Previous Jurisdictions to land in Arizona

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(Previous Jurisdictions and Record Repositories: revised wording)
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For example, suppose you were told your ancestor lived in Tucson, Arizona Territory in 1861.  
 
For example, suppose you were told your ancestor lived in Tucson, Arizona Territory in 1861.  
*In the present day, Tucson is indeed located in Arizona. But Arizona didn't exist in 1861. Arizona Territory wasn't created until 1863. Before that, the land belonged to New Mexico Territory, which was created in 1850. So your ancestor lived in New Mexico Territory. This jurisdiction still exists today as the State of New Mexico.  
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*In the present day, Tucson is indeed located in Arizona. But Arizona Territory didn't exist in 1861, it wasn't created until 1863. Before that, the land belonged to New Mexico Territory, which was created in 1850. So your ancestor lived in New Mexico Territory. This jurisdiction still exists today as the State of New Mexico.  
 
*In 1853, the US bought the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, which contained land south of the Gila River. This is the land where Tucson is located. In 1854, this land was given to New Mexico Territory and in 1855 this land was added to Dona Ana county. Then in 1860, New Mexico created Arizona county from the land in Dona Ana county. Arizona County existed totally within the present day State of Arizona. So your ancestor lived in Arizona County in the New Mexico Territory.
 
*In 1853, the US bought the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, which contained land south of the Gila River. This is the land where Tucson is located. In 1854, this land was given to New Mexico Territory and in 1855 this land was added to Dona Ana county. Then in 1860, New Mexico created Arizona county from the land in Dona Ana county. Arizona County existed totally within the present day State of Arizona. So your ancestor lived in Arizona County in the New Mexico Territory.
 
*But Arizona county was discontinued in 1862, then recreated in 1863 and finally discontinued again when Arizona Territory was created in 1863. The records from this extinct county reverted to Dona Ana County, which still exists in the State of New Mexico.
 
*But Arizona county was discontinued in 1862, then recreated in 1863 and finally discontinued again when Arizona Territory was created in 1863. The records from this extinct county reverted to Dona Ana County, which still exists in the State of New Mexico.

Revision as of 21:39, 4 December 2012

United States go to Arizona go to Previous Jurisdictions to land in Arizona

Contents

Previous Jurisdictions and Record Repositories

Locating records of your ancestors

  • Find where your ancestor lived and when he live there
  • Identify the jurisdiction covering the land when and where your ancestor lived
  • Determine the record repositories for that jurisdiction in the present day

For example, suppose you were told your ancestor lived in Tucson, Arizona Territory in 1861.

  • In the present day, Tucson is indeed located in Arizona. But Arizona Territory didn't exist in 1861, it wasn't created until 1863. Before that, the land belonged to New Mexico Territory, which was created in 1850. So your ancestor lived in New Mexico Territory. This jurisdiction still exists today as the State of New Mexico.
  • In 1853, the US bought the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, which contained land south of the Gila River. This is the land where Tucson is located. In 1854, this land was given to New Mexico Territory and in 1855 this land was added to Dona Ana county. Then in 1860, New Mexico created Arizona county from the land in Dona Ana county. Arizona County existed totally within the present day State of Arizona. So your ancestor lived in Arizona County in the New Mexico Territory.
  • But Arizona county was discontinued in 1862, then recreated in 1863 and finally discontinued again when Arizona Territory was created in 1863. The records from this extinct county reverted to Dona Ana County, which still exists in the State of New Mexico.

Putting this all together, your ancestor actually lived in Tucson, Arizona County, New Mexico Territory in 1861. Therefore look for records at the archives in Tucson, Dona Ana County, and the State of New Mexico.

Sometimes, records were recorded in a county or jurisdiction where your ancestor did not live. Maybe there was confusion as to where the borders lay. Or maybe it was a shorter distance to the neighboring county seat. There could be several reasons, so don't overlook records in nearby jurisdictions. But treat this as the exception to the rule and check the most obvious place first.

