Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Arrival of the Montoya Family in New Mexico Part 1

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. 

Today, Tuesday, April 18, is World Heritage Day. 
I've decided to write about the time in history when much of the controversy in New Mexico began.

In 1583 King Philip II of Spain's decree for the settlement of New Mexico was a call for a wealthy individual to step up and finance an expedition to what is now New Mexico. Juan de Oñate was not the only nobleman to put in a bid for the position of colonizer, but he was the best connected. On September 21, 1595 Juan de Oñate was awarded the contract by King Philip II  to settle New Mexico. Oñate was the first European to colonize New Mexico, thus extending the Comino Real by 600 miles and he was the state's first colonial governor.

El Comino Real or The King's Highway A single highway which connected Mexico City, and Santa Fe 

The king and his council approved missionaries to go to the Americas with the primary objective to spread Catholicism to the indigenous population. Oñate began the "Entrada" in early 1598 with a large caravan of settlers, missionaries and livestock to establish a colony.

This is all important to my family history because Oñate was my 10th great-granduncle and many of my other ancestors were colonists on this historical expedition. I know it's controversial to even say that these days but I can't change the past and where I came from. I feel like I can be proud of my Spanish heritage without maintaining some of the colonizer values as much as I can be an American today without agreeing with the politics, especially in the state of Texas, where I live.

I have mixed emotions about the statues of Oñate being taken down in 2020. To me, they were beautiful pieces of art and it represented our past. I don't agree with some of the things that have occurred in the name of Catholicism but I don't want all the churches torn down. They are a part of our history. I just have to wonder if toppling statues across America was necessary. It's history and we can't change our history. We can only attempt to do better in the future and maybe use the statues as a reminder.

Is it possible that some colonists came hoping to create a utopian society in the new world. Maybe some enlisted in hopes of extracting all the riches they could from the far off lands. I have often wondered why the Spanish King didn't take into consideration that the native people in the Americas had their own religion and customs. 

Due to the "Entrada" New Mexico became known as "Tierra de Guerra" "The Land of War." Land grants were given to the colonists and empowered them to collect tribute from the forced labor of natives. Oñate wasn't a saint by any means, but at the same time, the Spanish brought with them thousands of horses, cattle, mules, sheep, pigs, goats, wine and the mining industry.

La Jornada

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

So as the story goes missionaries came to the Americas with an escolta (military escort or armed guard.) My 8th great-grandfather Bartolome de Montoya was an Alferez (2nd Lieutenant or ensign) He escorted a band of friars Santa Fe on the second Juan de Oñate expedition. The colony consisted of 65 settlers.

The Montoya family alone consisted of my eight great-grandparents Bartolome de Montoyahis wife, Maria de Zamora their 5 children, Francisco, Diego, Jose, Lucia and Petronila. They also had 25 servants, cattle and equipment needed to begin a new life in New Mexico.

The missionaries would bring with them a portable alter as they approached a group of natives and would begin preaching through a translator. They built churches, housing and a defensive wall with heavy gates. The architectural splendor of the missions is a part of the romantic past tied to song, poetry and history. Theoretically, the missions were designed for a ten-year period, after which the missionaries were expected to move on to newly established villas.

The scheduled plan of conversion of natives to Catholicism didn't go as planned because the natives resisted as one might imagine. In the long run, the Spanish immigrants spent much of their time defending their community from native raids. And then to complicate things, after conquering the natives and taking their land, they took their women. I am a product of that behavior. My 4th great-grandfather Esteban Padilla was the son of a woman listed on the census as a Native American servant. This makes telling my story somewhat complicated. I feel the effects of this behavior on a deep level as I look at the stories from many perspectives because the stories are never just black and white. Native Americans say they were tyrannized by Spaniards. Hispanics say New Mexico wouldn't have its unique hybrid Spanish-native culture if it weren't for their ancestors. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico was settled in 1607 making it the first European settlement west of the Mississippi River. It's the oldest Capitol in the United States. Albuquerque was founded in almost 100 years later in 1706 by Francisco Cuervo y Valdes. 35 families were required by Spain to create a settlement and they only had 12 families so as you can imagine they were making their own rules as they went. 

