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Anne Ogle-Leonard's Genealogy Site


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An American Family Database

The Surnames Page

The Descendants of Edward Richards & Susannah Hunting Project

An On-Line Course: Tracing Your Family History Using a Computer

As with everything else on this web site, this page is very much under construction, i.e., I am still researching this and will add to the information here as I am able. But I thought I'd post what I have so far.

To: Background History & Regional Details

Back to the Ancestors of William Ogle Page

On this Page
History of Our Aguirre Line

I hope to add a Parra/Carbajal page soon with more information about the San Buenaventura, Mexico, area and history.

Aguirre (mid 1600s to 1900s)
Our Aguirre line begins with Pedro Aguirre and Maria de Sagardia, the parents of Joseph Aguirre Sagardia, born in 1687 in Arranaz, Nevarre, Spain, who was one of the founders of Ciudad Chihuahua in Mexico.

A Word About Spanish and Mexican Surnames
As in the example above, Joseph Aguirre Sagardia, above, many people of traditional hispanic ancestry use both their parents' surnames. Generally the father's name comes first, and then the mother's name second. If only one name is to be used, the father's surname is used. Listing these names in most genealogy databases can be a problem, since folks are then listed by their mother's surname, which, strictly speaking, is incorrect. One can get around this problem by hyphenating the surnames, but this is incorrect also. I have chosen to leave the names as they are, and deal with the inconsistency in index listings.

The Aguirre surname comes from the Basque region of Spain. According to the Spanish Heraldry expert, Don Antonio de la Rabida, “…in the Basque language, Aguirre meant “altitude”, or the high loft of a mountain where you can see the panorama about him.” The Basque area is a high mountainous region; therefore, many unrelated families took the name Aguirre. (Please see A Brief History of the Basque Region, and The Kingdom of Navarre, for more information.)

In the 1600s and 1700s several Aguirres moved to Northern Nueva Espana (or New Spain, present day Mexico) and la Nueva Vizcaya in particular, including Don Joseph de Aguirre, and his oldest brother, Don Lorenzo de Aguirre who went there in 1699. They were among many other Vascos (Basques) who colonized Nueva Vizcaya, beginning with Jose de Ibarra, who 'pacified' the area, and then became its first governor.

Don Lorenzo was a merchant, and educated his younger brother in the same trade. Don Lorenzo also became the "Alferez Real" or royal ensign in San Jose del Parral, the settlement where they lived. The royal ensign served as the representative of the Spanish crown in all its functions in this remote area.

In due time, Don Joseph de Aguirre also became a 'mercader' or merchant, and moved 400 miles north to a recently colonized mining village named Nuestra Senora del Rosario del Nacozari el nuevo, in the province of Sonora (in what is now northern Mexico, south of Arizona). Aguirre's testament mentions that he owned four herds of mules which he used to move his merchandise.

When he was 24 years old, Don Joseph Aguirre wished to marry Dona Pascuala Nicolasa de Orio y Zubiate, the daughter of General Don Joseph de Orio y Zubiate and Maria Garcia de Llescas. He duly obtained permission from the church, and they were married in April of 1711.

Dona Nicolasa, as I mentioned, was the daughter of General don Joseph de Orio y Zubiate and Maria Garcia de Llescas. Don Joseph, also a Vasco, was born in Escorriaga in the valley of Leniz, province of Guipuzcoa, Spain (also part of the Basque region), and moved to New Spain as a young man. In 1681 he married Dona Maria Garcia de Llescas in San Jose de Parral, Nueva Vizcaya, by proxy. In 1697 he was appointed Alcalde Mayor, or chief justice of the province of Ostimuri, and with that title came the commission of Capitan a Guerra, or Captain of War. In this capacity, Orio y Zubiate served from 1698 to 1700 in the effort to control the revolting Tarahumara Indians, and was promoted to General. In the early 1700s, General Orio y Zubiate moved his family to the new Nacozari, where he had mining interests, and established a cattle ranch.

In 1713, the General moved his family and business to the San Francisco de Cuellar, now known as Chihuahua City, because a new mining bonanza had been found in the area. Once again, he established himself in the mining and ranching industries.

In 1715, Don Joseph de Aguirre moved to San Juan Bautista, the capital of the province of Sonora, where he was appointed as Alcalde Mayor and Capitan a Guerra for the Province of Sonora, as his father-in-law had been for his province.

