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Ricardo Fernández Gracia, Chair of Navarrese Art and Heritage University of Navarre

Some anthroponymy: three names and one surname in Navarre

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:42:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

Anthroponymy is the branch of onomastics that studies personal names, including surnames. The origin of many of them leads us to very different historical realities. The Romans did not have a long list of proper names, so when they ran out, they gave their children the names of numbers such as Quintus, Sextus, Septimius, Octavius, etc. Christianity extended the custom of imposing biblical names and names of moral virtues in baptisms, while the barbarian peoples used those related to warrior merit.

In our Western and Catholic context, the names have been an authentic mirror of the devotions that were making their way and triumphing at a given moment. The names of the saints, with great iconographic flourishing since the Gothic period, became very popular, particularly those of some of them, as well as those of the local Marian invocations, from the Counter-Reformation onwards. The new saints, as ideals of new models of sanctity, also meant novelties among the male and female names. For example, the name of Javier, so well known after the canonization of St. Francis Xavier, became popular in the 18th century. It should also be considered that the parish dedications themselves meant that those baptized in them bore the name of their titular saint.

Let's see what happened with three names and a surname in the context of the XVII and XVIII centuries, always with the provisionality of a topic hardly treated in the historical research of our lands.

The first Joaquin of Pamplona
plenary session of the Executive Council In the seventeenth century, a lay Carmelite brother, Brother Juan de Jesús San Joaquín (15901669), born in Añorbe, lived in the capital of Navarre. His life became popular shortly after his death because it was printed in 1684. From then until a century ago, the seiscentist text has been reprinted several times. Among the numerous events, some of a marvelous nature, very much in tune with the 17th century, his biography narrates everything related to the extension of the cult of St. Joachim, a task that the aforementioned layman took very seriously. As it could not be less, the imposition of the name of Joaquín was popularized and in a special way to children who were born of marriages with great problems to obtain succession.

The author of the book we are quoting, Father Bartolomé de Santa María deals at length with the hypothetical first case with the aforementioned name, in Navarra, and probably in all of Spain, where since then the Joaquins multiplied. This was in the year 1636". The protagonists of the fact were the marriage conformed by Don Juan de Aguirre, oidor of the Real committee of Navarre and Doña Dionisia de Álava y Santamaría, his niece, who married after entrusting the matter to San Joaquín through her brother.

After having several daughters, Don Juan told Brother Juan to "beg the saint, since he had married them, to give them a son. He offered him and a few days later he said to Don Juan: "You already have a son. -Don Juan replied, "We already have him, Dona Dionisia has had signs against it. -They already have him," replied the brother, "from three days to this part: be careful and you will find that it is so". The story is very long and ends with the birth of Don Joaquín de Aguirre Álava y Santamaría. The father of the child wanted to know how the layman had such success and conviction, to which he answered that "it was the saint who had assured him of the conception, and when he went to see them, he saw Doña Dionisia leaving the house for mass, and in front of her the child that was to be born".

It was not this case the most famous, but another Joaquin, son of the viceroys of Navarre, of Oropesa, to whom the name of Manuel Joaquin was given in Pamplona on the day of the Three Kings in 1644.
Oropesa, to whom the name of Manuel Joaquín was given in Pamplona on Epiphany 1644, and whose birthday was perpetuated by Antonio de Solís in a comedy entitled Eurídice and Orfeo and popularized by José María Iribarren in his book De Pascuas a Ramos (From Easter to Palm Sunday).

The Jesuit Juan Bautista León, in two volumes dedicated to the cult of San Joaquín, also tells us of other events that occurred with the lay brother of Añorbe and of the extension of the cult of the saint and the dedication of temples and altarpieces from his chapel in the Discalced Carmelites of Pamplona to Tarazona, Toro, Valencia, Jumilla, Monovar, Villena, Avila, Bilbao, Játiva and Sicily. In Navarra some of the hermitages dedicated to San Joaquín start precisely from the figure of Brother Juan.

