Longtime Corpus Christi physician, community advocate, and younger sister of the eminent Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia (1917-2003) was also well known for her leading role in promoting Hispanic genealogy and history. Dr. Cleo (as she is affectionately known) became perhaps the most productive advocate of Hispanic genealogy in the United States. In addition to researching her own family history, especially her roots in Camargo and other parts of Nuevo Santander and Northern Mexico, she initiated efforts during the 1980s to make Corpus Christi a center for people researching their family trees.
In 1987, Dr. Cleo, with the assistance of her sister Dr. Dalia P. Garcia and fellow enthusiasts Herbert G. Canales, Elvira Garcia, Minerva Overstreet, and Mira Smithwick, founded the Spanish American Genealogical Association (SAGA). The organization had as its object to promote the research, collection, and development of genealogical data on Spanish/Mexican settlers of South Texas. Dr. Cleo led SAGA as its president for its first several years, ensuring that it would become a force in genealogy circles. In addition to building the Hispanic genealogical resources of the Corpus Christi Public Library, Dr. Cleo and SAGA completed compilation projects which provided previously unavailable Hispanic-related data to the public. Over the years, Dr. Cleo inspired legions of people to study their own ancestry.
Retiring from her medical practice and many other activities in 1994, Dr. Cleo also donated her personal Genealogy and History Library to Special Collections & Archives of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Bell Library. In this manner, Dr. Cleo continues to instruct people about the Hispanic past.The Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Book Collection contains approximately one thousand volumes that formed the bedrock of Dr. Cleo's genealogical endeavors. Among these titles are books she authored on Camargo, Padre Jose Nicolas Balli, Captain Alonso Alvarez De Pineda, Captain Blas Maria de la Garza Falcon, and Captain Enrique Villarreal and his Rincon Del Oso Land Grant. Her collection likewise includes multi-volume sets such as Francisco Zambrano, S.J., Diccionario Bio-Bibliografico de la Compania de Jesus en Mexico; the Boletin Del Archivo General de la Nacion (Mexico); the classic volumes of Bancroft's Works dealing with the history of Mexico, the Northern Mexican states, and Texas; and the important compilation by SAGA of early death, birth, baptism, and marriage records from Mier, Guerrero, Camargo, Cerralvo, and Matamoros. The collection includes many other single-volume works relevant to South Texas and Northern Mexican genealogy, history, and culture.
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