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When I decided to ask for help with this plea and later to become a genealogist I did so because I had reached a point in my life where I concluded that I really needed to find my identity. By some mysterious way I was convinced by what I read from some members of this group, that the best way to find ancestors I had to start a search on myself.

I did not care about ancestors as my plea addressed other priorities. My priorities still remained unchanged. I have written many diaries here on Dkos replete with my confusions with respect to who my father was and if I had left some siblings behind when I was taken at four years of age to live with my grandmother in San Antonio, Texas in 1940 from Austin where I was born in 1936. I felt I had no ancestors absence of a father.

Becoming an apprentice genealogist has opened the window of awareness to my questions. My journey has come to an end. The end came at a cross road where the searching script for my identity in life went up in flames. But I am at peace now. What I write here today has been very unsettling for me. A gut wrenching experience that not even the worst nightmares I had growing up as a child can match. Snooping and spying around on my mother`s secret life has rewarded me with more pain and forced to be in denial once again for what I have found.

In the end, however, I think my mother`s instincts towards me were for the best.

Searching for my identity required that I begin at my birth. I quickly found that I did not have a father listed when I was born. To be honest I felt betrayed, shocked, because I had lived with a lie throughout my life and what was to unfold for me during this search. I believe the average mother who reads this can get a better handle on this than I can.... Yes, my ancestor.

Most of my life I lived in an ignorance mode concerning a father. I will admit being self centered to advance my own interest as a writer and genealogist in narrating such a personal saga concerning my own mother. I think this feeling is an obscene reward for choosing to search for a father and siblings that leads me to drag my beloved mother through the mud, violate her privacy by physically rummaging through imaginary dresser-drawers and finding her hidden secrets.

She never wanted me or anyone else to know her secret of my birth. My destiny is punishing me. I wrote many times about my destiny and where it would lead me. I guess this is the price of wanting to be a writer of painful stories. Chosing to use my mother as my primary heroine in this narration is soul wrenching. But I need to free myself and know.

I regret nothing. The peace I found is why I write this story.. At my age, Ha, I am more educated in the lessons of life and for once I agree that life indeed is like a box of chocolates, never knowing what we`re gonna get. I`m sure Mom knew this too. I will go forward to meet what may.

In this link one can see birth index record[s] I found doing a search at that show the births of both my late brother Joe and me. As I write this, and decipher these birth records I see the beginning of my sadness and the disastrous troubled life my mother would lived thereafter. In my late brother Joe`s birth record, his father is a man named Gregorio Lopez. I always knew this fact and our mother are listed. He was born in 1933. My sadness is learning for the first time that My Hero was not actually my full blooded biological brother.

On my birth record three years later in 1936 shows no father and my mother uses the alias "Margant" instead of her real name Margarita as shown in my brother`s birth. Using aliases would become my mother`s trade mark in life. Trying to cover her tracks during her entire life changing her name has left a scar in my soul. She lived a very troubled life in harsh and desperate times I guess.


With little that she shared with me in my life time and the time and opportunity I ever had to know her, I learned one thing. She was a warm, kind woman who never laid a hand on me to physically hurt me. She was intelligent. A very shrewd and stunningly beautiful light-brown eyes woman. I think her beauty wraught my own troubles to be born with me. She tried to make me comfortable at times I ached from a punctured ear drum. My pain was the result of beatings my Aunt Elvira inflicted on me while under her brutal care before I fled and reunited with my Mother.

She died in my presence in 1970 at the age of 62 years old in a San Antonio hospital. Her still beautiful lips quivered as she screamed uncontrollably in pain caused by a tumor that had developed on her brain. Her legacy left behind sons and daughters all born to different fathers in her short life span and this included me. I blame her beauty and hardships for this, but there was never an alias to use that she did not like. She tried desperately to take my birth secret to her grave.  Any reason she had is good enough for me. Despite all aspects and everything I have written relentlessly about my mother abandoning me as a four year old child and relegating me to a throw-away-baby, I was at her bedside holding her hands as she grasped tightly both of my mine when she died.

I did not hear her last attempt to utter words as her painful gasps took her away from me. I could only swallowed the lump in my throat as I unhinged our hands and let her go. I have often thought and deeply wondered what it was that she wanted to tell me.


I have written on some occasions that my father was a man named Gregorio Lopez. I did that prior to becoming a genealogist and less after that. I had known most of my adult life that this man was my late brother Joe`s father. So naturally I never doubted my own mother what I thought about this man Gregorio. So it was my fault for being so careless in going through life with this lie. Gregorio Lopez was not my father. My birth record does not lie. It was my fault for being so blind and not becoming a genealogist sooner. I have to think that my mother had a very urgent reason for what she did.

