Jason and I were in Mexico for the weekend. Not quite the Mexico vacation you might be imagining though. You see, this trip was an extended family tour of Colonia Juarez in Chihuahua.
We flew to El Paso where we joined about 60 other extended family members on a giant tour bus to begin our journey across the border. I was surprised there were so many people. Jason's parents talked us into going several months ago, and all we knew was that we would be traveling with them and a few other family members to Mexico to place headstones on the graves of Jason's great grandfather and great, great grandfather.
The story began in Italy in 1856 when Jason's great, great grandfather joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints along with his parents, and most of his siblings. They left their home in northern Italy to come to the United States to be with other members of the church (or saints as we call them). They eventually made it to Utah where many of the saints had already been gathering. In 1885 Jason's great, great grandfather, who by then was married and had begun a family of his own, was asked to move his family to Mexico to help colonize an area. He, along with several other families faithfully went to Mexico and settled in two small colonies - Colonia Dublan and Colonia Juarez.
Several years later he passed away leaving his wife to care for nine children, one of which was Jason's great grandfather. In 1912, due to the Mexican revolution, they were forced from their homes became refugees. They exchanged guns and horses with the rebels in exchange for save passage back into the United States. They made it safely into El Paso where the US government agreed to help them out with provisions. After the revolution ended many families returned to the colonies with their families, but many, including my husband's family chose to stay in the states.
Many of the early family members, including Jason's great, great grandfather, and his great grandfather died in the colonies, but never had a headstone placed on their grave. This trip's purpose was to place, and dedicate headstones to those family graves that didn't have them, and also to learn more about family history. It was an amazing experience and one I will cherish for a long time. It has renewed in me a desire to learn more about my ancestors.
Some of the highlights of the trip were:
-The Food!!! It has been an incredibly long time since I have enjoyed so much (and ate so much!)
-Attending the temple in Colonia Juarez
-Meeting lots of new people
-Spending time with family
-Mata Ortiz pottery
-Touring the old family home which has since been converted into a delicious restaurant
-Learning about the Academia Juarez where people such as Marion G Romney, and Henry Eyring graduated High School