maiden name mystery solved?

A while back, I found the record of marriage of Miguela to Charles Bottger in September of 1897.  It was in the Marriages, Book “C” and “D”, Jan. 1855 thru Dec. 14, 1900, San Felipe de Neri RCC, Alburquerque, Territory of NM—Microfilm FHL 016-644, and had been translated from Spanish into English.  Additionally, in the introduction to the book, it noted that from pages 42 to 125 or so, the person writing the record had extremely “careless” handwriting, and some of the writing was illegible.  So what I found, as follows, is from 1897, translated from Spanish–explanations to follow:  

“Today the (blank) of September of 1897, I married Mr. Charles A. Buttager baptized Luteran, son of J. L. and J. L. Buttager with the dispensation of Mixed Religion, with Miguela Baca widow of Mr. Hain, deceased, and daughter of Gertrudes Baca.  Witnesses, Tony Michellach and Mrs. Michellach.  ‘I the undersigned promise to Miguela Baca, my wife, to leave her free to exercise of her own religion during her whole lift [sic] and also promise that the children who may be born of our union shall all be baptized in the Catholic Church and brought up in the doctrine of the same Church.’  Signed C. A. Buttager”

Here are the explanations:  Bottger’s name was misspelled, as usual.  This is the first reference that Charles Bottger was Lutheran (also misspelled).  At that time, Miguela was the widow of Max Stein, so with very poor handwriting and translating a foreign name from Spanish to English, one can understand where “Stein” could be rewritten as “Hain.” 

But where did the name Baca come from?  We do know that her mother was Gertrudes Garcia, who was a widow with one child (Miguela) and married Tom Post.  So who was Baca?

I have been working my way through Albuquerque, A Narrative History by Marc Simmons, and came upon the answer.  On page 106, in discussing the substantial Elena Gallegos Land Grant.  Shortly after 1712, land was granted Elena Gallegos, widow of Santiago Gurule.  The author noted that

“As was often done in colonial New Mexico, she retook her maiden name upon her husband’s death.” 

Therein lies the key.  If Miguela was the widow of Max Stein, who died in 1889, she reverted to her maiden name of Baca, which is how her name appeared when she married Charles Bottger in 1897.  So why is that different than her mother’s name?  Because Gertrudes Garcia was also twice a widow.  Her maiden name was Garcia.  She married a man named Baca, who was Miguela’s father (hence, Miguela Baca), and then was widowed.  Subsequently, she married Thomas  D. Post, Miguela’s stepfather, and was known as Gertrudes Garcia de Post.  When Thomas Post died in 1893, Gertrudes survived him and her name reverted back to Gertrudes Garcia, which was her name at the time of Miguela’s marriage in 1897.

I’m finding that there are very subtle historical and cultural traditions like this that make a huge difference in research, and the answers can come from unexpected places.

I’m having fun–come on along!

Kathy