We were in Spain last week, visiting my husband’s family. I had no plans to do any genealogy research during this trip, since we were planning to just visit family for a short time. However, fate intervened!
On our second morning in Madrid I opened our email to find a message from a gentleman in Barcelona who had seen my family tree on line, and he had a common ROJO 3rd great grandfather with my husband. We immediately emailed him back and forth, and found out his parents were from Sinovas, where the ROJO family originated, and where my father-in-law was born and baptized.
Within a day we compared this new cousin’s family tree with my husband’s (thank goodness for having a private Ancestry.com tree online I could access with my iPad). We also contacted some cousins we knew from Sinovas and they sent us the name and phone number of the parish priest. It took several phone calls to make an appointment to meet up with the priest to see the parish records. It took a few more phone calls to find a cousin to drive us to Sinovas, about two hours north of Madrid in the province of Burgos. The next day we were on our way!
The gate to the city of Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Spain
We met up with the priest in the village of Aranda de Duero. He was pastor in both villages, but since Sinovas is so small (population 132) he keeps the books at the bigger church in Aranda . We had looked at the books of baptisms, weddings and burials once before, about fifteen years ago. This time we brought our digital camera, and we had all the time we wanted to look at the books in the church office while the priest celebrated a mass. He then invited all of us to go to see the church in Sinovas, since he was preparing for a funeral there that same afternoon.
Vincent's uncle's baptism and marriage records
Vincent's face when we found the marriage record
of his 3rd great grandparents!
Of course, we took him up on his offer to see the church in Sinovas. It was built in the year 800 as a garrison tower, and had been modified over the years. Sinovas is only 3 km from Aranda (less than 2 miles). We explored the church yard, too, which was built in 1883. Before that, burials took place under the church floor.
San Nicolas de Bari church, Sinovas, Burgos, Spain
The tower was built in the 800s, the central part
of the church has a ceiling dated in the 1200s
Generations of Rojos were baptized in this font
After all the exploration we treated our cousins to a feast of roast suckling lamb, the specialty of Aranda de Duero. Vincent enjoyed his visit to the “Land of the Rojos” very much. He hadn’t been there in at least a decade. We found enough information on the Rojo family to connect to his new cousin, and we had photos of dozens of Rojo baptism, wedding and burial records from the parish records. Most of the early books had been removed from Sinovas to be stored at the Archbishop’s archives in the city of Burgos, another two hours north.
This is the house in Sinovas
where Vincent's Dad was born
Roast sucking lamb cooked in a beehive oven
in Aranda de Duero
Family legend says that Moises Rojo, Vincent's grandfather
was locked in a wine cellar like this before his
execution during the Spanish Civil War in 1936
I can already see that on our next trip to Spain we’ll be taking an overnight trip to Burgos to visit the archives. It will be our second trip. To read all about our first trip, click HERE, and you will know why we have such incomplete records on the branch of the family from Sinovas.
2010 blog post on the archives of Burgos
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Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo