I never knew my great grandfather. That is not unusual, but as a young girl I would sit by my great grandmother's side holding her hands while playing with her rings. I was fascinated by stories she would tell of each ring and I especially loved to her about her beloved husband, Refuguio. He was always one of the people of those stories that filled my life, until January 2015 when I came across a little black book while looking through some of my grandmother's things. I almost didn't open it up. It was so small and tattered, it looked inconsequential, but I was wrong this little book had a story to share.
This tiny notebook was given to my great grandfather, Guelito Cuco (as he is affectionately known) by my great grandmother, Guelita Caro. She gave it to him as a record of her love so that every time she would read it he would remember his wife and children. She told him to keep it with him always for his notes, or to only think of your wife whom will be faithful until eternity.
How beautiful is that?
Guelita Caro would have been pregnant with their third child and it was a dated a couple of weeks after her birthday. It makes me wonder what else was happening in their lives to make this gift so significant for each of them.
Here he wrote, "I will always keep this notebook because it's a keepsake of my faithful and unforgettable wife and children. And as proof of my infinite love that I profess to them. I leave it in writing as a remembrance of my own life." He also made a record of my grandmother's birth. I love that he noted that she was born on a Tuesday at 11am. A tiny detail that somehow made me smile.
This tiny notebook numbered 96 pages to which he dedicated for personal information, which has been reviewed and analyzed. He said, " So I recommend for the person who finds this to be be careful and return it to the owner". The notebook was something he valued and the information there in was important to him. My great grandfather was a record keeper, if only in this book I don't know. My connection to him from this tiny treasure was priceless.
So not only was I holding something of my great grandfather's, I was holding something he treasured, carried with him. Something that after his death my great grandmother treasured and then my grandmother and my mother before me. Four generations have held this book and somehow taken solace in it's contents.
Meet Guelito Cuco. This is perhaps the last image of him before he was murdered in front of his home one day. He was involved in a local political election and was winning the popular vote. Someone from the opposing party murdered him leaving Guelita Caro a widow at the age of 45 with 6 children to raise. My grandmother was only 13 when her father died. She doesn't like to talk about that time, but she loved to share other stories of her beloved father.
Not only did Guelito Cuco record the birth dates of all of his children, but he recorded the death dates of his parents and an older brother, whom he says was brutally murdered. This is currently the only piece of information or source we have listed about Salvador.
It leaves me with so many questions, but finding this little book fills me with dedication to continue my own documentation of our lives. I hope that each of my grandchilden or great grandchildren can hold and cherish a notebook filled with things that are most important to me. I hope they will know that I thought of them, even if I never get a chance to meet them. I hope like Guelito Cuco that people will always know that I loved my family and they are most precious to me.
This was originally published on the familysearch blog.