In 1717, Don Joseph and his wife, Dona Nicolasa, joined the Orio y Zubiate family in Chihuahua and also invested in the mining and ranching businesses, thus establishing the long line of Aguirres in the Chihuahua area.

Don Joseph Aguirre died in September of 1728, while still serving as El Alferez Real of San Felipe de Real, a title he inherited from his father-in-law, leaving his wife and five under-age children listed in his will as Juan Miguel, Juan Jose, Isidro Manuel, Augustine Francisco, and Gertrudis Estefania. After his death, Dona Nicolasa remarried to Juan Jose de Urrutia, one of the men designated to help her run her father and husband's estates. In 1731, she ordered that a chapel be built on the outskirts of her Hacienda; when it was completed it was blessed with the name "Santa Rita" -- this chapel is still standing today after being renovated by the City of Chihuahua in the past few decades.

Our line follows Don Juan Miguel, Don Joseph and Dona Nicolasa's oldest son, who married Dona Roasalia Rodriguez and took over the management of the Carmensita Mine in Santa Eulalia near Chihuahua City. Some of his sons kept on mining, but others became Presidio Soldiers in Julimes and businessmen in Chihuahua City.

One of Don Juan Miguel's sons, Don Bartolome de Aguirre, married Dona Andrea Colomo, whose relatives owned the Hacienda de Bachinnba, and joined the Spanish Army as a Presidial soldier in the early 1750s at the Presidio of Julimes, on the banks of the Conchos River. When his ten year commitment to the Army was satisfied, Don Bartolome bought property on the Hacienda de Chorrera, about 50 miles down the Conchos River from Julimes. These properties stayed in the family for many years.

In 1783, Don Bartolome and his family moved to a town then known as San Geronimo, now called Villa Aldama, which was being repopulated after an Apache attack. In Aldama, the Aguirre family prospered again, especially Don Bartolome's son, Don Juan Antonio Aguirre who married Dona Barbara Valle, the daughter of Don Antonio Valle and Dona Ana Enrique. Don Juan Antonio developed the family's holdings at Hacienda de Chorrera, Julimes, and Aldama with agriculture, ranching, mining, flour mills, and "Huertas" orchards.

Two of Don Bartolome's many sons, Mariano and Jose de los Angeles, or Angel, as he was known, moved further west to the Casas Grandes area of Chihuahua. There, once again, they were involved in mining. From the "Diccionario Historia Geografia y Biografia Chihuahuenses" by Francisco R. Aldama, p. 119: (translation from the Spanish) "Corralitos: ...2. Mine in the Municipality of Nuevo Casas Grandes, in the Judicial District of Galeana. Was discovered in 1839, its 'primitive' owners were Don Angel and Don Mariano Aguirre, and from 1874 to 1878 was the 'county seat' of the Galeana district."

As I understand it from conversations with the librarian in Nuevo Casas Grandes, the phrase "duenos primitivos" refers to a sort of claim staker status that is neither permanent nor necessarily recognized by the powers that be. Therefore, the Aguirre brothers were probably able to mine the area for a few years (8?) before the government entities came in and took over the mine. I also understand that the mine was probably yeilding either copper or silver, although this is not specified in the Diccionario.

While in this area, Mariano married a woman named Severiana Parra, the daughter of Felipe Parra and Carmen Carbajal of Galeana.  I also believe that Angel Aguirre married Josefa Carbajal, although I have not yet verified this. It is interesting to note that the names Carbajal and Parra are both strongly associated with the Sephardic (also known as Converso or Crypto-Jewish) migrations into the Casas Grandes area of Chihuahua. (For more information on this fascinating aspect of history, see The Jews in Navarre and Converso or Crypto-Jews in Nueva Espagna, below, and visit There is also evidence, which is not necessarily contradictory, that both the Carbajal and Parra families were refugees from New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

I was also able to visit the San Buenaventura Catholic church a few years ago, and from the Acta de Nacimiento book of 1838-9 for the Valle de Buenaventura, Chihuahua, (the Baptismal records from the Catholic Church in Buenaventua) I found that Angel Aguirre was listed as the godfather to 3 children during the baptismal event of October 26, 1838, in the town of Galeana, once with Francisca Lopez and the other two times with Josefa Carbajal. Please note that the writing is sometimes very difficult to decipher:

  • Maria Anna, 5 mos. old, daughter of Don Juan Mata Ortiz and Juana Carbajal. Paternal grandparents: Felipe Ortiz and Dona Josefa Mendoza. Maternal grandparents: Jose Manuel Carbajal and Julia Alarcon. Godparents Don Angel Aguirre and (?) Francisca Lopez. [According to one man we met in Casas Grandes, Don Juan Mata Ortiz is a rather famous local figure who under the auspices of the military, in which he was a general or something, fought incessantly against the Apaches led by Geronimo and Juh, his lieutenant. There is a town named after the general where famous pottery is now produced. Mata Ortiz was eventually killed by Huh, the Apache in a place between Galeana and Nuevo Casas Grandes called "Chocolate Mountain". I am still working on verifying this story.]

