Monday, March 1, 2010

Genealogy Search in Spain, Part II

San Nicolas de Bari
The ancient church of Sinovas, Burgos, Spain

My husband’s father was born in Sinovas, a little village in the province of Burgos, Spain. It’s an old village, with an ancient Romanesque church built in the 13th century. The tower was restored in a major project proposed to cost almost 1 million Euros in 2009. The people here are farmers, and some families own old wine cellars on the edge of town, dug deep into the earth by hand. We have visited the village several times, and I’ve always marveled at the old church. We don’t have churches nearly 800 years old here in New Hampshire! We were able to coordinate one of our visits to Sinovas with a pre-arranged visit with the village priest, so we could take a peek at the genealogical records in the parish registers.

We met the parish priest inside and I expected to don gloves and be given lots of instructions before looking at the records book. However, the priest took us to a back room that had only a cabinet and a metal office desk, opened a drawer in the desk and took out the book, and began to thumb through it. We asked him to start with Hubby’s father, and then worked our way backwards in time to the grandfather, and anyone else with the name Rojo. We carefully copied it down all the entries.

The priest was incredulous that we were interested in all this information. I began to think that we were the very first family to ever request genealogical information. He was asking more questions of me than I was of him! We were able to go back about 100 years, with cousins and other assorted Rojos that I copied down. The priest explained that the older books were all in the archives at the Archbishops palace in Burgos, about two hours north of Sinovas. That would had to wait until another visit to Spain. (See last week’s blog posting!)

Again, it was imperative that we made arrangements ahead of time to meet with the parish priest. Sinovas is a two hour drive from Madrid, and we didn't want to miss the day he was in town, nor did we want to find out that there was a local holiday or some other interruption in the calendar. We called from the United States, and again a few days before our appointment just to make sure that we would be able to see the parish records.

We ended our trip to Sinovas with a walk around the village, taking lots of photographs, and meandered over to the wine cellars. We were fortunate to bump into some villagers who pointed out the Rojo family wine cellar, which had collapsed and the door was not visible. This kind family invited us into their own wine cellar where we all celebrated with cups of wine drawn from a barrel, and a few slices of Serrano ham cut off a big leg hanging from the ceiling. These strangers, who didn’t know us from Adam, treated us like long lost cousins. It’s one thing to see your ancestors in a record book, but an entirely better experience to eat and drink like they did!

My first blog posting about the Rojo family was on September 3, 2009 at The genealogical information in this post was gleaned from the records at San Nicolas de Bari, Sinovas, and from the Archives of the Archbishop at Burgos.

A postcard of the medieval ceiling inside the San Nicolas de Bari church in the village of Sinovas, Burgos, Spain.

The whole family in front of the house where my father-in-law was born in Sinovas.


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. You are making me HOMESICK... I miss Europe, especially Spain, it's where I go to retreat and recover! Keep writing and posting pics of Spain. I need it!
    Kathleen, a3genealogy