Note: Before the Star’s Family History Expo in November, the Arizona Daily Star asked readers to submit family names to see what could be found on There were many submissions, so we spent 30 minutes on many of them to see what we could find on and will present several in the coming months.

Rosemary Leon Ortega had a good amount of information to begin a search for more family history on

She was born Rosa Maria Leon Leon while her parents, legal residents of the United States, were visiting Mexico. Her name was changed to Rosemary Leon when she became a U.S. citizen as a child.

She knew her father’s name, Alejandro Figueroa Leon, and his parents’ names.

Information naming an Alejandro Leon as a survivor in two obituaries put him in the correct generation, but they give a different name for the man who would have been his father, so they are probably just a coincidence, since Alejandro Leon is not an uncommon name. Ortega would be better able to make that determination.

She knew a bit more about her mother’s side of the family. Her mother was Maria Teresa Leon.

Ortega did not give dates, but from the information she offered, we were able to piece together some family history from the archives of the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen.

Ortega’s mother, Maria Teresa Leon, died in 2014. From her obituary, we learned that she was born in 1933, and had a twin brother, Justo Leon, who died before she did. Justo was likely named for his paternal grandfather, Justo Leon.

Maria Teresa Leon’s obituary names her husband of 55 years, Alejandro Leon, a living brother, Francisco Leon, and children Rosemary and Edward. She died at the age of 81 and was probably married in 1959 (depending on the month). As the older child, Rosemary Leon Ortega is likely in her 50s now.

Another obituary, that of Maria Jesus Hall, who passed away in 1979, suggests that Maria Teresa Leon was her sister and that, in addition to brothers Francisco and Justo, there were also two more sisters, Carlota and Concepcion, and two more brothers, Ramon and Jesus Maria. Some of these names match those of Maria Teresa Leon’s parents, whose names Ortega provided, and this gives more information for additional searches.

These names also help confirm that this obituary was indeed for Ortega’s maternal aunt. Again, however, Ortega would be more able to determine if these are relatives.

Contact Johanna Eubank at