Mexico Genealogy

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The Mexican 1930 National Census

“The 1930 census is important because it is considered the best and most complete census of the 1900s.”

Exploring Mexico genealogy can be very rewarding. Chances are good that you’ll find your Mexican ancestors in our many records collections. A great place to start is the 1930 census.

The Mexico census in 1930 was the fifth census conducted after 1895. It is formally known as the Fifth General Census of Housing and Population. The 1930 census is important because it is considered the best and most complete census of the 1900s. An aggressive effort by the Mexican government focusing on one’s “civic duty” to cooperate in this census effort resulted in nearly 90% of the population taking part in the 1930 census count. It was also used as a government tool to create a sense of national unity after a decade period of internal war known at the Mexican Revolution.

Only the schedules preserved in the National Archives were microfilmed. If you cannot find the locality you are looking for, search through nearby localities. If you still cannot find your locality, than either it was not filmed or it was placed in a classification that includes multiple localities.

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Significant Mexican Historical Events of the 1930s

  • The Acceleration of Land Reform

    President Lázaro Cárdenas passed the 1934 Agrarian Code and accelerated the pace of land reform. He helped redistribute 45,000,000 acres (180,000 km2) of land, 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km2) of which were expropriated from American owned agricultural property. This caused conflict between Mexico and the United States.

    Agrarian reform had come close to extinction in the early 1930s. The first few years of the Cárdenas' reform were marked by high food prices, falling wages, high inflation, and low agricultural yields. In 1935 land reform began sweeping across the country in the periphery and core of commercial agriculture. The Cárdenas alliance with peasant groups was awarded by the destruction of the hacienda system. Cárdenas distributed more land than all his revolutionary predecessors put together, a 400% increase. The land reform justified itself in terms of productivity. The average agricultural production during the three-year period from 1939 to 1941 was higher than it had been at any time since the beginning of the revolution.

  • The Mexican Miracle

    Mexico produced a sustained economic growth of 3 to 4 percent and modest 3 percent inflation annually from the 1940s until the 1970s. This growth was sustained by the government's increasing commitment to primary education for the general population from the late 1920s, through the decades of the 1930s and 1940s. The enrollment rates of the country's youth increased threefold during this period. When this generation began working in the late 1930s and into the 40s, Mexico’s economic output was significantly more productive. These improvements and the consequences of this economic growth were felt well into later part of the 1900s.

  • The Mexican Repatriation

    The Mexican Repatriation refers to a mass migration that took place within the United States between 1929 and 1939, when as many as 500,000 people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the United States. The event, carried out by American authorities, took place without due process. Some 35,000 Mexicans were deported, amongst many hundreds of thousands of other immigrants who were deported during this period. The Immigration and Naturalization Service targeted Mexicans because of the proximity of the Mexican border and because their physical characteristics made them easy to identify.

    The Repatriation is not widely discussed in American history textbooks. In a 2006 survey of the nine most commonly used American history textbooks in the United States, four did not mention the Repatriation, and only one devoted more than half a page to the topic. Nevertheless, many mainstream textbooks now discuss this topic, while ignoring other mass deportations and repatriations of European immigrants. In total, these history books devoted four pages to the Repatriation, compared with eighteen pages for the Japanese American internment which affected only one-tenth as many people.

    Repatriation efforts were authorized by President Herbert Hoover and targeted areas with large Hispanic populations, mostly in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and Michigan.

  • The End of the Cristero War

    The Cristero War (also known as the Cristiada) of 1926 to 1929 was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government of the time, set off by religious persecution of Christians, especially Roman Catholics, and specifically the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws. After a period of peaceful resistance, a number of skirmishes took place in 1926. The formal rebellions began on January 2, 1927, with the rebels calling themselves Cristeros because they felt they were fighting for Christ himself. Just as the Cristeros began to hold their own against the federal forces, the rebellion was ended by diplomatic means, brokered by the US Ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow.

  • The Nationalization of the Petroleum Industry

    The Mexican oil expropriation was the nationalization of all oil reserves, facilities, and foreign oil companies in Mexico in 1938. It took place when President and General Lázaro Cárdenas declared that all mineral and oil reserves found within Mexico belong to the government. It is one of the Fiestas Patrias of Mexico, celebrating the date when the President, General Lázaro Cárdenas, declared that all oil reserves found in Mexican soil belonged to the nation. This measure caused an international boycott of Mexican products in the following years, especially by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

  • Mexico’s Involvement in WWII

    On the eve of World War II, the Cárdenas administration (1934–1940) was just stabilizing, and consolidating control over, a Mexican nation that, for decades, had been in revolutionary flux. Mexicans were beginning to interpret the European battle between the communists and fascists, especially the Spanish Civil War, through their unique revolutionary lens.

    Whether Mexico would side with the United States was unclear during Lázaro Cárdenas' rule, as he remained neutral. Capitalists, businessmen, Catholics, and middle-class Mexicans who opposed many of the reforms implemented by the revolutionary government sided with the Spanish Falange, i.e., the fascist movement. The Nazi propagandist, Arthur Dietrich and his team of agents in Mexico, successfully manipulated editorials and coverage of Europe by paying hefty subsidies to Mexican newspapers, including the widely-read dailies Excélsior and El Universal. The situation became even more worrisome for the Allies when major oil companies boycotted Mexican oil following Lázaro Cárdenas' nationalization of the oil industry and expropriation of all corporate oil properties in 1938, which severed Mexico's access to its traditional markets and led Mexico to sell its oil to Germany and Italy.