Notes to Buber

Here, you can leave notes for me to answer. Be aware, I’ll make these public, so others might weigh in as well. I’m doing this as a number of people have left comments on the “About BBP” page, suggesting I need a spot for people to leave random thoughts and comments about Basque Culture and this site.

79 thoughts on “Notes to Buber”

  1. Kaixo lagun!
    Reading about this book, Im remembering the legend from North Cape, Norway. The Basques where here also. And on Spitsbergen/Svalbard too.
    Just a few kilometres from the northernmost point of Europe you can still see the ruins of a Basque whaling station where they cooked the oil out of the whale fat.
    Its just a kilometer walk away from the road, in the bottom of a very strategic fjord for whalehunting. We know about this historical site, but I guess the Basques themself has to care of their own history.
    What this shows is the very old connection between Basques and other indigenous in Europe, because this is Sami /Laponian land since glacier time.
    Its funny also because of the gentetical connections between Basques an Sami on the mthDNA-side from more than 7.000 years back. There waqs a connection when the ice retarted from Europa, and it had its connections later.
    History is still an adventure.
    The best form Stein in Karasjok
    awaiting Dalai Lama these days

    1. I am/was, Sandra Lee Boatman. for 53 years, I did not understand my need to carve wood, or my warrior nature. I recently found out that I am 81% basque. I need to know more. I need to; “rediscover,” myself. Please help me.

  2. Has much research been done on Basque people and their DNA? I just did a Nat Geo DNA test and found some interesting results. I was originally hoping to find if my Father’s side was from that area. Things are pointing that way.

    1. There certainly is a lot of research, but I don’t know of a nice, concise summary. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in this area either. What I might suggest is contacting the Boise Basque Museum as they might know more. I know there are efforts to “swab” Basques in the area and they might know more about how to interpret the results.

      1. Would this be a good place to start into the history of my family. I am taking on the Ezkibel name because I my grandmother’s on both sides of my family had the name and I miss one of them very much. I also have always been fascinated with genealogy and would like to know where to look in northern Spain for this info. Thank you.

        1. Greetings,
          You may want to check out the Hispanic Genealogy Research Center of New Mexico as well as the site of the Main Library of Albuquerque, NM. There is a genealogy librarian –e mail
          There are many Basque names in New Mexico but they arrived so long ago that they lost ties with Spain.

          To find your roots, you may have a long road ahead as there is not a centralized place to look for information.

          There may be in northern Spain some small genealogy organization–there are several in France, across the Spanish border and I believe they help each other. One is AME and acronym Association Memoire (memory) of Emigration ( close enough) .Google AME + immigration.

          Good luck on your journey.

          PS: In general, the name of a living person will not appear on a genealogy tree.

  3. Kaixo Blas,

    As you may or may not know, we have a new Basque priest now residing in Idaho who has come here to serve as a chaplain to the Basques. On this webpage you have more information if you could perhaps help to spread this announcement:

    Eskerrik asko!

    PS–Been meaning to comment how much I like the new format.

    1. Thanks for sharing John! I met him when I was in Idaho during Christmas as he stopped by my parents’ house. An entertaining guy. He seemed like a great resource for the area.

  4. Hello, I am really happy that I found this site! I have resources in Euskara and was trying to find a community of people who cared that I did….but more importantly spoke and understand Euskara. Please go to…this is a site the seeks to improve how people cope with life. To that end ( not to earn money) that site supports almost 700 languages.

    Happy exploring!

    Amelia Roberts RN BSN

  5. Hello! I am doing some research on my family’s coat-of-arms. My last name is Madarieta. There’s not much information out there, and was wondering if you could think of any resources? Specifically, I am looking for information on what the different symbols mean. For example, on my coat-of-arms, there are four yellow stars alternating with red and white checked circles, surrounded by eight chain links. I want to know what they represent. I checked with our local Basque Center in Boise and was advised to ask you!

    Eskerrik asko!

