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Leonard Trujillo Explores Genizaro Ancestors at Jamboree '23

Leonard Trujillo will take attendees on an important and fascinating journey when he presents "Birth of a Family Icon" on Saturday, October 7, from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Southern California Genealogical Society's (SCGS) annual conference, Jamboree 2023.

Years-long genealogical research into Trujillo's past led him to discover fourth great-grandparents of mixed heritage, including Spanish, indigenous, and even native slaves. Their descendants are traced from New Mexico to California, culminating in a beautiful memorial artwork that graces the Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery in Colton, California.

According to historical research presented by the San Bernardino County Museum, a group from Abiquiu, New Mexico, settled on the upper Santa Ana River and served as a buffer against raiders and outlaws along the trading route from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. Ten of these families, led by Lorenzo Trujillo—Leonard's ancestor—inhabited 2,000 acres of the “Bandini Donation” on the east side of the river, on the northern boundary of the Jurupa Rancho. This village was known as “La Placita de los Trujillos,” later called La Placita.

Leonard Trujillo is a direct descendant of Genizaro ancestors from New Mexico and ancestors from Sonora, who intermarried with the early settlers of Alta California to lay the foundation of the modern California state. Trujillo is past president of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America, Southern California Chapter, and an active organization member.

Descendants of Native American Slaves

As explained on NPR's All Things Considered: "Genizaros are descendants of slaves, but not Africans who crossed the Atlantic in shackles to work in Southern cotton fields. They are living heirs to Native American slaves. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Native American women and children captured in warfare were bought, converted to Catholicism, taught Spanish and held in servitude by New Mexican families. Ultimately, these nontribal, Hispanicized Indians assimilated into New Mexican society."

Jamboree 2023 is a three-day event presented by SCGS, held online and in-person at the organization's Family Research Library and the Burbank Masonic Lodge in Burbank. This year's theme is "Cherishing Your Family Inheritance." The conference will feature a weekend of presentations, discussions, and roundtables focused on genealogy, family history research, storytelling, and the memories and treasures we inherit from our ancestors and pass down to our loved ones.

For registration and more information, view the conference website.

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