Heather Rodriquez Oral History


Heather Rodriquez Oral History


Oral and Artifact History


Oral interview with Heather Rodriquez


Alex Clark


Recording via phone.


CCSU and Dr. Juan Coronado.




Alex Clark




Oral History


Alex Clark


Heather Rodriquez


Central Connecticut State University


Transcript of Oral Interview with Heather Rodriquez

(Alex Clark) Thank you for sitting down with us my name is Alex Clark. What is your name.

(Heather Rodriquez) Heather Rodriguez.

(Alex Clark) uh..and how do you spell your last name.

(Heather Rodriquez) RODRIGUEZ.

(Alex Clark) ok…what's your date of birth.

(Heather Rodriquez) January 6 1976.

(Alex Clark) uh…are you originally from Connecticut.

(Heather Rodriquez) no.

(Alex Clark) where are you originally from.

(Heather Rodriquez) Los Angeles, Calafornia.

(Alex Clark) and how long have you lived in the area.

(Heather Rodriquez) since 2012 August 20.

(Alex Clark) What item have you brought for us today?

(Heather Rodriquez) so I have my ancestry DNA results that I'm going to show you and then it also have my family map that I have which goes almost to the 1790s-

(Alex Clark) Oh wow, when did you get this done?

(Heather Rodriquez) I had it done, I wanna say February of this year.

(Alex Clark) and what was the general purpose or reason that you wanted to get it done.

(Heather Rodriquez) um so I don't look like my family members (laugh) and I've always joked with my mom that I must have been adopted or they're not telling me something my family members are all about 6 feet they have black hair they have brown skin they have brown eyes really dark features and then there's me. So I I believe in genetics and you know I understand the whole uh globalization and colonization and and I just wanted to know more about why I look the way I do because I get so many doubts about well you're not Hispanic you're not Latino so I just wanted to see well what is my DNA say it's a fair rational right.

(Alex Clark) that's a fair rationale right. So that obviously talks about why you found it to be significant to you as a sort of hallmark for you and your family right-

(Heather Rodriquez) right-

(Alex Clark) so would that be the major significant reason-

(Heather Rodriquez) it kind of ended up being that way so it was really just for me but as I started to share my results in the family tree with the rest of my family numbers it had so much more significant meaning for them to know where our ancestors were from and at like my my grandma's both died in 2020 so as I'm sharing this information with my mom and my dad it helps them sort of relive and think about what my grandmas did to help support the family. So one of the documents I found was when my grandma on my mom side when she first crossed from Mexico to the United States and on the on the immigration form for the border passing it shows how my mom was a 2 year old and my grandma's arms at that time passing the border so that made her really happy to hear about a story that she didn't know about from my grandma and then same thing on my dad's side when I'm telling him where his grandfather used to live or he didn't know that he had enlisted in I I think it was World War I like it having those documents was like wow like so many of us were in the military on my dad's side so that made him feel a connection that he about that he didn't know anything about beforehand and his mother didn't even tell to him but I'm finding all this documentation to the ancestry so it helps them feel more connected to which I didn't think would would be so significant to them but it is.

(Alex Clark) It's really neat, so you talked about how the item is significant to your family. What about is it significant to you?

(Heather Rodriquez) to me it's so interesting like I wondered where everybody came from and I always explained I'm Mexican my parents were from Mexico my grandparents are from Mexico but beyond that I don't know who knows where they were from and and I really wanted to know the answer to that where is everyone from do we have any like indigenous from the United States in you know in our blood or in our history and I think not only kind of genetic wise but geographically I was curious to know if if parts of our family had migrated from other places from around the world or going more concentrated just here in the US and Mexico and and that had meaning to me to figure that out.

(Alex Clark) you mentioned a little bit about personal stories that your family had um after you found out the results are there any other personal stories associated with you getting your ancestry kit?

