Jose Antonio Esquibel's Blog

March 5, 2019

A Family Biography: The López Holguín-Villanueva Clan of Seventeenth-century New Mexico, Part 1

I am extremely pleased to announce that the my six-part history and updated genealogy of the López Holguín-Villanueva family of 17th-century New Mexico will be re-published in the pages of the ‘New Mexico Genealogist.’ Part 1 will appear in the March 2019 issue that will be sent to members of the New Mexico Genealogical Society. Visit for membership information.

A little over a decade ago I was asked by Ana Pacheco to contribute some brief articles on the founders of the Villa de Santa Fe to ‘La Herencia del Norte’. I sifted through twelve years of notes extracted from copies of primary records to write a series that included a small article about Juan López Holguín and Catalina de Villanueva, founders of the Villa de Santa Fe and common ancestors for many people with deep Hispano roots in New Mexico (including me).

In 2009, I began to compile additional information from my research notes and conducted further research into available records so that by 2010 I had a draft of the first of six articles with a detailed history of the López Holguín-Villanueva with revisions to the genealogy of several generations of this family.

The series original ran during 2010 and 2011 in the pages of ‘El Farolito,’ the journal of the Olibama López-Tushar Hispanic Legacy Research Center. Since that time, I uncovered additional genealogical and historical information about Juan López Holguín and Catalina de Villanueva.

This past December, I contacted Henrietta Martinez Christmas, President of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, and offered the López Holguín-Villanueva series for publication in the “New Mexico Genealogist.” Henrietta gave me a green light and I began to make the revisions and updates to Part 1 of the series, which is now slated to appear in the March 2019 issue. In addition, I also have enough additional information to complete Part 7.

For many decades what was known about the López-Villanueva family was the information uncovered by Fray Angélico Chávez and presented in five paragraphs in his book, Origins of New Mexico Families in the Spanish Colonial Period, first published in 1956.

Chávez noted that Juan López Holguín, a native of the Fuente Ovejuna in Estremadura, Spain, who was also known as Juan López de Villasana, came to New Mexico from Mexico City in 1600. In his company was his wife, Catalina de Villanueva. Somehow, Chávez missed that this couple came with two daughters, Ana Ortiz and María Ortiz, which resulted in the publication of a genealogical error.

Chávez indicated that a child of Juan and Catalina was Simón de Adendaño, the husband of María Ortiz. Chávez further speculated that María Ortiz was a member of the Baca family. As I conducted research into archival records related to the early history of New Mexico, I was able to make the correction, which was posted on the ‘Beyond Origins of New Mexico families’ web site many years ago.

Not only will descendants of the López Holguín-Villanueva find the information in my series to be of personal interest, the general reader will gain insights into the social and political history of New Mexico in the seventeenth-century.

Here are highlights of what readers will encounter in Part 1 of the López-Holguín-Villanueva series:

• A transcription of the baptismal record of Juan López Holguín (extracted by Richard J. Salazar and Robert D. Martinez).
• The trade profession of Juan López Holguín when he lived in Mexico City.
• The names of the parents of Catalina de Villanueva.
• The trade profession of Cristóbal Baca in Mexico City.
• The name of a relative of Ana Ortiz, wife of Cristóbal Baca (Ana Ortiz was also apparently a relative of Catalina de Villanueva).
• Initial information about Juan de Vitoria Carvajal, the elder ( 15**) and Juan de Vitoria Carvajal, the younger ( 157*) and which one of these men was the husband of Isabel Holguín.
• A revised genealogy of the early generations of the López Holguín-Villanueva family.
• The transcription of the marriage record of Diego de Vera Perdomo and María de Abendaño, a granddaughter of Juan López Holguín and Catalina de Villanueva.
• New historical information about Diego de Vera Perdomo.
• A comprehensive account of the extended family genealogy of Diego de Vera Perdomo in the canary Islands.

Other 17th-century residents of New Mexico mentioned in Part 1 include:

• Alonso Baca
• Antonio Baca and his wife, Yumar Pérez de Bustillo
• Pedro Durán y Chavez and his wife Isabel de Bohórquez, daughter of Cristóbal Baca and Ana Ortiz
• Juan Escarramad
• Cristóbal Holguín, mestizo, natural son of Juan López Holguín, and his wife Melcohoa Manzanares y Sandoval, coyota.
• Isabel Holguín and her husband, Juan de Vitoria Carvajal (the younger)
• Pedro Lucero de Godoy
• Francisco de Madrid
• Bartolomé Montoya
• Simón Pérez Bustillo and his wife Juana de Zamora, daughter of Cristóbal Baca and Ana Ortiz
• Juan Rodríguez Bellido
• Bartolomé Romero
• Antonio de Salas
• Petronila de Salas
• Hernando Márquez Sambrano
• Blas Valencia
• Alonso Varela

Because genealogical research tends to focus mainly on the collection of names of ancestors from one generation to the next, I hope readers appreciate the detailed historical account of the López-Villanueva clan in addition to the genealogical information.

I look forward to comments by readers.
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Published on March 05, 2019 19:45 • 515 views • Tags: ana-ortiz, catalina-de-villanueva, cristobal-baca, lopez-holguin

September 7, 2018

Juana Domínguez, Coyota: A Women Caught Between Two Cultures

Juana Domínguez (d. 1717, Villa de Santa Fe) is a common ancestor for numerous people with deep family roots in New Mexico. Even after her passing, she was remembered as a coyota of Taos Pueblo, a woman of mixed Pueblo Indian and Spanish ancestry.

With her first husband, Domingo Luján, a mestizo who had at least one Pueblo Indian relative, Juana was the mother of four children, each of whom left numerous descendants —Juan Luján who married María Martín, Antonia Domínguez Luján who married José de Quintana, Josefa Luján who married Matías Martín and then Melchor de Herrera, and Leonor Luján who married Cristóbal Varela.

