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Genealogical Resources in New Mexico


Online Catalog of Archival Collections at Santa Fe

An online catalog of archival collections in Santa Fe includes the State Records Center and Archives collections, the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library and Photographic Archives, the Laboratory of Anthropology Library, the Museum of Fine Arts Library, and the Museum of International Folk Art Library.
The online catalog, now in preparation, permits access to all the collections by using terminals located at the repositories and the State Library or through the Web address "http://www.stlib.state.nm.us." The address calls up a menu, on which the State Library's SALSA is the correct option.

By entering key words, researchers are able to identify and obtain data about the contents of the collections. The creation of this online resource will significantly enhance the study of the arts, history, and genealogy in New Mexico.

Durango Microfilming Project at New Mexico State University

The Archdiocese of Durango, Mexico, and the Rio Grande Historical Collections of the New Mexico State University Library are cooperating in microfilming the entire contents of the Archivos Historicos del Arzobispado de Durango. The Archives are of notable importance to historians but will also have great potential for genealogists and others with an interest in the southwestern United States and the Spanish Borderlands. The filming will be completed by the end of 1997.

Tim Blevins, Archives and Manuscripts Librarian for the Collections, has stated that: "The archives at the Cathedral in Durango date from 1606 and contains a variety of record groups including diezmos, diligencias matrimoniales, ordenes sacerdotales, libros de fabrica, and varios. The microfilm is available for use in our search room on the fourth floor of Branson Hall on the NMSU campus. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm, except for administrative holidays. We are not able to provide the film through Inter-Library Loan, however, with such a huge volume of film it would not be practical to do serious research at a distance."

Questions may be directed to Tim Blevins, Rio Grande Historical Collections, NMSU Library, P.O. Box 30006, Las Cruces, NM 88003. Phone (505) 646-4746. Fax (505) 646-7477. E-mail: tblevins@lib.nmsu.edu.

New Mexico Roots LTD

New Mexico Roots LTD: A Demographic Perspective from Genealogical, Historical, and Geographical Data Found in the Diligencias Matrimoniales or Pre-nuptial Investigations (1678-1869) is a compilation in eleven volumes by Fray Angelico Chavez. The volumes are a genealogical masterpiece consisting of biographical and historical information gathered from Diligencias Matrimoniales. The material is arranged alphabetically by surname and chronologically within each family name.

Diligencias Matrimoniales were prenuptial investigations conducted by church authorities to ensure that both parties were free to contract marriage. The extractions are valuable today because they contain marriage and family information not available from any other source.

The Diligencias Matrimoniales, dating from 1678 to 1869, are on microfilm, AASF series, reels 59-80. Photocopies are available at the Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico, and at the Albuquerque Special Collections Library.

Fray Angelico Chavez was also the author of Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy in the Spanish Colonial Period and subsequent findings published in 1956-1957 in El Palacio, the Museum of New Mexico periodical. The later research is included in the 1992 revised edition.

New Mexico Newspaper Project at the University of New Mexico

The New Mexico Newspaper Project, completed in 1996, has resulted in the microfilming of New Mexico newspapers from the 1840s to the present. The 600 rolls of microfilm include 457 newspaper titles, many of them small and obscure papers that published for only a few years before vanishing. At least one newspaper from each county has been filmed. Nearly complete runs were filmed of the Union County and Valencia County/Belen papers because that time period from those counties had never before been filmed. In cases where the Project borrowed newspapers from a county courthouse or library, that institution has received a positive copy of the microfilm.

The complete set of 600 rolls is available in the Microforms and Periodicals Section of the UNM Zimmerman Library. Films of many other newspapers published in the state, outside the scope of the Project, are also on file. An index listing all papers in the state, microfilm and originals, together with their locations, has been compiled at Zimmerman. The index may be purchased for $25.00 by contacting Marilyn Fletcher at the Zimmerman Library, E-mail: mfletch@unm.edu or (505) 277-7212. Plans call for the index to be available on the Internet or the UNM Library catalog, possibly in 1998.

