Wednesday, June 16, 2010


As we move towards Father's Day I thought I'd do a couple of posts about Fathers and Grandfathers.
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 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.
My maternal Grandfather was Richard Kennedy a red-headed Irishman who was born in Oklahoma in 1897 when it was still Indian Territory.  I have been able to trace his family back to Richmond County, Georgia in the 1770's, but with a name like Kennedy I'm sure his family came from Ireland, I just haven't found the connection yet.  Family legend always said they were from County Cork. He married my Grandmother Pearl in 1919 and they had 5 children, one of whom died in infancy.  He was a farmer all his life though he worked in the shipyards during the Second World War.  We use to visit them on their farm in Oklahoma when I was a young girl.  They had no indoor plumbing or electricity until I was grown so it always felt like a real adventure when we went to see them.   He was a great story teller who would sit and roll his own cigarettes and talk for hours.  He died in 1986.  The picture to the left is my Grandfather Richard and Grandmother Pearl.
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.


  1. I didn't realise that you were into genealogy too! I must visit Ancestry at least once a day doing research of some sort or another. On my mother's side I've found out that they came from Norfolk which is where I love to visit and need to visit at least once a year! Now I know why - my roots are there! Both my parents have passed away and I never knew my paternal grandfather. I've always been told what a lovely man he was and just wish I had been able to know him. My kids are not particularly interested in the family tree at the moment but at least when they do want to know it will be there for them. I think it's an 'age' thing. As we get older we want to know about it.

  2. Joined Ancestry in January when I realized how little we knew about our families. Have reconnected with a 2nd cousin I haven't seen since we were teenagers and with a 3rd cousin I'd never met.

  3. It is amazing how quickly family information disappears into the realm of cobwebs, even when generations of a family have lived in the US and can be [usually] located in the census. Hours and hours flit by when we are on the trail of this stuff.

  4. wiymmitMy ancestors also came from Macotera. My grandfather was born in San Leandro, CA, but the family moved back to Macotera, then,back to San Leandro CA prior to the Spanish Reviolution. My great grandfather came to the US from Macotera, first to HI, then CA as well in I think 1915, then the rest of the family in 1920. They went back to Macotera in 1932. All of my Titas married men from Macotera, but they did it in the US.

  5. Hola.
    Los abuelos paternos de Mac, viajan en el SS Ascott (1913), Manuel Gutierrez Hidalgo y Maria Asuncion Hidalgo Rivera; son de la localidad de ¿"La Roda"? (creo que pudiera ser La Roda de Andalucia en la provincia de Sevilla)

    Los abuelos maternos, viajan en el SS Willesden (1911)Sebastian Hernandez Hernandez y Maria Antonia Campos; en el listado de pasajeros figura como "Hernández Hernadez", si bien tiene un familiar en MAcotera llamado "Isabel Hernandez Gómez" ¿madre o hermana?

    Cristóbal Navas


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