Juana Domínguez is the subject of a recent article of mine published in the Fall 2018 issue of ‘El Palacio,’ the magazine of the Museum of New Mexico, which can be downloaded in PDF for a limited time at

In August 2016, I received a phone call from Shelley Thompson, the publisher of ‘El Palacio.’ She spoke with me about her interest in an article regarding the Luján-Domínguez family. This interest stemmed from a conversation with Amanda Luján during a brainstorming session on an exhibit for the museum’s Van on Wheels program (now Wonders on Wheels).

Intrigued that Amanda could relate the names of her Luján ancestors, Shelley did a little genealogical research on the Luján lineage. Based on what she learned, she knew there was a story to be told.

The exploits of men are more often the subject of history and this is certainly true for the history of New Mexico. Because I’ve made a point to write about women of New Mexico’s past, I was very willing to take on the writing assignment.

Several years ago, I came across a document that mentioned the grandmother of Antonia Quintana was “desciendente del Pueblo de San Gerónimo de la Taos, coyota,” which was a reference to Juana Domínguez. Antonia Quintana was a daughter of José de Quintana (a native of Mexico City) and Antonia Luján Domínguez, a native of New Mexico and a daughter of Domingo Luján and Juana Domínguez.

Reviewing other records regarding Juana Domínguez, the testimony of witnesses in her prenuptial investigation process when she sought to marry Lorenzo de Madrid specifically mentioned that Juana Domínguez was “a captive who was found at Taos” with her children. This pertained to when Governor Vargas and his soldiers entered New Mexico in 1692 and reengaged Pueblo Indian leaders in seeking a restoration of Spanish governance in northern New Mexico.

Here was an intriguing story. It appeared that during the August 1680 Pueblo Indian uprising the lives of Juana Domínguez and her children were spared because of her Pueblo Indian background and may have been passed along to relatives at Taos Pueblo.

When they were found living at Taos Pueblo in late 1692, she was taken in by her half-brother, a mestizo and a distinguished soldier, José Domínguez de Mendoza. It was at El Paso del Río del Norte that Juana and her children were reunited with Domingo Luján until his untimely death the following year.

In the context of what is known about Juana Domínguez from the historical record, the article touches on several historical points that are not generally well-known or addressed in most histories about the era that spanned the time before and after the 1680 Pueblo Indian uprising. Those points are based on information found in historical documentation and provide a more nuanced perspective on two important aspects with regard to Pueblo Indian and Spanish social and political relations in the 1600s.

First, although there were always factions among the Pueblo Indians that did not want the Spanish citizens and Spanish government in New Mexico, the leaders who saw benefits for their people preferred to form an alliance with the Spaniards. These leaders held political prominence until they fell out of favor in the late 1670s.

Second, from 1598 onward, the main way that Spanish citizens were able to live in New Mexico was through an alliance with Pueblo Indian leaders, which included a confederacy of Pueblo Indian communities. The common enemies were the nomadic tribes that raided Pueblo communities and Spanish ranches. And, commercial activities within and outside of New Mexico were seen as beneficial to the tribes as well as the Spanish citizens.

Third, one of the underlying factors that led to the Pueblo Indian uprising was the decade-long impact of draught and famine in the 1670s. The lack of food led to starvation and the increase of raids by nomadic Indian tribes, which placed a tremendous stress on social and political relations between Pueblo Indians and Spanish citizens.

Fourth, at the time of the Pueblo Indian uprising in 1680 and the restoration of Spanish governance in New Mexico in 1692-1693, there were segments of the Pueblo Indian population and the population of Spanish citizens that were related. The uprising severed familial relations, dividing families. The role of those extended families in the restoration of Spanish governance in New Mexico is often overlooked. Family members desired to be reunited.

Those familial connections are continually being revealed through New Mexico genealogical research. Those connections are also evident in the DNA of people with deep roots in New Mexico.

I hope the article about Juana Domínguez serves to help further educate interested readers about circumstance that led to the Pueblo Indian uprising and the courage of the Pueblo Indian and Spanish leaders in seeking and achieving reconciliation. This reconciliation served as a catalyst for the cultural development of Pueblo Indians and Hispanos of New Mexico to the present day.
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Published on September 07, 2018 21:51 • 487 views • Tags: coyota, domingo-lujan, el-palacio, juana-dominguez

May 13, 2018

Commentary on ‘The Lucero de Godoy Family of New Mexico’ Book

My latest published piece is the historical introduction to the new book, ‘The Lucero de Godoy Family of New Mexico: From the Founder Maese de Camp Pedro Lucero de Godoy Through the Seventh Generation’ (New Mexico Genealogical Society, April 2018; available for order via, compiled and edited by Gerald H. Peterson and Mary Chacon Peterson and based on the original research by Margaret Buxton.

In addition to including my previous genealogical findings on the Lucero de Godoy family of Mexico City as part of the introduction, I provide an overview of the social and political conditions experienced by the early members of the Lucero de Godoy family in the seventeenth century. Interested readers will also learn some new details about the Lucero de Godoy family, such as:

• the occupation of Juan López de Godoy, the father of Pedro Lucero de Godoy
• the political affiliation of the Lucero de Godoy family in New Mexico, and
• the reason for the marriage of Pedro and his two children at the Palace of the Governors.

The bulk of the book is a very well organized presentation of seven generations of descendants of Pedro Lucero de Godoy by his two wives, Petronila de Zamora and doña Francisca Gómez Robledo.

The Petersons conducted a remarkable amount of work in reorganizing and updating the material that was originally researched and compiled by Margaret Buxton in 1981.

Margaret Buxton spent many years researching the genealogy of the descendants of Diego Lucero de Godoy ( 1691) and Ana María Martín ( 1712) from the early eighteenth century into the early nineteenth century. The culmination of her work was a self-formatted book of 524 typewritten pages titled ‘The Family of Lucero de Godoi Early Records’ published in 1982 by the New Mexico Genealogical Society with an additional 209 page index of names and fourteen pages of additions and corrections to her 1981 compilation.

