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New Mexico Genealogy & Ancestry

Organized as a territory in September 1850, and entered the union as the 47th state on January 6, 1912.

Bordered by ArizonaColoradoOklahomaTexasUtah. It has a has a land area of 121,593 square miles making it the 5th largest state. The capital is Santa Fe, it’s the fifth largest state, with a land area of approximately 121,600 square miles. It hosts a population of 2,059,179 and 33 territories.

New Mexico’s capital is Santa Fe, which is also one of its largest cities, with a population of 70,631. Other major cities include Albuquerque (545,852), Las Cruces (97,618), Rio Rancho (67,947), Roswell (48,366), Farmington (45,877), Clovis(37,775), Hobbs (34,122), Alamogordo(30,403), and Carlsbad (26,138).

Named by the Spanish, New Mexico’s nickname is “Land of Enchantment.” The State Motto is ” Crescit eundo, which translates to “It grows as it goes.” The official state website can be found at

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New Mexico History

What is now known as New Mexico changed hands several times over the course of its existence, and has a history of tension between the region’s Anglo, Native American, and Spanish populations. Originally claimed by Spain in the 1500s, it was incorporated into Mexico in 1821 and brought back to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

Like most Western states, New Mexico was a frontier land for cowboys, pioneers, cattle drivers, and other settlers. The state’s mountain ranges and other landscapes look much the same as they did in the frontier days.

Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado traveled from Arizona through New Mexico on his way north as early as 1540. In the 1580s, soldier and explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo – best known for being the first European to navigate the coast of present-day California – also made his way through the region. Finally, in 1598, Juan de Oñate established the first Spanish settlement in the Rio Grande Valley.

This was followed closely thereafter by Santa Fe, founded in the early 1600s. By 1680, the Spanish population of New Mexico reached 2400 – though this would not last. Later that year, the state was reclaimed by Native Americans, to be left unoccupied by settlers until its resettling in 1693.

New Mexico’s history from there was relatively uneventful until 1821, when the state decided to revolt against Spain. By 1844, the now-independent state was separated into three different districts: Southeastern, Central, and Northern. The state was further divided in 1850 with creation of the Santa Fe, Santa Ana, and San Miguel Counties in the central district; the Taos and Rio Arriba Counties in the Northern District, and the Bernalillo and Valencia Counties in the Southeastern District.

In 1846, during the Mexican-American War, New Mexico was occupied by the famous General Kearny. As a direct result of Kearny’s occupation, New Mexico was ceded to the United States as part of the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty. Kearny would go on to establish law and government in the region through The Kearny Code, proclaimed on September 22, 1846 in Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Territory was not officially created by Congress until 1850, with the southern border of the state established in 1854 with the Gadsden Purchase. Added communication from telegraph lines running from San Diego encouraged further settlement in the area.

For those travelling from Mexican and Spanish strongholds along the Rio Grande, New Mexico was a prime stopping point. That river was also helpful in establishing settlements, as it could be used to irrigate crops. However, many of the State’s past problems reared their head, all but ensuring that New Mexico’s statehood was not officially recognized until 1912 – by then, New Mexico had a population of nearly 300,000.

A new county, Los Alamos, was established in 1949. New Mexico was also the location of the test site for the world’s first atomic bomb. Today, New Mexico is a center for new-age living, technology, scientific research, and nuclear development.