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Brief History

The following important events in the history of New Mexico affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

  • 1598:  San Juan was founded as the first permanent Spanish colony in New Mexico. The capital was established at Santa Fe in 1610.
  • 1680-1700:   The Pueblo Indians revolted and drove the Spanish out of northern New Mexico to El Paso. By 1700 the Spanish reestablished control.
  • 1706:  Albuquerque was founded and became a center of settlement.
  • 1821:  When Mexico achieved independence from Spain, New Mexico became a Mexican province, and trade with the United States was opened over the Santa Fe Trail.
  • 1848:  Mexico ceded New Mexico to the United States. The Santa Fe Trail soon became a favorite route of those heading to the California gold fields.
  • 1850-1863:  Congress created the New Mexico Territory September 9,1850 and the first counties were established. The territory was enlarged somewhat with the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico in 1853, but greatly reduced by the creation of Colorado Territory in 1861 and Arizona Territory in 1863.
  • 1863:  Kit Carson led a U.S. army force against Navajo Indians in southwestern United States.  The Navajo were removed to Fort Sumner a 350 miles, this became known as "The Long  Walk"
  • 1868: ( June 1,) Treaty of Bosque Redondo signed at Fort Sumner the Navajo Indian reservation was created.
  • 1880-1904:  The coming of the railroad stimulated settlement in eastern and southern New Mexico. Conflicting land claims led to disputes among ranchers, homesteaders, and the old Spanish families. The claims were finally settled in 1904.
  • 1898: Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
  • 1912:  (January 6,) New Mexico became a state.
  • 1917–1918: More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
  • 1930's: The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
  • 1940–1945: Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
  • 1950–1953: Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
  • 1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
  • 1964–1972: Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.

Historical Content

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. The United States Research "History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of New Mexico.

  • Many articles and books on New Mexico local history are listed in 20,000 Years of History: A New Mexico Bibliography [1]
  • A Bibliography of American County Histories [2] [3]
  • United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress [4] [5]

State Histories Useful to Genealogists

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of New Mexico:

  • The Leading Facts of New Mexico History is a useful source for studying the history of New Mexico. [6] This includes many biographies; each volume is indexed.

United States History

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [7] [8] This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [9] [10] This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [11] [12] [13] This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about New Mexico 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "New Mexico history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:

NEW MEXICO - HISTORY
NEW MEXICO, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
NEW MEXICO, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
NEW MEXICO, BIBLIOGRAPHY

Web Sites

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

New Mexico, County Death Records (FamilySearch HIstorical Records)

Sources

  1. Frances Leon Swadesh, 20,000 Years of History: A New Mexico Bibliography (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Sunstone Press, 1973; Family History Library book 978.9 A3s).
  2. Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
  3. Worldcat
  4. Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
  5. Worldcat
  6. Ralph E. Twitchell, The Leading Facts of New Mexico History, 5 vols. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Press, 1911-1917; Family History Library book 978.9 H2t; film 1000218).
  7. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
  8. Worldcat
  9. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
  10. Worldcat
  11. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
  12. Limited view at Google Books
  13. Worldcat
  14. Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w
  15. Worldcat

 

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