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Tag Archives: Rio Arriba County New Mexico

Hitting the Lotto – Family History Style

Over the last several years, I have reconnected with many of my Montoya uncles, aunts and many cousins.  Most of them I barely know – some of them I have never met – most live in Utah and California.  One of my younger cousins (everyone is younger than me these days), Syndi, set up a family group page for us on Facebook.  There we have shared our lives with each other – told family stories – and exchanged family pictures.  We are all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Jose Celestino Montoya – and we share his common ancestry.  In this family line there is a real interest in learning about our family heritage – I wish it were so easy with every family line!  I am planning a trip to Utah next year where we are hoping to organize a family reunion.  Really looking forward to that.

This brings me to the point of this short little entry – you just never know when a brick wall will fall, when you find a new document or story, or when a new and spectacular photograph of your ancestors will surface.  While cleaning and sorting through some things at her mother’s house, my cousin, Melissa, found this old photograph tucked away in the pocket of an old jacket.  Thinking perhaps that the younger man was our grandfather, Joe C. Montoya, she posted it on the family page on Facebook for identification.  I immediately recognized the woman as being Juana Martinez Montoya, my great-grandmother.  Sure enough – according to the writing on the back of the photo the people in the photo are:  Juana Martinez Montoya and Maximiano de Herrera Montoya (my great-grandparents) and their youngest son, Raymundo Montoya.  Raymundo died in 1939 at the age of 20 years – which dates the photo prior to 1939 (probably taken in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico).

I love this photo so much because it is only the second photograph that I have seen of my great-grandparents.  As my father aged, he looked just like Max does in this photo. (I inherited those great big giant ears too.)  When I look at the face of my son – I see these men in him.  After receiving the photograph – I walked around with a giddy grin on my face for days.

A huge thank you to my family – and especially Melissa – for your willingness to share what you know and what you have.  Together we are weaving our family story.

MaxJuanaReymundoMontoya

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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Montoya

 

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Jose Ylario Montoya

My great great grandfather, Jose Ylario Montoya, remains in large part a mystery. In the two census records where we can reliably identify him, we are told that he was born in January 1844 and the next one states 1845 in the New Mexico Territory. The San Juan baptismal and marriage records are silent when it comes to Ylario, only his death date is recorded there. I have long speculated that perhaps he was the first Montoya of our line to settle in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, perhaps arriving from another region of New Mexico. We cannot state with specificity who his parents are – but we have a potentially important lead in the 1850 census.

My cousin Carma and I have both gone through the 1850 New Mexico Territory census, line-by-line and name-by-name. We found only one Jose Hilario Montoya – and we found him in Santa Ana County, New Mexico Territory. Santa Ana was one of the seven original partidos created in New Mexico under Mexican rule. Under American rule, it became a U.S. territorial county from 1852 until 1876, when it was absorbed by Bernalillo County. Santa Ana County does not exist today.

1852 Territorial Map of New Mexico Territory

The 1850 census was enumerated January of 1850 – The person that I believe to be my great great grandfather Jose Hilario Montoya is indexed as “Jose Ilaria Montoya, age 6 born 1844 in New Mexico. He is living with his grandfather Joaquim Montoya, age 81, a farmer who owns $1,400 worth of real estate; his father, Jose Ignacio Montoya, age 47, a farmer; his mother Anna, age 30. Also in the home are 4 siblings: Mercia, age 14; Justo, age 8; Rebecca, age 3; and Jose Bernardo, 10 months. Also in the home are six children with the last name of Baca.  Their connection to the family is unknown at this time.  It should be noted that later in life Justo Montoya can be found in Rio Arriba County and Jose Hilario named one of his daughters Rebecca.

Could this be the family of my great great grandfather?

If – and it’s still an if – I can prove that this is the right family (and I believe it is) then Hilario’s father, mother and grandfather are identified. Further, with the grandfather’s name, this line can be tied back to Bartolome de Montoya through his son Diego de Montoya, a Spanish Alferez. (An Alferez was the next highest ranking official after the Majordomo. He was generally in charge of the king or magnate’s private army, his knights and his armory.)  But I am getting ahead of myself – back to what we do know!

In June of 1860 the family is still present in Santa Ana County, in Pena Blanca. My Montoya grandfather (if this is him) is indexed as “Jose Lario,” age 20 born 1840. He is living with Jose Ignacio, age 90 (the grandfather – but the name is misindexed) who owns real estate worth $1,800 and personal property worth $10,800. Also in the home is his mother Anna Maria, age 40; and nine siblings. Jose Ignacio (the father) must have been skipped by the enumerator – or he has died. There are many Montoya and Gallegos families nearby.

