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Rhonda Ragsdale @profragsdale
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
My nana was born in Mexico in 1899, not in the US on the 4th of July as she always told us.
I heard my nana tell me and my cousins how the whole country was celebrating her birthday when the fireworks went off on 4th of July. It was a cute little joke. So I thought.
She told us she was born on the 4th of July in 1900. I thought that was so cool. Our family was patriotic, and I loved this story of our matriarch being born on such a holiday in that year.
Decades later, I was in grad school and had access to census records and thought it would be cool to do some family genealogy. And then ... hmmm ... something's weird. It says Nana was born in Mexico in 1899.
I called my dad and my Grammy, Nana's daughter, and they both explained to me that it must have been a mistake. So - I thought ok I will look up some other years and see what they say. Hmm. They say Mexico 1899 too.
I was so intrigued. Did Nana know? Could my sweet great gramma have lied to us all for all those years? Did her mom tell her she was born in Mexico? We will never know. No one alive knows. We can find no information other than these census lines.
Nana's mother has a Spanish Arab name. We know nothing about her other than her name and that she was living in Mexico when she had my Nana. The historical research I did didn't fit the Anglo narratives of the holiday family tree legends I grew up with.
My Grammy got so upset when I told her that Nana's occupation was listed as "fruit picker" in one of the census records. She raised her voice in a rare pitch, slapped her own legs, and hollared, "Nana was not a fruit picker! Don't say that!"
My dad picked fruit, my gramps picked fruit, I picked okra. It was Southern California in the early 1900s, and Nana was living in a neighborhood of fruit pickers, and she is listed in the census record as a fruit picker. Grammy, we're fruit pickers. It's ok.
So, yeah. Nana was born in Mexico. That's probably the only family secret I can tell right now.
Thank u for the thread inspiration @lovelyjessij :) #familysecrets
Here's Nana in the front. My Grammy is on the far left. Nana had 4 daughters who all had sons. I'm pretty sure this pic was taken in Ventura, California.
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