Researchers trying to piece together the recent genealogy of the Rafael "Ted" Cruz family have uncovered numerous twists and turns which raise questions about just who the hell this family really is. Ted's father, Rafael Cruz, first entered the United States from Cuba in 1957 on a student visa. He was born in Matazas, Cuba in 1937. His mother, Eleanor Darragh, was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1934. Ted is supposedly the product of a second marriage for both parents, but the details and circumstances of those marriages are quite murky.
Eleanor Darragh married a Fort Worth native, Alan Wilson, in 1956, the same year both graduated from Rice University in Houston. In 1958, Eleanor and Alan Wilson are said to have moved to London. Alan divorces Eleanor in London in 1962 according to British records. In 1966, while still living in London, Eleanor gives birth to her first child, Michael Wilson, who died during his first year after she put the child up for adoption and moved back to the United States where she lived with her sister, Caroline, in New Orleans. Ted Cruz mentions the child's birth as occurring in 1965, but it actually took place in 1966. Here's how Cruz described that period of his mother's life in his book, "A Time for Truth":
“In 1956, my mom married her first husband, a mathematician named Alan Wilson,” Cruz wrote. The couple moved to London in 1960 after a few years working in the U.S., and Cruz revealed something of a bombshell: his mother had given birth to a son, Michael Wilson, in 1965, who had died a crib death later in the year.
Cruz wrote about his mother’s devastation: “Losing Michael to crib death broke my mother’s heart, and had a profound effect on her, so much so that I never even knew that I had had a brother until I was a teenager and my mother told me the story.”
Cruz added, “And the heartbreak also ended her marriage.”
When the McClatchy News Service contacted Alan Wilson
, who still lives in London, he professed surprised at learning many things about the Cruz family. Incredibly, he professed ignorance to the fact that his ex-wife was the mother of Ted Cruz. He was even more surprised to learn that Eleanor had listed him on Michael's birth certificate as the father. Wilson insisted he was not the father of the child. "We were divorced and she was living on her own," said Wilson. "He said that Eleanor asked him if she could use his last name on the birth certificate. When Michael Wilson later died, he said, "I hadn’t even met the baby.'" Wilson knew Eleanor had become pregnant. He said he was startled when a nurse at a hospital where he was being treated told him his pregnant wife was at the same hospital.
Rafael Cruz reportedly married his first wife, Julia Ann Garza, in 1959, although records of that marriage have not been found. They had two daughters and supposedly lived together from 1959 to 1964. Rafael apparently abandoned his first family in 1964 and moved to Canada. Julia Ann Garza went on to become a professor at California State University. One of their daughters, Miriam, died of a drug overdose in Pennsylvania in 2011. The other daughter, Roxana, is a medical doctor in Greenville, Texas. What's interesting is that Julia didn't file for divorce from Rafael until November 15, 1996, decades after Rafael abandoned them and began a second family with Eleanor Darragh. So Texas records show he was married to his first wife for 37 years, including the period he was supposedly married to Ted's mother.
Rafael Cruz earned his green card in 1961 after he graduated from the University of Texas with a mathematics degree as an asylee. Rafael first lived with Julia and his daughters in Dallas before moving to New Orleans where he worked for a company tied to the oil industry. He abandoned his first wife and daughters in 1964 and moved to Calgary, Canada where he officially resided for the next eight years, during which time he acquired a Canadian citizenship. Interestingly, Rafael registered with the Selective Service System in New Orleans in 1967, listing his employer as Geophysics and Computer Services, Inc. where he worked as manager of computer applications. Cruz legally would have been required to register for the draft when he became a permanent resident in 1961. Eleanor is supposedly working at the same company when she meets and marries Rafael and the two move to Calgary, Canada together, even though he was still legally married to Julia. Researchers have been unable to find proof of their marriage in official records.
Rafael Cruz acquired his Canadian citizenship in 1968 or 1973; there are conflicting accounts. He must not have wanted to worry about being drafted into the Vietnam War after registering in 1967. Ted is born in Calgary in 1970, making him a Canadian citizen at birth. Under federal law, Eleanor would have been legally required to complete a consular report of birth abroad to the State Department to make Ted a U.S. citizen, a document Cruz has never produced to establish his mother took this affirmative step to make him a citizen at birth. Both Eleanor and Rafael Cruz were listed on a 1974 Canadian voter roll as citizens eligible to vote in Canadian elections, although Cruz denies his mother ever became a Canadian citizen. Ted writes in his book that his father abandoned him and his mother
and moved back to the United States in 1973, the same year he supposedly became a Canadian citizen.
“Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life,” said Ted Cruz.
“When I was 3, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son.”
About a year after Rafael abandoned them, Eleanor and Ted move to Houston in 1974. Rafael and Eleanor still owned a home together throughout the 1980s, however, because court records show that Wells Fargo bank foreclosed on the home they jointly-owned and ordered it sold at a sheriff's auction in 1989. Ted graduated from high school in 1988 and registered with the Selective Service System that same year while he was completing a Pell grant application for college, which is limited to students with financial need. Eleanor would not become officially divorced from Rafael until February 13, 1997 according to Texas court records. Eleanor changed her name back to Darragh at that time. Ted did not officially renounce his Canadian citizenship until May 14, 2014. It's not clear whether Ted entered the U.S. with his mother in 1974 on a U.S. passport or Canadian passport, although Cruz denies he ever possessed a Canadian passport.
It's also unclear of the circumstances under which Rafael Cruz legally re-entered the U.S. Rafael did not become a U.S. citizen until 2005. If he was permanently residing for a period of eight years in Canada during which he acquired a Canadian citizenship, his permanent resident status in the U.S. should have been revoked, if not before, at the time he acquired Canadian citizenship. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of mysteries surrounding the Cruz family.
The Cruz family timeline data can be viewed here