A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for Ygnacio GOLLÁZ


"Don Nacho" has commented that it is something of a miracle that he survived to manhood. Before he was born, his mother had several miscarriages (aborto espontáneo = "spontaneous abortion") and three full term pregnancies. Not one of his three siblings survived infancy, a fact testified to by the absence of birth or baptism records for them in the town of Hostotipaquillo (where the vital records of the region have been maintained in the church of the La Virgen del Labor since 1615). His father died when Nacho was just six years old and his mother never remarried.

Note: Santo Domingo de Guzmán, where Nacho Golláz was born and spent his early childhood, was really never more than an isolated mining camp in the foothills above the town of Magdalena. As late as 2005 Santo Domingo consisted of just 40 houses and the trip of 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) from Santo Domingo took nearly an hour over poorly-maintained dirt roads.

When he was eleven years old and living in Santo Domingo with his widowed mother, Nacho Golláz decided one night that he could no longer resist his feelings of restlessness. Early the next morning this little boy, with no knowledge of the existence of automobiles, trains, or even other towns, began the first of his many adventures. He arose before the sun, dressed, and left home without a word to his mother. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he began walking westward through the mountains. At the end of a long day of walking, he came upon a camp of "carboneros" or charcoal makers. He requested a chance to work for his keep and, when it was granted, stayed on for awhile. During his stay, one of the women of the camp sewed him a rose-colored flannel shirt, which nearly doubled his wardrobe.

After about two months of work cutting firewood and making charcoal, the carboneros descended to a nearby railroad siding to begin loading waiting flatcars with charcoal for the market and firewood for the steam locomotives. Nacho went along and, fascinated by his first sighting of a train, he climbed aboard and left on the next leg of his adventure. The train headed over the Sierra Madre toward the town of Tepic, stopping after several hours to take on water. During the water stop, Nacho was discovered by the train crew, who threw him off. He found himself alone in the mountains, near the town of Compostela. Seeing nothing of interest there, he found a trail and continued walking further into the mountains. Late in the evening of his third day of walking, he found himself in small town. It being night, and no one stirring, he sat at the base of a large Tamarind tree, leaned back and went to sleep sitting up.

At first light, he watched as a shopkeeper arrived across the street and began opening his small fruit and vegetable stand for the day's business. When Nacho approached him and asked for work, the shopkeeper studied him for a moment, asked him a few questions, and then sent his young son home with orders for his wife to send back breakfast for the new employee. He accepted the job at a salary of 25 centavos per day (about four cents US) After working for a year, sweeping, running errands and tending the store, Nacho decided to return home to visit his mother. He asked for his back pay, which he hadn't touched during the entire year, and upon receiving 91 pesos, left to return to Santo Domingo. The shopkeeper was sorry to see him go, and offered a job for both Nacho and his mother, if he'd return. So, after surprising his mother with a brief visit and his 91-peso fortune, he returned with her and they both worked there for an additional two years.
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