Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Christmas Card from Aunt Juanita

Back in June, I published a post about my Grandpa Debs Webster's blue notebook. He had taken this small blue notebook on his trip to Mexico in 1955. In this notebook my Grandpa Debs wrote notes about family history. He must have been asking questions about his family history while on his trip. I'm so glad he did that because it has helped me a lot as I've researched our shared Mexican ancestry.

On one of the pages, Grandpa Debs wrote concerning a "Juanita Guzman." Here's the page from his notebook where that information is found. I've put a red square around the information about Juanita.

Here's the transcription:

Juanita Guzman
Tia Juanita Guzman (Aunt Juanita Guzman)
2° gran (2nd degree great. Could this mean 2nd great-grandaunt?)
253 N. West Lake Av.
Los Angeles 26, Calif.

As I mentioned in my previous post about Grandpa Debs' blue notebook, I have been researching Juanita Guzman. I also mentioned in that post that I have a sweet card that Juanita sent to my Grandpa Debs. Here's that sweet card. I'm so glad that it was kept all of these years and that I was able to inherit this precious family history treasure.

As you can see, it's a Christmas card. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a date on the card and I don't have the envelope, so I don't know what year this card was sent to Grandpa Debs. But, it is so sweet! Juanita wrote:
From your Aunt that would like to meet you.
Juanita Villatoro Guzman
Apparently, Aunt Juanita and my Grandpa Debs hadn't met in person yet when this card was sent. I don't know how or when Grandpa Debs first contacted Aunt Juanita. He wrote her address in his blue notebook. Perhaps he wrote a letter to her, or tried to find her phone number and called her. I wish I could have talked to Grandpa Debs about Aunt Juanita.

Having Juanita's address in the blue notebook has been very helpful in my research about her. I've created a private family tree on Ancestry for her family and have been able to find information about her. She was married twice, had five children, and she had been adopted from Mexico and brought to the United States in 1923. I've also found her United States Petition for Naturalization document, which includes amazingly helpful information, including her birth date and place and her address at the time, which is the same address that was written by my Grandpa Debs in his notebook. The document states that Juanita was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico on June 24, 1906. That clue and the fact that she signed her name as "Juanita Villatoro Guzman" on the Christmas card are big clues.

I also found out that Guzman is Juanita's 2nd husband's surname. And her first husband's last name was Pancobila. So, Villatoro must have been a maiden name. I say "a" because in researching my Mexican ancestors, I have found that children often had two last names - their father's and their mother's. For instance, my great-grandmother's name was Esther Matus Villatoro. Her father's name was Nicanor Matus and her mother's name was Raymunda Villatoro. Esther was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico and so was Juanita. And both have the Villatoro surname. So this is an important clue.

Unfortunately, I still don't know exactly how Juanita is connected to our Villatoro family. I still don't know who her parents were. I hope I can find these vital pieces of the puzzle in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2019 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved


  1. Thanks for sharing the card. Love the clues you shared!

  2. Wow! What great treasures you have. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a treasure Jana. I hope you find the missing pieces of her family very soon.

  4. I'm glad you came back to the little blue book. The Christmas card is also a treasure. So sweet.

  5. That is a very special card, Jana! I especially love that you are using your Grandpa Debs' notebook to guide you in your research. Great post!

  6. Great research work...and how wonderful to have that card signed by Jaunita. Nice to have your grandfather’s notes as having him along on your research journey.

  7. Lovely card. I have a couple of old ones in a similar style. They would be 1950s, I believe. Your starting a tree for Juanita is a good tip. As is being alert to clues in naming customs. Hope you find more soon.

  8. I love the Christmas card and, like Diane, I'd say it looks to be from the 1950s. Hope you find more to add to Tia Juanita's story.




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