On this link my mother`s desperate attempt to obfuscate and darken the confusion I would live by my entire adult life started to unfold. My mother swore out an affidavit attached to the lower portion of a purported birth certificate in 1942, seemingly to correct information about my birth in 1936. This correction was to inject this Gregorio Lopez as my father into the space in my original birth certificate where no father is shown.  She swore in this affidavit that she had had only two children at the time of my birth counting me. She swore that I was a legitimate born child.

I cannot speculate or make any judgments on why she swore to this information. Unfortunately I can assert that this was not true. I can only imagine that my mother`s hardships and her own struggles made these things easy for her to do.

When I saw this document and affidavit just recently, I wondered why she waited until 1942 to do this. I started to decipher what I had in front of my eyes while I examined a piece of mail that came for me from Texas [I am in Wisconsin]. I unexpectedly received a copy of my original birth certificate which I had given up on. Today I conclude that my confusion about siblings I may have left behind was unfounded. As I understand now, there never were any other siblings alive when I left Austin, Texas in 1940. To confirm my conclusion I had to back track in time to my mother.

One of our crack genealogists here at DKos that helped me solve and put the pieces together of why my mother waited until 1942 to swear out this affidavit was Sarah Ann. I mentioned in a past diary that she was helping me doing searches, found and emailed to me this 1940 census report. Looking at this census report is what makes the rest of this diary easy to write. Everything falls in place and my mother`s house of cards crumbles. It shows where I was in 1940 at four years old at the top left of the page. I was with my mother and late brother Joe living in San Antonio. Here, my mother conveniently uses the name Margarita Lopez!

At this point I believed my mother`s reason for altering my original birth certificate with this affidavit in 1942 to correct my birth was self evident. I was now six years old in 1942. She was obligated under Texas law to enroll me in school. A birth certificate was a prerequisite for enrolling children in school back then. My mother as shrewd and lovely as she was, would not have wanted to answer questions about a fatherless school child.

The fact that she was now obligated with my presence, I have to think she wanted what was best for me. But I do not know that. As I have said, I was only searching for a father and siblings. My mother died holding tight to my hands and I never needed to search for her. But to find a father, knowing I left no siblings behind I need to go back into the future of the 1930`s and try to find her there.


I always wanted to know how many children my mother had when she lived in Austin, Texas in the 1930`s. I asked this genealogy group on one occasion how I could find out. I thought at the time I asked this question that if I could find out how many children she had, I would know if I had left siblings behind and how many. I even wrote that a girl sibling was involved in my search. Off the top of my head I do not recall what the group advised in response to my question. Nonetheless I am very glad to announce that I left none.

I have a copy of my original birth certificate dated 1936, signed several days after my birth as having been born with the Lopez surname. A glossy black document, clearly written in fine penmanship white writing, not typed, in which my mother is recorded as having stated that with my birth, counting me, she had had three children. One had died and only two remained, obviously my late brother Joe and me. On the question of whether I was a legitimate born child my mother wrote in no. In the space of the document where the name of the father is recorded, it is blank. She was 26 years old at my birth.

My mother signed her name "Margant Baray" as seen in the 1903-1997 birth index record I linked above. The address 304 Alleyas Street is on my birth certificate and appears to be the location where I was born. A Google Maps search took me to 304 Department of Alleys in Austin, Texas. I assumed buildings have changed with time as well as street names. But then again, I had run into these buildings and warehouses before.


I continued to press the question here when I wrote my Open Thread this past August 3d. Offers of help came to me on that day and I wrote an email and accepted the help of a highly experienced and crack genealogist who wrote to me under the username Lynneinfla. Armed with information I provided she started to track the movements of my mother as I wanted to know about Gregorio Lopez`s family in the 1930`s. 

I opted this route in my search for a father, knowing that Gregorio Lopez was not my father due to a man named Alexander Lopez and the surname Barail of the mother to a dead child. I previously linked this death certificate in a diary while resisting and rejecting advise that in fact Margarita Barail was my mother. I now have doubts about resisting the advise. The address on this death certificate of the child 508 Navasota Street has been discussed here before. I now raise it anew in yet another stumbling step closer to my search for a father.

