Anthony Ray, of Palmdale, California, the first recipient of the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant, continues to expand his genealogical expertise as he travels and researches his Mexican-American ancestry.
Do you know a young genealogist who would like to attend the 2016 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree to be held June 3-5 in Burbank, California? Applications for the 2016 Student Genealogy Grant are being accepted through March 20, 2016 for the 2016 award. The recipient will receive a $500 cash award and complimentary registration to the 2016 SCGS Jamboree Conference. See the Student Genealogy Grant Page for details.
News From Anthony Ray, 2011 Student Grant Recipient
I was delighted to receive this personal update on his recent activities:
The past year has been an incredible one in every aspect of life. From a change in employment, to progressing in my music studies, my life has taken a very different route than what I could have imagined a year ago.
Fortunately the consistent part of my life has been genealogy. Last year, I decided to take another huge step in my research and take a trip up to northern California to tackle some of the biggest brick walls on my Berryessa family – one of the founding families of the Presidio de San Francisco. I spent a total of nine days driving from archive, to library, to church, and back to archive – with just a little sleep in between. I copied took over 2000 photos of various documents ranging from church to court records.
I met some amazing people, had so many amazing experiences, and loved every minute of it. When I arrived home, I was exhausted, but ready to pour over the records I had found. The court records, in particular, yielded some of the most interesting narratives – from land disputes, divorces, and the kidnappings of native children, it was all there.
I’ve been slowly translating these old Spanish documents, extracting their stories, cross-referencing them with other sources, and am finally writing the history of this amazing family. I have about twenty-five pages written so far, but there is still much more to write about.
I quickly realized when I got home that I had missed so much – regardless of the hundreds of pages I copied. I’ve been planning another research trip for the end of the month during my spring break. I’ll spend a week and a half in Monterey, San Jose, Martinez, San Francisco, and other northern California cities. I’m incredibly excited to be back up there.
One thing that I’ve learned in all of this is the need to connect with fellow and professional researchers. Both were very useful and accommodating to me while I was there.
Besides genealogy, I’m still pursuing a second bachelor’s in music. I have a couple different universities in mind to transfer. I’ve also auditioned for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and after a three round audition process, I find out this week if I’ve made it in or not. Regardless of the outcome, I’ll be incredibly thankful for the experience.
Although my mom never met Anthony at the SCGS Jamboree, I know they would have become fast friends and enjoyed swapping stories about the Southwest culture and history. Please be sure to say “Hello” to Anthony if you see him at a genealogy conference or research archive. We wish him all the best in his next adventure, wherever it may lead.