Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period by Fray Angelico ChavezI give this book five stars, not because it was mind blowing, but because it is probably the only book of its kind we will get detailing all possible families from the colonial period. It is a very useful resource for people looking into their family history, though you should be armed with maiden surnames as well as the paternal family names youre more likely to know. This book has also been used as a resource for other terrific histories, such as Stanley Hordes To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico. This book does mention a few families that may have been crypto-Jews, but is primarily concerned with hard facts rather than conjecture. However, after reading Stanley Hordes book, I re-read this book and marked all of the families who were possibly Jewish, for my own edification.
If you have origins in this part of the country, you will likely have spent time in the cemeteries of northern New Mexico (or Southern CO in my case), so flipping through these pages may give you a sense of nostalgia when you see all the names from the headstones and get a chance to read a bit about them. However, the author does have several constraints. He often has to rely on lists of military personnel, which gives him only adult mens names (though he can often cross-reference names with church records or an occasional census). This often creates the problem of names suddenly appearing for the first time around the age of nineteen. There is also a gap in information between the time of the Pubelo Revolt (1680) and the Reconquest in 1692, when the colonial families fled back to El Paso. Some were part of the Reconquest, some stayed in El Paso, some migrated south, and it is sometimes an educated guess as to whose family line continued in the north.
If you think youll be interested in this book, you probably will. I cant say that I pull it off the shelf even once a year, but it is well worth having around, now that the old people and most of my ties to that land are gone.
Here are just a few of the resources available:. The Catholic Church kept meticulous records and researchers find these baptismal, marriage and burial records especially helpful for tracing their New Mexico ancestry back to the late s. The Genealogy Center has available records on microfilm and also has books of extracted and translated records. The Genealogy Center has copies of all available microfilmed Catholic church records for New Mexico and southern Colorado. Microfilmed church records available at the Genealogy Center are primarily from the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
Great New Mexico Pedigree Database Project
The most challenging part of conducting New Mexico genealogical research is tracing family lines between and , basically the American territorial period. This is not due to any shortage of records. On the contrary, there is a wealth of records, which contributes to the problem. The greater amount of these records is not indexed, and many are not easily accessible to interested genealogical researchers who do not live near the important repositories in New Mexico. Couple this with the increased mobility of our ancestors during the American territorial period and the challenge is greater. One of my own family lines took ten years of research before breaking through this barrier.