  • Jose Antonio Cesario, 8 mos. old, son of Juan ___ (?) Nevarez and Irindna (?) Casarez. Paternal grandparents: Jose de la Nevarez and Juana Baloina. Maternal grandparents: Manuel Casarez and Maria (?) Carbajal. Godparents: Angel Aguirre and Josefa Carbajal.

  • Minerva, 2 mos, b. August, daughter of Jose ___ Escudero and Ma. Antonia Gutierrez. Paternal grandparents: Marcos Escudero and Manuela Tellez. Maternal grandparents: Agaton Gutierrez and Ramona Castillo (?). Godparents: Angel Aguirre and Josefa Carbajal.


Mariano Aguirre moved his family to the La Mesilla Valley area of Dona Ana County in southern New Mexico sometime before 1856, when Francisco, their adopted son, was married there to Cesaria Arroyos.

I don't know why Mariano chose to leave Mexico for this valley, but I do know that his brother, Pedro Aguirre, was forced by the Mexican Army to flee Mexico instead of facing the firing squad on charges of treason after allowing an American officer and his company to take shelter at his rancho. This story is told in Y.F. Aguirre's book, Echoes of the Conquistadores (pp. 31 and 32). Apparently Don Pedro collected his family and thirty others from his Hacienda de Chorrera, and what ever monies he could raise in a very short time, and left Chihuahua for ever in 1852 in a long string of covered wagons bound for Las Cruces, New Mexico (near La Mesilla). Don Pedro did well for himself in Las Cruces, setting up his freighting business in short order, and even managing to send at least two of his sons to school in the East. He earned his American citizenship in  1855. I think it is likely that Don Pedro's brother, Mariano, and his family, were among the group who fled to Las Cruces in 1852, although again, I have not yet been able to verify this. I do know that Mariano continued to work as a freighter once he was in the US, and that the routes family stories attribute to him are very consistent with those mentioned by Y.F. Aguirre in his account.

One story passed down to us tell how Mariano was gone for several years, after which his wife, Severiana, decided he must be dead. So, in the tradition of many a pragmatic frontier wife, she remarried. This second husband was said to be "black", an ambiguous term for those times which may have indicated his skin color, his character, or even his habitual clothing. At any rate, Severiana had more children with this second husband before Mariano reappeared one day! We can only imagine the scene, but the result was that the second husband left, and Mariano took his former place as head of Severiana's household. I am not certain that this story is attributed to Mariano and Severiana, but the timeline, and what I know of the family history make them the most likely players.

Another family tale involves a beautiful red-headed wife who caught the eye of Geronimo, the Apache. Apparently the husband of this beauty was often away on freighting missions, and had to pass through Apache territory on his route (once again, is this Mariano and Severiana?). Evidently the husband was less that gentle and kind with his wife on at least one occasion, and the next time he traveled through Geronimo's territory, the chief had him captured and brought before him at which time he threatened the husband admonishing him to treat his wife better, or be killed the next time! Lore has it that he was a much more devoted husband after this encounter.

Mariano and Severiana had nine children that I know of, and I have been fortunate enough to make contact with the descendants of many of them. Most married well into families of good standing in the La Mesilla area. Their daughter Sarah Aguirre was the second wife of Louis Geck, a Polish immigrant and merchant with an interesting history (Geck's first wife was Beatriz Aguirre, the daughter of Don Pedro who led the family out of Mexico); sons Anacleto and Modesto married two daughters of P.M. Thompson and Trinidad Melendrez the daughter of Pablo Melendrez, Alcalde of La Mesilla and a founding father of the Mesilla valley settlement (more on the Thompson and Melendrez families elsewhere); daughter Tirsita or Tirza married an American soldier named Thomas Chapman, went to Nebraska where she was widowed, adopted the orphaned child of a neighbor, remarried in Taos to Moises Vigil, before returning to Las Cruces where she died.

