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:
Lorenzo de Longoria
Contratacion, 5273, N.91
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
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
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.