Socorro County, New Mexico Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png New Mexico Gotoarrow.png Socorro County

Guide to Socorro County, New Mexico ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.


Socorro County, New Mexico
Map of the U.S. highlighting New Mexico
Location of New Mexico in the U.S.
Founded April 17, 1907
County Seat Socorro
Address Socorro County Courthouse
200 Church St; PO Box 1
Socorro, NM 87801
Phone: 505.835.0589
Socorro County Website


County Information

Socorro County, New Mexico Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1885 1860 1912 1912

County Courthouse

Socorro County Courthouse
200 Church St; PO Box 1
Socorro, NM 87801
Phone: 505.835.0589 

County Clerk has marriage records from 1885, probate records from 1912, land records from 1859, birth and death records 1907-1941.[1]


Parent County

  • Until 1821New Spain controlled land that later would become New Mexico and Arizona. Some records of early settlers may have been sent to an archives in Seville, Spain, or to archives in Mexico City.
  • In 1821Mexico had jurisdiction over the land that later would become New Mexico and Arizona. Some records of this period may have been sent to archives in Mexico City.
  • 1846 - United States forces occupied New Mexico starting during the Mexican-American War.
  • 1848 -  Land that became Socorro County formally became a part of the United States when the Mexican-American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
  • 9 Jan 1852 -  Socorro County was created from unorganized land.[1] It extended west to the California border including land in present day Arizona.[2] [3] [4] Residents who lived far from the county seat, probably didn't send many records to the county offices.
Socorro and other counties in New Mexico Territory in 1852.


One of the original nine counties.

Socorro was originally the name given to a village by Don Juan de Onate in 1598. Having received vitally needed food and assistance from the native population, Onate named the pueblo Socorro (which means "succor" in English). The county contains several mountain ranges including Magdalena Mountains, the San Mateo Mountains and Ladron Peak.

Founded 1 July 1850 Seat: Socorro Largest city: Socorro[5]

Boundary Changes

  • Interactive Formation Boundary Map of New Mexico - shows boundary changes for New Mexico Counties
  • New Mexico Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library
  • 29 December 1863 Arizona Territory created from the western half of New Mexico Territory.[6] Socorro County reduced in size to the portion still within New Mexico Territory.
  • 30 January 1868 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of GRANT county. [7]
  • 16 January 1869 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of LINCOLN county. [8]
  • 3 April 1884 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of SIERRA county. [9]
  • 30 January 1899 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of OTERO county. [10]
  • 1 January 1905 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of TORRANCE county. [11]
  • 1 July 1921 - SOCORRO county lost land to the creation of CATRON county. [12]

For animated maps illustrating New Mexico County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation New Mexico County Boundary Maps" (1845-1981) may be viewed for free at the website.

See also Previous Jurisdictions to Land in Arizona for further details.

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Populated Places [13]

  • Socorro (county seat)
  • Magdalena
Census-designated places
  • Abeytas
  • Alamillo
  • Alamo
  • Chamizal
  • Escondida
  • La Joya
  • Las Nutrias
  • Lemitar
  • Luis Lopez
  • Polvadera
  • San Acacia
  • San Antonio
  • San Antonito
  • Veguita
Unincorporated communities
  • Bernardo
  • Claunch
  • Luis Lopez
  • Polvadera
  • Sabinal
  • San Antonio
  • Ghost towns[edit]
  • Adobe
  • Carthage
  • Council Rock
  • Field
  • Kelly
  • Park City

Neighboring Counties



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
NMGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
NMGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See New Mexico Cemeteries for more information.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1910 14,761
1920 14,061 −4.7%
1930 9,611 −31.6%
1940 11,422 18.8%
1950 9,670 −15.3%
1960 10,168 5.1%
1970 9,763 −4.0%
1980 12,566 28.7%
1990 14,764 17.5%
2000 18,078 22.4%
2010 17,866 −1.2%
Source: "".
State Census Records
Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for New Mexico starting in 1850. For links to Federal census indexes, see New Mexico Census.


Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about New Mexico denominations, view the New Mexico Church Records wiki page.



Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See New Mexico Land and Property for additional information about early New Mexico land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Socorro County, New Mexico Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section New Mexico Local Histories.




Revolutionary War
Civil War
Civil War Battle

The following Civil War battle was fought in Socorro County.

Map showing Civil War battles in New Mexico. 
World War I
World War II



Online Probate Records

Since statehood in 1912, probate matters have been under the jurisdiction of probate courts in each county. Records of guardianship and adoption have usually been transferred to the district courts. In 1953 the district courts were given concurrent jurisdiction with the probate court over all probate matters in each county.

See the wiki page New Mexico Probate Records for information about how to find earlier probate records.

The Family History Library does not have copies of the New Mexico county probate records. They are available at each county courthouse. You can obtain copies by contacting the county clerk.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, and adoption.


New Mexico tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the Wiki page New Mexico Taxation.

Vital Records


A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

New Mexico, County Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Societies and Libraries

Socorro County Historical Society, Inc.
PO Box 923
Socorro, New Mexico 87801-0923

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Web Sites


  1. 1.0 1.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Socorro County, New Mexico page 475, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. N.M. Terr. Laws 1851, 1st assy., 2d sess. /p. 291
  3. William Thorndale, and William Dollarhide, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987), 26. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 X2th.
  4. Original Counties of New Mexico Territory (map) at (accessed 9 August 2011).
  5. accessed 09/29/2016
  6. U.S. Stat., vol. 12, pp. 664-665; Van Zandt, 165
  7. N.M. Terr. Laws 1867-1868, 17th assy., ch. 20/p. 88
  8. N.M. Terr. Laws 1868-1869, 18th assy., ch. 8/pp. 28-31
  9. N.M. Terr. Laws 1884, 26th assy., ch. 109/pp. 223-225
  10. N.M. Terr. Laws 1899, 33d assy., ch. 3/pp. 21-30
  11. N.M. Terr. Laws 1903, 35th assy., ch. 70/pp. 132-134
  12. N.M. Laws 1921, 5th reg. sess., ch. 28/pp. 37-45
  14. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 8 August, 2012)