I wanted to know if Alexander Lopez was related to Gregorio Lopez, my late brother`s father, a suspicious question ignited by my mother`s use of the alias surname Barail. I needed to know if Alexander was living in the same home as Gregorio and my mother in 1930. Most importantly to me, knowing the fetish my mother had of using aliases so frequently, I now suspected that she was in fact this Margarita Barail, mother of the deceased Alexander Lopez Jr. I am spooked at the thought that Alexander Lopez Sr, was indeed Gregorio Lopez`s brother, or close related to him, and that he could in fact had been my father.

The possibility that Alexander Lopez Sr. was my true father haunts me. I was born in 1936 while Alexander Jr. was born in 1937 and died but a few months thereafter in 1938. I just wonder if my mother moved away from Gregorio Lopez`s home at 1300 Willow Street where my late brother Joe was born in 1933. It is where she was found in a search below, and into the address at 304 Alleyas Street where I was born three years later in 1936, with no father of record.

I know that addresses are mere speculations, but a year after my own birth, Alexander Jr. was born in 1937 at 508 Navasota Street as it is well documented. The proximity of these addresses is easy for me to assume that there is a connection. Today I have made that connection a reality.

Here is where my mother Margarita Lopez was in 1930, living with the family of Gregorio Lopez Lynneinfla while explaining the household of Gregorio Lopez where my mother was twenty-years old in 1930 that because Alexander Lopez was not on this list, did not mean he did not live there. I totally agree with that assessment. Lynne was also kind enough to find the resident address and sent it to me. The address where my mother was with Gregorio Lopez in 1930 was 1300 Willow St. Austin, Texas 78702.

I went to this address in a Google Maps search and found the house. The address is on a black mail box attached to a link fence in front of the yard. A wilting palm tree is in front of the house. Although the mail box shows 1301-A as the address, there are two small houses on the lot. Each has its own electrical meters so I guessed one is 1300 as the address I was looking for. I believe this based on the numerical numbers used in that block. The 1300 address is not on a corner, it is in the middle of the block.

I cruised upwards to the corner and to my surprise I saw that Navasota Street intersects with Willow St just a few houses away from where I had just been. Both the Navasota 508 Street address and the Willow Street address are walking distance apart. It is here that I froze in disbelief. Again, I wondered if Gregorio Lopez, my late brother`s father, was related to Alexander Lopez -- who I have to suspected was my father.

My conscious is in shambles and it gives me trouble as I have reached this far. I see my mother`s clenched fist as I trod all over her grave, telling me to stop, that if she had wanted me to know her secret she would have told me long ago.

But it is too late to stop. My mother`s yen for aliases such as Barail now been exposed by the son she chose to keep secret. A secret no more. Here is another search I have just completed showing three births by my mother. All three under the surname Baray, one as spouse to Alexander Lopez and mother to the deceased child Alexander Jr.,  but different aliases in name. I agree with my mother`s spiritual image in my mind to stop, as I wonder in anguish if that is what she tried so painfully to tell me at her death bed. Every urge I previously had  to go wa-wa-wa waltzing, waltzing with bears is now in flames burning me to a rude awakening.

With these newly found birth indexes there is absolutely no doubt that Margarita Barail`s name in the death certificate of Alexander Lopez Jr. is my mother, none. I fought with my conscious to deny this fact previously. Now I am sure she was and cannot deny that any longer. She was indeed Margarita Barail in another of her lives. I apologize to those who said that "Barail was a typo" and that I was wrong in my thinking. But I disagree it was a typo. I was a scheme my mother played in life.

What I have not found nor will I search for, ever, is that these two men were related to each other. I will never accept that Alexander Lopez Sr. was my father. I have not found that to be the case. That my mother pasted Gregorio Lopez`s name on my birth certificate is not to mean that Alexander Lopez was my father. This is a documented fact. If that were the case, why did she not paste Alexander`a name on my birth certificate?  Could it be that she wanted true blooded biological brothers by choosing Gregorio Lopez as my father?

In either case, I am still illegitimate as far as I am concerned.


When I started this journey in search for identity I came to DKos as a story teller. I wrote about a dream. The first of many diaries I wrote I titled The Story Teller`s Dream is Awakened  to write about a dream of finding lost siblings and my father. Those uttered thoughts back then seem to have been made so long long ago.

Sitting here writing this Open Thread comes to mind the thought that I may also have some special intuitions in my soul. Because without the use of conscious reasoning, I had suspected long ago that this Gregorio Lopez was not my father. But I somehow resisted that feeling all for my mother`s sake.

