Yesterday, we made a day trip to Estepona, about 90 miles down the coast west from Nerja, which is where our Spanish grandparents were from. Between the traffic and the problem finding parking, it took us about two hours to get to the Oficina de Turismo, where we thought we could perhaps access digital records to find information, particularly about our grandfather, whose life in Spain is largely unknown to us. A woman there directed us to El Archivo Municipal de Estepona, where a man named Alfredo Galán could help us.
It was a hot walk at the wrong time of the day, so we stopped halfway there for some food and beverages. Eventually we arrived at the archive, where Sr. Galán was well known ... I barely got through my explanation for why we were there when the woman at the front desk said we needed to talk to him. He came out and led us back to his office.
We sat down at his desk, and I said my grandparents were from Estepona. Before I could continue, he interjected, "Hawaii". Apparently all those stories about the migration of the Andalusians to Hawaii are true! Yes, I said, the first place they went from Spain was Hawaii, to live and work.
I told him my grandfather's name was Miguel Rubio y Peña. He said both names, Rubio and Peña, are very common in the area, so finding Grandpa's parents might not be easy. The bigger problem is that they have good archives from the middle of the 19th century (can't remember the exact years), but there is a big chunk of time between then and early 20th century where there is nothing. He kept bringing up the Civil War, but I don't know that there is a connection between the war and the missing archives. His English was close to non-existent, and he thought highly enough of my Spanish that he happily jabbered on, assuming I knew what he was saying. I did ok, but I wouldn't trust me on the Civil War stuff.
Ultimately, we learned very little, but at least now we know who The Man is for Estepona archives. He was extremely nice, and as helpful as possible under the circumstances. He gave us his work email and phone number, saying if we ever dug up more info, to let him know, because it would all add to the possibility of tracking down our family.
I've posted these before. Here is the front and back of the ticket for the ship that took my grandparents from Hawaii to San Francisco in 1917.