Based on later census records we know that our Jose Ylario Montoya had a wife named Josefa. In the Marriage Books of Santo Domingo and Pena Blanca, there is a marriage record that indicates that Jose Ylario Montoya was the legitimate son of Jose Ignacio Montoya and Ana Maria Gallegos, and that he married Josefa Montoya on 26 November 1863. In my mind the clues are adding up that this is more than likely my great great grandfather, Jose Ylario Montoya.

The 1870 census was enumerated on the 5th day of July, and we see that the family has relocated to Trinidad, Las Animas County, Colorado Territory. My Ylario is indexed as “Jose Hilario,” age 33, he is a farmer who owns $200 worth of real estate and $178 worth of personal property, he states that he was born in New Mexico; he cannot read/write; We find him living with a daughter, age 6, Versele and a son, age 5, Ambrosio. There is no wife in the home. Ylario is living next door to mother Anna, age 54 who is a housekeeper. She owns $350 worth of real estate and $218 worth of personal property. Five of her children, and Ylario’s siblings, are still in the home. Interestingly, living on the other side of Ylario Montoya is the family of Polaris de Herrera. I do not know the connection; however, Ylario would later in life take a mistress, Augustina de Herrera, and have a large family with her, including my great grandfather Maximiano de Herrera Montoya.

1870 Census - Colorado Territory

And here’s where it gets very confusing – the 1880 census finds Jose Ylario Montoya in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where my grandfather and great-grandfather were born. He is indexed as “Ilario,” age 35 born 1845 in New Mexico.  He is a laborer living with his wife Josefa, age 30. The children all belong to Augustina de Herrera, and she cannot be found in any census record – Jose, 16; Marina, 10; Maximiano, 8; Rebecca, 6; Albina 4; Anastario, 2; and Albina, 2 months.

The 1900 census was enumerated in June of that year. Ylario is still in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He is indexed as “Ilario J.,” age 56 born Jan 1844; He states that he has been married for 36 years, which matches the marriage record out of Santa Ana County. Ylario is living with wife Josefa who is 50 born Mar 1850; She states that she has given birth 2 times and that both children are living. Living right next door is the mother of Ylario’s other children – who is indexed as Augustina Herrera who was born Oct 1850. She still has four children in the home. Augustina states that she is divorced and that she has given birth to 9 children – 7 are living.

1900 Census

The family story is that Augustina de Herrera was the mistress of Jose Ylario Montoya – and that she lived right next door to Ylario and Josefa. Based on these census records, it is unknown to me who raised my great gandfather, Ylario or Augustina.

According to the death/burial records of the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, Jose Ylario Montoya died and was laid to rest in Velarde Cemetery on 7 Oct 1902.  I have no information on what became of Josefa Montoya or Maria Augustina de Herrera.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Gallegos, Montoya, Odds and Ends

 

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Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan

Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan was my grandfather Montoya’s first wife.  She was born in San Francisco (also known as Estaca) Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on the 10th day of June 1904.  She was christened two days later on the 12th of June, 1904 at the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church.  Manuelita was the first daughter born to Antonio Jose Lujan (1861-1935) and his wife Maria Encarnacion Martinez (or perhaps Martin) (1857-1926).  The Lujan surname has a long history in northern New Mexico.  Manuelita’s line seems to have been traced back at least to Jose Santos Lujan born 1808 in Abiquiu, when New Mexico was under Spanish rule. 

Manuelita grew up in and lived all of her life in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  In the 1910 census (where she is about 5 years old) and in the 1920 census (where she is about 15 years old), she can be found living with her father Antonio, who was a farmer and who later owned his own farm and her mother Maria.  Manuelita had the following known siblings, who can be found in the census records with her:  Antonio (or Bernardo) born 1900; Jose B., born 1907; Tomas or Tomacito born 1908; and Juana Elisaida born 1911.  The family were Spanish speakers.

State of New Mexico – highlighting Rio Arriba County

On 23 February, 1925 Manuelita married my grandfather, Jose Celestino Encarnacion Montoya at the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  You can see a picture of the church here:  https://curbowfamily.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/estaca-plaza-at-an-ancient-crossroads-2/

The couple had three boys:  Jose Encarnacion Antonio Montoya who was born 1926 and died in 1927; David Alfonzo Montoya who was born in 1928 and is thought still to be alive and Peter Augustine Montoya who was born in 1929 and died in 1997. 

The 1930 census, which was enumerated on April 2nd, finds Manuelita and Celestino living in Alcalde in Rio Arriba County.  Alcalde (or sometimes Los Luceros) translated means “mayor,” and lies in one of the oldest viticulture sites in North America.  It is reported that Don Juan de Oñate brought grapevines with him over four centuries ago.  When my husband and I traveled there, we were very surprised to see all the fruit trees and grape vineyards flourishing in the Espanola Valley.  I am given to understand that my great-grandfather Maximiano Montoya owned a very large apple orchard with which he supported his family. 

