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Forum Home - Go Back > General > Ancestry and Genealogy Yaqui Sonora to Arizona Yaqui Sonora to Arizona

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Old 03-07-2015, 11:32 PM   #1
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Yaqui Sonora to Arizona

This long so please bear with me..thanks!

My husband was born in Florence Arizona and lived there until he was 5 and then his mother divorced his father and moved to California. For the past 30 yrs he has talked about his grandmother being Yaqui and remembers his grandmother taking him to a reservation to visit family and remembers his grandmother telling him not to tell anybody they were there and that it was a secret. Since he was so young at the time he doesn't know which reservation it was. He remembers his grandmother speaking the native language. My husband has also told me stories that his grandmother told him about how when she came to Arizona she had to learn how to cook mexican food and speak spanish and had to pretend she was mexican for fear of persecution. I have been researching both of our family histories for almost 10 yrs now but have never been able to find any documentation of being Yaqui. The census records have them recorded as white, same with his mother's birth certificate. I don't know what's listed on the great grandparents certificates or if they even had one, all I have is their names.

My husbands grandparents crossed the border into Arizona in 1924 and lived near Gildbert Chandler Highway in Maricopa until the 1950s then moved to California. What I did find through my searches that I found very interesting is when the grandparents crossed the border they are listed as married but we just found out a few weeks ago that they were married in 1954 in San Jose Calif and it is listed on the certificate that they were never married!

My husband has a very large family and has asked everyone he could think of about his grandparents but none of them seem to know anything. My husband has 1 uncle & aunt still alive from his mother's side but they are up there in age and don't remember anything either. Recently one of the cousins told my husband that she remembers the grandmother going to the Indian Health center in San Jose and taking one of the kids to the Pow wows and the grandmother sitting around the table with the elders. My husband visited this Health center and the woman couldn't find anything on her computer but said that she could be on the other system but couldn't access it. She gave my husband info for the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Arizona. I have checked the rolls on their website but neither his grandparents nor his great grandparents are on the list.

So anyway I started doubting that my husband had any Indian in him but we decided to have my husband do a DNA test so he could find out one way or another. Just want to mention his father is white. When we got the results back I was quite shocked! According to the DNA results my husband is 48% Native American! If these results are accurate that means his mother and grandparents were 98% Native American! Ok so now we know my husband is Native and he can go to his grave finally knowing this to be true, but this still doesn't help us in his quest to find out if he is indeed Yaqui or something else.

The reservation my husband remembers visiting I think I have narrowed it down to the Gila River Reservation. If my husband's grandmother was visiting family there would the reservation have a record of either her or her family, would they give us that information if we call?

I am hoping somebody here recognizes my husband's grandparents & Grandparents. They are:

GrandParents
Francisco (Frank) Corona b1898 Baviacora Mexico
Elena (Helen) Yescas b1903 Cananea Mexico

Great Grandparents
Olimpo Corona Mexico
Juliana Felix Mexico

Santos Yescas Mexico
Antonia Figuero Mexico
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:15 PM   #2
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go straight to the locations mentioned at these sites in person and ask around:

Pascua Yaqui Tribe
History & Traditions - Town of Guadalupe *
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:52 PM   #3
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So here is an update since the last time I posted. My husband, his half sister as well as his mom's last surviving siblings a brother & sister all took a DNA test and everybody came back as 48-53% Native American confirming what they already knew. Through research I have been able to locate the siblings to my husband's grandparents on both sides as well as marriage records for these siblings and some death records but have not been able to locate birth or marriage records for his grandparents or great grandparents. I cannot find any trace of them before they had children. I have however found the birth years for the great grandparents: Felipe Olimpo Corona abt 1884 Sonora his wife Julia/Juliana Felix/Feliz B 1886 Sonora D 1944 Cananea Sonora. The other great grandparents: Santos Yesca/Yesca B 1886 Mexico wife Antonia Figueroa B 1886 Mexico. We know that on my husband's grandmothers side is Yaqui and the grandfather is Mayo but since I can't find anything more on the grandparents/great grandparents we don't know what else to do to prove it. My husband is 65 and his health isn't the greatest so his wish is to find this proof while he is still alive.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:07 PM   #4
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i could be wrong but i dont think the yaqui had a rez til the late 70s

