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Monday, November 17, 2014

Mayor wins literary awards for book on Spanish Colonial HIstory

RE: Mayor Wins Literary Awards for Book on Atascosa County History and Spanish Colonial History

Von Ormy Mayor Art Martinez de Vara has been awarded the Texas State Genealogical Society’s Writing Award, 2nd Place, for Best Reference Book for his 2013 “History and Records of Mission San Patricio de Bexar at Bexar, Texas.”

The book contains a history and the complete records of Mission San Patricio de Bexar which opened in 1867 as the Catholic mission to Atascosa and Frio Counties.   The book is 251 pages and it’s index contains over 10,000 names of the pioneering families of Atascosa, Frio, South Bexar and Wilson Counties. It was published by Santa Helena Publishing in December of 2013 and is available on at

Martinez de Vara said, “it took nearly three years to transcribe and translate these previously unpublished records which are handwritten in Latin, French, Spanish and English.  Since publication, many families in area have found their genealogical ‘lost links’ in the San Patricio records.  It is a great to receive news from other researchers that they have been able to find their ancestors in these records.”  

The Texas State Genealogical Society presents annual Writing Awards for the year’s best books in Texas Genealogy.  Their website can be found  

Mayor Art Martinez de Vara was also awarded the 2014 Presidio La Bahia Award for best original research in Spanish Colonial Texas by the Son’s of the Republic of Texas.  Martinez de Vara’s Book, “The Jose Francisco Ruiz Papers, Vol. 1: Report on the Indian Tribes of Texas in 1828” provides the first extensive biography of Ruiz, his influence on the ethnography of Texas Indians and role in the early Texas history. Bexar County Spanish Archivist Dr. David Carlson provides a detailed Foreword to the book.

Martinez de Vara’s interpretive analysis examines Comanche eschatology (views of the afterlife), fraternal warrior societies and moral codes, which formed the basis of much cultural misunderstanding between native peoples of Texas and European settlers.

The book was published in 2014 by Alamo Press and is available on at   Alamo Press specializes in the Spanish and Mexican-era of Texas History and South Texas genealogy.

More About Mayor Art Martinez de Vara:

Art Martinez de Vara was elected  Von Ormy's first Mayor in 2008 and was reelected in 2010 and 2013. He is an adjunct professor at Our Lady of the Lake University and is an attorney in private practice.  

He serves as City Attorney for Sandy Oaks, Texas.  In 2014 he was named a Texas SuperLawyer - Rising Star by Texas Monthly Magazine.  Martinez de Vara is an historian of early Texas history

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