Why is it said that one of the most illustrious minds in history was of Mexican origin?
Thomas Alva Edison is considered one of the greatest inventors in history. From his mind came great inventions that are still useful and are the basis of most of the technologies we use in everyday life; he has more than 1000 patents registered in his name. Although Edison's story has been told and retold countless times, there are still several myths that revolve around his memory. However, some believe that Thomas Alva Edison was born in Zacatecas, in north-central Mexico. And there is evidence that could support this theory.
Where is Thomas Alva Edison from?
According to the official history, Edison's ancestors lived in New Jersey until their loyalty to the British crown during the Revolution led them to Nova Scotia, Canada. Later, their descendants moved to Ontario and fought against the Americans in the War of 1812. Edison's mother, Nancy Elliott, was originally from New York, but her family moved to Vienna, Canada, where she met Sam Edison Jr. and soon married him. In 1839 they made their home in Milan, Ohio. Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio; he was the couple's seventh and last child. He was known as 'Al' in his youth, referring to his middle name. His family soon moved to Port Huron, Michigan, where he spent most of his childhood. Surprisingly, he did not do well in school and ended up being home-schooled by his mother.
Why Thomas Alva Edison is said to be Mexican
For many years there has been a theory circulating that Edison was born in El Sombrerete, Zacatecas, on February 18, 1848. It’s also said that his middle name is a surname that refers to his real father: Samuel Alva Ixtlixóchitl, an engineer from Pachuca who worked in the mines of Zacatecas. Moreover, there are many alleged letters written by Edison to his family confirming this relationship. They're allegedly archived in the General Archive of the Nation in Mexico.
Another potential proof of this amazing theory is a text found in the book about Nuestra Señora del Refugio, written in 1909 by Fray Ángel de los Dolores Tiscareño. According to the website México Desconocido, it states that Thomás Alva Edison "was born in Zacatecas, but was taken to the United States, his adopted homeland, at a very young age".
However, in El Sombrerete, there's no record of the birth or existence of Alva Edison, although it's important to point out that in 1911, during the Mexican Revolution, the revolutionaries took all the archives of the Municipal Presidency.
Currently, many inhabitants from El Sombrerete have a strong belief that Edison was their countryman, and there is even a theory of which house may have sheltered him in his early years. However, at this point in history, no one can be sure of his origin, and this theory will be one more legend of this admirable man.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
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