In any given month, the Notre Dame Archives can receive up to a dozen inquiries from researchers seeking information about family members they believe have a connection to the University. Ancestry.com and The Genealogist are popular sites to begin learning about family history, but some answers can only be found within the unique sources held in the University Archives. Assistant archivist Angie Kindig tackles these genealogical questions and guides family members through the many different types of archival materials that might hold pieces of their ancestors’ stories.
The detailed records that universities maintain about their students can be an especially rich source for family history. One example is the information found in the Archives about the Trevino family. Hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, the family’s three boys, Ricardo, Gustavo, and Jose, all attended Notre Dame between 1901 and 1909.
One of the first records of the family’s time at Notre Dame is this letter from August of 1901, in which Ricardo expresses his intention to enroll and thanks then-University president Rev. Andrew Morrissey for sending along the General Catalogue (UPEL 123/03) he had requested. During this era, a student didn’t complete an application for admission, but Ricardo did take entrance exams for mechanical engineering.
Letter from Ricardo A. Trevino of Monterey, Mexico, to University President Rev. Andrew Morrissey regarding his intentions to attend Notre Dame and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, 1901/0806. Click to enlarge.
Gustavo followed Ricardo to Notre Dame in 1904, and a wealth of information on this middle brother can be found in various University records. His name, address and financial terms were entered into the Daybook (Vol. 15, page 105) upon his arrival, and as he was assigned a dorm and began to attend classes, that information was logged in the Class Records Book for 1904-1905. In this era, all of a student’s expenses and payments — including school supplies, haircuts, clothes and even trips to the doctor — were recorded in a Financial Ledger, an example (H-1, page 69) of which from Gustavo’s records is seen here.
Financial ledger detailing the expenses and credits for Gustavo Lorenzo Trevino during the academic year 1904-1905. Click to enlarge.
The Dome yearbook was first published at the end of the academic year 1905-1906, one year too late to capture any information about Ricardo. But the 1909 yearbook includes Gustavo’s senior photo, degree information, club memberships, and a quote. Their brother Jose only matriculated for two years, probably in the Preparatory Department, so he does not appear in the yearbook.
Senior portrait of Gustavo Lorenzo Trevino from the 1909 Dome yearbook. Click to enlarge.
The Notre Dame Scholastic and Notre Dame Alumnus also contain insight on Gustavo’s young life — in the former, you can explore the activities he was involved in while in school, and in the latter, the Alumni Association reveals that the middle son worked after graduation for the Mexican Telephone Company in Monterrey.
All of these items can be thought of as threads that, once woven together, create the tapestry that is the Trevino family history here at Notre Dame. Countless other families have stories like this one that wind through the University’s records. To connect with the University Archives about discovering yours, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Archives is written by the staff of the University of Notre Dame Archives highlighting notable pieces from their collection. Through its rich historical resources, the University Archives provides campus, national and international communities with a broad historical focus on the evolution of the University of Notre Dame, its contributions to higher education, and its place in history.