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New Mexico Courts

Major New Mexico courts that kept records of genealogical value were established as follows:

1598-1847: The Alcalde Ordinario (mayor's courts) and Audiencia (courts of appeals) were statewide courts in Mexico that handled civil and criminal cases. During several periods New Mexico was under the jurisdiction of courts in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Durango, Chihuahua, and Parral. A few existing records are in the New Mexico Records Center and Archives, or in various archives in Mexico.

1846-1850:  Prefect's court was a statewide court that handled civil and criminal cases.

1846-1850:  Circuit courts were county-wide courts established during the military government of New Mexico to handle civil and criminal cases.

1850-present:  District courts are district-wide courts that serve as the major trial courts and have jurisdiction over naturalization records, civil cases including tax and insanity matters, criminal cases, chancery cases, and some appeals.

1800s:  Magistrates courts are city-wide courts with present jurisdiction over some misdemeanors and minor civil matters.

Family History Library (FHL)

The Family History Library does not have copies of New Mexico court records. You can obtain copies from the various county courthouses or the New Mexico Records Center and Archives where the territorial records are housed.

Additional Resources

For more information about court records see:

  • E. Stuart Howard, Preliminary Inventory: Records of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico: Record Group 21 (Denver, Colorado: Federal Archives and Records Center, 1980). FHL book 978.9 A1 no. 62.


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  • This page was last modified on 6 June 2012, at 21:40.
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