Buxton consulted numerous records, including baptismal, marriage and burial records of twelve New Mexico parish churches, census records, archival documents of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico, and land grant records. In addition to providing source citations in her compilation, she included many notes in her work and information extracted from archival records in order to aid interested researcher in locating copies of original records.

With the increased interest in New Mexico Hispano genealogy in the late 1980s and during the 1990s, Buxton’s Lucero de Godoy book became a popular reference for individuals researching their Lucero de Godoy lineage.

The emergence of new research findings on descendants of the Lucero de Godoy family extracted from archival and church records by various researchers over the ensuing decades eventually necessitated an update to Buxton’s book. When Gerald H. Peterson and Mary Chacon Peterson approached Henrietta Martinez Christmas, President of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, about their interest and willingness to assist on a project, the update and revision of Buxton’s book was at the top of Henrietta’s list.

In considering the revisions to the book, it was decided to format the genealogical information according to the current national genealogical standard. This decision changed the entire presentation of the genealogical findings from Buxton’s original format to one that is much easier to follow, better aiding the tracing of lineages from the earliest progenitor of the Lucero de Godoy family to descendants of the seventh generation.

As part of the new format, the Petersons have inserted Buxton’s numerous notes and source citations as footnotes and there is an appendix of additional source information. In addition to providing some newer genealogical findings, the Petersons, guided by work done by Henrietta, have also include English translations of last wills and testaments of some of the descendants of the Lucero de Godoy family.

Anyone with deep Hispano family roots in New Mexico may at some point encounter an ancestor who belonged to the Lucero de Godoy family. In this regard, the revised ‘The Lucero de Godoy Family of New Mexico’ is a valuable reference book for finding source documentation and tracing one or more lineages to the family progenitor, Pedro Lucero de Godoy, born in 1599 in Mexico City and who resided in New Mexico for his full adult life from around 1617 until his death sometime after 1665 and before August 1680.

The Lucero surname is still found in New Mexico today and many individuals with deep family roots in New Mexico can trace one or more lineages to members of the Lucero de Godoy family.

When I was invited by Henrietta Martinez Christmas to write an introduction to the revised version of Margaret Buxton’s Lucero de Godoy book, I considered the opportunity to include information I had extracted from copies of various primary sources about the history and genealogy of the Lucero de Godoy family of seventeenth-century New Mexico.

I was pleased that Henrietta and the Petersons agreed.

In the late 1990s I uncovered three personal letters of Pedro Lucero de Godoy written to two family members in Mexico City and a business associate in San José del Parral. The letters were confiscated by Inquisition officials in 1662 as part of an investigation against Governor don Bernardo López de Mendizábal. Pedro and his extended family were political supporters of the governor and thus came under scrutiny as part of the investigation. The letters contained references to several of Pedro’s nephews and to two of his brothers.

With information from the letters I was successful in uncovering the names of the parents of Pedro Lucero de Godoy and located Pedro’s baptismal record, as well as the baptismal records of his siblings, and the marriage record of his parents, as well as information about the family of his mother’s sister.

I compiled my findings as an article that was originally published in the Fall 2003 issue of ‘El Farolito,’ the quarterly journal of the Olibama López Tushar Hispanic Genealogical Research Center. I updated the article and it was re-published in the Fall 2013 issue of ‘El Farolito.’

For the historical introduction to ‘The Lucero de Godoy Family of New Mexico,’ I incorporated my genealogical findings and I wrote a history of the Lucero de Godoy family of seventeenth-century New Mexico that includes information not previously published.

Anyone researching their Lucero family roots will find ‘The Lucero de Godoy Family of New Mexico’ to be a valuable research reference.
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Published on May 13, 2018 20:22 • 1,403 views • Tags: gerald-h-peterson, juan-lopez-de-godoy, lucero-de-godoy, mary-chacon-peterson, new-mexico, pedro-lucero-de-godoy

October 15, 2017

Spanish Colonial Women and the Law: Editorial Review

For anyone who is intrigued by the history of New Mexico, especially those who have an interest in cultural history and those with deep ancestral roots in the region, there is a gold mine of insights and information presented in ‘Spanish Colonial Women and the Law: Complaints, Lawsuits, and Criminal Behavior, Documents from the Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico, 1697 – 1749’ by Linda Tigges, editor, and J. Richard Salazar, transcriber and translator (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2016).

'Spanish Colonial Women and the Law' is a rare collection of translated and transcribed records from the second series of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico.

The first series of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico consists of records related to land transactions, wills, and settlement s of estates. The records of the first series are better known and the greater majority of those records were translated into English in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The second series of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico contains archival documents related to New Mexico’s military history, government administration, and legal complaints, lawsuits, and criminal cases.

Because fewer documents from this second series have been translated, the contents of those records are less known and less accessible to the English-speaking reader. Tigges and Salazar take a very big step in rectifying this shortcoming with the publication of ‘Spanish Colonial Women and the Law,’ which is a companion volume to their first book, ‘Spanish Colonial Lives, Documents from the Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico, 1705–1774’ (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2013).

Both Tigges and Salazar have decades of experience as researchers and historians with in-depth familiarity of the records of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico. It is with this familiarity and their own personal passion for New Mexico history that they joined forces to produce two unique and invaluable books.

History is about people. People of the past shaped and influenced history. To understand those influences from events prior to the advent of sound and visual recordings, we are dependent on surviving historical records.

With regard to New Mexico’s past, there is a sizable collection of archival documents for the period of 1693 to 1820. Only a few historians have spent time going through the archival documents of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico. What has been published by those historians tends to focus on New Mexico’s military history, politics, Spanish-Indian relations, land grants, and trade.

Linda Tigges and J. Richard Salazar provide something different in their book, ‘Spanish Colonial Women and the Law.’