Not in a million years would I have even toyed with the idea that some day I would question whether a relative to my own late brother`s father could possibly be my father. In every one of those stories I lamented of hardships and poverty growing up as a child. I wrote about hoping to one day find out who my father was. That was a bad choice as I have endured uncertainties and guilt for my blindness.

I simply cannot just assume with these latest birth indexes that Alexander Lopez is my father just because he sired a son with my mother. I just can`t. I will not. I have not found a record naming my father. Speculations will never suffice. I still have no father. I chose to oblige my mother`s wish. I will take her secret to my grave.

Today with much regret I have found that my dream has been shattered by a rude awakening.


"The hardest part of genealogy is discovering that the people who knew everything died before you realized that you wanted to ask them questions."...Lynneinfla
Without your help Lynne I would blindly continue this none sense of trying to find a father that I would condemn if found. As if this thought could ever be realistic. You gave me some of your wisdom and I thank you.

I also want to thank a gentleman who found Alexander Lopez`s Jr. death certificate and who was the first to question me on whether these two men named here were related. I never asked for his permission to use his name because I was too busy denying that Margarita Barail was my mother. If you read this my friend. I thank you. You were absolutely correct. Please come in and accept my apology for pushing back.

Lynne, I am sure that you would agree, and not only you, but others here and elsewhere have also advised me. Not to feel embarrassed, or that I owed apologies for what my Mother or ancestors did. It was not my fault. You are absolutely right. No apology here. I will never apologize for the sins of my mother. Had it not been for such a beautiful woman, my mom, a man crazy mom with a fetish for the surname Lopez, I would not be sitting here sharing this with you.

Quite frankly, I think my mother was madly in love with my late brother`s father, Gregorio Lopez. She clung to that surname among lovers and passed it down to coming generations. My own grown children are Lopez as my own little family tree has taken root. My teenage granddaughter and grandson limbs are already sprouting for tomorrow.

It was a lot of fun trekking through the genealogy search mills and finding slimy worms and skeletons that freaks out the ordinary genealogist. Even if all the characters in here mentioned have been dead many years, here Mom, this is for you -- Take that!

Feel free to make your comment. I welcome your opinions and advise. But no crying allowed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your search is so much different (6+ / 0-)

    than any of mine.  I was lucky enough to run into  my brick walls far into the past, far enough out that my emotional investment not so intense.  I can only imagine the pain one experiences when encountering that brick wall so near to them.

    I can understand why you would want to discontinue your search for your father at this point.  But should you ever desire to take up the search again, I have a suggestion for you.

    You know where you were born and lived in your early years.  You should be able to find out which church was nearest to where you lived (I assume Catholic, right?).  If you were baptized (most children were back then) and if that church still exists, you can write to them and ask if they have your baptism records, and would they send them to you.  There's a very good chance that record would contain more information than the counties.  Even knowing who your godparents were would be very helpful clues.  You could also ask for the information for your sibling's births, though I'm not sure if they'd provide that info.

    If the church doesn't exist, you can write to the local Diocese (Austin) for the records.

    Here's list of Catholic Churches (if Catholic applies) in Travis Co.

    I'll ask one last question for your consideration.  Would there be a possibility that Gregorio and Alexander are the same person?  One name could be a first name, and the other a middle name.  I suggest keeping that idea open as a possibility because I have seen that sooooo often in my own searches.  I've also seen where people people use names in the everyday lives that seem to come from nowhere.  In fact, I had always been told that the first name of my stepdaughter's mother was Dorothy, called Dot or Dottie.  I just learned the other day that were real name, her birth name, was Angela or Angie Lee.  Yikes!  No wonder I haven't been able to find out anything on her or her parents.  And as I understand it, Angie/Dorothy's mother also went by a number of different names.

    Thank you so much for writing your diary.  I know this search and your conclusions could not have been easy for you.

    •  Names are fluid and sometimes fleeting... (5+ / 0-)

      I've written on inconsistencies in past diaries, but more recently I had been puzzling over a couple of pictures labled "Ginger". After several weeks, I realized it was my Aunt Virginia at very young age. When I was growing up, she was never called anything but Virginia, not even Ginnie.

      "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

      by klompendanser on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:02:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and my maternal Grandmother (6+ / 0-)

        born Rosalinda, but Rosalyn on her death record, Roselyn on her gravestone, and in other records have seen Rose Lynn, Rosa Lynn, Roselinda, Linda (hey, that my name!) and I'm sure there were a couple of other.