  6. Hi There,

    How are you? I work for TravelNevada, the state tourism board and we are working to develop more information surrounding the Basque culture within the state. After doing a google search for Basque sheepherding, I couldnt help but fall in love with the image of the man holding two lambs. I wanted to see if you would consider consenting authorization to use this image, along with any additional photos, on

    When you get a minute, can you please send me an email? Thanks in advance for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon! 🙂

    Sydney Martinez

    1. Sydney, which image do you mean exactly? I would have to know exactly which one it is to know if it is mine or if I got it from someone else.

  7. My wife told me 2 students arrrived at her school today that spoke a language the parents did not think anyone would be able to speak or understand. They have limited English language speaking skills, and they are from Spain. They said it started with a B. So, after reading your blog, I’m thinking they speak either Bizkaian or Batua. Are there any other dialects from Spain that they might speak? They are trying to find a way to communicate with them easier. Any language translating resources you have for these would be really helpful!

    1. Hi Spencer,

      Not that I know of, but there could be other dialects that I’m not aware of. In Valencia, they speak a dialect of Spanish (I think, it may have different roots). It starts with a “V”, but in Spanish the “V” makes a “B” sound.

      Depending on where you live, there might be Basques near by. But if they are from Spain, they should also speak Spanish, regardless of whatever other languages they speak.


  8. Kaixo, my name is Georgina: a former Brummy (from Birmingham UK) totally integrated into the Basque farming community in Ituren. I have lived here for over 14 years, with my 10 year old English/Basque daughter. Having just celebrated the wild, pagan Ituren carnivals with my neighbours and the Joaldunak of Ituren, I thought your readers may be interested in the trials and tribulations of a suburban Brummy in a traditional Basque mountain community. Here is the blog I wrote about a Brummy in Ituren:
    All thoughts, questions etc. are welcome!
    Eskerrik Asko!

  9. Kaixo Buber
    Having lived and worked among the mountain Basque people of northern Navarre for almost two decades your readers may find the article ‘Working with the Basques’ of interest – especially from an Anglo Saxon Perspective.
    In this blog you will also find articles on the nature of the ‘Basque Etxea’ – is inheriting the family farm always what the family wants and other articles about the Basque Code of Honour in the Baztan Valley.
    I look forward to hearing what you think
    Eskerrik asko


  10. Hi Buber,

    I was wondering if you still allow guest columns to be written? The contact link on the page seems not to be working. Please let me know as there is something I would like to share with the community.


  11. Hi,

    Can’t see any mention of this on the site but you and your readers may be interested in learning that there is now .EUS top level domain for Basque websites.

    To apply, sites have to be partially in Basque or treat the subject of Basque culture. So could become!

    More information here :

    – Neil

  12. Greetings
    I have one or two photos of the exterior of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao that I took last year. Would you be interested in posting them? How?

    1. Hi Monique. If you want to send them to me, I can add them to the photo gallery. I have a few places I have photos from guests.

  13. Greetings,
    Just to let you and your readers know that the Juan Bautista de Anza Society conference to be held in Pueblo, Co, in Sept. is looking for Speakers.
    Juan Bautista de Anza Bezerra Nieto was born in Mexico, so was his father, however, his grandparents came from the Basque country–the Cantabria Mountains.

    Also, there is a neat article on Google ” Basque Capital and the settlement of the Southwestern United States” by Stephen T. Bass dealing with three well known Basque settlers.


  14. What did the Basque have to do with Christopher Columbus?

    When Christopher Columbus made his legendary voyage in 1492 he chose the longest, least known, and most dangerous route west. Why? The Bacalao Conspiracy makes the claim that it was the Basque who conspired to force him south in order to protect a great secret.
    The Bacalao Copnspiracy is a four novel collection that explores the world of Christopher Columbus through the eyes of his mother, his wife, and his mistress. It examines the Basque, who used these women, and a fish to change … everything.
    Visit to learn more about the conspiracy and to see the timetable for publication. Visit to see how you can support this project.

  15. Greetings,
    there is a black and white movie in Spanish with English subtitles that I saw in the late 70’s at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) –the only thing I remember about the title was the word “angel”. the theme was the treatment of the Basques during the Franco regime.
    My sentiment is that many of you are very young but maybe, just maybe someone has seen the movie. If so, would you remember the full title?
    Poignant as it was, I would like to see the movie again.
    Thank you much.