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.

Bartolome de Montoya was born on January 1,1572 in Cantillana, Andalucia, Spain. He met his wife, Maria de Zamora when he arrived in Mexico (New Spain) She was an Aztec born in 1573 in Mexico City and was the daughter of Pedro de Zamora, the Mayor of Oaxaca, Mexico. Bartolome de Montoya was the progenitor of the Montoya surname in New Mexico and virtually all Montoya families from New Mexico descend from him so his name appears often when doing ancestry research.

Juan de Oñate's parents were from Spain, he was born in Mexico (New Spain) and married to Isabel de Tolosa Cortés de Moctezuma. Her grandmother was Isabel Tecuichpo de Moctezuma (the granddaughter of Emperor  Moctezuma II.

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."

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Montoya and Lucero de Godoy Progenitors of New Mexico

Working on ancestry research is an amazing process. I currently have over 25,300 people listed on my family tree. The other day I felt that I had hit a brick wall. So I had a new goal of fixing some of the names that had double listings or had names that looked like they had been transcribed incorrectly. This task is never ending when one is working with names of ancestors from the 1500 or 1600's who originated in Spain. At that time in history, most people not only carried their father's surname but their mother's surname as well. Not having a full understanding of this, some people transcribe part of the last name as a middle name then to complicate things even more, many times when people in the United States transcribe the names, they added Don or Dona as a first name instead of using it as a suffix, not realizing that Don or Dona simply means Mr. or Mrs. So, needless to say, many times there have been issues joining my tree to another distant relative's tree on ancestry.com when the creature of the other tree has been overzealous with the titles. I sometimes find names that are two lines long. For example, I found one of my 8th great-grandfathers listed as "Conquistador Capitan Alferez Mayor Bartolome Jose de Montoya." He was in fact a Conquistador Capitan Alferez Mayor, however his name was "Bartolome de Montoya" so naturally, he didn't appear to be a match to the person on the other tree. I have become very familiar with him and his wife Maria de Zamora during my many years of ancestry research because they are my eight great-grandparents and he was the progenitor of the Montoya family in New Mexico. One can pretty much assume that if your ancestor came to New Mexico with Juan de Oñate they were a conquistador (a term used for a soldier or explorer) so writing it as part of their name is just a little redundant.

I started working on branch of my tree with a surname that I wasn't very familiar with that should read "Lucero de Godoy." You can't even imagine how many combinations of that name I found in my family tree.

The surname Lucero de Godoy in New Mexico began with Pedro Lucero de Godoy. He became the progenitor of thousands of Lucero de Godoy descendants of New Mexico. He is my eight great-grandfather and he married Petronila Montoya de Zamorathe youngest daughter of my other eight great-grandparents, Bartolomé de Montoya and his wife, Maria de Zamora

Pedro Lucero de Godoy arrived in the Villa de Santa Fe in 1617 at the age of eighteen. He came as a soldier-escort of wagon trains. I always wonder what motivated each of my ancestors to make the far-northern frontier of the Spanish empire their home. 

Bartolomé de Montoya and Maria de Zamora's son Diego de Montoya, attained the privilege of encomendero (an allotment of native labor) of the Pueblo of San Pedro, New Mexico. Encomenderos received tribute from the Pueblo Indians in return for armed military protection. 

Bartolomé de Montoya and Maria de Zamora's daughter, Petronila de Zamora, married Pedro Lucero de Godoy. I have read that he attained the privilege of encomendero (keeper of the land) I am guessing that means he was granted a land grant and and empowered him to collect tribute from the forced labor of natives. At any rate he became the progenitor of the New Mexican Lucero family.

Today, most of the people carrying the Montoya and Lucero surnames are descended of Diego and his sister Petronila, respectively.