Do you know your genealogy?

We thought we knew who we were, even if we did not know the family tree farther back than Grandmother and Grandfather on Mom’s side.  Mom was German and Hispanic we thought.  Her mother, Herminia was a Lozano, a sturdy Hispanic name. Her father’s name was Blaz Guzman and he was called the square-head (German) by the neighbors, no one knew where he came from or when, nor did they care.  He spoke Spanish and English and was a good hard-working neighbor.  He may have spoken German as well, but it was the early 30’s – admitting to being German was not advisable.

Then one day mother remembered a long ago conversation with her mother.  Seems her mother, Herminia (Minnie), was adopted into the Lozano family, a Hispanic farm family.  She told Mom that she was a Bohemian and adopted and any memory before that was long gone, and now she is long dead.

Herminia Lozano Guzman – she was a woman who lived each day that was given to her as it arrived.  The past had no importance in the busy life of a farm girl or the woman she became with a husband and ten children – it would change nothing.  She lived in the moment not the past.

Bohemian?  I always knew that old photograph of Minnie and Blaz, looking for all the world like the famous ‘American Gothic‘ seemed somehow not to fit into the mold of the neighborhood where she and he were raised.  The light hair, pale skin and eyes the color of straw (according to mom and my dad) – hazel?.  Who were they, this woman and this man? Where did they come from?  What was their journey from there to here, that I could be born on down the line in these United States?

Was she one of many of the train children, sent out to work the land, and forever to never know her roots?  Was she an unfortunate/fortunate child of immigrants taken in through the kindness of strangers?  There are no birth certificates and only a few baptismal records and they are vague.  Was he an adventurous man who made his way to the land of opportunity? We’ll  never know.

I looked in the archives of census documents and found a 7 year-old Herminia something (the last name is scribbled and not Lozano) in a Lozano household – there are no other clues.  There are a few Blaz Guzman’s in various parts of Texas, any of which could have been our grandfather, but we’ll never know that either.

I wonder mostly out of curiosity as I stare at their wedding photo.  It’s a picture of a picture – the only surviving picture of them which hung on Maria’s (the eldest of the children) wall in 1974.  She would not trust it out of her sight, so my sister took a picture of it on the wall behind the couch, and that is all we have.

I think the lineage of my soul’s incarnations carries more import than the blood that runs in the veins of this its current temple.  But I’d still like to know where the flow originated – what path, which forks in the road lead them on and brought them here to me.

© Perle Champion

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