The Ruiz de Esparza family goes back almost to the beginning of Aguascalientes itself (a quarter century later, actually). The state of Aguascalientes (â€œHot Watersâ€), located between the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco, is part of the central plateau and was named for the thermal springs located throughout the area.
The capital of Aguascalientes is the city by the same name which had been founded as a mining settlement in 1575. It has been called La Ciudad Perforada (City of Holes) because of the labyrinth of tunnels dug in Pre-Hispanic times by an unknown Indian tribe.
When the Spaniards arrived in the 1520s, this area was located inside of Chichimec country near the frontier between the Cazcan farmers and the warlike Guachichile Indians. To the north lived the Zacatecos Indians. As early as the 1550s, Spaniards from Guadalajara received grants for establishing cattle estancias in Guachichiles territory.
A decree of October 22, 1575, created the Villa de Aguascalientes. However, as the intensity of the Chichimec War increased, the small settlement found itself under siege in the war zone.
In spite of the presidio (military garrison) founded at Aguascalientes, Mr. Powell writes that â€œthe increased fury of Chichimeca raiding during the first decade of Aguascalientesâ€™ existenceâ€ caused the townâ€™s population to dwindle to one caudillo (military leader), sixteen soldiers, and two residents in the period from 1582 to 1585. But, in the next decade, the threat of Indian attack diminished considerably. The last Chichimec raid took place in 1593, after which the Indian threat soon subsided altogether. â€œPeace,â€ writes Mr. Gerhard, â€œbrought a tide of Spanish settlers beginning in the 1590s, mostly cattlemen and farmers.â€
By 1610, the small town of Aguascalientes had some 25 Spanish residents, about fifty families of mestizos, at least 100 mulatos, twenty Black slaves, and ten Indians. Many of these twenty-five Spanish inhabitants had the surnames Ruiz de Esparza, Alvarado, Tiscareno de Molina, Luebana, and Delgado
The The Registros Parroquiales (Parish Registers) for La Parroquia de la AsunciÃ³n (Assumption Parish) in Aguascalientes are available through the Family History Library are contained on 458 rolls of film and range from 1601 to 1961. .
Ruiz de Esparza Connection
Extensive research by Ms. Connie Dominguez, Ms. Mary Landers, Dr. J. Leon Helguera, Mr. Mariano Gonzalez Leal, John Schmal, and the late Jaime Holcombe have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the early families of Aguascalientes and their relationships to one another.
Using Dr. Helgueraâ€™s Probanza de Hidalguea, the Ruiz de Esparza family can be traced back to its earliest ancestor who was probably a contemporary of Cristobal ColÃ³n (Columbus): Simon Ruiz de Esparza and his wife Graciana de Vici were born about 1495 in Pamplona, Navarre, Spain.
The Esparza de Ruiz family is a well-known Basque family. The surname Esparza is said to mean one who came from Esparza (a barren place or a place where feather grass grew) in Spain. The word was derived from the Latin sparsus (spread abroad, scattered), probably referring to land that yields little. Esparza is the name of a village near Pamplona in Navarro, Spain (which is where my Esparza ancestors lived in the Sixteenth Century).
The Ruiz de Esparza surname is distinctive and the earliest bearers of that name in New Spain made sure it continued as purely as it could. Back then, and through at least the 1700s, it was Ruis de Esparsa.
The patriarch of this family in Mexico was Lope Ruis de Esparsa. According to Pasajeros a Indias: Libros de Asientos, Lope, who was the son of Lope Ruiz de Esparza and Ana Dias de Eguino, is documented by the Catalago de Pasajeros a Indias (Vol. III - #2.633) as having sailed from Pamplona to New Spain on Feb. 8, 1593. He came as a servant to Don Enrique de Manleon. He appears to have married c. 1594/5, because by 1618 he was having his 11th child.
According to the researchers Connie Dominguez and Mary Landers, Lope Ruiz de Esparzaâ€™s wife, Francisca Gabay, was also known as Francisca Gabai Navarro de Moctezuma, who was the daughter of Martin Navarro and Petronila Moctezuma. Francisca Gabai de Moctezuma is believed by some to be a direct descendant of Moctezuma II.
Their descendancy was quite large and influential in Aguascalientes. His family intermarried with 3 other prominent Spanish families in early Aguas.: the Romo de Vivar, the Tiscareno de Molina, and the Macias Valadez (aka Guerra Valadez) families.
Lope and Francisca had at least eleven children, including Lorenza Ruiz de Esparza, born circa 1602 in Aguascalientes. It was around this time that the Aguascalientes church began to keep records of its parishioners.
By 1610, some 24 or 25 Spaniards were living in Aguascalientes and it is possible that as many as half of these people may be my ancestors. One of the earliest and most important documents is the May 16, 1623 marriage record of Luis Tiscareno de Molina and Lorenza Ruiz de Esparza. This record states that Luis Tiscareno de Molina, the son of Juan Tiscareno and Elvira Marquez, natives of Triana in Sevilla Reynos de Castilla (Spain) was married to Lorenca (Lorenza) Ruis de Esparza,
The Ruiz de Esparza family has been prominent in Aguascalientes for a long, long time.
John Schmal, from contributions of the above-named researchers.