From the 1600s to 1846 - Spanish and Mexican land that would later become Arizona

From the 1600's, Spain laid claim to much of the land in present day southwestern US. But because of the great distances and the hostilities of the Indian tribes, Spanish rule effectively extended only to the southern portion of present day Arizona, and sometimes not even that much. Tucson was the only permanent town established, because of the military garrison there.

Spain established the practice of giving land grants to encourage settlement on the fringes of their rule. Mexico continued this practice. All Spanish and Mexican land grants for present day Arizona were located in the Gadsden Purchase. Stand in downtown Tucson and and look toward the southeast corner of present day Arizona, then turn 90 degrees to the west. All of these Spanish and Mexican Land Grants are located in that triangle.

Look for records in the following places

1820 - The San Ignacio de la Canoa Grant. Two brothers petitioned the governor of Sonora/Sinaloa for four leagues (sitios) to raise cattle and horses. Title was issued by Mexico in 1849 and Court of Private Land Claims confirmed the grant for 17,204 acres in 1899. This land grand was located on both sides of Interstate 19 south of Green Valley (that town is in the northwest corner of the grant).

1820 - The San Bernardino Grant south of Bisbee was also applied for by Ignacio de Perez, a Spanish lieutenant, who paid $90 for four leagues. The grant was surveyed in 1821 and recorded in Arizpe, Sonora but no title was ever issued. Most of the grant is located south of the border. The Court of Private Land Claims confirmed 2,383 acres that are on the American side.

1821 - Southwest of Patagonia is the San José de Sonoita Grant, the smallest grant made in Arizona. It was applied for in 1821 by Leon Herreras, a resident of Tubac, who had it surveyed and who received a Mexican title in 1825 for 7,598 acres. Court of Private Land Claims rejected that title on the grounds that the treasurer of Sonora had no authority to sell land in that area, but U. S. Supreme Court overturned the rejection. However it only confirmed 5,123 acres.

1821 - The San Rafael de la Zanja Grant, just to the north of the Mexican border, east of the Patagonia Mountains. The four-league grant was sold at public auction for $1,297 and title was issued by Mexico in 1825. Court of Private Land Claims confirmed 17,352 acres of the grant in 1902.

24 Aug 1821 - The Treaty of Cordoba was signed by Spain, which recognized Mexico's independence.[1] The land in present day Arizona became part of Mexico, north of the Gila River was in the State of Alta California and south of the Gila River was in the State of New Navarra. Look for records in the Spain and Mexico Archives.

1827 - The San Ignacio del Babocomari Grant looks on a map like a twenty miles long boomerang north and west of present day Fort Huachuca. In 1827, Ignacio Elías y Gonzales and his sister Lulalia paid $380 for this nearly fifty-three square miles grant. The title to the grant was issued by the treasurer general of Sonora, Mexico on 25 December 1832. The Court of Private Land Claims confirmed 33,792 acres for this grant.

1827 - The San Juan de las Boquillas y Nogales Grant is located along the San Pedro River west of Tombstone. Title was issued to Ignacio Elías y Gonzales in 1833. The Court of Private Land Claims confirmed 17,354 acres for this grant.

1827 - The San Rafael del Valle Grant is adjoined to the San Juan grant on the south. Title was issued in 1832. The San Rafael Grant was at first rejected by Court of Private Land Claims, but the rejection was overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court, who confirmed 17,475 acres for this grant.

24 October 1831 - The Buena Vista Grant straddles the international boundary just east of Nogales and two thirds of it is in Mexico. This Mexican land grant was made to Dona Josefa Morales. It consisted of 18,640 acres and was also known as the Maria Santissima del Carmen Land Grant. Following the Gadsden Purchase, the Court of Private Land Claims confirmed 5,733 acres of the grant to men named Maish and Driscoll.

From 1846 to 1863 - New Mexico Territory land that would later become Arizona

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18 Aug 1846 - During the war with Mexico, the US took control of Santa Fe and proclaimed sovereignty over the land that later became the New Mexico Territory.[2] Look for records in the National Archives and Records Administration, the Mexico Archives and the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.


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4 July 1848 - In the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico ceded all of present day California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of present day Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Part of the international boundary was in dispute.[3] The land south of the Gila River in present day Arizona was not ceded, it remained in control of Mexico. Look for records in the National Archives and Records Administration, the Mexico Archives and the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.


