Hi, Mary Lou. I can tell you something of what I have found out about the name. I am descended from Agustin Alderete who came as a huaso from Valparaiso Chile to New South Wales Australia in 1840. I do not know his parents, but I understand from Chileans that, in the early days, no one in the Latin world could use a Spanish surname unless entitled to it by birth (ie a legitimate descendant of someone who held the name.) Which is good news for you and me, because it means that, even if we cannot establish a deneration by generation descent from the Spanish Alderete, we are assured that we have one by virtue of the name Alderete. A number of Alderete males came from Spain to various Central and South American countries, many as conquistadors or as landowners/political figures. Of course, they had children who had children and there are now many descendants, but the same rule still rings true.
So who were the Alderete family. In short, they were the lords of the Spanish city of Tordesillas. You can read about the city in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tordesillas#Main_sights
The most important part of that entry for us though is this:
“The Plaza Mayor is the historic and attractive central community space framed by the 17th century colonnade and porticos creating the arcade that encircles it.
Nearby is the Church of Santa Maria, built from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It has a monumental baroque sacristy. The town's other landmark churches are San Juan, San Pedro, Santiago, and San Antolín.
The massive 15th-century Church of San Antolín is of special interest, containing a museum of religious art collected from churches in the vicinity. The spacious church interior has a single nave, and its most outstanding feature is the sumptuous Alderete Chapel, containing the 1550 alabaster tomb of Don Pedro de Alderete, Commander of the Order of Santiago.”
This confirms our origins. No doubt the family has been of interest to Spanish history and needs more work done on it.
But is that the end of it? No way. The Alderete story is much more interesting even than that. Once again, we can never draw up the linear descent, but we can know generally where they originated by looking at their surname itself. ALDERETE is a strange name, and like many names in Spain that begin with al-, is of North African (“Moorish”) orgin.
Doing a word search, we find that it means “small farm” in Arabic. Hispanicnames.com claims that the name is Mozarabic (from the Moors who invaded) .
Does this mean that our Alderete ancestors were North African? Luckily, history helps us.
Thanks to Manuel Benjamin Alderete, we can know that the "Account Books of Isabel la Catolica (1477-1504, mostly 1483-1504)" say
"Some of the following names are Arabic names transliterated or translated
into Spanish; others are plain Spanish names, perhaps representing
converted Moslems or Moslems who have simply adopted Spanish naming
And guess what? An Alderete turns up in this list.
So, in short, it seems that the ultimate ancestry of the Alderete is to be found in North Africa. The founder of the ‘small farm’ in Spain grew wealthy under Moorish rule. Then the Reconquista occurred and many Muslims fled. Some stayed. Some remained Muslims for a long time, but some converted, becoming what was known as Moriscos. As Catholics, and landowners, they mixed more in with the families of Spanish descent.
Eventually, some, probably younger sons, took their chances in the New World, becoming the ancestors of all of us. Fascinating story.
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