While pondering my genealogy goals and “to do list” for 2014, I contemplated writing a Year in Review blog post – and then I was completely caught off guard and stunned to realize that I had not written one single blog posting since July of 2012. What a slug! And – the excuses start right now – I’m still working a full-time job (and probably will until some attorney annoys me into a heart attack and early death) – and so I can’t ever squeeze in all of the things that I have to do much less the things I want to do. I will endeavor to do a better job in 2014!
All was not lost though – given the fact that I’ve not posted anything new this year – we still received 54,852 hits on the blog! I’ve been consistently busy behind the scenes – and below are a few highlights of the year.
My family history website (curbowfamily.com) is now fully documented and sourced as it pertains to my son’s Curbow line all the way through to his gggg-grandfather Tilman P. Curbow. While we didn’t have any major breakthroughs, and many questions still exist – I did add an obituary here and a death certificate there and these small details continue to flesh out the specifics of who these people were. In 2014, I plan to broaden the Curbow base by concentrating my research on the next generation (Henry B. Curbow). Henry interests me because I believe him to by my son’s fifth great-grandfather, a Texas pioneer, who was present in the Republic of Texas by 1846.
Last July I made another trip to Waco, Texas – where Tilman settled “east of the Brazos River” after the Civil War. My Curbow research partner, Jan S., met me there. Jan and I had been corresponding for several years via email, and as such, it was so special to meet her in person. On a previous trip to Waco, I had met John K., a retired McLennan County surveyor. John was our tour guide for the day. He loves genealogy, history, and he knows McLennan County like the back of his hand. The day was amazing and inspiring. John, through old maps, plats and surveys, took us to the land that Doss Bedwell used to own – and the land that Tilman P. Curbow leased, farmed and ranched. While viewing the general area we also drove past the Storey Ranch and the land once owned by Elijah Miller’s father. It was so beneficial to see where the families lived in proximity to each other. While we didn’t find the Bedwell Cemetery, as we had hoped, it was nonetheless so remarkable to see the land that our ancestors lived and toiled on. We also visited the historic First Street Cemetery and several others, all the while reaping the benefit of John’s unending knowledge of historic Waco. We also had the opportunity to spend some time at the McLennan County Courthouse, where Jan and I were just astonished that we were given free rein to hold and handle wills and estate papers that were 125+ years old. While there I joined the Central Texas Genealogy Association. I have enjoyed their quarterly newsletters – and hope to be a contributor at some point. We topped the day off by eating fried chicken in a parking lot in sweltering Texas summer heat. I wouldn’t have it any other way !
When you marry a man from the South – you are going to find Confederate veterans in the family tree – and I have found lots of them! This year my son, Ryan, was inducted into the Descendants of Confederate Veterans – a Texas Confederate Historical Society – based on the service of his gggg-grandfather, Tilman P. Curbow. His wife’s uncle serves as the president of the Austin Chapter. I was invited to attend the November meeting to tell the story of Tilman and his Civil War service. I was super nervous. Genealogy is my passion – and I can talk a lot about it – but I am not a public speaker !!! However, it was such a welcoming and receptive group that I got over myself pretty quickly and thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to tell Tilman’s story. In 2014, we will start working on Ryan’s membership in the Sons of the American Revolution through his gggggg-grandfather Leonard Miles (1760-1835) who served out of the Fairfield District of South Carolina.
In 2014, I will shift some of the focus off of the Curbow family lines and focus on my Montoya/Spencer family lines. These families are each unique and fascinating, and I am very excited to dig in a little deeper. My father always told me that his great-grandfather emigrated from Barcelona Spain. This oral family history story is partially true; however, we now know that the Montoya family came to New Mexico many generations prior to that. Our emigrating ancestor was more than likely Bartolomé’ de Montoya – a Spanish conquistador who was born in about 1572 in Cantillana (province of Andalucía) Spain. He emigrated to Mexico City where he met and married María de Zamora. This couple with their children and servants later traveled to New Mexico with the Onate Expedition. Thus the Montoya surname is firmly established as one of New Mexico’s first families. Most people who carry the Montoya surname today are descended from Bartolomé’s son Diego de Montoya. Here is an article on the Montoya surname in New Mexico written by Jose Antonio Esquibel.
One very exciting development as it pertains to our Montoya family is the development of a family group Facebook page. Thank you Syndi Montoya Miller for this great idea – and for getting it implemented !! It has been a lot of fun reconnecting, and in some instances, meeting new family for the first time. (Yes….we are a very large family!!) We have had a lot of fun exchanging stories, memories and photographs of our loved ones. I’m especially pleased to learn more about my Uncle Pete - and his family. My father always spoke fondly of Pete and David – his older half brothers. Additionally, a picture of my grandmother Pearl Spencer was shared by Syndi that I had never seen – and it is such a treasure – because there aren’t many pictures of her.
Lastly, I was really thrilled to receive a phone call from my Aunt Margie out-of-the-blue one day earlier in the year inviting me to coffee “to meet a Montoya cousin.” It was none other than Sam Montoya – who lives less than 10 minutes down the road from me. We met at Starbucks, and I didn’t even have to look for him. I spotted him as a Montoya right away! There’s been a little bit of talk about a family reunion. What crazy fun would that be?!
Here to more happy genealogy hunting in 2014 !