TGSA Famous Ancestors of Northeastern Mexico Series

Descendants of Capitán Juan FERNÁNDEZ CASTRO and Mayor RENTERÍA

ALTERNATE NAMES: Juan Fernández de Castro; Mayor de Rentería

DNA: Juan Fernández Castro’s y-DNA haplogroup is J-M172

Juan Fernández de Castro was born in Cáceres, Spain. Different sources give very different dates of his birth, ranging from 1498 to 1598. Some of the given dates can be ruled out due to conflicting happenings in his or his family’s events but we are still not left with a definitive date of birth.

Juan and his brother Hernando de Castro registered at Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) of Sevilla, Spain for passage to Santo Domingo in the New World as “sons of Hernando de Castro and Teresa Figueroa, natives of Caceres”. They made it to the New World. At some point another brother Pedro Fernández de Castro joins them in the New World. Little is known of their early lives in el Nuevo Reino de León (New Kingdom of León). However, it is known that the brothers did very well in mining, ranching and marriages. Juan married Mayor Rentería, daughter of Juan Martín Rentería and Elvira Pereyra Ramos; and Pedro married María Porcallo sister of Juana Porcallo y de la Cerda, wife of Diego de Montemayor and daughter of Conquistador of Florida Capitán Vasco Porcallo Manuel de Figueroa and María de la Cerda.

Though “New Christians” they still held on to some of their old beliefs. This is evident by two things: (1) the Inquisition charged Hernando for blasphemy. Apparently, he had hacked a holy cross with his sword. This occurred at his hacienda in Sain, Zacatecas. He was absolved. (2) Juan Fernández was a supporter of Carvajal.

About 1575 Juan Fernández de Castro is found mining in Mazapil and Llerena, Zacatecas, Mexico. He and his brother Hernando de Castro played an important role in mining and ranching in El Nuevo Reino de León. He gave up mining for ranching and farming. In 1585 it was written in the report “Relación de las minas de San Martín...” that Juan Fernández Castro had set up a water mill on the Sain River near his hacienda; that he had many workers, ran a cattle ranch and a wheat farm.

Juan Fernández Castro married Mayor Rentería who was born in Llerena. They lived in Llerena (today, Sombrerete, Zacatecas) where their children were born. Mayor’s father Martín, an early colonizer of La Nueva Vizcaya, was one of the founders of San Martín, present day Durango. He was also known as “one of those incorrigible Basques”. He became a prosperous rancher.

The surname Rentería is of Basque origin. Their coat of arms consists of a silver background, a green tree with two black wolves walking under the tree; others have in a field of blue, a crossbow with five stars in gold.

Juan Fernández Castro is credited as the progenitor of the surname Fernández Castro in Nuevo León.

This Descendant Report extracted by Crispín Rendón from his personal database in September 2022 consists of 9 generations and 38,416 descendants and spouses.

Historia del Nuevo Reino de Leon 1577-1723 by Eugenio del Hoyo.

With All Arms by Carl Laurence Duaine, revised and edited by his son Laurence A. Duaine.

Aquellos Primeros Saltillenses (an eBook) by Maria Elena Santoscoy Flores.

Intro by TGSA
DNA association & Descendant Report by Crispín Rendón

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