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PostObregon Coat of Arms, and My Illustrious Great-Grandfather (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 06/29/18 4:01 am)
Eugenio Battaglia's post on his family ancestors (28 June), and more specifically his family coat of arms, reminded me of old family myths on my paternal relatives' side.
When I was a kid I remember being curious about an old coat of arms (for the Obregón family, which was the second last name of my father) in my great-uncle's home, and also an old framed document dated apparently from the 9th century in an ancient language, which I was later told was Asturiano (Astur-leonés) from Asturias in the north of Spain.
When I asked, I was told the document, precariously preserved, represented the appointment of some ancestor to a minor title of nobility. I believe it was "Barón" or something, as a reward from Don Pelayo, King of Asturias at the time, for his courage during the battle of Covadonga, which was the first defeat of the Arabs on the Iberian Peninsula after their conquest.
Whether this story, or family tradition, is true I will never know, because the document was lost a long time ago. Only the coat of arms remains as an old and deteriorated picture in one of my cousin's houses. Anyway, I was fascinated by it and now I wonder why so many of us Europeans, perhaps from countries with a strong monarchic and aristocratic traditions, are fascinated and maybe obsessed with possible noble origins. The search for family origins, ancestors and particularly for coats of arms are frequently faked, and reveal an ancient aspiration for nobility, social recognition and status.
Lately I also discovered, accurately confirmed, another more recent family story regarding a relation to Spanish aristocracy. It was about my great-grandfather, in the 19th century, Tirso de Obregón. He was a great opera singer. Apparently his skills and fame touched Queen Cristina de Borbón, or Bourbon if you like, and she appointed him Knight of the Royal Household. The truth is, according to the gossip the time, that he was likely appointed because of his prowess as a lover of the Queen more than for his skills as a singer.
JE comments: Attaboy, Tirso! See below. I found a bio for the "Baritone of Molina," and José Ignacio, you have a most impressive ancestor. According to the article, his royal lover was Isabel II, not Cristina:
Tirso de Obregón, 1832-1889
Obregon Coat of Arms Explained
(John Heelan, UK
07/03/18 4:58 AM)
The tree in Nacho Soler's image of the Obregón coat of arms (29 June) looks remarkably like the one in Madrid's coat of arms.
Given Nacho's ancestor's reputation as a lover, maybe the tree was an in-joke? We always josh a female artist friend that her constant inclusions of stalwart trees in her surrealist paintings might have a suppressed psychological root. ("Always gets wood" has a significance for some actors.)
JE comments: Compare the Obregóns with the Madrileños below. Madrid's tree is a little less kempt; must be the bear's fault. I am surprised that neither tree could be described as majestic. If the lowly Eippers ever drew up an escudo, I'd insist on a mighty oak or a sequoia.