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13 Dec 1850 - The US created the New Mexico Territory from unorganized federal land.[4] This territory named after the Mexican State of New Mexico. Some counties were created, but they were small and covered land only in present day New Mexico. The land in the present day Arizona was at that time non-county land. Also the land south of the Gila River still belonged to Mexico. Look for records in the Mexico Archives and the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.


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9 Jan 1852 - New Mexico redefined the boundaries of previous counties and created new ones to cover all the land within its territory. The boundary of Dona Ana County was expanded to include some land in present day Arizona, while the boundary of Socorro County was stretched across present day Arizona to the California border.[5] The boundaries of Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Santa Ana (extinct), Taos, and Valencia counties were stretched across present day Arizona and Nevada to the California border.[6] Look for records in Dona Ana County, Socorro County, Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Taos, and Valencia counties.

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30 Dec 1853 - The US bought the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico. It contained land south of the Gila River in present day Arizona and New Mexico. It also settled the International boundary dispute between the United States and Mexico.[7] Look for records in the National Archives and Records Administration, the Mexico Archives, and the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.


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4 Aug 1854 - The land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase was officially added to New Mexico Territory, it became non-county land.[8] Look for records in the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.


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3 Feb 1855 - Dona Ana County gained all the land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.[9] Its boundary was stretched across present day Arizona to the Baja California border. Look for records in Dona Ana County.



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1 Feb 1860 - New Mexico created Arizona County from land in Dona Ana County.[10] Arizona County was located entirely within present day Arizona. Look for records in Dona Ana County.


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5 Apr 1860 - An unofficial convention held in Tucson established a provisional government, declared the creation of the Territory of Arizona from the southern half of New Mexico Territory below 34 degrees north latitude and authorized 4 proposed counties: Castle Dome, Ewell, Mesilla, and Dona Ana.[11].[12] The US Congress rejected the idea, so the proposed new territory was never officially created. However for a time it did operate as the de facto government for the intended Arizona Territory. Some records may have been created, but where found is unknown.


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12 Jan 1861 - New Mexico created San Juan County (original, extinct) from land in Taos County.[13] Look for records in Taos County.



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16 Mar 1861 - A convention met in Mesilla and declared that the territory formed the previous year was part of the Confederacy. An ordinance was written stating the reasons Arizona had seceded from the United States.

28 Mar 1861 - Another convention held in Tucson ratified the Mesilla secession ordinance. Some government organization was made, including a delegate to the Confederate Congress.
1 Aug 1861 - Confederate General John Robert Baylor, fresh from his victory at the Battle of Mesilla, made a proclamation declaring Arizona to be a Confederate Territory and appointed a government. A judicial district was formed for land around Mesilla and another one for land around Tucson. Some records may have been created, but where found is unknown

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18 Jan 1862 - New Mexico discontinued San Juan County (original, extinct) returning the land to Taos County.[14] Look for records in Taos County.
18 Jan 1862 - New Mexico discontinued Arizona County returning the land to Dona Ana County.[15] Look for records in Dona Ana County.


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13 January 1862 - The Confederate Congress passed a bill declaring Arizona to be a Territory of the Confederate States of America. President Jefferson Davis signed the bill, which then became law.[16]

14 February 1862 - The Confederate law creating Arizona as a Territory became effective.[17] Note: Fifty years later to the day, Arizona became a state in the United States of America.
8 July 1862 - The last Confederate troops left Confederate Arizona Territory as Union troops entered from California and Colorado. The Confederate Arizona government disbanded. Some records may have been created, but where found is unknown.

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28 Jan 1863 - New Mexico re-created Arizona County from Dona Ana County.[18] This county discontinued when Arizona Territory was created. Look for records in Dona Ana County.


From 1863 to the Present - Arizona land

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24 Feb 1863 - The US created the Arizona Territory from the western half of New Mexico Territory.[19] All previous counties were discontinued for this new territory. Look for records in the Arizona State Library and New Mexico State Records Center and Archives


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10 Nov 1864 - Arizona created four counties: Mohave, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma counties.[20] All four of these counties named for Indian tribes. Look for records in Mohave, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma counties.