The book begins with a well-presented account of women and the law in eighteenth-century Spanish society with specific examples drawn from primary documents of New Mexico. This section offers invaluable background for understanding the legal rights accorded to women and highlights an array of social issues that woman faced in eighteenth-century New Mexico.

This is followed by thirty-one transcribed and translated documents that bring to the forefront insights into the lives of New Mexico’s citizens of the past, both women and the men with whom they interacted.

The selected records reveal details about the experiences of eighteenth-century women of New Mexico as daughters, wives, mothers, friends, neighbors, rivals and competitors, advocates, property owners, crime victims, and as citizens of the Spanish royal government with legal rights independent of the men in their lives.

At the end of the book, there are several maps that help locate communities mentioned in the documents and a short glossary of key words, as well as terms that are not as familiar today.

By publishing transcriptions of the original Spanish records and English translations of those records, Tigges and Salazar provide readers the opportunity to delve into the richness of primary source material and experience the “feel” of the era through the recorded words of people of New Mexico’s past.

The material presented in this book is about everyday people living in New Mexico during the 1700s. We read and learn about people who raised families, farmed land, raised and sold livestock, participated in local and long-distance trade, acquired and managed land, and participated in customs and cultural traditions of their era and their region. We also learn about familial and social relationships, including conflicts and feuds, as well as ways that complaints and disputes were settled.

The names of numerous individuals are buried in the selected documents. Many of those individual are ancestors to people living today who have deep familial roots in New Mexico. For the reader with an interest in genealogy, the comprehensive index is a welcome tool for locating names of ancestors.

The records presented in ‘Spanish Colonial Women and the Law’ are an excellent source for documenting family history and genealogy. Tigges and Salazar make the extra effort to identify the people mentioned in the documents, including a description of familial relationships where that information is available. This information is found in the notes following each document.

For those readers who have an interest in family history, in addition to consulting the notes about people mentioned in the documents, readers can also consult the ‘Beyond Origins of New Mexico Families’ web site for updated genealogical information about families of the early 1700s ( There have been advances made that correct or extend the information found in Fray Angelico Chavez’s 1954 book, ‘Origins of New Mexico Families in the Spanish Colonial Period.’

Genealogy research more often than not focuses on identifying names of ancestors along with dates of birth, marriage and death. Information found in archival records of New Mexico’s past can shed light on the activities and character of ancestors within the context of the historical era in which they lived.

'Spanish Colonial Women and the Law' is a welcome and important contribution to understanding New Mexico’s eighteenth-century history and culture through historical records pertaining to the actions and activities of people of New Mexico’s past who shaped the future development of Nuevomejicano culture.
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Published on October 15, 2017 06:21 • 1,017 views • Tags: j-richard-salazar, linda-tigges, new-mexico

April 13, 2017

Francisco Montes Vigil (1665-1731): A New Mexico Genealogical Link to Medieval European Nobility and Royalty

It was only a matter of time….and diligent research.

With the publication of the book, “Una Familia Mas Noble y Antigua: A Preliminary Study of the Asturian Ancestry of Capitán Francisco Montes Vigil of New Mexico” (privately published, 2016), Brent Alexander Cruz aptly demonstrates through credible sources that Francisco Montes Vigil (b. 1665 – d. 1731), who settled New Mexico in 1695 with his wife and children, is one of innumerable descendants of several noble families of the kingdoms of León y Castilla.

A genealogical connection to two medieval families of Asturias, the Quiros-Quijada and the Miranda-Ponce de León, provides the link to Alonso IX (b. 1171 – d. 1230), king of León y Castilla.

With Alonso IX and his second wife, Berengaria de Castilla, various lineage extend to numerous medieval royal and noble houses of Europe.

Francisco Montes Vigil, a native of Zacatecas, arrived in New Mexico in February 1695 with his wife, María Jiménez Anciso, and children. Today, this couple is well-known as common ancestors for many people with deep Hispanic roots in New Mexico.

The 2005 article by Marietta Vigil Gonzales, José Antonio Esquibel, and Juan Díaz Álvarez titled “Los Argüelles, A.D. 1350 – A.D. 1600: Ancestors of the Montes Vigil Family of New Mexico,” presented the 1573 last will and testament of Lope de Argüelles, the third-great-grandfather of Francisco Montes Vigil. In this will, Lope, a resident of Vega de Poja in Asturias (now northern Spain), proudly named his immediate ancestors. In particular, he identified his mother, doña María de Quiros, as the granddaughter of “Diego de Miranda, Señor de la Casa de Miranda.”

After reading that article, Cruz was inspired to research the Montes Vigil and Argüelles family ancestries. It was in 2012 that he came across published information about the Argüelles family genealogy in one of the volumes of ‘Asturias Ilustrada: Primitivo Origen de la Nobleza de España, su Antigüedad, y Diferencias, con la Descendencia Sucessiva de las Principales Familias del Reyno,” compiled and written by José Manuel Trelles Villademoros and published in 1760.

The information Cruz read in this book matched what was published in the 2005 on the Montes Vigil ancestors. This was because Trelles Villademoros had consulted the same last will and testament of Lopé de Argüelles more than two centuries earlier and extracted the same information.

What Cruz found in the multi-volume set of “Asturias Ilustrada” spurred him to find and read other credible published books and articles, mainly by Spanish scholars.

Cruz writes, “After this discovery, my research became a joy, as I read every volume in “Asturias Ilustrada” line by line and made details outlines before putting together a chart tracing all the connections made to ancestors of the Vigil family. Once I had these preliminary charts, I turned to other ancient Spanish lineage books that were available online, tracked down the more obscure titles via interlibrary loan, and made use of the vast amount of Spanish medieval genealogical material that was available on the Internet.”

Cruz’s book is titled “A Preliminary Study” because the main body of the book consists of genealogy charts based on credible published sources. Cruz is meticulous about indicating his sources on the 77 charts and he provides an extensive bibliography at the end of the book.

