An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
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History/Meaning of the Montoya Surname
Montoya is a Spanish surname. It is said to have originally come from a hamlet near Berantevilla in Alava, in the Basque region of northern Spain. During the Reconquista*, it extended southwards throughout Castille and Andalusia. (Our family oral history indicates that the immigrant ancestor immigrated from Barcelona, Spain.) The name roughly translates to mean hills and valleys.
*In August of 1942, by order of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, all Spanish Jews (Sephardi) who had not converted to Catholicism were expelled from their homeland of 1,500 years. Until then Jews regarded their life in medieval Spain as a Golden Age, in which they worked and lived harmoniously with Muslims and Christians.
I have been interested in the claim that Montoya is a Jewish name. I have been told that at one time it was spelled “Monto Yah,” meaning monte de Dios (Mount of our God). As time went by, of course, people tried to remove anything that sounded Jewish from their names to protect themselves, i.e., Montoya.