Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I have a Grandfather I didn't know very well and in Mac's case he had Grandfather he didn't know at all.
Mac's paternal Grandfather was Manuel Gutierrez and he was born in southern Spain about 1887. We have no pictures of him and I think he liked it that way. He and his wife Asuncion Hidalgo emigrated from Spain in about 1913. The family arrived in the Hawaiian Islands and they lived on all of them at one time or another cutting sugar cane, picking pineapples and in Manuel's case eventually wearing out his welcome. He was pure Gypsy, short, round, strong as a bull and the life of every party, everyone called him Viviano which means the lively one. He played flamenco guitar and was a flamenco dancer. Mac's Uncle George says the first time he ever saw him he was dancing on a bar top in San Francisco. In the 1920's the family had moved on to California, and there the family stayed, except for Manuel who got the family situated, and then he returned to Spain never to be heard from again. Mac never met him.
The Grandfather I know the least about is my paternal Grandfather Virgil Martin Strader. The picture at the top is of him and his sister Laura. Through ancestry.com I have traced his family back to Rotterdam where they emigrated from in the 1700's. He was born in Missouri in 1896 and married my Grandmother Lola Marie Dawson about 1919. The 1930 census lists his occupation as farmer. They moved to California sometime in the 1930's by which time they'd had 6 kids. He and my Grandmother separated after what my Father described as a rocky marriage and I met him in the 1950's when my family moved back to California. He was already ill with Parkinson's Disease and slowly slipped into senile dementia. My only memory of him was of his twinkling blue eyes, and I think I'm the only one in the family who inherited them. He died in 1969.
Mac's maternal Grandfather was Sebastian Gomez Hernandez who was born in Macotera, Spain (near Salamanca) in 1878. Typical of the Visigothic Spaniards of northwestern Spain Sebastian was red-headed with blue eyes.
He too emigrated from Spain, with his wife Maria Antonia in the early 1900's, going first to the Hawaiian Islands where they stayed only long enough to pay off their passage because Maria Antonia did no approve of all the half-naked Hawaiian women running around. So they went to California where their 5 children were born. He and the whole family worked picking crops in California and then he worked for the Caterpillar tractor company in Oakland. They bought a home of their own in Hayward where their children grew up. Mac's Mom described him as a hardworking man with a ready smile. He died in 1939. The picture to the right is of Sebastian and Maria Antonia and their children, starting on the left, Pazquela (my Mother-in-law), Modesto, Consuela, Felipe and between the parents, Dolores.
Realizing how little we knew about our family histories is one of the reasons I started my genealogy
research. Mac didn't even know his Father's parent's names, and I want to leave a history for our daughter April.