In addition to an overview narrative of what led him to conduct the research and compile the material for the book, Cruz provides a brief summary of the research on the Montes Vigil family of New Mexico conducted by several genealogical researchers since the 1950s, beginning with the 1954 publication of “Origins of New Mexico Families in the Spanish Colonial Era” by Fray Angélico Chávez.

Brent Alexander Cruz’s book is an exciting addition to the ongoing research into genealogy of the Montes Vigil family.

For anyone who traces one or more family lineages to Francisco Montes Vigil, “Una Familia Mas Noble y Antigua” is an important reference.

This book is an excellent guide to genealogical and historical sources documenting an ancient ancestry that includes more than a few notable historical figures, in particular numerous monarchs, male and female, that reigned in Europe from the 5th century A.D. to the 11th century AD.

Cruz acknowledges, “It is inevitable that many of the connections in this book will need to be updated in the years to come as more and more of the current research into original sources becomes widely accessible to genealogists.”

This is a very important point because the information in this book is based on published sources.

The next step is to identify, catalogue, and acquire copies of the primary records that confirm the genealogical connection up to the point of the widely accepted genealogy of Alonso IX and Berengaria de Castilla.

When that is accomplished, an effort can be made to have Francisco Montes Vigil officially confirmed as a “gateway ancestor” to medieval royalty.

If you happen to be a descendant of Francisco Montes Vigil, do your best to keep your head from swelling with grandiose thoughts about of having royal ancestors. Francisco Montes Vigil was not a nobleman. He held no title of Spanish nobility.

As the research by Rick Hendricks and Robert D. Martínez has shown, based on primary documents, Francisco Montes Vigil was a natural son of Juan Montes Vigil, native of Mexico City, and an Indian woman, and thus Francisco was a mestizo.

Although Francisco’s social standing in Spanish society as a mestizo and a child born out of wedlock could have been an impediment, he clearly had an aptitude for achievement and leadership as an adult, which he exhibited as a settler of New Mexico and frontier soldier, gaining the rank of captain.

Francisco and his wife, María Jiménez Anciso —herself part Spanish, part Indian, and part African— had eight children through whom they became the progenitors of the Montes Vigil family of New Mexico, a family that eventual shortened its surname to Vigil.

So, what does it means to be able to trace one or more lineages to medieval royalty?

It may be surprising to know that a great many people living today are descended of medieval royalty. This is more common than most people think. However, the great majority of these descendants are not able to document their lineage to a royal family with records.

If you are a descendant of Francisco Montes Vigil, I recommend reading “The Etiquette of Having Noble and Royal Ancestors” by John P. Dulong (, which is a post on the Internet. Among the tips of etiquette are these two points:

• “In general, it is not wise to boast about having royal ancestors.”
• “Some of your very distant ancestors had ‘royal blood,’ you do not. You are not part of the royal house, you are not in the line of succession for any kingdom.”

If there is no special social privilege about being descended of medieval European royalty, what is the value of having documented one or more royal lineages? The main value is gaining inspiration to read and learn about the history of these ancestors, many of whom are historical figures.

An amazing amount of information is now available on the Internet. Use the Internet to search for credible sources and read about the history of the monarchs of Iberian kingdoms of León, Castilla, Portugal, and Navarra. Read in translation the chronicles of famous ancestors. Use the genealogical information found in “Una Familia Mas Noble y Antigua” to foster an interest in history among youth.

But also, let’s be sure to remember the history of the more humble ancestors that lived in New Mexico before 1848. Take the time to learn about the lives of those ancestors and what they experienced living in Spain’s farthest northern realm of the Americas. And even more, write about the history of these ancestors.

For information about purchasing “Una Familia Mas Noble y Antigua: A Preliminary Study of the Asturian Ancestry of Capitán Francisco Montes Vigil of New Mexico,” contact Brent Alexander Cruz at
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Published on April 13, 2017 20:02 • 1,527 views • Tags: brent-cruz, francisco-montes-vigil, new-mexico-genealogy

January 1, 2016

Early Settlers of Santa Cruz de la Cañada, 1695-1715: A Monograph

The Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz was founded on April 22, 1695, as the second official town on New Mexico. Today, Santa Cruz is part of the City of Española.

Early Settlers of Santa Cruz de la Cañada, 1695-1715 (Sierra Azul Monograph No. 1, 2015) provides the first comprehensive account of the earliest residents of a community that served as a springboard for the establishment of numerous Spanish settlements in northern New Mexico during the 1700s, settlements such as Abiquiú, Ojo Caliente, Las Trampas, Embudo, and Taos.

This monograph is primarily written for individuals who are researching their Spanish New Mexican roots. There are lists of residents of the town and jurisdiction of the Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz for the years 1695, 1696, 1697, 1704, 1707, and 1712, 1707, and 1712, including the census of 1707 and the tool distribution list of 1712.

Of particular interest to genealogical research is the compilation of marriage records for the years 1695-1715. The original book of marriage for the church of Santa Cruz is long missing. The marriage records in this monograph were extracted from surviving prenuptial investigating records and are arranged chronologically.

For anyone interested in understanding the early history of the Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz, this monograph offers an historical account of the challenging era in which Spanish citizens risks their lives to make the frontier region of New Mexico their home.

There is a common misconception that the Spanish citizens who settled New Mexico and their descendants lived in isolation from the rest of the Spanish Americas, accounting for the unique expression of Spanish culture in New Mexico. Although this is a romantic notion, historical records indicate the New Mexicans not only remained connected to people and places outside of New Mexico, they traveled long distance for a variety of reasons.

As evidence of long-distance travel, there is a rare list of individuals seeking license to travel outside of New Mexico between 1713 and 1715, including numerous residents of the jurisdiction of Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz.

People who have traced family roots to the early settlement of Santa Cruz will likely find the names of one or more ancestors in the various lists, which were extracted from primary sources.

Not included in this volume are chapters on land grants and civil suits. This information will be included in an expanded version of this wok that will be published as an e-book.

