The Otero family, descendants of Arizona’s first land grantee, will hold its reunion this weekend at the Arizona Historical Society.
And it’s open to the public.
“Anybody interested in Southern Arizona history is welcomed to attend,” said Lydia Otero, professor of Mexican-American Studies at the University of Arizona.
The family line in Southern Arizona began with Torivio de Otero who received a land grant in Tubac, signed Jan. 10, 1789, from the king of Spain, making it Arizona’s first recorded land transaction. The document is housed at the United States National Archives and is the oldest document in the collection at the Pacific Region location in Riverside, Calif., according to the family’s website, www.theoteros.com, an online genealogy project organized by Diana DeLugan, an Otero descendant from Phoenix, according to the Otero Family History Project.
The Otero family planted its roots in Tubac, the first Spanish presidio in the Pimería Alta (today’s Southern Arizona and Northern Arizona) but stretches to Tucson and across Southern Arizona.
“The Oteros were important in history. They represent many of the pioneer families that still connect with Southern Arizona history,” Otero said.
The family held its first reunion in 1989 in Tucson.
This year’s festivities include a carne asada dinner Saturday at 5 p.m. and dance at the Arizona History Museum, 949 E. Second St. A proclamation from Gov. Doug Ducey will be read. Tickets are $20 per person.
Sunday’s activities, the 227th anniversary of the Otero Land Grant, include three presentations on genealogy and the Otero Family History Project by DeLugan and Lydia Otero beginning at noon. Entrance to the museum will run $4-$8 and the money raised from tickets sold for the presentations will be donated to the restoration of the Otero porch at the museum. The porch was saved when the historic Otero home, the first to be built outside the Tucson Presidio’s wall, was demolished by the city during the urban renewal of the 1960s, despite the city’s promise to preserve the house.
Lydia Otero said Sunday’s workshops are intended to spur other families to explore their Southern Arizona roots and to organize family reunions.
“It’s a celebration of history which is very much needed,” she said.