Expert answers on researching ancestors in Mexico and the early American Southwest.
Q. Where can I find genealogy records for Mexico, including the era when parts of the Southwestern United States were in Mexico?
The two best sources of Mexican genealogical information
are church records and civil registrations. Before 1859, most records
were kept on the parish level, known as registros parroquiales (parish
registers). These included baptisms (bautismos), marriages
(matrimonies), deaths (defunciones) and burials (entierros), and often
covered not just one individual but two or three generations of the
family. The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed most Mexican
church records prior to 1930, and some are now among the Mexican
Mexican civil registration began in 1859, after the war with the United
States, but wasn’t widespread until 1867. The FHL has microfilmed civil
registrations from thousands of local offices (municipios) across
Mexico, each of which could encompass several towns. Some of these are
also online at FamilySearch.org.
State archives in the US Southwest often include records dating to the
Mexican era. New Mexico, for example, has early censuses, land records
and Catholic church records from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (also on
FHL microfilm). The New Mexico Genealogical Society
has been extracting and publishing these early church records. The
Mexican Archives of New Mexico are in Albuquerque’s Special Collections
Several published indexes cover Mexican censuses for what’s now Arizona:
1801 for Pimeria Alta; 1831 to 32 for Tucson, Tubac and Santa Cruz; and
1852 for Pimeria Alta. You can find early documents, such as the
1831-32 census of Santa Cruz County, at the state archives and the Arizona Historical Society
Learn more about Mexican Texas here.
Archive of California
has collections relating
to the state’s years under Mexican rule as well as to Mexico itself.
From the March/April 2012 Family Tree Magazine