The material in this monograph is based on research conducted over the course of over twenty years. Most of the material was extracted in the late 1990s as part of the preparation of the book I co-authored with John B. Colligan, The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico: an account of the Families Recruited at Mexico City in 1693 (Albuquerque: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico, 1999).

I welcome comments by readers. I’m especially interested in knowing what insights readers gain by understanding the history of the early years of the settlement of the Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz and the persistence of the early settlers.

Early Settlers of Santa Cruz de la Canada is available in PDF as a free download at
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Published on January 01, 2016 22:33 • 1,425 views • Tags: new-mexico-genealogy, new-mexico-history, santa-cruz

October 28, 2014

The Family of Matías Romero and Doña Isabel de Pedraza in 17th-century New Mexico

The seventeenth-century extended family surname of Romero de Pedraza in New Mexico originated with the union of Matías Romero (son of Bartolomé Romero and doña Lucía Robledo) and doña Isabel de Pedraza. They were the progenitors of as many as forty-eight descendants born before the end of the seventeenth century.

Although the Pueblo Indian uprising of August 1680 claimed the lives of approximately nine to eleven members of this particular branch of the Romero family, archival records confirm that the greater majority of individuals with the surname of Romero returning to New Mexico in December 1693 were grandchildren of Matías Romero and doña Isabel de Pedraza. In contrast, there is no documentation to confirm that any male descendants of the brothers of Matías Romero —Bartolomé Romero and Agustín Romero— returned to New Mexico in 1693 or soon after.

The names of twelve grandchildren of Matías Romero and doña Isabel de Pedraza are still unknown. As such, it is very probable that several of the Romero individuals accounted for in the records of late seventeenth-century New Mexico were members of the Romero de Pedraza branch of the Romero family. The exceptions are the few Romero people returning to New Mexico who were members of the family of Alonso Romero, a mestizo who lived and worked in the household family of Felipe Romero (son of Matías Romero).

Matías Romero and his wife, doña Isabel de Pedraza, were the parents of four sons and two daughters, as identified by Diego Pérez Romero in his statement about his family background in 1663. Pérez Romero named his cousins in the following order: Pedro Romero, Francisco Romero, Bartolomé Romero, Felipe Romero, Luisa Romero and Catalina López Robledo (AGN, Inquisición, t. 372, f. 71v; and José Antonio Esquibel, “The Romero Family of Seventeenth Century New Mexico,” Part 1, Herencia, Vol. 1, Issue 1, January 2003, 8-9, and 10).

In March 1631, Fray Esteban de Perea, Comisario del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición, sought testimony from Matías Romero in a case against his brother-in-law, Gaspar Pérez, but Romero only stated he knew nothing about the matter in question (AGN, Inquisición, t. 372, exp. 16, f. 4, March 26, 1631, Santa Fe). He gave his age as twenty-seven, indicating he was born circa 1604, and declared he was a vecino of Santa Fe. It is apparent he was literate since he was able to sign his name. By 1631 Romero already held prominent military and social positions, serving as alguacil mayor (chief constable or high sheriff) of Santa Fe and alférez real, royal standard bearer (AGN, Inquisición, t. 372, exp. 16, ff. 4-4v).

In the same case, Fray Esteban interviewed doña Isabel de Pedraza in Santa Fe on June 22, 1631. She was identified as being age twenty-five (born circa 1606) and the wife of Alférez Matías Romero. The remarks of doña Isabel came from the gossip she heard about Juana de la Cruz, who was accused of killing two men with potions and witchcraft and investigated by the Inquisition around this same time period.

From the testimony of doña Isabel de Pedraza, it is learned she was born circa 1606 and that she was a first cousin of doña María de Archuleta (born circa 1611), the wife of Juan Márquez and a daughter of Asencio de Archuleta and Ana Pérez de Bustillos (AGN, Inquisición, t. 372, exp. 16, ff. 11r and 18v, Testimony of doña María de Archuleta, March 25, 1631). In all likelihood, Pedraza and Archuleta were related through their mothers, who were apparently two of the seven daughters of Alférez Juan Pérez de Bustillos (native of Mexico City, 1557) and María de la Cruz.

The Pérez de Bustillo family settled New Mexico in 1598 (Chávez, ONMF, 87). Since the names of only four of the seven Pérez de Bustillo daughters are known from historical records, it is likely that one of the unknown daughters was married with a Pedraza man, presumably Juan de Pedraza who came as a soldier to New Mexico in the army of don Juan de Oñate in 1598 (Chávez, ONMF, 89). Curiously, Juan de Pedraza, born circa 1568, was listed immediately before Bartlomé Romero in the January 1598 muster roll of soldiers of Oñate’s expedition recorded at Todos Santos (George P. Hammond, ed., and Agapito Rey, trans., Don Juan de Oñate and the Founding of New Mexico 1595-1628, University of Press, Albuquerque, 1953, 293). The other possibility, which is less likely, is that a Pedraza man was married with a sister of Asencio de Archuleta, a native of Eibar, Spain (Chávez, ONMF, 6).

As a member of the Santa Fe cabildo (town council) in 1639, Matías Romero and his compadre don Diego de Guadalajara, also a member of the cablido, took exception to fray Juan de Góngora’s declaration that he held “absolute power to introduce the Santa Cruzada without being presented to the cabildo or being received or accepted by it” (Adolph F.A. Bandelier and Fanny R. Bandelier, Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto, to 1773, edited by Charles Wilson Hackett, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Washington, D.C., 1923, Vol. 3, 50-51). The cabildo contended they held authority to accept or reject the bulls of the Santa Cruzada, from which the alms of penitent individuals were used in defense of the New Mexico against hostile Indians (Bandelier and Bandelier, Historical Documents, Vol. 3, 57).

