Researching for Polish people dealing with Indians during 19th century, I've found out about Estanislao, one of Yokuts' leaders, who led different groups of Californian Indian rebels against Mexican Government.

Name Estanislao is Spanish version of Stanislaus, chosen after St. Stanislaus, 11th century Bishop of Kraków, who was killed by Polish king Boleslaw II (the reasons for what were connected with Investiture Conflict).

The name was chosen by a missionary at San José, who baptised Estanislao when he was around 28 years old. Many sources confirm that choice, but not of them that I was able to find, speak of why this particular saint was chosen as his patron.

Is anybody interested in Californian Indian history and could put more light on that topic? What was the usual reason for choosing the patron for a person at Mexican missions?

  • 1
    As someone who's spent a whole lot of time reading up on the period, I doubt you're going to find any answer to this question.
    – Joe
    Feb 12, 2013 at 3:22
  • 2
    Probably not the most helpful thing but in the past I've looked for explanations for similar things. Sometimes there are details that just didn't make it to the records. Many times people are named after saints just because someone wanted to name him after a saint. Not sure that is the case here however...
    – grayQuant
    Feb 12, 2013 at 5:52
  • Thanks, I guess I'll just focus more on searching what was the usual routine at Mexican missions. F.e. I've found out about a catholic school with the same name, for which the name was chosen because it was opened on the St. Stanislaus' day. Maybe that's what actually happened. Feb 12, 2013 at 17:53
  • Maybe they just wanted a non-hispanic. / non- anglosaxon name for political considerations, so they choose whatever they found?
    – Greg
    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


Estanislao was baptized on 24 Sep 1821 by Father Buenaventura Fortuny. The father baptized at least 108 natives during 1821, and over 2300 in total. He had officiated for another Estanislao earlier in the same year, on 26 Apr, and another one back in 1816. Since he went through names so rapidly and regularly, he was bound to repeat them; there were 28 Josefas, 7 Policarpas, 5 Quincios, 3 Estanislaos, and 2 Estanislaas among about 680 unique names he gave to native converts.

On this basis, I suggest there was no explicit link between the saint and the recipient of his name; at most the latter's behavior or interests might have reminded the priest of the saint's martyrdom.

Source for mission records: Early California Population Project.


A possible explanation is that he simply received the name of the saint on whose day he was baptized. That would be 11 April in this case. Wikipedia says he traveled to the mission on September 24 and was baptized "soon". Can "soon" refer to a six-month period? I don't know.

Or maybe the fathers at the mission just had a soft spot for St. Stanislaw for some private reason.

  • Thanks, even if this hypothesis was already mentioned in comments. As for the "soon" part, I don't think so, as in Catholicism you don't have to know the religion first to become christened. This way such preparations wouldn't make sense. But who knows, maybe it was different those times. Feb 18, 2013 at 13:54
  • @DarekWędrychowski: Can you find out the exact date he was baptized? Feb 18, 2013 at 14:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.