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22 Dec 1865 - Arizona created Pah-Ute County (extinct) from the northern half of Mohave County.[21] This county named for the Paiute Indians, using the spelling of that day. Both Mohave and Pah-Ute counties covered land which was later given to Nevada. Look for records in Mohave County.


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5 May 1866 - The US removed the northwest corner from Arizona Territory (parts of Pah-Ute (extinct) and Mohave counties) and gave that land to the State of Nevada.[22] Nevada used that land by adding to Lincoln and Nye counties. But Arizona held to its previous claim on that land and opposed this transfer, twice petitioning congress to repeal the law. Up thru 1868, representatives from Pah-Ute County (extinct) attended the Arizona Legislature. Look for records in Nevada State Library and Archives and Arizona State Library. Also the Lincoln, Nye, and Mohave counties.

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18 Feb 1869 - Utah also laid claim to land in the southeastern corner of Nevada by creating Rio Virgin County (extinct) from land in Washington County, Utah; as well as land outside of Utah in Nevada and Arizona.[23] This county named for the Virgin River. Look for records in Washington, Lincoln, Nye, and Mohave counties.


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14 Feb 1871 - Arizona created Maricopa County from land in Yavapai County.[24] This county named for the Maricopa Indians. Look for records in Maricopa and Yavapai counties.
18 Feb 1871 - Arizona discontinued Pah-Ute County (extinct).[25] In effect, withdrawing claim to the southeastern corner of Nevada after exhausting all legal recourse. The remnant of Pah-Ute County (extinct) still in Arizona was returned to Mohave County. Look for records in Mohave County.


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16 Feb 1872 - Utah discontinued Rio Virgin County (extinct).[26] In effect, withdrawing claim to the southeastern corner of Nevada after exhausting all legal recourse. The remnant of Rio Virgin County (extinct) still in Utah was returned to Washington County. Look for records in Washington County.


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14 Feb 1873 - Arizona expanded Maricopa County by adding land from Pima County.[27] Look for records in Maricopa and Pima, counties.
1 Feb 1875 - Arizona created Pinal County from lands in Maricopa and Pima counties.[28] This county named for the Pinal mountains. Look for records in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties.


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31 Jan 1877 - Arizona expanded Maricopa County by adding land from Yavapai County.[29] Look for records in Maricopa and Yavapai counties.
9 Feb 1877 - Arizona expanded Pinal County by adding a small area of land that had been separated from main body of Pima County.[30] Look for records in Pima and Pinal counties


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14 Feb 1879 - Arizona created Apache County from land in Yavapai County.[31] This county named for the Apache Indians. Look for records in Apache and Yavapai counties.


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1 Feb 1881 - Arizona created Cochise County from the eastern part of Pima County.[32] This county named for Cochise, the great Apache warrior who had died seven years before. Look for records in Cochise and Pima counties.
8 Feb 1881 - Arizona created Gila County from lands in Maricopa and Pima County counties.[33] This county named for the Gila River. Look for records in the Gila, Maricopa, and Pima counties.
10 Mar 1881 - Arizona created Graham County from lands in Apache and Pima counties.[34] This county named for Mount Graham, the highest peak in the area. Look for records in Apache, Graham, and Pima counties.


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6 Mar 1883 - Arizona expanded Mohave County by adding land from Yavapai County.[35] Look for records in Mohave and Yavapai counties.
21 Mar 1889 - Arizona expanded Gila County by adding land from Yavapai County.[36] Look for records in Gila and Yavapai counties.


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19 Feb 1891 - Arizona created Coconino County from land in Yavapai County.[37] This county named for the Coconino Indians. Look for records in Coconino and Yavapai counties.


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21 Mar 1895 - Arizona created Navajo County from the west half of Apache County.[38] This county named for the Navajo Indians. Look for records in Apache and Navajo counties.



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15 Mar 1899 - Arizona created Santa Cruz County from land in Pima County.[39] This county named for the Santa Cruz River. Look for records in Pima and Santa Cruz counties.