The political battle that ensued included the use of interdicts and excommunications on the part of Góngora against civil officials. In response, the Santa Fe cabildo sent a representative directly to Mexico City to seek recourse in their favor. This emissary was Gaspar Pérez, Romero’s brother-in-law, who served as procurador general of the kingdom of New Mexico and was sent to Mexico City with the written complaints of the cabildo. In this case, Matías Romero and his fellow cabildo members gained a political victory by diminishing what they viewed as the excessive and overreaching ecclesiastical authority of Fray Juan de Góngora.

Matías Romero spent many hours and days in the Casas de Cabildo. Before his death in 1646 he served as a regidor (town councilman) and alcalde ordinaro of the Villa de Santa Fe (AGN, Inquisición, t. 372, f. 71v). The date of death of doña Isabel de Pedraza is not known. Together, Matías Romero and doña Isabel de Pedraza are among some of the most common ancestors of individuals with deep Hispano family roots in New Mexico.

Read more about the Romero family of seventeenth-century New Mexico in José Antonio Esquibel. “The Romero Family of Seventeenth-Century New Mexico,” Part 1 in Herencia, Vol. 11, Issue 1, January 2003 and Part 2, in Herencia, Vol. 11, Issue 3, July 2003.
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Published on October 28, 2014 21:09 • 1,532 views • Tags: isabel-de-pedrara, matias-romero, perez-de-bustillo, romero-family

July 4, 2014

Recognizing the Financial Contribution of New Mexicans to the U.S. War of Independence

Excerpt from my Introduction to the book ‘The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers: Their Contribution to the American Revolution’ by Henrietta Martinez Christmas (2006)—

When Carlos III, King of Spain, issued his decree of June 21, 1779, he threw down the proverbial gauntlet. Openly declaring as his enemy the King of Great Britain and all British subjects, Carlos III ordered the withdrawal of his ambassadors from London and informed his subjects of his will to cease all commerce with England. He authorized all of his vassals “to seek amends by way of reprisals and to commence hostilities, on land and by sea, against the subjects, ships and estates of His British Majesty, treating them as my true enemies and as their own.”

This decisive declaration of war set the course for the eventual support of the rebellious English colonies in the Americas by Spain and its American realms, which would tip the scale in favor of the freedom fighters in gaining the hard fought independence of the United States. The support came in the form of money collected as a one time, voluntary “donativo—donation” made by Spanish citizens capable of giving two pesos and by Indian citizens of the Spanish realms in the Americas who gave one pesos.

During the course of the past two decades, various efforts were conducted by members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) to formally document the names of individuals of the Spanish Americas who gave funds to support the war against Great Britain during the time that the patriots of the United States of America fought for their independence against the British crown. These efforts, supported by volunteer efforts of several people of Colorado and New Mexico, resulted in the official recognition of numerous citizens of the Spanish Americas as patriots of the revolution of the United States of America. The volunteer efforts of several people of Colorado and New Mexico helped to identify and verify the names those citizens of New Mexico who gave funds to the cause.

Individuals such as Donna Santistevan, Harriet McCallum, Dr. Granville Hough, N.C. Hough, and Charles Martínez y Vigil worked diligently to document the names of New Mexican soldiers and civil officials who contributed money for Spain’s war against Great Britain. Virginia Sanchez and Henrietta Martinez Christmas have also made valuable contributions to raising the awareness about the New Mexican Spanish patriots through their articles published in various genealogical journals and online. Henrietta’s genealogical compilations of the immediate descendants of the soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio recognized by the DAR and SAR, and found in her book, ‘The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers’ (New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2006), serves as an essential reference for any person interested in submitting an application for membership into the DAR or SAR.

One of the main challenges in identifying which citizens of New Mexico gave money or goods towards the donativo is the fact that the lists of names and amount they gave have yet to be located in any archives in New Mexico, Mexico, Cuba, or Spain. In March 1784, it was officially acknowledge that a total of 3,677 pesos were collected from the citizens of New Mexico, consisting of 3,533 pesos and 3 reales in cash and 133 pesos and 5 reales in the form of grain, including contributions by Pueblo Indians. Of this total, 247 pesos were collected from the soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio.

In the 1990s I had the opportunity to correspond with Donna Santiestevan of Colorado. She served on the National DAR Spanish Task Force and her research, with the assistance of translator Michael David Gray, resulted in the acceptance by the DAR of the twelve “alcaldes mayors—chief magistrates” of New Mexico Subsequently, Donna submitted her documented lineage as a descendant of Alcalde Mayor Antonio José Ortiz and was inducted into the DAR as the first women descendant of the New Mexican patriot of the Revolution of the United States of America.

Harriet McCallum, the Stephen Watts Kearny Chapter Regent of the DAR, picked up the torch in researching New Mexican patriots. In 2001, she sifted through various archival records to uncover a series of documents related to the participation of Spanish soldiers in the donativo process. I volunteered my time in translating the extracted documents that helped to determine the soldiers who served at the Santa Fe Presidio during the period of April 3, 1782 and November 18, 1782, including several key muster rolls. Harriet’s findings, which were accepted by the DAR in 2001, are presented in her book, ‘New Mexico’s Contributions to the American Revolutionary Cause’(2005).

Based on the acceptance by the DAR of Harriet’s findings, Eva Torres Aschenbrener stepped forward as a descendant of Santa Fe Presidio soldier Juan Luis de Herrera with the intent of proving her lineage for acceptance into the DAR. It was my privilege to compile many of the documents that confirmed Eva’s lineage. With the guidance of Harriet, Eva’s application was accepted and she was inducted into the DAR in March 2002 as the first female descendant of a New Mexico patriot soldier of the Santa Fe Presidio. Others have since followed.

Dr. Granville W. Hough, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, took an interest in documenting the names of Spanish soldiers that served during the period of 1779 through 1783. Compiling lists of soldiers from archival documents and well-documented published sources, Dr. Hough and his daughter, N.C. Hough, produced names of soldiers from the various presidios of the northern frontier of the Spanish Americas. In addition, they produced the rationale for the SAR’s acceptance of Spanish soldiers who served in the Spanish army from 1779 through 1783. This rationale resulted in the acceptance of two descendants of California soldiers into the SAR in 1998.