  16. Greetings,
    The University of New Mexico is presenting several Iberian films. The first one is “Flowers (Loreak) in Basque with English subtitles. I am not sure how to forward the info. to your Web Site

    If you are interested, send me a PM and I will forward the message to you.

  17. Greetings,
    there is a very nice and educational article in English, in a French digital magazine about the Espelette Basque pepper.

    If you are interested, send me a PM and I will forward the magazine to you. I am sorry to say that I do not know how to monkey with this internet stuff–copy, paste and what not. It will not take long to find the article–the title is ” in praise of piment” In praise of pepper.

  18. Greetings,
    I read your news article reference series 7 of ” Game of Thrones” is going to be filming some of the scenes in the Basque region.

    So it was with great delight that I read in yesterdays Daily Mail ( Fri 16 september 2016) newspaper here in the UK that the beach at Barrika has been chosen as one of the filming locations.

    so just thought I’d let you know as am a great fan of Buber’s Basque page and read it on a regular basis.

    James Koldobika Jeffs

  19. Dear Dr. Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe. I may be of assistance in not only helping preserve the Basque language and history but to save it from falsification and erroneous research. Please email me to discuss.

  20. Greetings
    I have just read on the BBC’s News website and in the Daily Mail News paper that ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) has agreed to hand over all its weapons and details of it’s arms caches and the organisation will be disarmed by this Saturday the 8th of April.

  21. Kaixo! I am looking for a copy of Sol Silen’s Vascos en el Oeste. My grandfather is in it. My Ama lent it to a sheepherder who took off with it! I know it is rare, but I’m willing to pay a fair asking price.
    Gretchen Zabala Skivington

  22. I am writing a book on old time sheepherders and looked for a recipe on making bread the way they did. I hope you don’t mind that I am including it in my book. I will give it the appropriate citation.

    1. Hi Conchita, I have no issues as long as you credit the original author of the recipe. I look forward to seeing your book!

  23. I have traced my Irish Ancestry back to the Basque Provinces,using DNA.I have no idea what the Basque Equivalent to my Irish Surname would be.My last name is GINNANE….and my ggrandfather came from County Clare in the Republic of Ireland.I would readily accept some suggestions as to where to start with this.I’ve been a Family Historian for many years.
    Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.
    Danny Ginnane-Gannon in Charleston,SC

  24. In taking a look at my Irish Ancestry which dates back to the 1600’s in County Clare in the Republic of Ireland….this is what came up!!..
    Trinity College in Dublin,Ireland asked if they might come out to our family cemetery on Coney Island(not the one in NY)…but the one in the Shannon River just off the Coast of County Clare in Ireland.( the way, is Gaelic for “rabbit”).My family(GINNANE) had recently cleared the cemetery…exposing stones that dated back to the 1600’s…in the Church Graveyard.Trinty removed one bone from a grave dating back to the 1600’s….and did a DNA Test on it.It was of Basque Origin.Reading the articles associated with this Basque Website…I’ve learned that Basque Sailors were Whalers.Is it possible that they were whaling off the West Coast of Ireland in the 1500’s and 1600’s?
    Also,not associated with my GINNANE Family….but through my other research…I’ve come to learn that St.Ignatius of Loyola was Basque.Has anyone on this website done any research on St.Ignatius?
    I know he was born in the Province of Guipuzcoa….which brings another question to my mind!!…..were Surnames in the Basque Area connected in any way to the Provinces they came from…..hence if you came from Guipuzcoa….your Surname would begin with GU—–??
    I’d appreciate any feedback on my comments!!
    Thank You!
    Danny Ginnane-Gannon in Charleston,SC

