ARANETA FAMILY NAME HISTORY & ORIGIN
The Araneta family dates back from the early times when aristocracy was still prevalent. The family traces their ancestral roots back to ancient times in Vasconia, (Basque) and from there, are scattered all over the world.
According to the scholar, "Baron de Cobos" of Belchite, Aragon, "in its surnames dictionary" one branch of this family established their household in Gipuzkoa, one of the three provinces of Euskal Herria, the name given to the home of the Basque people, which today form the Communidad Autónoma del "Pais Vasco" or "Euskadi" in Basque, and the Chartered Community of Navarra (Nafarroa).
The family dwelled mostly near the mountains, which are surrounded by valleys, hence the name Araneta, the etymology of which is derived from the Basque term "aran" meaning valley, and the locative suffix "eta", which denotes a "place of". Thus, the initial bearer of the surname Araneta would have been someone who dwelled in a valley.
From the diverse unity which characterizes Spain, comes the distinguished Araneta family surname. Historians have studied the available records and it revealed that the original family ancestral seat first originated in Vasconia, where it had its primitive origin. The Vascones were, most likely, the ancestors of the present-day Basques to whom they left their name.
One of the earliest records bearing the name Araneta is that of Martin de Araneta, who came from an aristocratic family of Basque origin. His name was recorded in a Castilian document dated 1227.
Martin de Araneta was a Knight during the era of the Reconquest. He served and escorted Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, in the conquest of Cordova, Murcia, Jaen, and Seville, from the Moors in 1217. He was granted innumerable amounts of lands when Ferdinand divided the conquered territories between his knights, the Church, and the Nobility, whom he enfeoffed with great latifundias.
According to Alberto and Arturo Garcia Garaffa, Basque writers and historians, the Aranetas had ancestral houses in the valleys of Gainza and Andoain in Gipuzkoa. A notable member of this household, Juan Francisco de Araneta, was ennobled in Gainza, circa 1683.
The Spanish Crown, in granting the family a decree of the coat-of-arms, recognized the nobility of the Araneta family. It is found in the compilation of the land of " Basque and Navarres" (Vol. 10 page 91 Enciclopedia Heraldica y Genealógica Hispano – Americano by Alberto and Arturo Garcia Carraffa).
National Historical Archive & Research Center.
Enciclopedia Heráldica y Genealógica Hispano-Americano (por Alberto y Arturo Garcia Garaffa).