New Mexico Church Records
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This entry was originally written by Karen Stein Daniel, CG and Margaret Windham for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The early population of New Mexico was generally both Spanish-speaking and Catholic. As such, the sacramental records of the towns and villages present an important avenue of research and may provide the names of several generations within one document. Catholic Church sacramental records (baptisms, marriages, and burials) are rich in vital record information and may prove a valuable alternative in cases where vital records are closed to the public.
The New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, the Special Collections Library, the FHL, and other locations maintain some early Catholic records from the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Some records for the Diocese of Las Cruces have also been filmed by the FHL. The Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico has published and is currently abstracting records for publication from the Diocese of Gallup. A wealth of Catholic records has been published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society and others. Records generally begin in the late 1600s and continue to 1955, and may include baptisms, marriages, burials, and census records, among others. Some records exist for Native Americans. Researchers should begin by referring to the online source, “Locating Catholic Church Records in New Mexico,” at www.nmgs.org and the New Mexico Genealogist Comprehensive Index, volumes 1-38, 1962–1999 (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2000). Reference should also be made to Chávez, Fray Angélico, Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 1678–1900. (St. Paul, Minn.: North Central Publishing Co., 1957).
For Protestant records, consult the local churches in the area where the ancestor lived. Some manuscript and other holdings can be found at the New Mexico State University Library and the University of New Mexico. Check the “Online Archive of New Mexico” at http://elibrary.unm.edu/oanm. For Presbyterian Church records, consult the Menaul Historical Library of the Southwest in Albuquerque, 301 Menaul Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107 www.menaulschool.com/histlib/.