    1. Danny, I just got back from Ireland yesterday. I was there for 3 weeks with two friends. Just before I left I received my 23 & me breakdown. I was over 60% Iberian and 3% Irish. I knew I had some Irish from my mother’s side of my family. We arrived in Cork and did the southern loop, all along the wild Atlantic Way, Bantry, Dingle, Doolin, Aran Islands, Blarney and finally back to Cork. I “felt” the Basque influence in the dance, the singing, the people, the fisheries etc., especially around Dingle, the Skellig Islands are haunting. Look how geographically close they are.
      The Irish pop over to Spain for just a weekend because it is so inexpensive to fly there. I loved visiting the cemeteries, so much history. It is green, lush like the Basque country. My daughter danced in the Oinkaris from Boise for over 25 years and I visited the Basque country in 2011, finally meeting some of my relatives, which are Blas’ relatives too. The surnames in BC are often of geographical origin. Our name, Uberuaga, means place of hot water, our family had a water bottling company in the tiny town of Urberuaga. When a Basque name ends in aga, it means “place of”. Anyway, I highly recommend going to Ireland and the Basque country if you haven’t yet. You will have a “spiritual chiropractic adjustment. Eskerrikasko
      Damiana Uberuaga

    2. This is what i know about the DNA connection between the Basques and the Irish particularly the West Irish.

      After the last ice ago Basques traveled north by sea. They did so because it was easier that way due to the fact that Europe was heavily forested at the time. (The basques pf that period were short and dark.) Those Basques ended up in what are now Russia, Sweden, Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland. British DNA researchers have found different percentages of Basque DNA in Great Britain and Ireland. They found as little as 2% in the English and as high as 62% in the West Irish due to the isolation of the western part of Ireland.

      Your distant cousin,
      Gabriel “Gaby” Zamudio


    3. I believe most Basque surnames are indicative of a geographical location, a trade and/or place. My name is Uberuaga…Ur (water) Berua (hot) Aga (place of) Uberuaga is place of hot water. My family came from Bizcaya, the towns of Urberuaga, Munitibar and Ispaster. And yes, I have mostly always believed the Basques were in Ireland via fishing and looking for opportunities. I visited Ireland last September and had many emotional “hits” as I travelled the Ring of Kerry……Damiana Uberuaga

  25. I found your website when researching and antique item I found. Zazpiak Bat Crest on a copper jug/pot was sold on UK ebay sight and is very similar to the pot I have. Except the crest on my pot says “Deneck Bat” and the crest has the symbols for just French Basque: Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Navarre. Can you translate “Deneck Bat” for me? I know “Bat” means “One” in English….
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Caroline! Sorry for the delay. “Deneck Bat” is an old spelling for what would now be “Danak Bat,” a Basque phrase that means “all are one.” it is a slogan for unity of all of the Basque province.

  26. I remember as a child at the Basque picnics, hearing the specific yelling or call. Was told that was the way the shepherds in the Pyrenees communicated. Is this true? I still hear it at current Basque picnics.

    Also, the Basque genealogy website, Bridge to the Pyrenees has a picture of my GGG Grand parents. I cried when I saw them. Very moving for me to have the faces to the names I have known for so long.

  27. Thank you, I mean, eskerrik asko, for sharing yourself here. I have known all my life my great grandfather was Basque. I knew next to nothing about it until last March, when my husband and I decided to take a quick trip to Donostia/Gernika/Busturia. During a very random drive while we were there, we had an absolute miracle. We spontaneously ran into my mother’s second cousin (they share a great grandfather). What a miracle of miracles. He showed us where their ancestral basseri is still located. I will forever be grateful for this miracle, which has opened up my entire Vizcayan Basque ancestry, previously completely closed to me. I’ve since read every related book and website I can get my hands on. Something lead me to this, for sure. Thank you for the work you’re doing.

    1. Deborah, that is really amazing, that you ran into family like that! Thank you for sharing! If you are ever interested in sharing your story in more detail, I’d be happy to post it on the page. Just let me know!

  28. Hi, I’m interested in learning more about my mother’s surname: Maytorena. Any help is appreciated. I’d eventually like to go to the Basque Country to find folks with this last name and explore the region of its origin. What resources would you recommend? Thanks!

