Parish records piñata
To start searching church records, you need to know your family’s town and parish. Larger cities encompass multiple parishes, and sometimes records show up in adjoining parishes. You might even find your ancestors in the civil registration records of one town and in the church records of another. Be aware that administrative boundaries shifted frequently in Mexico—see an animated map of the evolution of its territory at <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/mexico>.
($79.95 per year)—can help you determine your ancestral city or town. They also might contain the name and address of the nearest relative back in Mexico.
The FHL’s coverage of civil registration records has a few gaps: The states of Baja California, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa and Tabasco haven’t been filmed; some Morelos records are missing; Campeche records were mostly destroyed; and most Tabasco records were burned. You may need to seek your Quintana Roo ancestors in the microfilm for Yucatán. Note, too, that the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca archived their records at the district level rather than the municipio level; the FHL’s research outline for Mexico has details on locating these records.
The whole enchilada
• Probate records: Another research challenge, probate records reside in notarial files, parish records and municipio court records. Few have been microfilmed, with the exception of vínculos (entailed estates) from 1700 to 1800.
1522 Inquisition arrives in Mexico
1527 Catholic Church creates Bishopric of Mexico
1535 Charles V establishes viceroyalty of New Spain
1598 Juan de Oñate colonizes New Mexico
1691 Spain annexes present-day Texas
1810 Mexicans begin fight for independence
1813 First Mexican Congress convenes in Chilpancingo
1821 Mexico gains independence
1824 The republic adopts a constitution
1836 Mexico loses the Texas Revolution
1845 United States annexes Texas
1846 Mexican-American War begins
1848 Mexico cedes most of its now-US territory under Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
1853 United States adds southern Arizona and New Mexico in Gadsden Purchase
1859 Benito Juárez starts civil registration
1864 Maximilian becomes emperor of Mexico
1867 French troops withdraw
1877 Porfirio Díaz era begins
1910 Decade-long Mexican Revolution commences; US sets up border patrols
1916 Pancho Villa raids Columbus, NM
1968 Mexico City hosts the XIX Summer Olympic Games
1992 North American Free Trade Agreement is signed
From the January 2009 Family Tree Magazine