In the early 1800s, Arizona and New Mexico were part of the vast New Mexico Territory. New Mexico Territory appears in the 1850 U.S. census. Arizona doesn’t make its first appearance until 1860, when it is listed as a COUNTY in New Mexico Territory!
Because the history of Arizona and New Mexico were one and the same in those early years, I’ve decided to share genealogy resources for the Southwest, which covers both states.
First, who might you find living in the Southwest in the 1800s? Well, besides the Native Americans, who for the most part aren’t found in records (with the exception of Native American females who might have married a white settler), you will find people from EVERYWHERE!
Among the first eleven lines of Tucson in 1860, there are nine different birthplaces listed – one as far away as England! Of course, there are many Spanish speaking families, too. Some are of Mexican descent and others are of Spanish/European descent.
Tucson, Arizona County in New Mexico Territory, 1860
Yes, as you can see, many were men. However, there were families of ranchers and tradespeople in the area, too, along with soldiers stationed in the forts.
How do you locate early records for Arizona and New Mexico? First of all, if you have a locality identified in the New Mexico Territory where your ancestor/s lived, begin by looking for local genealogy and historical societies. Be sure to check collections in the local library, too.
For more general research, here are some resources with which to begin:
Arizona Genealogical and Historical Societies
Arizona Historical Society – Library and Archives Tucson – online genealogy resources
Arizona Memory Project – online historical digital newspapers
Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
Arizona State University Archives and Special Collections
Chronicling America – Arizona
Linkpendium – Arizona
Online Arizona Death Records & Indexes
University of Arizona – Digital Collections
New Mexico’s history is actually in five time periods, which affect where you need to search for records (Colonial 1598-1821) (Mexican 1821-1846) (U.S. Military District 1846-1850) (New Mexico Territory 1850-1912) and (Statehood – 6 January 1912).
Also, New Mexico originally included El Paso, Texas and parts of Colorado and Chihuahua, Mexico.
1598 New Mexico – Henrietta Christmas’s blog about New Mexico history. The blog also has about 300 wills and probates translated.
Albuquerque & Bernalillo County Public Library – genealogy resources AND local history collections
Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections
Chronicling America – New Mexico Newspapers
FamilySearch Wiki – New Mexico
Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico
Historical Society of New Mexico – There is a long list of statewide links.
Linkpendium – New Mexico
New Mexico Genealogical Society – Click on E-Research for links to early records
New Mexico State Library Digital Archive
New Mexico State University – Library Digital Collections
New Mexico Territorial Census, 1885 – free on FamilySearch
Office of the New Mexico State Historian – J.J. Bowden Papers
Online New Mexico Death Records & Indexes
University of Arizona, Tucson – Yes, Arizona has some early New Mexico records – Special Collections and Southwest Database
University of New Mexico Digital Collections