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Home: Surnames: Loya Family Genealogy Forum

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Origin of Loya, research conclusion
Posted by: Alex Loya (ID *****0220) Date: January 07, 2006 at 23:38:54
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Hello cousins! It has been a while and all of this time I have been busy doing research and writing my book. I would like to share with you what my research has yielded, the final conclusion as to our origin and who we are. Let me say that my book is being strongly endorsed by Robert H. Thonhoff, one of the most imporant historians in America, just to let you know my research is not a quick sell you at the mall family history, my intent is to preserve my children's heritage.

In this board I have maintained that the surname Loya is of Italian origin, from the province of Tuscany. Many of you have found that awkward because you understand yourselves as of French, or Spaniard or Basque origin.

For many, many years I have attempted to find the elusive place of the Loya. Garcia Carraffa's Enciclopedia Heraldica y Genealogica states that the surname Loya issues from a place called Loya located in Navarre at the foot of the French Pyrenees Atlantiques, in the jurisdiction of Aoiz and municipality of Ezprogri. Aoiz is found on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, so, because of this, many of us have in vain looked for the elusive place on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, and many of you have erroneously believed it is a Spanish surname.

Well, I finally found the place Loya! It is at the foot of the French Pyrenees Atlantiques, to be sure, but, contrary to what many have expected because of Garcia Carraffa's statement of it being in the jurisdiction of Aoiz and other sources claiming it is from Navarre, it is on the French side of the Pyrenees close to Lower Navarre. Loya is located about two miles from the Spanish border in France, between the French border city of Hendaye and the French city of St.Jean de Luz. It is evident that Garcia Carraffa's statement of it being in the jurisdiction of Aoiz, which has sent many, including me, on a wild goose chase, is due to the historical fluidity of the border between France and Spain. Because Loya, France is located within two miles, actually, it starts at 1.3 miles from Spain, it was under Spanish jurisdiction for short periods of time at different times. The jurisdiciton of Aoiz that Garcia Carraffa mentions was a due to a short period of fluidity of the French and Spanish border; Loya is part of France. This is why the New York and Quebec Loya understand themselves, correctly, as French, and why the Texas and Chihuahua Loya preserve traditions of French origin.

Interestingly, in the city of St.Jean de Luz, which is within just a few miles from Loya, there is a castle with a stone tower very similar to that depicted in the Loya Coat of Arms.

Having said this, it is important to understand that although Loya is located in France near the Spanish border on the Southern Coast of France in the region of Aquitaine, province of Labourd near Lower Navarre, its etymolgy is Italian, it is Tuscan as I have shared before.
By the etymology of the word Loya, which is alternately spelled Loia as it is spelled in Italy, we know two things:

First, we know that the place Loya was called after the clan Loya, and not the clan Loya after the place. The surname was first a person's name and the place was called after the person or persons who made their home in that place. The reason we know this is because the meaning of the surname, or the word which became a surname, denotes the physical appearance of a person, it means, in the Tuscan dialect "a layer of dirt on the skin or clothes" and it serves to denote a miner. When you see a miner who is dirty because of his job, you are looking at a Loya. You can find this in a good Italian dictionary. Alessio and Battisti's Italian Etymological Dictionary indicates that although the surname is Tuscan, it excludes Latin as its source both phonetically and semantically,sound and meaning, thereby we conclude that, being Tuscan yet excluding a Latin source, it belongs to the Etruscan substratum of the Tuscan dialect.

Second, by its etymology we know what I just mentioned, that it is originally an Italian, Tuscan, in fact, Etruscan name. It is extremely old and the survival of the extinct Etruscan language.

Yet, the place Loya is found in France and it is so entrenched in the Southern Coast of France as a place name, and has been there so long, that I am concluding that the correct nomenclature for the surname Loya is that it is an Italic French Gascon surname (the Gascons are the French Basques), just like the surname Seguin, as in Juan Seguin the Texas hero, is a Germanic French Gascon surname, from the German Sieg meaning victory and win meaning friend, Seguin. Seguin was introduced to Gascony,France by Germanic invaders. So Loya was introduced to Gascony, that is the area I described above, an area inabited by French Gascons, by Italian people centuries ago. My research has revealed a route of migration issuing from Tuscany to the French province of Moselle in the early 1200's, and from Moselle to Labourd on the French coast in Aquitaine where the place was called after the clan, at the foot of the French Pyrenees Atlantiques, around the year 1360 or so. From there it passed to Navarre,or I still need to find out if at that time what is the coast of Labourd was Lower Navarre, while all of Navarre was still all French. Then, as I have mentioned,Spain invaded France in the year 1512 and took away half, or more than half, of Navarre. Navarre did not become a full part of Spain but until 1839.

I have found in my research strong evidence that the fathers of the Texas and Chihuahua Loya were born French not only because they were born before Navarre was invaded by Spain, but,my further research has shown strong evidence, the fathers of the Texas Loya, although they became subjects of the King of Spain, were born in France, in the place Loya, although the surname is registered as having arrived to Northern New Spain from neighboring Navarre. I take a look at this evidence in depth in my book, it is fascinating!

So, France it is, and the correct nomenclature for our surname is Italic French, or more specifically, Italic French Gascon since Loya is located in the area that is home to the Gascons. You can view pictures of our ancestral home in France by googling in French "Baie de Loya".

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