A recent post on the Facebook page of the New Mexico Genealogical Society mentioned that the results from the New Mexico DNA Project shows that of 710 maternal DNA samples of men with roots in New Mexico (mainly Hispanic men) 77.89% (546 individuals) have Native American DNA.

The genealogical research of the past sixty years has uncovered the diverse geographic and ethnic origins of Nuevomejicano families of the Spanish government era (1598-1821). The increased interest of people in researching their own family lineages has served to document a rich tapestry of geographic, ethnic, and cultural origins.

Often overlooked is the fact that many of the early families of New Mexico were part Indian and these Indian roots were diverse. Families such as the Montoya, Griego, and Anaya Almazán had roots among the Aztecs of the Valley of Mexico. The Luján, López de Gracia, Márquez, Martín Serrano, and Naranjo families were uniquely Nuevomejicano in their blending of Spanish and Pueblo Indian households and extended families.

The progenitors of the Montoya family of New Mexico offer one of the earliest examples with specific details about the particular origin of their Indian roots. Bartolomé de Montoya (born 1572) emigrated from Spain, being a native of Cantillana in the province of Andalucía. His wife, María de Zamora, was a Mexican Indian native of the Barrio de San Sebastián in Mexico City, located near the acequia of the city. The Barrio de San Sebastián was one of four indigenous barrios of Mexico City in the sixteenth century, being formed from the older Aztec barrio of Atzacualco (Tzaqualco) of Tenochtitlán.

María de Zamora moved with her parents to Oaxaca when she was seven years of age and then her family relocated to the Pueblo of Tezcuco, an indigenous community that quickly developed into a multi-ethnic community, where she married Montoya. This couple resided in the Barrio de San Lorenzo in the Pueblo de Tezcuco before coming to New Mexico as settlers in 1600.

In all likelihood, each of the Montoya-Zamora children was born in the Pueblo de Tezcuco. Their daughter, Petronila de Zamora, married Pedro Lucero de Godoy, a man of Spanish background and an encomendero in New Mexico. Diego de Montoya, the son of Bartolomé de Montoya and María de Zamora, attained the privilege of encomendero of the Pueblo of San Pedro in New Mexico. Encomenderos received tribute from the Pueblo Indians in return for armed military protection. Today, most of the people carrying the Montoya and Lucero surnames are descended of Diego and his sister Petronila, respectively.

Another family of blended Spanish and Mexican Indian ancestry is the Griego. Juan Griego traveled from Greece to New Spain where he most likely married Pascuala Bernal. This couple came to New Mexico in 1598 where their children, identified as mestizos, were born. As an adult, their son Juan Griego spoke the Náhuatl language of the Aztec Indians from the Valley of Mexico. He served as an interpreter of the Tewa language and attained the privilege of being an encomendero in New Mexico. His wife, Juana de la Cruz, also mestiza, was a daughter of the Spaniard Juan de la Cruz and his Mexican Indian wife, Beatriz de los Ángeles.

The Griego family, like the Montoya family, attained the highest social and political positions within New Mexico’s seventeenth century society. This was also the case with the Anaya Almazán family. Francisco de Anaya Almazán, a native of Mexico City born to Spanish parents, settled in New Mexico where he married the daughter of early settlers of New Mexico, Francisco López and María de Villafuerte.

María de Villafuerte, born in the latter half of the 1500s, was a highly acculturated Mexican Indian woman from the Pueblo de Cuatitlán, then located just north of Mexico City. Cuatitlán, also spelled Cuautitlán, is popularly known as the birthplace of San Juan Diego, the humble Mexican Indian man to whom the Santísima Virgen de Guadalupe appeared in 1531. It is not surprising to learn that her grandson, Cristóbal de Anaya Almazán owned a painting of Virgen de Guadalupe, indicating a personal devotion to La Guadalupana on his part. Cristóbal was also an encomendero in New Mexico.

Soon after the arrival of don Juan de Oñate and his group of colonists, there were several unions between his soldiers and the Pueblo Indians. Among the earliest was that of the Martín Serrano family. Hernán Martín Serrano, a Spaniard from Zacatecas, bore two sons. The mother of his son and namesakes, Hernán Martín Serrano, the younger, was a Tano Indian woman named doña Inés. She appears to have been the same Tano woman named Inés who was taken from New Mexico when the Castaño de Sosa expedition left New Mexico in 1591. She returned to New Mexico in the company of don Juan de Oñate with the expectation of serving in a role similar to that of the famous ‘la Malinche’ who accompanied Hernán Cortés.

In 1626 doña Ines was described as “an acculturated Tano Indian woman whom they treat as a Spanish woman." She resided in Santa Fe where her son, Hernán the younger, maintained his residence until the 1680 revolt of the Pueblo Indians. He attained military distinction in New Mexico and was also given the highest social privilege of being an encomendero. His brother, Luis Martín Serrano, was described as being a mestizo, but it is not certain if his mother was also doña Inés.

The records from the journals of don Diego de Vargas reveal the familial interrelationship between various groups of Pueblo Indians and Spanish settlers. There was a segment of New Mexico’s seventeenth-century society that crossed community boundaries. Tewa relatives of Juan Ruiz de Cáceres, an interpreter of Tano and Tewa languages, lived at San Juan Pueblo. In 1692 he took into his care two Pueblo Indian cousins, Tomé and Antonia, after almost thirteen years of being separated.

The soldier Miguel Luján, brother-in-law of Juan Ruiz de Cáceres, had comadres and relatives among the Tewa and Tano Indians who occupied Santa Fe after the revolt. One of Luján’s niece’s was the wife of the Pueblo leader don Luis Tupatú, known also as El Picurí in reference to his home community. Luján took into his care the sister of this niece.

In 1692, Francisco Márquez, a soldier, was reunited with his aunt, Lucía, who was part Tewa from Nambé Pueblo, and her grown daughter. Lucía’s husband, Pedro Márquez, settled in Casas Grandes after the Pueblo Indian revolt and never returned to New Mexico. Lucía assisted Governor Vargas during the period of restoration of New Mexico to the Spanish crown.

Underlying the restoration of New Mexico to the Spanish crown during the period of 1692-1696 was desire of family members to be reunited and to restore the broken bonds caused by the revolt of 1680. These bonds crossed cultural and linguistic borders and formed an important part of the unique heritage of Nuevomejicano society.
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Published on March 27, 2012 21:17 • 4,058 views • Tags: dna, genealogy, mestizaje, new-mexico
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message 1: by Mary Louise (new)

Mary Louise Sanchez Very informative! I've always wondered what type of Native American blood I have.


message 2: by Judy (last edited Aug 22, 2013 10:24AM) (new)

Judy This is a fascinating article. My father (Richard Montoya) always told us that his great grandfather immigrated from Barcelona, Spain. Now that I'm knee deep in the family history - I know this can't be true. They did come from Spain - probably 10 generations prior! I am at a brick wall with my gg-grandfather; however, based on the information I have, I do believe eventually we will trace back to Diego de Montoya. Thank you for all of this wonderful information.


message 3: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Fay Great New Mexico Pedigree Database, available on the internet, is highly recommended for anyone with roots in New Mexico. It has been of huge benefit to me in my genealogy research.


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