i remember a professor at naropa calling himself eagle cruz talked about growing up on the yaqui rez

then a buncha yaquis got wind after a few years and turned up saying he wasnt yaqui and they didnt have a reservation that that fit his timeline of growing up

lol i spend alot of time on fraud hunting sites and every once in awhile i remember something that turns out useful
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:15 PM   #5
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I don't know anything about when or where the Yaqui reservations were but from what my husband tells me when he lived in Arizona his grandma used to take him with her to a reservation to visit relatives when he was just a little boy around 1955. I don't know which relatives she went to visit with or what reservation although I think it may be the Gila River. I know the family did live in Mesa. My husband was told by his grandmother to never tell anybody they went there.

None of my husbands aunts or uncles knew anything about their parents when they would ask they were told don't worry about where you came from and only worry about where you are now. They were told to never ask again. Later when the grandparents moved to california one of my husband's cousins told him that the grandma would take the great grandkids to the Pow Wows and that she would sit with the elders. The grandfather never went to any of them.

I have been researching my husbands family for close to 6 yrs now and am still finding bits and pieces along the way but nothing that I can connect everything to. I think I have become more obsessed with this more than him lol! I am so curious to find out where they originated from, where they lived and how they lived before they came to Arizona. I thought about hiring a researcher but they start out minimum $2000 for 8 hrs work! More than we can afford. We have one last surviving 1st cousin of my husbands mother to talk to and are hoping she will have more information for us. If not then I guess we may never know.

Oh and I just found today another ancestor, he is the father of Juliana Feliz and his name is Ynocente Feliz but as usual I can't find any info on him or who he was married to.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:25 PM   #6
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Oh something else I forgot to mention one of the grandmother's sisters was kidnapped and taken to China. They never did find out what ever happened to her.
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:03 PM   #7
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i am pretty sure the gila river runs through some of the ndeh rezzes as well as maricopa and pima rez

or maybe i am thinking of gila mountains.....i dunno....its been awhile
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Last edited by milehighsalute; 04-05-2016 at 05:10 PM..
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:33 PM   #8
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Yaqui migration from Sonora to Tempe/Florence

Hi,

I enjoyed reading your story about your husband's ancestry and found many similarities to my mother's story, which is why I am posting here.

Here is the story my mother was told by her mother but that was always denied by her father's family and ultimately, cost her that relationship:

My mom's paternal grandmother was born in Sonora, Mexico, the daughter of an Italian father and a Yaqui mother. Her mother died when she was a baby and she was raised by her father in Magdalena, Mexico. When she grew, she "married" a Spanish/Yaqui man, my mom's grandfather(Emilio II)who spoke with a Castilian lisp, and lived in Nogales for a time, then migrated up to Tucson, and eventually, to Los Angeles and then San Diego where they both passed away. My mother's aunts all denied that their mother had Yaqui blood and said they were "not Indian." This became a very sore subject with them which eventually led to them asking my mother to "never speak to them again."

My mom's grandfather, Emilio II had a mother who was Spanish and a father who was Spanish/Yaqui (Emilio I). Emilio I had a mother who was Spanish and a father who was Yaqui from Pitiquito, Sonora. They fled the war in Mexico and migrated by covered wagon up to the Tempe/Florence area and settled there.

My mom has many fond memories of her father telling her stories about his father and Geronimo and singing songs to her in the Yaqui language.

Now for the frustrating part:

We have been able to find records on everyone and even spoken with family members in the Tempe area, EXCEPT my mom's direct line and the Yaqui records. I found a death certificate for Felipe Noriega (the father of the Emilio's); however, it has no relevant information on it pertaining to his Yaqui roots and simply states that the priest was sent for to give final rites since he was dying. None of the Emilio's have any records that have any information giving any conclusive evidence. In addition, there is no information about my mom's grandmother except a death certificate and a marriage certificate because that's how we found out her grandparents were not married until they came to Tucson!!

I am going to have her DNA tested to see how much of her is actually Yaqui and how much is Spanish.

Now to the part that may help you in your search for your husband's ancestors:

I read my mom your post and she remembers going to a town called Guadalupe, in Arizona, where the Yaquis lived. Apparently, there was no reservation, but they were re-settled onto "40 acres."