  29. Hello!

    I wanted to know if you knew more information about the last name Igarzabal. I saw that you had a page about it, describing the coat of arms. I wanted to know if there is more info about it, or a picture about it.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi John, Thanks for the note. No, I don’t have any further information. There is a group basque-genealogy on Yahoo Groups that has people delving into these types of questions and they may be able to get you more information about Igarzabal.

  30. Greetings from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines!

    With our mandate to publish and disseminate historical works, the NHCP is currently working on a bio-bibliographical dictionary consisting of 245 biographies of Basques who came to and/or settled in the Philippines. Authored by Aitor Anduaga, this multi-volume work will also contain photographs and other visual materials that are related to Basques and their influence in the Philippines.

    In line with this, we request permission to use the photo of Higinio Uriarte Zamacona as a visual material for the book.

    We will give proper acknowledgement, and we assure you that the image will be used only for the abovementioned purpose.

  31. My wife is Francine Ospital (of some Basque decent) daughter of Jean Ospital, and grand daughter of also Jean Ospital (immigrated to US/California around 1890). With that said I am wanting to take her on a trip from the US to San Sebastian and would like a good tour company or person in that region to guide us.. Any suggestions are appreciated. email is

    1. Hmmm. I don’t know of any specific tour companies that I could recommend, unfortunately. I will see if I can’t ask around and find someone.

  32. Mil Eskerrik.
    On a trip to my grandmother’s village, Lekeitio in Viscaya, I observed many grave stones with the familiar Lauburu, which was expected, but I also saw many also had the star of david. I was wondering about this, is this common throughout Euskadi? What is the basis for this?d
    I remember my mother telling me a story that the Basque language is the language of Adam and Eve. The whole story is too long to repeat now, but I was wondering if this is the origin. Anyway, this is why’ Euskai is the ‘pure language of Adam ad Eve, the language that they used to talk directly to God, and also were able to talk to the animals. Because of this, Basques are able to communicate with the animals, which explains the closeness shepherds have with their dogs (my mother said that sheep were too stupid to talk to!).

    I was wondering if you were familiar with this and how common this story is.

    I hope you can help me with this, and thanks a lot for all the great information.

    1. Hi Mark,

      I have heard those kinds of stories, though only indirectly. There isn’t any real evidence for Basque being the “original” language, if such a thing can even be postulated. There are also stories that the Basques are descendants of Atlantis and even aliens.

      That said, there is, as far as I understand, a relatively strong Jewish presence not only in the Basque Country, but all of Spain. During the Inquisition, many Jewish people were forced to either leave or convert, and I think those that did convert, many might have kept some of their practices alive.

      Just coincidentally, I saw this article today. It might provide a little more information on this question:


  33. Hi – what a great site…

    I am travelling with a friend – we are going from Bilbao up to Bayonne over the course of a few days. We wanted to know where you think we could stop to watch Pelota..? We will be travelling around mid late March 2020.

    Thanks again.

    1. Will, I asked a friend of mine and he pointed me to an app, Pelota Mano, that you can use to find matches. I’ve not used it myself, so can’t comment on how it works, but hopefully this will give you some pointers on where to find a match to watch.

      1. Some more information from my friend:

        The best pilota experience is LABRIT on a Saturday night. Irunea Pamplona….. watch a few games ….you walk out and have dinner in the old part of town…

        LABRIT…. it is the Wrigley Field…. the Fenway Park…. the Lambeau Field of Pilota…. nothing like a Saturday night crowd at Labrit….. (except Anfield Road in Liverpool)

        1. Thank you so much for this.
          If I may ask one more request, would it be possible to ask if they know if there is a game on Friday nights as well, or only Saturday?
          We will download the app.
          Thank you!!

          1. Hi Will. Unfortunately, I don’t know any more about the schedule. I haven’t tried the app, so don’t know how well it might answer your question, but that is probably the best place to start. Sorry I’m not of more help.

  34. Kaixo !

    My name Itziar Ondarra, born in Bilbao/Bilbo but I live in the county of East Sussex in the south east coast of England since 2000 after ariving in the UK in 1988.

