One of the earliest Mexican-born residents of Davenport, according to a search of the U.S. and Iowa state population censuses, was a man named Jasinto (Jacinto) Almeida.
Jasinto’s card from the 1915 state census (accessed via AncestryLibrary) shows that the 27-year-old had $420 in earnings from working the past year as a laborer, and that during all of 1914 he had always been employed. He had been living in the United States for 5 years, 3 of them in Iowa, and his address was 517 Esplanade Avenue. According to their 1915 census cards, 23-year-old María, his wife, and one-year-old Lucía, his Iowa-born daughter, lived with him.
We have some other details about Jasinto and his family in other U.S. sources, but it is only his June 5, 1917 draft registration card that connects him to a specific place in Mexico: He was born in Villanueva.
As Villanueva is in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, we can search sources in this location for more information on Jasinto Almeida and his family.
The source of choice is El Registro Civil, or the Civil Registry. It is a government record of births, marriages, and deaths (vital records) in each of the cities and towns within a Mexican state from the year 1859, well-known for its usefulness in Mexican and Mexican-American genealogical research.
The civil registration records may be accessed via the AncestryLibrary and FamilySearch Affiliate databases at all three Davenport Public Library locations. If you cannot read Spanish (or handwriting), Special Collections has two staff members who can help.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 2023, we are examining these records to find further details to add to the Almeida family’s story.
The Villanueva matrimonios (marriages) in the Zacatecas, Mexico civil registration records include the marriage of Jasinto Almeida and María Reveles, #95, in June 1907.
The record gives the the names and ages of both parties’ parents: Jacinto was the son of Julián Almeida, 52, and Secundia Lozano, 51; María was the daughter of Tomás Reveles, 48, and María Leonides (?) Soriano, 47. The names of witnesses were also recorded; these may have been friends, neighbors, or other associates (a FAN club) who can be investigated for further clues about the Almeida family and their community.
A daughter, María Márcos Almeida Reveles, was born to Jasinto and María on October 8, 1910. Ancestry uses the green baby buggy icon to show the location of the date of birth in the civil registration record:
The record also includes the names of her grandparents. Sadly, it was María Márcos’ paternal grandfather, Julián Almeida, who registered her death with a Villanueva official eleven months later, perhaps because Jasinto was working in the U.S. at the time. María Márcos died of croup on the 5th of September, 1911. The green gravestone icon marks the date her death was recorded.
The croup also took Jasinto and María’s first child, 2-year-old Ramona (b. 1908), in 1910 — just days before her sister María Márcos was born.
Although they lost these two daughters in the early years of their marriage, Jasinto and María were blessed with more children during their time in Davenport. The 1920 U.S. Census tells us that Frank, age 4 and Lupe, age 2, had joined older sister Lucía, age 6.
The civil registration records also confirm that the Almeida family returned to Zacatecas, Mexico, probably about 1923-1924: the September 1948 marriage of 25-year-old Juana María Almeida Reveles (daughter of Jasinto and María) to Jesus Serrano Gonzales in the city of Zacatecas (state of Zacatecas) shows that the bride was born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1923:
Because we do not find the Almeidas in the 1925 Iowa State Census, and Jasinto no longer appears in the Davenport city directories after 1924, we might guess that they left Davenport shortly after Juana María was born. The only record of another child born to Jasinto and María is the death of 8-month-old J. Rafael Manuel Almeida Reveles in Villanueva in December 1933, indicating that the family was back in Zacatecas by at least that date.
The 1930 Mexico National Census confirms it was a few years earlier: Lucía, Francisco (Frank), Lupe and Juana María were living then with their parents in Villanueva. The civil registration records also tell us that Francisco was married in the state of Zacatecas, and that his parents and sister Lupe died there. A more thorough search of these records might reveal even more information to add to the Almeida family tree.
Do you have ancestors with ties to Mexico? Let us help you search the Registro Civil!
(posted by Katie)