(Heather Rodriquez) there's a lot um so my brother joked my brother lives in Arizona and he was saying So what famous people are we related to because once you have your ancestry DNA it shows everyone who you could possibly match with and we see our first cousins second cousins all the way to 9th cousins or less than 1% match but you're still connected in some way and I said nobody that based on like the origins we might be derivatives of Montezuma and so he really liked that idea and he started to explore that in terms of Montezuma's ancestors and the region of of Aguascalientes and Wahaka and things like that so a lot of stories like that and they kept texting me and my family kept texting me did what did you learn today is there anything new that you found out about our family history today one of another one was that one of our grandparents was a farm worker on a citrus farm in California and I know that my father and grandfather had spent some time also on farms in around the Fresno to (uninteligable) area for California too so there seems to be this history of farm work in the family but we never talked about that no one currently is in farm work in the family but to see that in the past in probably during and before the Cesar Chavez days we had so many families working in the farms in that California area and they were probably active in the UFW before it was called the UFW also we found that one of my grandma's sisters when she crossed the border they also breakdown the occupation and so she her occupation was written down as domestic servant so that was kind of like one of the hardest hitting ones to to learn about where in that case for the early 1900s late 1800s she was more or less owned by a family and maybe took care of the children took care of the household but that was that was her life and then when I showed that to my mom and then my mom showed it to her sister then they started to have conversations about yeah that's my grandmother's sister and and how interesting they didn't know that she had that domestic servant role so we started to learn about the occupations that they had and how from that generation to today just how we have changed so much in the types of occupations that we have today and all of that.

(Alex Clark) that's awesome. Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today about your ancestry?

(Heather Rodriquez) Do you want to visually.

(Alex Clark) that would be awesome.

(Heather Rodriquez) my items here so this is what I really was interested in and I had my friends kind of show me theirs to compare it and I like how they give you a visual map so that you could have just this quick snapshot of your origins and then they break it down percentage wise but when I look at my visual mat compared to my friend who's from Peru she actually had a heavy concentration of her origins in the northeast of the United States because of one of her parents whereas the other parent was more from Peru but her Peruvian side came up from the Western countries in Europe whereas mine didn't have that mine is all southern California or the southwest Central America and then I had a lot more from Africa and Spain where she didn't have any of that from even though she's Peruvian so in terms of I guess the way that different areas were found by colonists it kind of shows um how it came from for me it was like Scotland down to Portugal and Spain to North Africa to South Africa and then over to Central America and then the southwest and so I just found it so interesting to see how that's broken down and then once they show my top one is actually indigenous Mexico but they break that down so my momma's from Zacatecas and my dad's from Jalisco and then they broke down the region so I could click on any one of these and they'll focus in on specific areas surrounding Zacatecas or Jalisco where we may be coming from so Aguascalientes was one of them that they were discussing but then when you expand each one of these stories they tell you it doesn't mean that you're…completely from her list it means that there is maybe 40 indigenous populations that were living there in Jalisco but they don't have the documentation yet or the DNA to know which one actually you would be from. So a lot of times people will say well I'm Aztec or I’m Mayan but that's not the case there is so many indigenous populations there so once you click on it there's so much more history that you learned about what was happening during that time era and why my family would have left Jalisco or Zacatecas to California because of certain types of wars or in this case it was because of Pancho Villa that they were fleeing that type of conflict.

(Alex Clark) It's honestly so cool that like just one and like ancestry results turned into this whole like linchpin for your family that you just went in and just expanded into stories and different things that's awesome.

(Heather Rodriquez) yeah yeah that's how it is like a rabbit hole of information to know about everything of where your family may have been coming from and what was happening during that time era that they were migrating from one area to another.

(Alex Clark) that's awesome yeah if there's anything else that comes to mind feel free to come back and let us know and if you don't mind could we get a picture of results for our documentation .

(Heather Rodriquez) yes absolutely.

(Alex Clark) awesome, thank you.

Original Format




Bit Rate/Frequency

44.1 kHz


Alex Clark , “Heather Rodriquez Oral History,” Latino History Harvest, accessed April 17, 2024, https://library.ccsu.edu/latinohistoryharvest/items/show/108.

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