In the census Manuelita is indexed as “wife Manuelita Montoya,” age 24, born about 1906.  She is with her husband who is misindexed as “Celestina,” age 25 and sons David, 2 and Pedro, 6 months (Family #9).  The couple owns their own home which is worth $300 – and they own a radio too!  My grandfather lists his occupation as “laborer doing odd jobs.”  Family #6 is Florentino and Ramoncita Gallegos; Ramona being Celestino’s oldest sister and Family #8 is Jose Antonio Lujan, the father of Manuelita.

1930 Census

  

A little over a year later, on 13 Aug 1931, Manuelita died. This date was taken from the New Mexico Deaths database, and I do not have a copy of her death certificate. No one in the family seems to know what caused her death at the age of 27. She was laid to rest the next day at the San Rafael de Guigne Cemetery in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.

After the death of Manuelita, my grandfather, along with his brother Leopoldo,left for Utah during the Great Depression to work the Kennecott Mine in Bingham Canyon, Utah, where he met my grandmother, Pearl Eva Spencer.  It is presumed by family members that the two boys Dave and Pete were left behind in New Mexico with relatives.  It is unknown to me when the family reunited.

David Alfonzo Montoya (Dave to his family) was my father’s half-brother.  He married Adela Garcia on 9 Apr 1951. Adela recently died in 2009, and it is thought that Dave may still be alive and living in Utah. Dave and Adela Montoya were my Godparents. The couple had at least the following children: Lee; Leo; Lois; Madeline; Mark; Raymond; George; David; James; and Manuelita.

Me – on the day of my christening – with Dave and Dela Montoya

 

Peter Augustine Montoya (Pete to his family) was also my father’s half-brother.  I am fairly certain that Pete married and had children; however, I know nothing about them.  Pete was living in Castro Valley, Alameda County, California at the time of his death in 1997.

Jose Celestino Montoya in his old age - Dave on left and Pete on right

I would very much like to be in touch with any of Dave’s or Pete’s children or grandchildren to talk about the Montoya/Lujan genealogy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Lujan, Montoya

 

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Estaca – Plaza at an Ancient Crossroads

When my husand and I were deciding on where to vacation last year – New Mexico or the Ozaarks – it was an obvious choice for me!  Of course, I wanted to go to nothern New Mexico to visit the ancestral family home of my Montoya family.
 
After spending a few days in Santa Fe we headed north. And there we found Estaca – a small series of villages nestled between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the lower Rockies) and the mighty Rio Grande on the high road to Taos.  As I understand it, Estaca is comprised of several small communities (or villages) and the names are very often used interchangeably in the records:  Rancho de los Lopez; Acequia de San Rafael; Plaza de San Francisco; Rio Grande Bosque; Rio Grande; and Arroyo del Palacio.  All of these small communities lie in the Espanola Valley which is about halfway between Taos and Santa Fe.  Would it sound cheesy and predictable to say that my spirit immediately felt “at home” ?
 
Our fist mission was to find the San Juan de los Caballeros Church at San Juan Pueblo. Within the walls of this church are kept the records of at least three generations (and probably four) of my Montoya family recording births, christenings, marriages, deaths and burials. The pueblo was founded around 1200 by the Tewa people who moved there from the north (perhaps southern Colorado). The Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Onate took control in 1598 and renamed the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros.  He then established the first Spanish capital of New Mexico nearby, thereby merging two great cultures.  In November of 2005 the pueblo returned to its pre-Spanish name – Ihkay Owingeh – “place of the strong people.”

San Juan Pueblo - abt 1906 - church in background

After touring the church grounds and the pueblo, the hunt was on for the ruins of the Montoya adobe. However, before we found them, there were more surprises in store for us. We headed north from the church and crossed the Ro Grande River on the San Juan bridge, from there we took a right on the first road – the Camino Real.  We drove about four miles and we were there.  We came to a small plaza of sorts and in the middle of the road stood a small chapel.

San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church - present day

Unbeknownst to me at the time, we had arrived at The Plaza and La Capilla (Little Chapel) de San Francisco de Asis.  Delfinia Romero lovingly speaks of the Capilla in a book written by Mary Coyne entitled, A History of Estaca, New Mexico:

The Capilla remains at the heart of this community still, and as I look at it from my window, I contemplate how through the passing years it has consistently been solid, true, constantly there. The purpose of the little brown chapel has always been the same: to give devotion to el patroncillo, the patron Saint Francis and his ideals of hard work, poverty and love of animals. The devotion renews the beliefs and values at the very core of existence for the families in Estaca.