        On my husband's side, though, it's been much, much worse, infuriating how many completely different names I'll encounter for the same freaking individual.  In some families, I've just thrown up my hands in defeat while trying to figure it out.

    •  Thank you so much (5+ / 0-)

      edwardssl for your nice and kind words. I have my own little secret for this group.

      This grasshopper has learned his lessons well from his masters and teachers here. I wholeheartedly am indebted to you.

      I learned early in childhood growing up that I was never Baptized. I remember countless times where those close to me in those time urged me to get baptized. Some even volunteered to be my God Fathers.

      So you see, edwardss?..I don`t know because I have not been taught this: Where can I find the records in churches in Austin if I was never baptized.

      I have only one memory of why I never accepted those offers of help to get baptized. I did not care. A priest I will never forget once told me that I would never be allowed in the Kingdom of Heaven because I appeared to have been possessed by evil. I never forgot that.

      I have however, always known that under Catholic rule, if one is to baptized, that person cannot be accepted after death in the church. So there will not be any church farewells for me as is usual.

      I know that my soul is destined to transmigrate to other galaxies until the end of time and barred from coming back in another life. Sounds looney, eh? But I believe in this stuff. Not baptized and you`re out!

      I am not religious. I don`t knock anyone`s beliefs.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:36:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary, Ole Texan. (5+ / 0-)

    There's lots to digest here and I'm not ready to really comment without re-reading and pondering it. I feel great sadness and, yet, you seem to have found some peace with knowing that there are some things, things so very close to your heart, that you will never understand. I know that feeling well myself.

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 09:50:11 AM PDT

  •  Would anyone like to volunteer to host (4+ / 0-)

    a Friday GFHC Open Thread?  Or even an open thread anytime during the week?

    Here's our current schedule:

    Sep 28   GrumpyOldGeek
    Oct 5     Land of Enchantment
    Oct 9 (Midweek)   TayTay
    Oct 12   larmos
    Oct 19    Desert Rose
    Oct 26   jeanette0605
    Oct 30 (Midweek)  TayTay
    Nov 2    open for adoption

    Looks like we've got some great diaries on the docket (not to mention today's), but we would always like to see more.

    Any takers?

  •  {{{Ole Texan}}} (5+ / 0-)

    The secrets of another time and mindset do leave lasting consequences. When you have spent a lifetime affected by those consequences without having any understanding or knowledge, your anger and sadness are the logical and obvious responses.

    I think the increased pain of partial discovery can be likened to setting of a broken bone ... the process can feel like it hurts more than the original wound, but healing begins from that point.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:10:27 AM PDT

  •  There is nothing illegitimate about you. (7+ / 0-)

    No matter what your legal status at birth, it's obvious from your searching that your mother loved you, enough to let you go when she couldn't provide for you.  Even though you landed in horrible circumstances, it might well have been much worse had she tried to keep you with her.

    You, on the other hand, refused to remain given away.  Even as a little boy, you obviously had a loyal and noble nature then, and you've retained it through your life.  What a gift that you were with your mother when she passed!

    Thank you for taking us on your journey, even though the ending wasn't what you imagined when you started out.  You've given us a searing record of times with hardships we can scarcely imagine today.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: the best gift you can give your descendants is the gift of knowing you.  Now that you've come to terms with your forebearers,  I hope you keep writing your life, for us here and for your children.  

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:25:24 AM PDT

  •  What a journey you have been on (5+ / 0-)

    I remember your early diaries as you began the search. Of course our lives, and the lives of our forebears, are not necessarily straightforward; so it's perhaps not unusual that now you know both more, and less, than you did when you started.

    "Romney has proved himself right: We manifestly do have a problem with people who see themselves as victims even as they benefit from loopholes in the tax code. One is running for president." Kristof

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:21:26 AM PDT

    •  Indeed it has (4+ / 0-)

      been a long journey Catte Nappe. As I wrote, these people are all gone. I found things that I lived through in blindness for being so careless in life.

      You are right, our forebears lives when we discover what they were like is strikingly surprising. The only thing that consoles me about my mother is knowing that she is now resting.

      She was some lady, and very beautiful. That about her is what makes me jealous of those men, or man who took advantage of that beauty and young age. But life does not come with any guarantees of security.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 03:00:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ole Texan, (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry I have not posted until now. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your journey with us. I am sure you know that you have not walked this path alone--we have been with you all the way. Perhaps you have not found your genetic family, but you have this family in this group.

    I have so much respect for you. And love. You are a great man,  and I'm sure your mother was proud of the man you became.

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