    Two years ago as treat for my birthday we visited a place called Rye in East Sussex, there is a museum there and to my surprise I saw a comb made from bone of a whale which had a Lauburu, the Basque symbol, I was told by the museum curator that Basque whalers have been known to stop in Rye when they were on the way to northern Europe or perhaps on the way back to the Basque Country. We Basque people have been all over the place and we have been pioneers too.

    I would like to recommend a book by David Boling called Guernica, it is amazing how well written it is, I was able to identify lots of the places named in the book and was taken aback by how well I was able to be immersed on every page. His wife’s grandparents were from Bizkaia/Vizcaya and emigrated to the USA to become shepherds, David himself was introduced to the Basque culture, food, traditions of the Basque people.

    He came to released that lots of people are familiar with the Gernika the painting by Picasso but there are people who don’t know what prompted Picasso to paint it. I have always known the meaning behind Picasso’s painting but, after reading Boling’s book I can say that I fully understood the horrors and suffering the people of Gernika went trough on the day that Gernika was bombed and afterwards too.

    Sorry for making my first post a long one, but I came across your website after you were recommended by the owner of Halla Basque website.

    Agur ‘ta ondo bili !
    Goodbye and take care !

    1. Kaixo Itziar! Thank you for the great note! I’ve read Dave’s book, it is a great humanization of the bombing of Gernika, giving it some great human connection. My dad grew up very close to Gernika in Munitibar, which was also bombed during the war, though not devastated to the extent that Gernika was.

      That is really cool about the whale bone. Did you take a picture? I would love to see it. Maybe some day I can go see it in person.

      Again, thanks for reaching out! I’m always looking to improve this site, so if you have thoughts, please share!

      1. Egunon laguna !

        I will check on the laptop for the photograph and I will be quite happy for you to use it but it should be credited to the Yipres Tower Museum ,Gun Garden Rye, East Sussex TN31 7HH.

        When I find the photograph which is the best e-mail address to send it to you?


  35. Buber —

    I’m heading to the Basque Country in mid-January 2023. Any chance we could meet?

    I’ve been researching and now writing about the Basques and Wabanaki circa 1420 to 1620 for the last three years. I would like to chat about the history of those two centuries.


    1. Hi Rick,

      I actually don’t live in the Basque Country. And, while it might not be obvious, I don’t have much expertise in Basque history, beyond the snippets I post. My day job is in physics. So, I don’t think I would be the most useful discussion partner on this topic, unfortunately.


  36. Hi Blas,

    I recently returned from a trip acting as “sherpa” for my husband and a friend who walked the first week of the Camino de Santiago from Irun to Bilbao. It was a perfect arrangement; they hiked, and I was able to explore the towns, museum and churches. I visited a few cemeteries, including the one in Munitibar, and hope that you can help with some words from headstones that Google Translate couldn’t handle. When I type in “gomutakia,” it comes up “rubber stamp.” Pretty sure that doesn’t apply in this situation. Do you know what it means?

    Also, I saw “’tar” appended to surnames, with the given name placed below:
    Amesti eta Jayo’tar
    I assume it means “from the family of” or something like that, but can you clarify?

    I wish I’d found your page before I visited – there’s so much great info here! We are returning next fall so that my husband and friend can complete the Camino, and I look forward to being better informed. Thanks for any help you can offer.


    1. Kaixo Jenn! Thank you for the nice note. I’m glad to hear you had such a great time and are planning to return.

      As you surmised, tar is a suffix that means from. In this case, I’m not sure if Jayo refers to a town or a family, but if you say Amerikatar it means someone from America.

      As for gomutakia, I found a site which says it is any device that helps you remember something, like a string on your finger. In the context of the headstone, I expect it means something in the spirit of in remembrance or so, but I am not sure. Maybe someone else will see this and be able to clarify.

      Ondo ibili,

  37. Kaixo, Blas. I recently visited Basque Country with my wife. I became enchanted with the people and the landscapes. We stayed in a beautifully restored baserri located in Legasa. The house belongs to a grand aunt of my wife.

    Thank you for offering this website.
    Carlos M.

    1. Thanks for sharing your adventures, Carlos! I’m glad you had such a great time and had such a marvelous place to stay. Hopefully this is the first of many visits!

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