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10 Mar 1909 - Arizona created Greenlee County from land in Graham County.[40] This county named for an early Arizona pioneer. Look for records in Graham and Greenlee counties.



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27 Apr 1983 - Arizona created La Paz County from the northern half of Yuma County.[41] This county named for the town of La Paz, Arizona. Look for records in La Paz and Yuma counties.

References

  1. Beers, 100; "Mexican War of Independence," New Handbook of Texas, 4:698
  2. Williams 108-110
  3. U.S. Stat., vol. 9, pp. 922-943; Parry, 102: 29-59; Van Zandt, 11, 28-29; Walker and Bufkin, 19, 20A
  4. U.S. Stat., vol. 9, ch. 49[1850]/pp. 446-452; Baldwin, 117-137; Van Zandt, 28-29, 162-165
  5. N.M. Terr. Laws 1851, 1st assy., 1st sess./p. 119; N.M. Terr. Laws 1851, 1st assy., 2d sess. /pp. 266, 292
  6. N.M. Terr. Laws 1851, 1st assy., 2d sess. /p. 292
  7. U.S. Stat., vol. 10, pp. 1031-1037; Van Zandt, 11, 29, 162
  8. U.S. Stat., vol. 10, ch. 245[1854]/p. 575; Van Zandt, 162; Walker and Bufkin, 21-22
  9. N.M. Terr. Laws 1854, 4th assy. /p. 57
  10. N.M. Terr. Laws 1859-1860, 9th assy. /p. 74
  11. Thomas Edwin Farish, History of Arizona (Phoenix, Ariz., 1915), 1:324. HathiTrust Digital Library edition.
  12. Sacks, 36, 151; Swindler, 1:244-248
  13. N.M. Terr. Laws 1860-1861, 10th assy. /p. 16
  14. N.M. Terr. Laws 1861-1862, 11th assy. /p. 16
  15. N.M. Terr. Laws 1861-1862, 11th assy. /p. 18
  16. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (Senate Document 234, 58 Cong., 2 Sess. Serials 4610-4616)
  17. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (Senate Document 234, 58 Cong., 2 Sess. Serials 4610-4616)
  18. N.M. Terr. Laws 1862-1863, 12th assy. /p.30
  19. U.S. Stat., vol. 12, ch. 56[1863]/pp. 664-665; Ariz. Terr. Laws 1864, 1st assy./ pp. vii-viii; Van Zandt, 162
  20. Howell Code, Ariz. Terr. Laws 1864, 1st assy., ch. 2/ pp. 24-25
  21. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1865, 2d assy./ pp. 19-20
  22. U.S. Stat., vol. 14, ch. 73[1866]/p. 43; Van Zandt, 158, 165; Ariz. Terr. Laws 1867, 3rd assy./ pp. 67-68; Ariz. Terr. Laws 1868, 4th assy./ pp. 68-69
  23. Utah Terr. Laws 1869, 18th sess., ch. 10/p. 7; Atlas of Utah, 163-164
  24. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1871, 6th assy./ pp. 53-54
  25. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1871, 6th assy./ p. 87
  26. Utah Terr. Laws 1872, 20th sess., ch. 19, sec. 2/p. 28
  27. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1873, 7th assy./ p. 87
  28. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1875, 8th assy./ pp. 19-20
  29. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1877, 9th assy./ pp. 12-13
  30. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1877, 9th assy./ pp. 108-109
  31. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1879, 10th assy./ pp. 96-97
  32. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1881, 11th assy./ pp. 4-7
  33. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1881, 11th assy./ pp. 14-17
  34. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1881, 11th assy./ pp. 155-157
  35. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1883, 12th assy./ p. 171
  36. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1889, 15th assy./ pp. 49-52
  37. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1891, 16th assy./ pp. 26-34
  38. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1895, 18th assy./ pp. 96-105
  39. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1899, 20th assy./ pp. 49-57
  40. Ariz. Terr. Laws 1909, 25th assy./ pp. 43-56
  41. Ariz. Laws 1983, 36th assy., ch. 291/pp. 1089-1094