her and their baby Refugio. I have been unsuccessful in finding any immigration records for him, and my family does not believe he became a U.S. citizen. His wife Maria didn’t become one until 1955.

The first U.S. record I find for Jose is his 1918 World War I draft registration card. I blogged about that in 2012. He lived in Long Beach, California at this time. He was employed as a laborer with the City of Los Angeles, working for the San Pedro Harbor Department.

Joe still lived at this same Long Beach address with his family at the time of the 1920 U.S. Census. He and his family moved to Los Angeles by the 1930 U.S. Census.

He apparently died 4 July 1937. The wife of his sole living child told me that Jose died of pneumonia. She also told me that Joe and Maria lived on a large hacienda in Mexico, and that he never recovered from losing everything and having to settle for menial jobs to support his family when he came to the U.S.. Dad has told me that his father told him stories about traveling with his own father (Jose) as a child seeking migrant laborer jobs.

Because Jose has been a brick wall for so long, I recently ordered an Ancestry DNA kit to test my dad. While this won’t identify Jose’s parents, it will hopefully tell us a bit more about our Robledo origins.

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