Oral History Program at the University of New Mexico

The purpose of the Oral History Program is to document the history of the state's multi cultural society through a focused program of research, interviewing, transcription, and archiving. Recent oral history projects include Impact Los Alamos, Los Duranes, Congregation Albert, South Valley, and Italians of Albuquerque. Several of these projects serve as prototypes for future studies.

Information about the Oral History Program is available to the public through public radio and TV programming, public history exhibits, and the development of teaching materials. All processed collections are deposited at UNM's Center for Southwest Research at the Zimmerman Library.

The Program director, Carlos Vasquez, may be contacted by phone (505) 272-2282; Fax (505) 272-5096; or E-mail oral@unm.edu. The Program offices are located at UNM's Science and Technology Park, 801 University Blvd SE.

The Dreesen Files

Donald S. Dreesen extracted marriages from the microfilmed Books of Marriage of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The extracts contain the basic information about the marriages including the date, the parties to the marriage, the parents and place of residence when available, and witnesses. Dreesen retained the archaic spelling of names. The location of a marriage record on the microfilmed Books of Marriage can be ascertained from the marriage date.

Dreesen's extracts fall into two major groupings: the Founders File and the Pioneers File. The Founders File consists of records of families in the 17th and 18th centuries living in the middle Rio Grande Valley. The Pioneers File consists of records of families in the 19th century also living in the middle Rio Grande Valley.

The Dreesen Files can be viewed at the Center for Southwest Research in the Zimmerman Library and the Albuquerque Special Collections Library.

Spanish Enlistment Papers

Virginia L. Olmsted translated and abstracted the Spanish Enlistment Papers of New Mexico, 1732-1820, located in the Spanish Archives of New Mexico, reel 21, frames 741-1380. Each entry gives the name and a brief description of the soldier. Her work was subsequently published in four issues of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, September 1979 through March 1980. A bound copy of that series is available at the Albuquerque Special Collections Library (R978.9 O51) and at the Center for Southwest Research, UNM Zimmerman Library (F795 O4).

[Ed. note]: Various records later found that had not been included in the Olmsted papers were published in the New Mexico Genealogist in 1998. The articles are online at http://www.nmgs.org/artfil.php.

Additional work continues on the Spanish Enlistment Papers and will be published in the New Mexico Genealogist as the translations are completed. A group now near publication covers the period 1774-1816.

Other Resources for the Genealogist

All of the facilities and collections within New Mexico cannot be cited herein because of space limitations. In their role as library patrons, experienced genealogists recognize that support for their research may be found under many library classifications.

City directories, state and local histories, biographical encyclopedias, gazetteers and map collections, guides to writing a biography or autobiography, business directories, local newspaper files, histories of migrations and settlements-many of these resources may be found at university, college, and community college libraries as well as the city libraries. Some of the larger city libraries have established separate genealogical departments, such as the Genealogy Department at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces.

Other sources of genealogical information should be considered. Local schools may maintain registers of students and yearbooks. St. Michael's in Santa Fe, for example, has records dating back to its founding. Church records may be a source of information. In addition to searching local church registers, E. Kay Kirkham's A Survey of American Church Records (cited below) may be consulted. For military records, James C. Neagles' U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources (cited below) is a starting point. The Daughters of the American Revolution Collection may be viewed and ordered through LDS Family History Centers.

The single best resource for considering alternative research strategies and tracking down errant ancestors is called, appropriately enough, The Source. The 1997 revised edition by Szucs and Luebking (cited below) is indispensable for serious genealogical research. Genealogists should consider The Source a personal priority budget item and, by all means, urge their local library to purchase the book forthwith.

New Mexico Genealogical Society 
PO Box 27559
Albuquerque, NM 87125-7559        USA

NMGS Web Editor: Patricia Black Esterly
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