I dont know how many of you are aware of the family of Ramon Lafon, French expatriate who first migrated from Texas to the city of Matamoros about 1823. He appears in the the Mexico baptisms index on FamilySearch, as well as a few records in the 'Selected Parish Registers' on Ancestry.com for Tamaulipas. There are also some Mexican sites that mention him but they only use mostly the indexes. (I have tried to contact some of the owners of these sites but I never get a reply) I am descended from his son Dr. Antonio Fernando Lafon who later settled in Real de Catorce and then Monterrey, and who several of his descendants later moved to the US, including my own.
I've ventured out of just relying on the index to get the full picture on the family of Ramon Lafon and dug through the baptisms, marriage and death records of Matomoros by hand, page by page(the death records are almost completely unindexed).
The earlier found record for him in Matamoros is his marriage to Maria de los Angeles Garcia, on 1 Mar 1824 (mistakenly listed as Apr 1 1824 on Ancestry.com), daughter of Rafael Garcia and Guadalupe Cisneros. He is said in that record to come from the city of Coutras in France, born about 1791 (source: New Orleans Passenger Manifests) the son of Antonio Lafon and his late wife, Catarina Barbarron.
Ramon Lafon was murdered on 27 May 1832 in Matamoros by a gunshot to the chest (I am still looking for details on the murder). From here, I have constructed his family as best as I can despite knowing little Spanish. I was able to find I believe most of his children as well as his death record that wasnt anywhere on the internet. As far as I have been able to find, Ramon Lafon only has descendants through the two surviving sons.
The children are:
1. Dr. Antonio Fernando Lafon - born ca 1824 or early 1825, Died of a heart attack on 31 Dec 1889 in Monterrey.
2. Augustina Lafon - baptized Aug 1825, died 12 Nov 1825
3. Emilina Lafon - baptized Nov 1826 (note - she is listed in the index but there are missing pages at the end of the 1826 baptism book, so this record is lost)
4. Maria los Angeles Lafon - baptized Jan 1828
5. Jose Anastasio Lafon - baptized Aug 1829, died Oct 1829
6. Jose Anastasio Ramon Lafon - Named after deceased brother, but afterward only called 'Ramon Lafon', baptized Jun 1831, later moved to Monterrey with brother Antonio
7. Melania Lafon - baptized Oct 1832 (a posthumous child).
As far as I have found thus far, Ramon Lafon only had grandchildren through the 2 surviving sons, though I have not found death records for all of the daughters.
The problem I am having concerns the son Antonio, whom I am descended from. I have collected the baptism records of most of his father's known children. There are some gaps in which more children may be, but I think I have all of them. Anyway, the issue is although Antonio is always called a son of Ramon Lafon and Maria de los Angeles Garcia, I was not able to find his baptism despite looking page by page from 1823 to the middle of 1832. There is some space in 1827 and 1830 that it could have happened, but he cannot be a younger son as he is listed as having practicing medicine in Matamoros in Louisiana records in 1854 "for about 5 years". He could also theoretically born earlier, but there isnt much space for him. I also cannot locate Antonio Fernando Lafon's marriage to his first cousin, Maria Eugenia Manuotou (their mothers were sisters).
The first reaction would be that, well, perhaps he was illegitimate. I considered that, which is why I looked some years before his parents marriage. Nothing matched.
Another objection could be that perhaps Antonio was born elsewhere, but in Antonio Fernando Lafon's death record in 1890, he is said to be from Matamoros. In the same death record, he is also called the legitimate son of the late Ramon Lafon.
Here's the kicker for me. Although his death record appears to have been reported by a non family member, his age is given as 65 years, putting his birth about 1824-5. Now, Mexican death records reported by co workers, friends etc tend to overstate the age, though.
This has been sending me up the wall trying to find his birth and marriage record. Ive gone through the baptisms about 3 times now, and although parts of it get messy and hard to read (not to mention that I cant really read Spanish and have to look for names), its clear enough in the key periods. There are also no other Ramon Lafons at this time; in fact he seems to be the only man named Lafon in the entire country.
My original theory is that the baptism record for the son Jose Anastasio Lafon was a mistake - its sloppily written and thought maybe Anastasio was meant to be Antonio. That theory went out the window when I found the death record for this son 2 months after the baptism. The other son, Anastasio Ramon, is also not him as he later marries in Monterrey in 1860.
Im thinking now that perhaps Antonio was baptized and maybe even married in a nearby parish.(I already checked Texas records in case he married across the border) The trouble with that is that there wasnt much nearby then. The nearest parish as far as I can figure is that of Reynosas, but those arent available (they are held in Texas and not filmed at all).
Anyway, Id love to have some help with this, should someone else descend from this family, or if they have more familarity with the Mexican records. My 'translation' of these records is imperfect as I have to attempt to read and type them out into a translator.
(NOTE - crossposted on Lafon, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipus boards)