The obituary photo of the distinguished gentleman in suit and tie brings to mind the mayor, a pastor, or community business leader. The newspaper account records humble beginnings.
In his lifetime, Atcitty Begay witnessed 101 years of historical events. As a young boy in the year 1912, he witnessed his native homeland transition from territorial status to statehood when New Mexico and Arizona became the 47th and 48th states in the Union. He was of the generation to bridge the traditions of two cultures.
A Native American of the Salt and Descheenie Clan, Atcitty was born July 15, 1897 at Rock Point, Apache County, Arizona. He was one of nine children. His father was a silversmith and his mother wove rugs and raised sheep. He was married to Nellie Begay for approximately 85 years. The parents of five children, they were members of the Shiprock Christian Reformed Church. He worked for the Navajo tribe and retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Branch of Roads after 30 years. He leaves an extensive posterity to honor his name. (The Daily Times, “Obituary, Atcitty Begay”, Farmington, New Mexico: November 1998)
The threads of his life have been woven into a rich and intricate pattern to be found in the collection of the Family History Library.
If your ancestral research includes Native American heritage from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, or Utah, the Native American Obituary Project will be of interest. The published volume, which has also been microfilmed and digitized, is titled, Native American Obituaries. It is one of countless treasures of the Family History Library, accessible on site, online, or through a local Family History Center. The Family History Library Catalog provides a full description.
This compilation of over 500 pages features newspaper obituary clippings for unique surnames: Blackhorse, Blueeyes, Coyote, Mailman, Manygoats, Slowtalker, and Tallbrother. More traditional names indexed include: Benally, Charley, George, Johnson, Lee, Smith, and Thomas.
The project originated with volunteers at the Farmington, New Mexico Family History Center. The obituaries range in date from 1977 to 2001. They come from the following newspapers:
- The Daily Times (Farmington, New Mexico)
- The Winslow Mail (Winslow, Arizona)
- Montezuma Valley Sun (Montezuma, Colorado)
- Cortez Journal (Cortez, Colorado)
- Navajo Times (Window Rock, Navajo Nation, Arizona)
- Lake Powell Chronicle (Page, Arizona)
The descendants of Atcitty Begay residing anywhere in the world can now read his complete obituary in a digital format to learn more about the life of their grandfather and the relationships in his family.