Valerie has lived in California her entire life. When she was a young girl her father rarely spoke about their family, but he always said that their ancestors had come from Spain a long time ago. Valerie had in her head that she was related to Spanish people, but she didn’t know many more details until she was invited to a multigenerational Gutierrez reunion. At this gathering, she asked for a family tree and two months later she received one in the mail that went back as far as the 1600s. She didn’t give it much attention for a while. But one day she asked her husband, who was doing his own genealogy at the time, to look for more information about José Francisco Ortega. This is when they discovered that one of her ancestors was a very important man who travelled in 1769 to San Francisco Bay in an expedition with Father Serra and Gaspar de Portolá. Discovering this information led her to do more research and learn about her Spanish families. She also discovered that other of her ancestors was Roque Cota, one of the soldiers who walked in 1781 from San Gabriel Mission to downtown LA with the group of eleven families and four soldiers that founded el pueblo de Los Angeles.