Colonial Records of New Mexico
From its founding in 1598 until American occupation in 1846, New Mexico was a separate political entity extending from the El Paso area in present–day Texas to the area around Durango, Colorado. As such, its records were kept locally at Santa Fe, where they are currently housed in the New Mexico State Records Center, which also has an excellent collection of genealogical materials, both published and manuscript, covering the Spanish and Mexican periods.
The Spanish Archives of New Mexico, 1621–1821, presently held at the Archives Division of New Mexico State Records Center, deals with the administration of the region from the period of Spanish Colonial sovereignty to the establishment of the Mexican government in 1821. Excluded from these archives are official land grant documents and land conveyances in special collections.
The Spanish archives, microfilmed in twenty-two rolls, are calendared chronologically, identified briefly, and can be located by frame number. They include the following:
- Communications and decrees received from the viceroy and commandant-general.
- Copies of communications to the viceroy and com-mandant-general.
- Reports from local officials and instructions sent to them.
- Appointments, governors’ edicts, minutes, and petitions of the cabildo of Santa Fe.
- Military records, including lists of troops, muster rolls, orders, journals of operations, reports of inspections, and service records.
- Judicial records containing litigation proceedings in civil and criminal cases, judgments of the governor and captain general, auxiliary documents (affidavits, petitions, depositions, testimonies, writs, declarations, etc.), and probate records.
The New Mexico State Records Center has forty-two rolls of New Mexican archives microfilm consisting of documents relating to the Mexican government from 1821 to 1846. The Mexican archives have been organized into several record groups according to agency of function, and then subdivided into the following subject matters with documents in each section arranged chronologically: instructions, investigations, journals, judicial proceedings, orders, petitions, reports, and residencias (residences of various officials). There are also similar original records relating to New Mexico at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley and the Huntington Library in California; these records have been microfilmed and are available at the New Mexico State Record Center. The Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico and its journal, Herencia, are key points of departure for research in this state.
Unfortunately, the majority of local jurisdiction records of the Territory of New Mexico for the pre-American period have disappeared. Portions of the journal of proceedings of the Ayuntamiento of Santa Fe, 1829–36, are in the Zimmerman Library of the University of New Mexico with a typescript in the Bancroft Library. These records are also available on microfilm at the New Mexico State Records Center.
Census Records of New Mexico The following chart gives the location and availability of census records for New Mexico.
|General||1693||AF 182 #1394|
|General||1693||AF 181 #1390|
|General||1705||AF 189 #1447|
|General||1749–1750||AF 240 #1772; SMC|
|General||1749–1750||AGN PI 36:10; 501–507|
|General||1769||AF 254 #1867|
|General||1777||AF 31 #646|
|General||1790||SNM, Reel 12; SMC; 581,470|
|General||1803||AF 266 #1951|
|General||1823||SMC; MNM, Reel General 1845SMC; MNM; Reel 40|
|Isleta (Corpus Christi de la)||1684||AF 173 #1335|
|Isleta (Corpus Christi de la)||1815||1,162,467|
|Laguna (Sr. S. José)||1801||913,167 item 7|
|Las Huertas and Bernalitto||1803–1807||ANM 21; 576–583|
|Pecuries (S. Lorenzo de los)||1707||AF 206 #1556|
|S. José (presidio)**||1684||AF 173 #1336|
|S. Juan de los Caballeros||1707||AF 206 #1556|
|San Antonio del Sobina||1827||SMC; MNM, Vol. 80|
|San Juan||1816||SMC; ASF|
|San Juan||1816–1817||SMC. ASF|
|Sandia 1818||SMC; ASF|
|Santa Clara||1818||SMC; ASF|
|Santa Cruz||1707||AF 206 #1556|
|Santa Cruz de la Cañada||1822||SMC; ASF|
|Santa Cruz de la Cañada||1823||SMC; ASF|
|Santa Fé (presidio)**||1705||AF 189 #1447|
|Santa Fé (presidio)**||1705||AGN PI 36:6:420–425|
|Santa Fé (presidio)**||1705||AGN PI 36:7:426–461|
|Santa Fé (presidio)**||1790||SMC; SNM 21:508–520|
|Santa Fé (presidio)**||1826||SMC; SNM 6:527–533|
|Senecu 1815 1,162,467|
|Socorro 1815 1,162,467|
*AF: Archivo Franciscano, Biblioteca Nacional, Mexico City.
AGN PI: Collections found at the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City for the section Provincias Internas.
ASF: Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
MBL: Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley.
MNM: Mexican Archives of New Mexico.
SNM: Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico (on microfilm).
The following are identified only in published form:
SMC: Two books by Virginia Langham Olmsted: New Mexico Spanish and Mexican Colonial Censuses, 1790, 1823, 1845; and Spanish and Mexican Censuses of New Mexico, 1750 to 1830.
Six- or seven-digit numbers with no other reference are film numbers from the collection of the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, available through the local Family History Centers.
Catholic Church Records of New Mexico
In 1598, Juan de Oñate, accompanied by ten Franciscan missionaries, established missions at a number of Indian pueblos, following the missions with the construction of churches and schools. Although the Franciscan missions in New Mexico began to decline by the second half of the eighteenth century, the amount of historical material generated during this period is significant.
Only a portion of the ecclesiastical records of the Spanish and Mexican periods have survived; these are currently located in the archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Since there is only limited access to these original records by accredited scholars, the State Records Center, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the Archdiocesan Archives have microfilm editions. In addition, a number of these have been extracted and are being indexed and published. Following is a chart of available records, arranged according to mission and church.
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