Here is a link to the story:

Traffic, time slow in Guadalupe, Ariz., town rich with Yaqui traditions - LA Times

One of the men in the story is around your husband's age and still has family there so maybe he would remember something useful about when your husband used to visit there with his grandmother?

Good luck! I hope this helps you!!

Here's my email if you want to contact me:

[email protected]yahoo.com
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:29 AM   #9
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Since my last post I have recently uncovered new ancestors but still not any closer to finding my husband's Yaqui documentation. Here are the newest ancestors in case anybody recognizes these people. I will start with my husband's grandmother Elena Yescas mother. Her mother's name was:

(Maria Antonia Figueroa) born aprox 1873 Arizpe Sonora. Antonia's mother was (Dolores Tapia) birth aprox 1846.
Dolores's parents were (Gervacio Tapia) & (Calixta Zepeda)
Dolores married (Enernecio(Demencio)Figueroa) in Bacoachi Sonora in 1869.
Enernecio's parents were (Ignacio Figueroa) & (Antonia Ortiz)

Antonia's other siblings were:
(Gregorio) birth abt 1865 D1921 Bacoachi -Spouse(Francisca Aguirre)
(Maria Petra Micaela) birth abt 1870 Arizpe -Spouse (Luis Olveda)
(Josefa) birth abt 1872 - Spouse (Guadalupe Espinoza)

Antonia's husband (Santos Yescas) was born aprox 1873 and we believe he died in Tecoripa Sonora.
Santos's parents were (Ignacio Yescas) & (Bonifacia Valdez) I have not been able to locate any birth or death records for most of these people and can't find them on any census records.

On my husband's grandfather's side (Francisco Corona) Francisco's sister (Concepcion Corona) married a (Gustavo Lopez) Gustavo's mother was (Clotilde Yescas) Birth 1868, her father was (Santiago Yescas Lopez) Birth 1850 Banamichi, his father was (Francisco Yescas Quijada)..... we think that my husband's great grandfather Santos Yescas is related to this other Yescas family but have not been able to find the connection yet.

On the Corona side Francisco's father was (Olimpo Corona)birth abt 1879 d1953 Cananea, parents unknown but we think his mother's surname was Duarte because it was listed on his death record.
Francisco's wife (Juliana Felix/Feliz) b abt1879 d1944 Cananea...mother unknown, her father was (Ignacio Felix/Feliz) b abt 1848 d1934 Cananea.

After Francisco Corona & Elena Yescas crossed the border into Arizona in 1924 the only info I have as to where they were living is in one census record 1940 which states their residence as Gilbert Chandler Highway See 13 North Lido. I am not familiar with Arizona so I don't where this is.

This is pretty much all that I have and have exhausted all of my searches.
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Old 10-01-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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This was my husband's grandmother Elena Yescas...she was very mean and an alcoholic and so was my husband's mother. From what I have read the Yaqui were known to be mean and alcoholics.



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Old 10-01-2016, 03:35 PM   #11
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Another thing I forgot to mention is I remember someone saying that there weren't any reservations in Arizona in the 1950s so I started googling for reservations and came across the Tohono O'odam Reservation. I find this interesting because they have many villages one of which is The Florence village, my husband was born in Florence. I talked to my husband again and asked him if he was sure he wasn't remembering when they lived on a farm and he said no he remembers driving pretty far with his mom, dad & grandmother to this place and when they opened the gates there were a lot of long haired Indian men and his grandmother was talking to them in another language. He said he was scared and asked his grandmother who the men were and she told him that his uncle's lived there. We plan on making a trip out to Arizona after the holidays to see what we can find out. Below is from the website:



The Tohono O'odham of today is a nation with a population of more than 24,000 people. They live on four separate land bases totaling more the 2.7 million acres. The land bases are comprised of the main reservation, San Xavier District, San Lucy District and Florence Village. The main reservation is located in south central Arizona with the Sells community which serves as the Nation's Capital. The San Xavier District is located just south of Tucson. The San Lucy District is located near the city of Gila Bend. Florence Village is near the city of Florence southeast of Phoenix.
http://www.sanxaviermission.org/Tohono.html

Oh and why were my pictures deleted?
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