Atenojenes Vargas, Nancy Vargas put faces on Barberan y Collar postcard

A postcard from Nieves Vargas and Atenojenes Vargas.

A postcard from Nieves “Nancy” Vargas and Atenojenes Vargas. (Courtesy Art Vargas)

This is a postcard with Nieves “Nancy” Vargas’ face superimposed on the left and her brother Atenojenes Vargas on the right in a plane with the words “Barberan y Collar.”

Some background…

The Vargas family immigrated to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico, in the early 1900s, including husband Mariano Vargas Ramos, wife Candelaria Marin Hernandez and their eight children. The children were still little, so they were essentially raised in San Jose, Calif., growing up speaking heavily accented English but also Spanish at home, and most of the girls married young, according to my uncle Art, who is the son of Atenojenes.

After Candelaria died in 1930, Mariano and the unmarried siblings, Nieves and Atenojenes included, decided to return to Mexico. I would date this composite image in the early to mid-30s based on the “Barberan y Collar” wording. Barberan and Collar were Spanish aviators — Mariano Barberan y Tros de Ilarduya and Joaquin Collar. They flew a plane across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to Cuba in June of 1933, according to The Biography. Later that same year, the plane headed for Mexico City but was intercepted by a storm and they were never to be seen again, according to The Biography.

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POW letters from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B to wife Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp

A POW notice was sent from the Nazis to Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp on May 15, 1942, saying what she should send to her husband and why he had been taken into custody. Klaas Siersema was imprisoned at Oflag XIII-B, a prisoner of war camp for officers that was at the time in Hammelburg, Germany. I am not sure of his  exact rank at the time, but I’ll add it to this post if I am able to narrow it down. Later, he or someone he knew drew this sketch of the camp. Although I can’t read them, I did want to share them in case anyone else can. Here are photos/scans of the letters he sent back, in order of postmark:

June, 1, 1942

Front of the postcard from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Front of the postcard from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Back of the postcard from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Back of the postcard from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

June 26, 2014

Front of a letter from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Front of a letter from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Letter from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Letter from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

July 8, 1942

Letter front from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

Letter front from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

Notice on POW stationary saying it's only for prisoner of war use and they must write on the line. The words are in German and Polish.

Notice on POW stationary saying it’s only for prisoner of war use and they must write on the line. The words are in German and Polish.

A letter written in pencil from Klaas Siersema to his wife while he was a prisoner at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

A letter written in pencil from Klaas Siersema to his wife while he was a prisoner at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

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Photo: Vargas Marin siblings send snapshot to sister Lucy Calvillo in the states in 1939

From top and left to right, Nieves "Nancy" Vargas Marin, Alfonso "Pancho" Vargas Marin, Atenojenes Vargas Marin, and Luis Vargas Marin in Mexico, D.F., in 1934.

From top and left to right, Nieves “Nancy” Vargas Marin, Alfonso “Pancho” Vargas Marin, Atenojenes Vargas Marin, and Luis Vargas Marin in Mexico, D.F., in February, 1939.

I recently sat down with my uncle Art Vargas to talk about the Vargas Marin side of the family (our common ancestors were Mariano Vargas Ramos — born November 1870 in Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico — and Candelaria Marin Hernandez) and he shared with me the postcard above. It turns out, the Vargas Marin side of my family immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the early and mid-1900s in two waves.

The first time around — my best guess this was around 1925-1927, but I have no documentation as of yet — the family made it to the San Francisco Bay Area by way of Texas. It was tough to find work, so after awhile, the brothers decided to move back to Mexico. At that time, the sisters were all already married, so they stayed. Everyone, my uncle said, worked in the canneries.

The brothers returned in a second wave during World War II, when there was more work available. But between the two immigrations, judging from the postcard, Nancy visited them back in Mexico.

Here’s the back side of the postcard with a message to Lucy:

NancyVargasandBrothersBackofPostcard

Early 1900s postcards from Freerk Swalve to daughter Wubbina (in Dutch)

UPDATED SEPT. 20, 2012: These are postcards sent from my great-great-great-grandfather Freerk Bellinga Swalve to his only daughter, Wubbina, in the early 1900s. Originally, there was one more in this collection, but it was removed after my cousin, Anje Belmon read over them (she know Dutch) and determined that one was actually from an aunt. As for the rest, Anje says, “Most of what is written is about small illnesses, and wishes that things will be better soon, so they can visit each other.” Which, of course, sounds exactly like something a father would write to his daughter.

Hint: Click on the images to make them bigger.