Ritchie Valens

Birth Name: Richard Steve Valenzuela

Date of Birth: May 13, 1941

Place of Birth: Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Death: February 3, 1959

Place of Death: Clear Lake, Iowa, U.S.

Ethnicity: Mexican [African, Spanish, Indigenous Mexican], one eighth Chilean

Ritchie Valens was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He is known for having been a rock and roll pioneer, and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement. He was the son of Beatrice (later Concepcion) Reyes and Joseph Steven Valenzuela.

He died in a plane crash with singers The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly, and pilot Roger Peterson.

In the film La Bamba (1987), he was played by Lou Diamond Phillips.

Ritchie’s paternal grandfather was named Marciano Valenzuela. Marciano was a Mexican immigrant.

Ritchie’s paternal grandmother was Maria Agripina/Agrippina Ponce (the daughter of Luis Ponce and Maria Antonia “Sara” Lugo). Ritchie’s grandmother Maria was born in California. Luis was Chilean. Ritchie’s great-grandmother Maria Antonia’s ancestors were early Californian settlers from Mexico who were mulattos and mestizos. She was the daughter of José Trinidad de Jesús Lugo Fernández and María del Rosario Cipriana de las Llagas Domínguez Féliz.

Ritchie’s maternal grandfather was Francisco “Frank” Lopez Reyes (the son of Luis Reyes López and Josefa López Ocuna). Francisco was born in Nogales, Santa Cruz, Arizona Territory, to Mexican parents. Luis was the son of Dolores Reyes and Josefa López. Ritchie’s great-grandmother Josefa was the daughter of Francisco López and Concepción Ocuna.

Ritchie’s maternal grandmother was Refugia Yanez Lopez (the daughter of Refugio López and Eduviges Yáñez). Refugia was born in Arizona, to Mexican parents. Refugio was the son of Francisco López and Beatriz.

Sources: Genealogies of Ritchie Valens – http://www.geni.com

4 Responses

  1. madman says:

    What evidence is there of Ritchie’s African roots? I have looked at the provided link as well as familysearch (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KL61-M61), and has only found ancestors born in Mexico, except one fifth great-grandfather, Jose Ygnacio Dominguez, born on Mallorca.
    Also, to be more clear, he is 1/8 Chilean.

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