I've been told many times that I should write a book about my ancestry research. This task would be next to impossible. I would have to settle on one ancestor and there are too many ancestors and too many intertwining stories to fit into one book. I've watched "Finding Your Roots" many times and Henry Louis Gates is usually hard pressed to find one ancestor in the famous person's past who is a historic figure. It's mind boggling to look into my family's past and find Hernando Cortes, Juan Onate, Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, just to name a few.
I started this journey to answer a few questions, then quickly realized the more I learn, the more questions I had. I discovered an extremely complex history filled with thousands of people and just as many challenges. There are so many perspectives from which to tell each story. Fortunately, my family has hundreds of years of recorded history, thanks to the Catholic church. I never expected to be able to look up so many of my ancestors in Wikipedia. There are hundreds of stories filled with exciting, romantic stories of my family immigrating from Spain to Mexico and then up to New Mexico beginning with Hernando Cortes in 1547. There are monuments, schools, buildings (castles) and streets named after many of my ancestors. All the while, I have to take into consideration that they came to conquer so there were atrocities and bloodshed. The pain and suffering has caused deep scars stored in my families DNA. We pass those wounds from generation to generation and the scabs can be picked off and the bleeding begins again until someone in the family is willing to do the work to heal the family dynamics.
|The La Jornada - Interaction of mothers with|
their children on the long journey
|La Jornada shows the animals brought|
with them on the long journey
|Juan de Oñate statue formerly stood in Albuquerque, NM.|
The monument was removed in 2020
Just a little back story to keep the history straight:
In 1519 Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés (my 1st cousin 11 x removed) led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire in Mexico led by Emperor Moctezuma II and brought it under the rule of the King of Castile. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish explorers and conquistadors who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
I always assumed that I was a Montoya on my dad's side of the family, because his full name is Felipe Montoya Fajardo. Early on in my ancestry research, I was surprised to discover a 1900 Puerto de Luna census that showed my father's mother was a Labadie. The census was very accurately transcribed my my grandmother's Uncle Lorenzo Labadie. My paternal grandmother, Josefita Labadie) was the daughter of Captain Juan Labadie y Sanchez. He died when she was young and her mother, Dorotea Chavez Labadie, remarried a man named Antonio Montoya. Dorotea and all of her children took his last name, Montoya. Then on the 1910 census, when my grandmother was 16, she was living with her older sister, Jesusita and her husband, Prudencio Duran and she was listed as Josefita Duran on the census. So I don't think there is a DNA connection to the Montoya bloodline on my dad's side even though he grew up with them but I know of 3 connections on my mom's side. Both sides of my family lived in Puerto de Luna, during the last 1800's and early 1900's and it seems like it was a close community who took care of each other.
So I conclude this blog with the history of the Montoya surname. Montoya is a Basque surname which makes sense because I am 14% Basque. It originally comes from a hamlet near Berantevilla in Álava, in the Basque region of northern Spain. During the Reconquista, it extended southwards throughout Castille and Andalusia. The name roughly translates to "hills and valleys."