From several sources I have seen, the Lucero surname originates in the Aragon region of Spain from around the 12th Century. The name is a derivative of the spanish word luz meaning light, and could mean morning star or evening star. The original complete surname is Lucero de Godoy although today most who carry the name have dropped the de Godoy. Our branch of the Lucero family has lived in the United States since about the late 1890s. Prior to that, they had lived primarily in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. It is likely that they were part of the original European settlers of Juarez, when it was known as El Paso del Norte. These settlers were from Santa Fe, New Mexico and forced to resettle in Paso del Norte after the Pueblo Indian revolt of 1680. While many of these “New Mexico” families eventually returned to Santa Fe, our Lucero ancestors remained in El Paso del Norte/Juarez for 200+ years before settling permanently in the United States. Today, our Lucero descendants live primarily in Arizona and California.
Other than being noted in several of his grandchildren’s baptismal (Anna, Maria Concepcion, and Rodolfo) records, we have been unable to locate any birth or death record for Monico in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We have also been unable to locate any marriage document between Monico and his presumed wife, Maria Benita Dolores Aguiar.
From the records, it appears that Monico and Dolores had at least one child together:
Maria Bersabe Lucero Aguiar, born about 1858 in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico
One clue that could help involves the baptismal record of his granddaughter Anna. The record notes that Anna’s godparents were Prudenciana Lucero and Jose Varela. If we can prove that Prudenciana was Monico’s sister, we can trace back at least three more generations beyond Monico.
It is unclear when Monico died, but he is listed in the baptismal record of his granddaughter Maria Concepcion in 1892, meaning he was likely alive until then. He is presumed to have died in Ciudad Juarez.
Maria Bersabe Lucero (Monico1)
We know very little about Bersabe’s early life. While we have yet to locate a birth or baptismal record for Bersabe, her age (although inconsistent) is listed on each of her children’s records. We can therefore guess that she was born around 1858 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. She appears to be an only child.
No church or civil record mentions the name of her husband or father of her children. This likely indicates that she was never legally married. Most records of the birth of her children state that she was a native of Juarez and living in the “Partido Mejia” region of the city, which today is located about 1 mile south of the border (Parque Chamizal). Many of the civil birth records of her children note that Bersabe was a seamstress.
The family theory is that Bersabe was involved in a long-term extra-marital relationship with Rudolph Sprinz, an immigrant from Prussia (present-day Poland) who lived across the Rio Grande River in El Paso, Texas. Bersabe and Rudolph appear to have had eight children together:
Manuel Julian, born January 9, 1878 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, married Carmen Zelaya;
Rodolfo, born July 1, 1883 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, died May 24, 1888;
Maria Dolores, born May 2, 1885 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, died August 4, 1885;
Luis, born June 20, 1886 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico;
Anna, born April 16, 1888 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, married Francisco Miranda and later Rodolfo Palacios;
Jose, born December 14, 1890 in Ciudad Juarez;
Maria Concepcion, born October 29, 1892 in Ciudad Juarez;
Rodolfo, born May 1, 1895 in Ciudad Juarez, married Maria Luisa Serrano.
Bersabe appears in the 1900 U.S. census for Arizona Territory, in the copper mining town of Morenci. According to the census, she immigrated to the United States with her 7 children in 1897. Her name appears on the wedding invitation of her daugther Anita in 1904, and she is listed as the Godmother of her grandson, Romulo Miranda, who was baptized in 1906. Bersabe also appears in the 1910 U.S. census living in Clifton with her son Manuel and his family as well as her other children: Eugenia, Luis, Maria, Rodolfo, and Jose. So far this is the last record we have for her, as we have been unable to locate her in the 1920 census.
Bersabe is presumed to have died, likely in Arizona, between 1910 and 1920.
Anna Lucero (Bersabe2 Monico1)
Anna was born on April 16, 1888 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and was baptized at the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Cathedral in Juarez on May 5, 1888. No father is listed on either her civil birth record or her baptismal record, but we know from her death record that her father was Rudolph Spring. Her baptismal record lists her mother, her grandparents as Monico Lucero and Dolores Aguiar, and her Godparents as Prudenciana Lucero and Jose Varela. Her civil birth record from Ciudad Juarez is at right and confirms her date of birth as well as the name of her mother. It lists her name as Ana Maria, although every other document we have found lists her name simply as Anna.
