Steven Francisco Hernández-López has been seriously working on his genealogy since 1993 at the age of 19, a family history that is focused in virtually every pueblo of Los Altos de Jalisco, and it’s nearby regions, such as Nochistlán, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato and Michoacán. He has consulted countless LDS microfilms, integrated and enhanced much of the work of Jaime Holcombe and collaborated with genealogists such as Ophelia Márquez, Tony Campos, Mary Lou Montagna, Mario González Leal and many other notable figures. In 2003, Steven Hernández-López edited a compilation of works entitled “Genealogical Journal, Volume V, 2003” under the auspices of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, where he authored, “Lasting Legacy of Insurgent General Pedro Moreno de Ortega y Gonzalez de Hermosillo: A Biographical, Historical and Genealogical Study”, Los Hernández Gamiño: Breve Reseña de una Familia Alteña and Basic Foundations of significant families of Mexico: Tello de Orozco” in collaboration with Tony Campos. Hernández-López generously contributed a generous amount of genealogical records to Mariano González, Leal, regarding several key families, centered in Arandas, Ayo el Chico, Jesús Maria and surrounding nearby towns, which were integrated into González Leal’s recent, “Retoños de España en La Nueva Galicia”. He continues to research his ancestral lines as well as those of numerous other illustrious Alteño individuals and families with the aid of the new FamilySearch.org.
Hernández-López is fluent in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese; he’s been an educator since 1997 and a High School Spanish teacher since 2004. He has a BA in Arts History, 2001, from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. His graduating thesis was on the Cristero Rebellion (1926-1929). He is an organic gardener, horticulturalist and botanist. As an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist, he also enjoys hiking and taking hikes in national parks and natural scenic areas.
He has traveled throughout Los Altos de Jalisco and visited many of the cities and walked the plazas and entered the churches where he has ancestral roots, such as Ocotlán, La Barca, Atotonilco el Alto, Arandas, San Miguel el Alto, San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalostitlán, Zapotlanjejo, Tepatitlán de Morelos, Jesús Maria, Ayotlán (Ayo el Chico) and Lagos de Moreno.
Presentation 1: "Santos, Cristeros, Rancheros y Tequileros"
A biographical, genealogical, historical, and cultural analysis of the impact the Catholic Church has had on the soul of Los Altos de Jalisco, the fervent religiosity of the people and their willingness to fight for their faith in the Cristero Rebellion, as manifeted by martyrs and warriors of Christ such as Santo Toribio Romo González (Martyr +), San Anacleto González Flores (Martyr +), San Miguel Gómez Loza (Martyr +), Luisa Josefa de la Peña Navarro "La Madre Luisita" founder of the Carmelite Order, and Victoriano Ramírez López "El Catorce", legendary Cristero fighter.
I go beyond and focus on the legacy of Alteño bravado on the charro and ranchero class and the mariachi music of their predilection, as exemplified by Andrés Zeferino Barba Camarena "Andrés Z. Barba", the famous charro, ranchero and poet, and Vicente Fernández Gómez, poet in his own right, even more famous artist and singer of traditional "rancheras mexicanas"--Mexican charro and ranchera songs and ballads, of international fame.
The heart and soul of Los Altos are also shaped by the impact of its most well-known spirit...tequila. Los Altos is one of the two main tequila producing regions in the state of Jalisco, the other being the municipality of Tequila, Jalisco. The main tequila producing regions in the region are Arandas and Atotonilco el Alto...Arandas being the birthplace of José González González, tequila producer, industrialist, and benefactor; and Atotonilco el Alto that of his nephew Julio González Estrada "Don Julio", maker of tequila brands "Tres Magueyes" and "Don Julio", industrialist and benefactor. Both of them, as well as Vicente Fernández's love for Tequila Don Julio, have elevated tequila into an industry that promoted the economy of the local region throughout the world.
Presentation 2: ORNELAS Ornelas is one of a few surnames found in Nueva Galicia, that were originally not from Spain's Reinos de Castilla y León. Ornelas for example was originally from the Kingdom of Portugal, later the Atlantic island of Madeira after its discovery in 1419, and subsequent colonization and settlement. One of its first settlers was Alvaro de Ornelas, "o Grande/el Grande" (1424-1490), son of Lopo Esteves de Ornelas and María de Ayala. Alvaro de Ornelas lived during the time of Prince Henry the Navigator. Alvaro de Ornelas was a Portuguese mariner and participated in many of the explorations and discovery expeditions conducted by Prince Henry (Don Enrique). Due to the many valorous feats that Alvaro performed in battle and in exploration, he was called “O Grande”--the Great. Alvaro was most importantly involved in the exploration and settlement following the discovery of Madeira Island.
In 1446 Alvaro de Ornelas and his cousin João de Ornelas equipped a caravel and set off on a trip of exploration along the West-African coast. Along the way they encountered a group of monk seals. These animals were unknown in Europe at the time and because they appeared woman-like, the sailors called them “mulheres do mar - women of the sea”. They captured a few of the animals and took them back to Lisbon. The word mermaid (sereia) was born of this event. Because of these various maritime achievements, Alvaro de Ornelas was knighted by King João I of Portugal and granted the honor of having a coat-of-arms. To commemorate the discovery of the first seals, King Manuel I of Portugal granted Alvaro de Ornelas' son Alvaro de Ornelas e Saavedra in 1513 the right to place images of the mermaids on his coat-of-arms, as they have been ever since.
Fortunately, the Ornelas families have left behind a very interesting treasure trove of valuable documents and sources scattered across time and space which quite accurately lay out their family histories, biographies, and genealogies. These records consistently reiterate the royal blood borne by members of the Ornelas family as descending from some of Portugal's most noble families and earliest royal houses. The abundance, variety, and fascinating nature of these source documents give us a more complete family tree, detailed with bibliographical source notes, and which connect each individual with a particular place at a specific time. Indeed the Ornelas family can show us how this family from Nueva Galicia is so widespread worldwide to such places as Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, South Africa and the United States.