Meanwhile, the sons of Mariano's brother, Don Pedro Aguirre, continued to prosper, and some of them moved on to establish mines and ranches in Arizona near Globe. Their descendant is Y.F. Aguirre, who has been such a wonderful source of information to me.

Anacleto Aguirre, the son of Mariano and Severiana, and his wife Helen or Elena Thompson, also had many children, 13, I believe. Anacleto also worked in the family freighting business, and may also have been involved in some way as a spy for the American army. In the spring of 1902, Anacleto died, either from a disease, perhaps diphtheria; or, according to family legend, from having an axe fall on his head as he was out chopping wood. At any rate, his wife, Helen, was left with many minor children to care for. One of the things she did to try to make ends meet was petition the government for payment Anacleto never received for his services. I have a copy of the letter she sent. She also investigated possible properties in Mexico that may have still belonged to her family, but all to no apparent avail. Eventually she took several of her children and moved first to Globe, Arizona, where her husband's relatives were, and then on to Las Vegas, Nevada, before ending her days in Los Angeles, California. Her daughters married along the way, including Marie, my great-grandmother, who married William Ogle in Las Vegas.


  1. 1860 Federal Census for Mesilla Post Office, Dona Ana County, New Mexico.

  2. 1870 Federal Census for Dona Ana County, New Mexico.

  3. 1870 Federal Census for Taos, New Mexico

  4. 1880 Federal Census for Globe, Pima County, Arizona

  5. 1885 Census of Las Cruces, Dona Ana County, Territory of New Mexico

  6. 1930 Federal Census for Clark County, Nevada

  7. Aguirre, Curtis, Introduction to Basque History,

  8. Aguirre, Y. F., Echoes of The Conquistadores: History of a Pioneer Family in the Southwest, (Second Edition, November 1994, Casa Grande, Arizona).

  9. Aldama, Francisco R., Diccionario Historia Geografia y Biografia Chihuahuenses, (no publication information in the book) .

  10. Andra Mari Eusko Dantzari Taldea, "A Few Notes on the History of the Basque Country",

  11. Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca, Genes, Peoples, and Languages (University of California Press, 2000) (pp.120-121).

  12. The Columbia Encyclopedia, "Navarre," Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press.

  13. French, Karla, "Mary Bernard Aguirre: Spanish Bride on the Santa Fe Trail", October 1999, A paper submitted to Dr. Joyce Thierer, Bairoil, Wyoming.

  14. Gerhard, Peter, The North Frontier of New Spain, Revised Edition, University of Oklahoma Press, Normal and London, 1993.

  15. Gobierno de Navarra, Departamento de Industria, Comerco, Turismo y Trabajo, The History: Vascons - The Original Inhabitants, from the Made in Navarra web site

  16. Hallsall, Paul, Jewish History Sourcebook: The Expulsion from Spain, 1492 CE, from the Internet Jewish History Sourcebook,

  17. Hopkins, Andrew, researcher.

  18. Index to M.A. Carmichael's Database of Cass County [Nebraska] Burials, Cass County, Nebraska NEGenWeb Project, .

  19. Lee, Rudi, researcher.

  20. Lenchek, Shep, "Jews in Mexico, A Stuggle for Survival", 2002.

  21. Letters of Elena Thompson de Aguirre, from the collection of Jean Ogle Yabroff, translations by A. Ogle-Leonard 1999-2003.

  22. Levy, Lionel,  "Sepharades et Barbaresques" (translated from the French by Ralph Tarica)

  23. Loya, Richard, researcher,

  24. Ogle, Johanna Wilhelmina Schouten, interview, 1999.

  25. Records of Interments of 1902, St. Genevieve Church, Las Cruces, New Mexico, copy from Andrew Hopkins.

  26. San Albino Church Records, Mesilla, New Mexico, Book 1, Baptisms.

  27. Singer, Isidore, and Mayer Kayserling, "Navarre", from Jewish

  28. Social Security Death Index.

  29. University of Texas at Austin Perry Castaneda Library Online Map Collection: .

  30. Valle de Buenaventura Catholic Church Records, Acta de Naciminento, Buenaventura, Chihuahua, Mexico.

  31. Villalba, Rodolfo Jose,, (e-mail communication, January 2002).

  32. Ward, Seth, "Converso Descendants in the American Southwest: A Report on Research, Resources, and the Changing Search for Identity," University of Denver (Colorado, USA). Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Conference of the European Association for Jewish Studies, ed. Angel Saenz-Badillos. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999, pp. 677-86.


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