When the story is told of the building of the chapel, we recall that the women….Elizaida, Margarita, Rosaura and Ramoncita {Ramoncita Montoya Gallegos – my great aunt} – used their bare hands to spread the mud plaster on the walls, rubbing gently to make them smooth and to forever imprint upon the capillita their souls as well as their very beings. It will be told that the grave in front of the chapel is that of Antonio Martinez, who gave the land for the capilla because the bulto (statute) of the village’s patron saint, San Francisco, didn’t have a home and was passed from house-to-house throughout the years. Antonio’s gift made it possible for the community to come together and build the little chapel.

Capilla – The satisfaction of a beautiful form
Proportion of vision, Crypts close to ancestor roots
Tribes whisper names, stories
Holy ground. Numinous space. Capilla in Estaca
Fresh glitter of the jewels
Private suffering and death
Revelation.
Written by:  Margaret Rose Coyne (1943-2001)

The Plaza and La Capilla (Little Chapel) de San Francisco de Asis

As a postscript:  That day, we did find what I believe are the ruins of my great grandfather Montoya’s adobe home. The ruins sat on fenced property about a mile south of the “little chapel.“ There wasn’t much left of the adobe.  I’ve posted a picture on this site when I wrote about Maximiano Montoya – you can see it there.  Behind the ruins sat a more modern home; although, it was also in disrepair. Behind that I could see what might have been the apple orchards and behind that was the Rio Grande River. I cannot say for certain that this was the right place; however, I felt peace. It was almost as if the ancestors were whispering, “Welcome home.” 

Since we were technically trespassing – we didn’t stay long! There was a car next to the home, but I didn’t feel comfortable about pounding on doors. I would have loved to have been able to visit with the locals. I would surely have found many relatives. However, this is a culture and a community that does not always accept outsiders. We received several uneasy looks from folks. We did strike up a conversation with an older man on his front porch; but, he claimed not to know about any Montoyas or any ruins in the area……..even though we found them less than a mile up the road!!

 New Mexico – I now understand why they call you the Land of Enchantment – I will be back.

Espanola Valley and Sangre de Cristo Mountains

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Montoya, Times and Places

 

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Aunt Francis – Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez

Maria Francisca Montoya was known to my father as “Aunt Francis.”  She was one of the daughters born to Maximiano Montoya and Juana Martin in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 3 Aug 1900.  The Montoya families were members of the Catholic faith, and thus, shortly after her birth on 8 Aug 1900 she was christened in the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County. 

Aunt Francis with her brother Jose Celestino Montoya and husband Abel Sanchez in the background

At the age of 16, on 29 Jan 1917, Aunt Francis married Jose Abel Sanchez.  The marriage took place at (and is recorded in the marriage books of) the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church.  Abel, the oldest son of Luis M. Sanchez and Maria Ascension Martinez, was born in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 28 Sept. 1890.  When Uncle Abel filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card on 5 June 1917, at the age of 27, he lists himself as “married,” and a railroad track man by occupation.  He is employed by The New Mexico Lumber Company in El Vado.  He described himself as being short and with medium build with black hair and brown eyes.

 In the 1920 census period, Aunt Francis and Uncle Abel are still in Rio Arriba County – living in El Vado.  El Vado, once the “company town” for R.G. & SW rail line and a booming and bustling lumber center in northern Rio Arriba County is now a ghost town.  In the census, Uncle Abel is listed as a “section foreman working for the railroad.”  It is assumed that he was employed by R.G. & SW.  

El Vado Lake - near the defunct lumber/rail town of El Vado, New Mexico

 In 1930, Francis and Abel are still in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and in fact, I believe they lived their entire lives there.  Interestingly, all of our Hispanic ancestors in New Mexico are listed as “white” because they are of Spanish descent.  According to this census, Francis and Abel owned their own home (which is a farm); but, do not own a radio.  For some strange reason – this was one of the questions on the 1930 census! 

 Aunt Francis and Uncle Abel had the following known children:  Luis in 1918; Augustina/Filomena in 1920; Orlesta in 1922; Delfin in 1924; and Arturo in 1928. 

 This is the last known record that Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez left us.  The Social Security Death Index has a listing for:  Marie F. Sanchez – 29 Oct. 1988 in Chimayo, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  I feel this is probably her – but, unfortunately, the birth date does not match – so I cannot say for certain.  The family recollection is that Aunt Francis died around 1986 in nearby Ojo Caliente. 

Abel Sanchez died 28 January 1978.  His Social Security card was issued in Colorado.  When the railroad town of El Vada shut down in 1923, they moved their operations to Colorado.  So it is very likely that Abel spent some time working in Colorado between the 1920 and 1930 census period. 

I know next to nothing about the children of Francis Montoya and Abel Sanchez.  I assume that there would be some descendants – and that they would probably be living in the Rio Arriba County area of New Mexico.  If any of the children and/or grandchildren of Francis and Abel stumble across this posting – I would love to hear from you !

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Montoya, Sanchez

 

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