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- The most ancient familiy tree of MENDIZABAL in the web

Mendizabal is a very common and widespread Basque surname. Its origin is, probably, “the place of Mendizabal” in Alava (one of the seven historical territories of the Basque Country). It's obvious that Mendizabal is a place name (mendi- means mountain and –zabal, wide, vast). It spread as a surname around Gipuzkoa during the 14th century, where were founded some households in Urola, Oria and Deba valleys.

The primitive manor of Mendizabal (16th century), in Bergara. Today no body lives there. It's used as a sheep stable.

In the 15th century a branch of Mendizabal from Goiatz (Urola) founded a new manor in the district of San Miguel, in Bergara. At the beginning of the 16th century the manor of Bergara was well established and then, in 1520, the first Mendizabal of this branch known was Miguel Ochoa de Mendizabal. According to the basque tradition the surnames were usually compounds. In this case, the first one, Ochoa, (the wolf) was the family name and the second one, (de/of ) Mendizabal, is the house or place name.

In the picture, the Mendizabal's coat-of-arms, with two wolves.

  • Miguel Ochoa de Mendizabal married Maria Joaniz de Castillo. Their first son, born in 1546, was Miguel Ochoa de Mendizabal Castillo and his descendants in the next seven generations have lived in the manor of Mendizabal, until the beginning of the 19th century. All of them were baptized in the church of Santa Marina of Oxirondo, in Bergara.
  • Miguel Ochoa de Mendizabal Castillo married Maria Juaniz de Aranguren. Their son was Juan Ochoa de Mendizabal Aranguren, born in 1577.
  • Juan Ochoa de Mendizabal Aranguren married Agueda Martinez de Ugarte. Their son was Juan Ochoa de Mendizabal Ugarte, born in 1622, who married Maria Martinez de Altuna.
  • The son of Juan Ochoa de Mendizabal Ugarte and Maria Martinez de Altuna was Juan Ochoa de Mendizabal Altuna, born 1658. He married Ana Unamuno de Lugariz and in 1689 was born theris son Francisco Agustin Mendizabal de Unamuno.



Above, the church of Santa Marina of Oxirondo, in Bergara. On the right, the main altar of Santa Marina, where many generations of Mendizabal got married for almost 500 years.

  • Juan Francisco Agustin de Mendizabal Unamuno was, in fact, the first Mendizabal of this branch. According to the new customs, he stopped using the compound surname and adopted only the single one. In this case, Mendizabal which is the house name, not the family name.
  • Francisco Agustin de Mendizabal Unamuno married Maria Ignacia de Larrea Lizarralde. Their son, Francisco de Mendizabal Larrea, was born in 1728.
  • Francisco de Mendizabal Larrea married Maria Rosa de Insausti Guruceta, and in 1773 was bor their son Jose de Mendizabal Insausti.
  • Jose de Mendizabal Insausti married Vicenta Cristina de Eguren Lizundia. Their son, Francisco de Mendizabal Eguren , was born in 1809.
  • Francisco de Mendizabal Eguren married Ana de Elcoro-berecibar Garmendia and they moved away to a farmhouse in Amatiano (ordinarily called Amatiño), in the district of San Juan, in Bergara.
  • Cristobal Mendizabal, my great-grandfather


    • Their son Cristobal Mendizabal Elcoroberecibar (sitting on the  picture), my great-grandfather, was the first Mendizabal of this branch born (1849) in the farmhouse "Amatiño", out of the ancient manor of Mendizabal, and also the first who left the use of the Spanish preposition “de” (of) before the surname.


    The farmhouse of "Amatiño", in 1973, before renovation work. For a long time it was a cider cellar.

    The Mendizabal branch of Amatiño

    Today, the surname Mendizabal is in Bergara closely related to "Amatiño" farmhouse but, surprisingly, the Mendizabal family has lived in "Amatiño" no longer than 175 years.

    • Cristobal Mendizabal Elcoroberecibar married Maria Iribecampos Arbulu. Their son Ciriaco Mendizabal Iribecampos, born in 1888, was my grandfather. He married Segunda Lete Mendizabal (both, on the picture), my grandmother, and I lived with them, in the same house, until 1960, when I was fifteen.
      Segunda Lete and Ciriaco Mendizabal
    • Ciriaco Mendizabal, who barely spoke Spanish, was an unschooled and illiterate young farmer. He left the rural life and set up in the industrial city of Eibar when he was teenager. Without any technical training he invented firstly a nutcracker (I have never known better), after he opened a lemonade bottling plant and promoted a system to avoid ants in the sugar-stocks and, finally, he created a successful shock-absorber factory. When he found out what П (3,1416) was, he said: “Now, everything is possible”.


    • Ciriaco Mendizabal and  Segunda Lete had three children (in the picture above): Jesus, Nieves and Aurora. The last one was my mother (in the middle). Ciriaco dead in 1960 and Segunda in 1979. They had six nephews and three nieces.


    • The children of my grandfather, Ciriaco Mendizabal, were the first generation of this branch who was born in an urban environment. My mother, Aurora Mendizabal (the picture on the right) was a very modern and enthusiastic girl who brougth us up to be found of reading and anything interesting. She was the first feminist I knew. Unfortunally she suffered the consecuences of the Spanish Civil War (against General Franco) when she had to study and...



    The grandparents, Ciriaco Mendizabal and Segunda Lete. The parents, Luis Aranberri and Aurora Mendizabal. The children, Maite Aranberri Mendizabal, Luis Aranberri Mendizabal and Inaki Aranberri Mendizabal, in Loyola, 1954. The youngest brother, Xabier Aranberri Mendizabal was born next year.

    PD: For further information, you can look up in this blog in Basque and in Spanish or write to or

     Main source: Inaki Aranberri



    Luis Aranberri Mendizabal