An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
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The Montoya surname is of Spanish origin. The earliest documented Montoya families lived in the mountainous Basque region in northern Spain. It was derived from the Spanish word monte which translates hill or highland.

Bartolome de Montoya, a Spanish Conquistador, arrived in New Mexico on 24 Dec. 1600. Bartolome was described in census records as being short in stature, black bearded and 28 years old in December of that year. He arrived with his wife Maria de Zamora (born in Mexico City, the daughter of Pedro de Zamora who was the Mayor of Oaxaca, Mexico). With the couple were their children: Francisco, Diego, Jose, Lucia and Petonia. The family came as part of the second Onate expedition, whose colony consisted of 65 settlers. The Montoya family brought with them 25 servants, cattle and equipment needed to begin a new life in present day New Mexico. Bartolome, the son of Francisco de Montoya, was a Spanish loyalist and a native of Catillane (near Seville), Castile, Spain. From this family, the Montoya surname was firmly established in New Mexico. While I do not have sufficient information yet, I believe that our line will eventually tie back to Bartolome through his son Diego de Montoya.

My Montoya research focuses primarily on:

Jose Ylario Montoya - Ylario was born in January of 1844 in the New Mexico Territory. He married Josefa Montoya in November of 1863 in Pena Blanca, Santa Ana County, New Mexico. Interestingly, Ylario also had a mistress (who lived across the street) named Maria Augustina de Herrera with whom he had most of his children. Not much is known about either of these women. I do not have sufficient information to tie this all together, but I feel certain that the parents of Ylario are Jose Ygnacio Montoya and Anna Maria Gallego; and that the grandparents of Ylario are Josef Joaquin Montoya and Maria Lorensa de los Dolores (de Noriega) Garcia. Ylario died in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 7 Oct 1902 and is laid to rest in the Velarde Cemetery.

Maximiano de Herrera Montoya - Max, as he was known to family - was born in August of 1871 in the beautiful Espanola Valley of Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. On 6 April 1896 he married Maria Juana Adelia Martin. There he made a home for his family on property where he grew fruits and vegetables and maintained a large apple orchard. The ruins of the adobe home of Max and his wife Juanita can still be found there. Max died in July of 1945 in Lyden, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He is laid to rest in the Velarde Cemetery.

Jose Celestino Montoya - Grandpa Joe was born 25 Mar 1905 in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. As a young man he met and married Manuelita de los Reyes Lujan. Manuelita died very young in 1931 at the age of only 27. After her death, and during the Great Depression, my grandfather and several of his brothers left New Mexico looking for work. They ended up in Utah - working the Kennecott Copper Mine in Bingham Canyon. There he met my grandmother - Pearl Eva Spencer. Joe lost Pearl (and his daughter Juanita) in a tragic car accident in 1949. A few years later he met and married Lea Gladys Overson. Joe Montoya had a total of ten children. My fondest childhood memory of Grandpa Joe is the fishing and rock hunting trip that we made with him to Bryce Canyon, Utah. Jose Celestino Montoya died 22 Oct 1988 in Ogden, Utah. He is laid to rest in Washington Heights Cemetery.

Richard Ernest Montoya - Richard - my father - was the second son born to Joe and Pearl on May 31, 1935 in Bingham Canyon Utah. He suffered the tragic loss of his mother at the age of 14 and joined the United States Army at the age of 17. While stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, he met and married my mother. After 22 years in the military he retired and brought our family to Austin, Texas. Richard Ernest Montoya died much too young at the age of 58 on 2 August 1993 in Austin, Texas. When I think on all the genealogy work that has been done on our Montoya family line - I feel sad knowing how much he would have enjoyed learning about his ancestors. He always was a storyteller - explaining to us that his great-grandfather emigrated from Barcelona, Spain. Yes, that is true - about 12 generations ago! This is for you Dad.

This website was launched in June of 2011. I am busy incorporating 5,000+ pieces of media, which includes stories, documents and pictures of our Montoya ancestors. If you don't find what you are looking for, please check back often or feel free to contact me. Should you wish to contribute any information or media to this genealogy database you can feel free to contact me or alternatively you can upload a photo and/or a document directly to this website. Additionally, I have written a good bit on the Montoya family on my blog which you can access at Specifically, I would appreciate research partners who are familiar with the Catholic Church records and New Mexico genealogy in general. If you are researching any of my Montoya family lines (or any related families), I would love to hear from you