She and her siblings were likely rare examples of inter-ethnic mixing in late 19th Century Southwestern United States. Oral family tradition says that Anna was light-skinned and had green eyes, the likely result of her German-Jewish father. All her siblings carried the last name (Lucero) of their mother Bersabe, which is further indication that their parents were not legally married. As noted above, Anna came to the United States with her mother and siblings around 1897 at the age of 9 years.
At two months shy of her 16th birthday, Anna married Francisco Miranda on February 15, 1904 at the Sacred Heart Church in Clifton, Arizona. The original wedding invitation at left lists the parents, although mostly incorrectly. Manuel J. Lucero is actually Anna’s oldest sibling and Romulo Chavez and Clara Chavez are Francisco’s step-grandfather and grandmother respectively. The invitation also lists the four Godparents and notes that the reception following the wedding was held at the house of Romulo Chavez.
Francisco and Anna were married for approximately eight years and lived in a house on property adjacent to Francisco’s step-grandfather Romulo. It is likely that Anna had very little schooling, and oral tradition notes that she never learned to speak English fluently despite living more than 30 years in the United States. It appears that, particularly as she had so many children, Anna worked primarily as a housewife and was never employed outside the house. Anna and Francisco had five children together:
Clara, born January 31, 1905 in Clifton, Arizona Territory, married Luis Paredes;
Romulo, born August 12, 1906 in Clifton, Arizona Territory, married Francisca Vielma;
Maria Lucia, born Julyl 25, 1908, in Clifton, Arizona Territory, married Frank Caravantes;
Ana Catarina, born April 6, 1910 in Clifton, Arizona Territory, died April 9, 1928;
Amalia, August 3, 1911 in Clifton, Arizona Territory, died May 2, 1913.
While details are unclear, approximately a year after the birth of their final child Amalia in 1911, Francisco left Clifton for another Arizona mining town – Ray-Sonora. No record of divorce or separation has been located. It appears that Anna remained for some years in Clifton to care for the children. She was eventually involved with another man and had two children:
Rosaura, born May 22, 1913 in Clifton, Arizona, married Marco Delon, married Leroy Kenniston;
Raul, born March 31, 1915 in Clifton, Arizona.
Both Rosaura and Raul carried as their last name the maiden name of their mother, which could indicate that Anna was not married to their father.
Around 1915-16, Anna married Rodolfo Palacios in Clifton. Together they had four children:
Amina, born August 15, 1917 in Clifton, Arizona;
Amalia, born March 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, California;
Rudolph, born February 6, 1924 in Los Angeles, California;
Robert, born May 22, 1926 in Los Angeles, California.
Shortly after the birth of Amina, Anna and her second husband Rodolfo moved to Los Angeles, California. The family appears in the 1920 U.S. Census living in the town of San Pedro, California. While Anna’s oldest three children from her first marriage (Clara, Romulo, and Lucia) stayed behind with their grandmother in Clifton, Catarina, Rosaura, Raul, and Amina moved to San Pedro. According to city directories for San Pedro from 1923 and 1924, Anna and her family lived at 135 South Palos Verdes Street, and Rodolfo worked as a blacksmith at the shipyard.
Just days after the birth of his son Robert in 1926, Rodolfo passed away in San Pedro. Since many of her siblings were still living in Miami and Globe in Arizona during this time, Anna moved back to Arizona, presumably because her siblings could help support her and her children. She appears in the 1930 U.S. Census in Miami, Arizona with her six youngest children. While the census indicates that Anna was not employed, her daughter Rosaura was employed as a clerk at a grocery store.
According to her death certificate, Anna died of pulmonary tuberculosis on August 14, 1931. The informant was her daughter Rosaura. The record confirms the names and birth locations of both her parents. By all accounts she had a very difficult life. She had her first child at 16, and went on to mother 11 children in 21 years, living in four different towns during that time. The circumstances of her life meant that she spent many years apart from her first three children; two of her other children died young; her first marriage did not work out; and her second husband died young. Following her death, most of Anna’s children went to California to live with their aunts and uncles, most of whom by then had moved permanently to the Los Angeles area.
Anna is buried at the Pinal cemetery in Miami, Arizona. Her gravestone reads: Un recuerdo de sus hijos, Que En Paz Descanse, which translates to “a remembrance from your children, rest in peace.”