Marian devotions: Camino and Puy
Coinciding with the fervor of the city of Pamplona for the Virgin of the Camino, some couples decided to give the name Camino to their children. In parallel with the construction of the chapel and its artistic endowment (1757-1776), the name of the Marian devotion began to spread in the city. The first child documented is the baptism of Mª Camino Sierra y Ayerra (April 22, 1769), sponsored by Miguel Jerónimo Elizalde, secretary of committee de Guerra. The second baptized was Mª Camino Zamarquilla in May 1773 and in the days following the placement of the Virgen del Camino (25VIII-1776) we find four girls, one of them the daughter of the Marquises of Vesolla. Since then, every year several girls and some boys were registered with the name, especially around the Octave.

In Estella something similar happened with the Virgin of Puy. The documentary catalog of the parish of San Juan de Estella, made by Don José María Lacarra, includes in the month of April of 1750 two entries in which for the first time the name of María Puy is given to the baptized Virgin. In those years of the decade of the fifties of the XVIII century, the basilica of El Puy was being equipped with important works such as the new altarpiece, the chapel, the sacristy and the organ, which speaks of milestones in the secular devotion of the people of Estella to the image.

The surname Goñi, to the foundling children
Don Mariano Arigita, in his study on San Miguel de Aralar, in dealing with the genealogy of the Goñi family, states that "there is no surname in Navarre, whose genealogy is more difficult to justify its link with the main house or branch than that of Goñi. Believing that the administrators of the general hospital of Pamplona were paying an irrefutable tribute of gratitude to the pious Don Remiro de Goñi, its founder, they began to give this surname to all the foundlings that entered the said charitable establishment, with which the surname has spread so much that there is hardly a town in Navarre where there is not one that bears it, and above all in Pamplona, where people of all classes and conditions have it".

As is well known, Don Remiro de Goñi, from Agramonte, brother of the palatial de Goñi, was archdeacon of the Table of his cathedral, one of the highest dignities of his chapter and a distinguished canonist, a prototype of a man of merit in art, science and charity, he belonged to the Royal committee and composed two works of his specialization program, published in Toulouse and Lyon in 1549 and 1550. As a good son of the century of Humanism, concerned about the res publica, he cooperated decisively in the construction of the General Hospital, contributing from the beginning of its construction, between 1545 and its completion in 1551, the amount of 7,000 ducats, to which were added other amounts given by the viceroy, the Regiment of the city, several canons and individuals to degree scroll particular from different parts of Navarre.

His surname, of legendary resonances due to the apparition of San Miguel to Don Teodosio, was imposed on numerous foundlings who were collected in the aforementioned Hospital and only ceased to be made around 1807, according to the learned parish priest of San Cernin and best connoisseur of the history of the parish, Don Juan Albizu y Sainz de Murieta.

At the beginning of the 19th century, some enlightened reforms concerning the honorability of the people and the dignity of the tr below staff and guide had already taken hold. Not many years ago, in 1783, the famous blanket had been removed from the wall of the Wayside Cross of the cathedral of Tudela, which contained the census with the names and surnames of the converts who decided to stay, after the expulsion of the Jews from the city, to their public discredit in front of the old Christians. Although the specific motive was aesthetic and the chapter obtained the approval to move the blanket to a more discreet place - the chapel of the Christ of Forgiveness -, the force that some enlightened ideas were taking in the capital of the Ribera does not escape us.

The parish of San Saturnino itself, to which we have alluded, experienced during those years the Withdrawal of its vicar Juan Bautista Ciga, in 1806, in what the aforementioned Juan Albizu calls adverse religious-political-social circumstances. A new vicar was elected for a little more than three months, and the post remained vacant until 1815, with priests commissioned by the diocesan authority carrying out their duties on an interim basis, precisely at the time when the surname Goñi ceased to be imposed on the foundlings.