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Most of our ancestors came from Spain; these include the Longoria, Alcala, Villarreal, Garza, Treviño, Solis and Vidaurri lines. The only line whose origin in Spain can be determined with a high degree of certainty is the Longoria line. I have not yet discovered the identify of our first Alcala ancestor to come to the New World, nor have I discovered those in the other lines.

Pedro Suarez de Longoria and Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria were the first Longorias to travel to the New World. It is from Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria that our family, as well as many other Longorias of South Texas, are descended.

A computer search of the index at the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, revealed the following information on Lorenzo de Longoria:

Expediente: Lorenzo de Longoria

Signatura: Contratacion, 5273, N.91

Fechas Extremas: 1603 06 16


Expediente de informacion y licencia de pasajero a indias de Lorenzo de Longoria, criado del oidor Pedro Suarez de Longoria, natural de Miranda, hijo de Alonzo de la Pontiga e Inez Rodriguez, a Nueva España.

The description of the file contents indicates that Lorenzo de Longoria was a “criado” (either raised by or a servant) of Pedro Suarez de Longoria, that he was born in Miranda (probably referring to the Council of Belmonte de Miranda, an area in Asturias west of the city of Oviedo), and that he was the son of Alonzo [or Alonso] de la Pontiga and Inez Rodriguez.  Both departed Spain for the New World on June 16, 1603. Pedro Suarez de Longoria was coming to New Spain to assume his position as “oidor de la Audencia de Mexico”, or magistrate for the High Court in Mexico.

A copy of the original document in the Archives in Seville was obtained jointly by fellow amateur genealogist Frank Longoria and myself but neither one of us could decipher the strange handwriting and many abbreviations in the document.  It was only through the effort, in late 2005, of another Longoria researcher, Jose Jaime Longoria, who succeeded in deciphering and transcribing large portions of the document, that we learned how Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria was related to Pedro Suarez de Longoria and also learned who Lorenzo's grandparents were.

In the document, when asked the mandatory question about Lorenzo's age "Is he 17 years old, more or less?" three witnesses answered in the affirmative. However, the key phrase in the question is "more or less". Lorenzo himself testified in two separate cases in Monterrey about 50 years later and gave his age as 60 on April 12, 1653 and as 62 on July 30, 1654; these declarations would fix his birthdate between April 12, 1592 and July 30, 1592. From these declarations I deduce he was only about 11 years old when he travelled to New Spain.

Lorenzo's passage to the New World was approved because he came as a manservant for the newly appointed Oidor Pedro Suarez de Longoria, who also was Lorenzo's uncle.  Lorenzo’s father was named Alonso de la Pontiga and his paternal grandparents were Pedro de Longoria and [undeciphered name] Suarez.  Alonso de la Pontiga's proper name, given the convention of the time, would have been Alonso Suarez de Longoria but all documents where he is named give his name as Alonso de la Pontiga.  It is my theory that this is because Alonso was the eldest male child of his parents and thus the sole inheritor of his father's estate; thus, "de la Pontiga" would have been similar to a title signifying Alonso's position as Lord of the family estate.  I emphasize that this is only my personal theory.  

Alonso de la Pontiga and three witnesses testified in Lorenzo'a application for the license to travel to the New World.  All four gave the name of Alonso's wife as Inez Valdes.  Lorenzo also left a will, dated July 25, 1665, in which he declared he was born in Oviedo, in Asturias, the legitimate son of Alonso de la Pontiga and Inez de Valdes, citizens of that municipality.

Both Lorenzo’s will and the travel document in the Archives give the name of Lorenzo's mother as Inez Valdes, or Inez de Valdes.  However, the Seville Archives, in its description of the travel document, refers to her as Inez Rodriguez. The original document itself does name Lorenzo's maternal grandparents but their surnames are abbreviated and have not been deciphered with a reasonable certainty.  The abbreviations used for the surnames of the maternal grandparents could stand for Valdes, Rodriguez, or some other surname ending in es or ez.  However, research done by the producers of the PBS documentary "Faces of America" uncovered new evidence in an archive in Valladolid which indicates that Inez's surname was actually Menendez, Melendez or Mendez. My belief now is that Lorenzo's mother was named Inez Menendez de Valdes which, following the naming convention used for Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria, means that Inez's father was a Valdes and her mother was a Menendez.  It should be noted that northwest of the Concejo de Belmonte de Miranda is the Consejo de Valdes, so one cannot rule out the possibility that the place of origin for Lorenzo's mother was the Concejo de Valdes.

Thus, our Longoria ancestor emigrated to the New World from the Council of Belmonte de Miranda in the province of Asturias in Spain. It is in the Council of Belmonte de Miranda that two of the ancient ancestral homes of the Longorias are located, including one named Casa de la Pontiga which is probably located within the estate of which Alonso de la Pontiga was Lord.

However, there is some evidence that the Longorias had moved to the Council of Belmonte de Miranda from the Council of Tineo to the west. This evidence can be found in the Diccionario Heraldico y Genealogico by Alberto and Arturo Garcia Carraffa in which they present the investigations done on the lineages of two Longorias who were knighted in the 18th century. The great-grandfather of these two knights is identified as Alonso Longoria, native of the parish of San Bartolome in the Council of Tineo and Lord of “casa de la Pontiga” in the Council of Miranda. This Alonso Longoria contracted marriage with Maria de Quiñones, and they had a son named Pedro Longoria y Quiñones, who was also a native of San Bartolome and also became Lord of the Casa de la Pontiga. Pedro Longoria y Quiñones married Francisca Florez Valdes and they had a son named Jose Longoria y Florez. The Diccionario states that Jose Longoria y Florez was “natural de la Pontiga en el Concejo de Miranda”. Thus, both Alonso Longoria and his son Pedro Longoria y Quiñones were born in the parish of San Bartolome in the Council of Tineo and apparently moved to the Council of Belmonte de Miranda, where Jose Longoria y Florez, the father of the future Knights, was born.  Today, there is a parish named San Bartolome in the Council of Miranda and a little village also named San Bartolome very close to the Casa de la Pontiga.  It may be that the Diccionario is in error when it states that the parish of San Bartolome was in the Council of Tineo and that it actually was in the Council of Belmonte de Miranda.  This seems much more likely considering that the great-grandfather of the knight was also Lord of Casa de la Pontiga.

It seems unlikely to me, when one counts the number of probable generations between 1580 and 1766, that the Alonso Longoria identified in the Diccionario as the great-grandfather of the two Knights could be the same person as Alonso de la Pontiga, the father of Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria. Since Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria was “natural de Miranda”, then his father must have been living in the Council of Belmonte de Miranda when he was born. If Alonso, the ancestor of the two Knights, did indeed move from the Council of Tineo to become lord of the “casa de la pontiga” in the Council of Belmonte de Miranda, then he may have become lord of the house where Alonso de la Pontiga had once resided, an event which implies that Alonso Longoria was indeed related to Alonso de la Pontiga.

Though it seems unlikely to me, it is possible, if one assumes a somewhat long interval of 40 years for each generation, that Alonso Longoria and Alonso de la Pontiga are one and the same person. To believe that they were the same man, however, one has to further assume that Alonso Longoria de la Pontiga married at least twice, first to Inez Menendez de Valdes, then to Maria de Quiñones. Thus, it seems much more likely to me that they were two different men.  And it seems very likely that Alonso de Longoria was descended from Alonso de la Pontiga, perhaps even being his eldest son and thereby inheriting the title of "Lord of Casa de la Pontiga".

In the next section, we shall look at the ancestral Longoria homelands in Spain.

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Copyright © 2001.  Raul N. Longoria.  All rights reserved.