New Mexico Emigration and Immigration
The earliest non-Indian settlers of New Mexico were the 130 Hispanic families who came into the upper Rio Grande Valley in 1598 on the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. At the time of the Pueblo revolt of 1680, the New Mexico Spanish population was about 2,500. By 1817, just before Mexican independence, the Spanish population of New Mexico had reached 27,000.
After the United States took control in 1848, immigrants from Mexico settled in the north central part of the state. During the 1900s there was a heavy Hispanic emigration to other states, especially California.
The influx of Anglo-Americans first began about 1850, when the Santa Fe Trail was used by many on their way to the California gold fields. The eastern third of New Mexico was settled after the Civil War by Protestants from Texas. The southwestern corner attracted miners from other states after the coming of the railroads in the 1880s. Colorado ranchers and Mormon colonists (after 1876) settled the San Juan Valley in the northwest corner of the state.
There has been no port of entry common to settlers of New Mexico. For information on passenger lists, see United States Emigration and Immigration.
The first laws restricting immigration across the Mexican border were enacted in 1903. Records of Mexican border crossings from about 1903 to the mid-1900s are located at the National Archives.
Records of a few ethnic groups such as Italians and Hispanic-Americans are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under NEW MEXICO - MINORITIES. Many records of American Indians are listed under the same heading. Also see Indians of New Mexico.
Mexican Border Crossing Records
Numerous Mexicans came to New Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th century. Records of 20th century Mexican border crossings are available at the National Archives and Family History Library. These include:
- Columbus, New Mexico, alphabetical manifests 1917-1954
- see also Texas: El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Ysleta
- New Mexico Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1988. (NOTE: All information in the original research outline has been imported into the FamilySearch Wiki and is being updated as time permits.)