State Research Guide: New Mexico
Let the Land of Enchantment charm you with its family history resources.

As we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., let's pause in recognition of New Mexico's own venerable city, Santa Fe - which is arguably as old as historic Jamestown. In 1607, around the time those English colonists were unpacking, Juan Martinez de Montoya established the first settlement where Santa Fe is now. Santa Fe wasn't officially founded until 1610, which still makes it the oldest capital city in the United States.

It's important to know where in that long and varied history your New Mexico ancestors' events fall, says Karen Stein Daniel, former editor of the New Mexico Genealogical Society (NMGS) <> journal New Mexico Genealogist and author of Genealogical Resources in New Mexico (NMGS Press). That's because most repositories catalog records by time period. She also warns you may have to scour several locations for the records you need; some county records, for example, are now in the state archives <>. Keep in mind that, like other states, New Mexico divided up its counties over the years: For instance, Doña Ana County spun off Grant County, which in turn spawned Luna and Hidalgo counties. See <> to learn county formation dates and names of parent counties. Then you're ready to dive into the deep well of New Mexico's past.