Research in New Mexico Church and Bible Records
Early residents of New Mexico were typically Spanish-speaking Catholics. Therefore, Catholic sacramental records are an excellent source of information for researchers. In fact, a single document may list many generations of the same family’s members. Sacramental records are made up of burial, marriage, and baptism records for church members. Therefore, in situations where public vital records are closed, church records can be extremely valuable to researchers.
There are several early records in existence from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. They can be found in multiple locations, including the FHL, Special Collections Library, and New Mexico State Records Center and Archives. The FHL also has some records on file from the Diocese of Las Cruces. Some records from the Diocese of Gallup have been published by the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico. They are also in the process of abstracting those records. The New Mexico Genealogical Society and other organizations have published many Catholic records. Those records generally span all the way from the late 1600s to 1955. They contain records pertaining to censuses, burials, baptisms, marriages, and in some cases even Native American record information.
The New Mexico State University Library is home to several Protestant records. However, most Protestant records are kept by the Protestant churches around New Mexico.
The Menaul Historical Library of the Southwest is the best source of records for the Presbyterian Church. It is located in Albuquerque.
- Research In State Church Records (ancestry.com) from The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.
- New Mexico Church Books (amazon.com)
- New Mexico Bible Books (amazon.com)
Research in New Mexico Cemetery Records
The New Mexico Genealogical Society and other genealogical societies have published cemetery records from the state. They can be found in the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives and the Special Collections Library. They can also be found on file with other organizations. RootsWeb and other websites also have abstracts and lists on file. The burial lists for Santa Fe National Cemetery and Bayard National Cemetery have also been published online.
There are also several New Mexico burials documented within the sacramental records of the Catholic Church. In addition to that, there are files containing burial records at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives and at the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library
The great thing about searching for New Mexico cemetery records is that you have so many counties to look through to find the data you need. On the other hand, the down side to searching New Mexico cemetery records for data is that there are so many counties to search through. People often overlook the usefulness of cemetery records in place of using other types of vital records instead. For Definitions of all Cemetery Terms See Symbols on Gravestones and Their Interpretations
There are also numerous methods to use that may lead to New Mexico cemetery records including:
- the church
- the country records
- microfilm at the library
- other types of records keeping offices or registries
For some New Mexico cemetery records, you will possibly be able to gain free access. Usually, however, for more detailed data there will be at least a nominal fee to get the information you are seeking. Often times it is worth getting more detailed New Mexico cemetery records and tombstone transcriptions because you will get much more useful data from these.
How It Helps – You will realize the importance of New Mexico cemetery records by using them even once. This kind of record will help you find:
- a person’s name
- a person’s date of death
- when and where the person was born
- the name of a spouse and possibly other family members
Many people are buried where they were born, however, not where they passed on. Keep this in mind when searching for your New Mexico cemetery records. It can seem frustrating if you come up dry in a particular area or state. If you do some research and find out where someone was born and raised, you may have better luck with burial data there.
The bottom line is that New Mexico cemetery records can help you fill in major gaps in genealogy projects. While people often rely on other vital records before these, you may really be surprised at the success you have thanks to burial records. New Mexico cemetery records could very well be what help you move closer to figuring out your very own family tree.
New Mexico Cemetery Research Tips – Many cemetery abstracts have been published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies) and others, and may be found at the Special Collections Library, the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, and other locations. Researchers should refer to Dorothy A. Brylinski and Ann L. Mossman, comps. and eds., New Mexico Genealogist Comprehensive Index, volumes 1-38, 1962–1999 (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 2000); and New Mexico Cemeteries: A Genealogical Guide, at the Special Collections Library. The latter is an ongoing cemetery project to identify all known cemeteries and private grave sites in the state, as well as to create an index of cemetery names and locations. Online lists and abstracts also exist at RootsWeb and other sites. Burial lists are online for Fort Bayard National Cemetery and Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Catholic Church sacramental records also offer extensive documentation of burials. The Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives also maintain necrology files.
- New Mexico Tombstone Inscription Project (usgwtombstones.org)
- New Mexico Obituary Project (usgwarchives.net)
- Epodunk – New Mexico Cemeteries (epodunk.com)
- Find a Grave – New Mexico Cemeteries (findagrave.com)
- New Mexico Cemeteries at Internment.net (interment.net)
- The New Mexico Political Graveyard (politicalgraveyard.com)
- New Mexico Cemetery Books (amazon.com)
Famous People Buried in New Mexico Cemeteries
|County||Name / Date / Cemetery||Description|
|DeBaca||Bonney, William ‘Billy The Kid’
11/23/1859 – 7/151881
Old Fort Sumner Cemetery
He was born in New York City as Henry McCarty.
1791 – 1/18/1863
|Native American Tribal Chief.
Eastern Chiricahua or Mimbreno Apache War Chief of SouthweSt. His Spanish name means “Red-Sleeves”, so named because he always wore a red shirt.
|Lincoln||Smokey the Bear
Lincoln National Forest
|Animal Folk Figure.
In 1950, a huge forest fire in Lincoln National Forest, near Capitan, New Mexico, severely burned a four-month-old black bear cub.
|Santa Fe||Murphy, Raymond Gerald
1/14/1930 – 4/6/2007
Santa Fe National Cemetery
|Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Second Lieutenant Murphy received the nations highest military honor for his actions during the Korean conflict on the night of February 2-3, 1953.
|Taos||Carson, Kit (Christopher Houston)
12/24/1809 – 5/23/1868
Kit Carson Cemetery
|Frontiersman, Explorer, and Civil War Brevet Brigadier General.
He was known for his frontier skills and for his daring.
5/17/1936 – 5/29/2010
Jesus Nazareno Cemetery
He was considered one of Hollywood’s most outspoken and versatile actors.
New Mexico Cemeteries
|Cemetery Name||Cemetery City|
|Cooney’s Tomb||Alma, Catron County|
|Fort Bayard National Cemetery||Fort Bayard|
|Fairview Cemetery||Santa Fe|
|Santa Fe National Cemetery||Santa Fe|