The Hough’s then moved on to compile list of Spanish soldiers from Arizona and Northern Sonora, and then New Mexico, which included New Mexico’s two presidios, one in Santa Fe and one in El Paso. Dr. Hough enlisted the assistance of Charles Martínez y Vigil of New Mexico in documenting and compiling and the names of soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio serving in the years 1779 through 1783, which also included information about the enlistment of these soldiers, a summary of their services record, as well as names of their wives and children if married. On September 25, 1999, I attended Charles’s induction ceremony held on the grounds of the Palace of the Governor’s, the site of the former Presidio de Santa Fe. Charles became the first male descendant of a New Mexican soldier to become a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Today, The DAR recognizes 136 soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio ( and the SAR recognizes 173 soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio and one Franciscan priest as patriots of the U.S. war of independence ( The DAR and the SAR are actively encouraging application of membership by descendant of the recognized New Mexico Patriots.

Virginia Sanchez and Henrietta Martinez Christmas have enthusiastically promoted the awareness of the New Mexico Patriots of the Revolution of the United States. Both have written articles and conducted presentations on the subject, and have made valuable contributions to this field of study.

Henrietta’s compilation of the immediate descendants of the New Mexican Patriot soldiers of the Santa Fe Presidio in her book, ‘The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers,’ is a valuable resource for those who are descended of any one of the New Mexico Patriot soldiers. The well-researched genealogies of her book serve as an indispensable guide for any person interested in locating and collecting copies of original records necessary for completing an application for membership in the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution or the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The book, ‘The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers: Their Contribution o the American Revolution’ by Henrietta Martinez Christmas can be ordered through the New Mexico Genealogical Society,
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Published on July 04, 2014 05:17 • 1,173 views • Tags: new-mexico-patriots, santa-fe-presidio

May 3, 2014

Conference Presentation: "The Formative Era of Nuevomejicano Culture, 1693-1700"

I'll be presenting at the upcoming conference of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America that will be held in Westminster, CO (Denver area) on June 6-8. My presentation is currently scheduled for Sunday, June 8th, 1:30-3:30, and my topic is "The Formative Era of Nuevomejicano Culture, 1693-1700." Learn more about the conference at

Here is the description the presentation:

There is a persistent and common misconception that the Hispano cultural traditions of New Mexico originated with the founding of New Mexico as a Spanish realm in 1598. The common perception is that these traditions, transplanted directly from Spain, were adapted and maintained by descendants of the original Spanish colonists over the next four hundred years.

Hand in hand with this misconception is the misinformed conclusion that New Mexico’s Hispano culture, once established, continued to exist and develop in isolation to the rest of the Spanish realms. But culture does not exist without people. If we are to gain an understanding of the formation and evolution of New Mexican cultural traditions, we must study patterns of migration into the region.

The most active period of migration of Spanish citizens to New Mexico occurred between 1693 and 1695, during a time of great effort to achieve reconciliation between Spanish citizens and Pueblo Indians. Consequently, the formative era of New Mexico's imperial-era society really took place after the restoration of the region to the Spanish crown and during the period of December 1693 through 1720.

This presentation will touch on numerous families that settled New Mexico and established the foundation of Nuevomejicano culture and traditions.
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Published on May 03, 2014 05:52 • 317 views • Tags: genealogy-conference, new-mexico-culture

April 23, 2014

Beyond Origns of New Mexico Familes Still Online

In 1998 I started the “Beyond Origins of New Mexico Families” Web site as a way to add to, expand on, and make corrections where needed to the genealogical information that was compiled by Fray Angélico Chávez in his book, “Origins of New Mexico Families” (1954). The BONMF site was discontinued in January 2007, but the pages of the site are still available online:

The idea for the BONMF Web site was generated from conversations between me and John B. “Jack” Colligan. In the early 1990s, we were aware that with the growing interest in Hispanic genealogy of New Mexico people were often covering the same ground of common family lines and there was little coordination and no venue to regularly inform people about new genealogical findings other than the quarterly Hispanic genealogy journals.

Using the Internet seemed like a way to keep information available on a regular basis for people to consult and a place to post new findings. It also allowed for people to contribute their findings, if they were so inclined to share.

Although most of the entries on the BONMF Web site were based on fragments of new genealogical information I was uncovering, other people generously contributed items and the BONMF Web site grew into a large amount of new material that was accessible online.

Here is a list of many of family names found in the BONMF material: Abeyta, Afán de Rivera, Alderete, Anaya Almazán, Albizu, Ángel, Apodaca, Aragón, Arellano, Armijo, Baca, Benavides, Borrego, Brito, Bustamante, Bustos, Casados, Castellano, Chaves, Crespín, Delgado, Domínguez, Durán, Espinosa, Esquibel, Estrada, Fernández de la Pedrera, Fresqui, Gallegos, González, Guadalajara, Gurulé, Hernández, Hurtado, Jojola, Jorge de Vera, Leyva, López de Gracia, López Castillo, López Gallardo, López Holguín, Lucero de Godoy, Luera, Luján, Luna, Madrid, Manzanares, Márquez, Martín Serrano, Mestas, Miera, Mondragón, Montes Vigil, Montoya, Mora, Moraga, Moreno de Trujillo, Ortiz, Padilla, Paredes, Peña, Perea, Pérez Granillo, Pino, Rael, Ramírez, Robledo, Romero, Roybal, Ruiz, Sáenz de Garvizu, Sáez, Salas, Sánchez, Silva, Trebol Navarro, Tenorio de Alba, Torres, Trujillo, Valdes, Vallejos, Valverde, Varela, Vásquez Borrego, Vásquez de Lara, Velarde, and Vera.
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Published on April 23, 2014 15:02 • 649 views • Tags: beyond-origins, new-mexico-genealogy