Lorenzo Cuesta Ortiz

Salomé Saldaña Villarreal

August 2014
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Ortiz or Trejo

Ysabel Ortiz

“Maria Ysavel, que nacio el Dia cinco a las cuatro de la mañana en esta Villa, hija legitima De Francisco Trejo y Nasaria Cajero, Abuelos paternos, Jose Maria y Rosa Martinez, maternos, Severiano y Dominga Borroel.”

“Maria Ysavel, who was born on the 5th at 4 in the morning in this Village, legal daughter Of Francisco Trejo and Nasaria Cajero, paternal Grandparents, Jose Maria and Rosa Martinez, maternal, Severiano and Dominga Borroel.”

My grandmother’s name was Ysabel Ortiz (from Nochistlán, Zacatecas, México and married to Juan Cuesta).

When some of the descendants of Ysabel Ortiz moved from Laredo, Texas to Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas, they had to give their name to establish their new residency. One son’s complete Mexican name was Jesús Cuesta Ortiz. Unfortunately, English speakers get so confused with the difference between ‘last name’ and ‘family name’. Even though the ‘family name’ was ‘Cuesta’, in the 1930s the Jesús’ family was established as ‘Ortiz’.

Many of my immediate relatives in Texas go by the name of ‘Ortiz’, rather than ‘Cuesta’ because some local city and county offices set them up as ‘Ortiz’.

More ‘Ortiz’ problems:
I have discovered that there may still be another problem with the name of ‘Ortiz’. When I obtained a copy of my grandmother’s birth record (see image above), her father’s name was listed as ‘Trejo’.

None of the genealogical data that I have found indicates that ‘Ortiz’ started out as ‘Trejo’, or that the family had any ‘Trejo’ ancestors.

‘Ortiz’ and ‘Trejo’:

  • Both names are 5 letters long, sharing 3 letters (i.e., ‘o’, ‘r’, ‘t’).
  • Each has 2 syllables and 2 vowels.
  • Each has one letter that extends above the rest (i.e., ‘t’).
  • Each has one letter that extends below the rest (i.e., ‘z’ or ‘j’).

However, the 2 names do not sound enough alike for a Spanish speaker to confuse them.
One is ‘TRE-jo’; the other is ‘or-TIZ’.

The graphic above shows that there is no doubt of what the priest intended to write. This is not a case of unreadable handwriting. Of course, the priest may have filled out the baptismal record from somebone else’s unreadable notes.

So here is another example of how our surnames can get trampled through time and migration.