Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lands Grants in the Hispanic Southwest - Syllabus

Presented by Henrietta M. Christmas

Land Grants – Why do they exist?

Land grants were handed out to individuals and communities during different parts of governmental control prior to lands becoming part of the United States.  This lecture will focus on records for the Southwest US and primarily New Mexico.

Getting Started:
  • Start with the original document and forget everything else you know.

  • When was the document written and remember in 1700 they didn't know about the Surveryor General and the Private Land Claims cases.

  • Make sure the translations are good.

  • Use the Spanish Archives of New Mexico calendar first.  Or specific indexes by state.

  • Use J. J. Bowden material, a 6 volume set.

  • Catron Collection at University of New Mexico will have a file.

  • Look at Indian Agent records.

  • Census.

  • Family Records.

  • Attorney Papers mostly at the State Archives, whom would have handled the cases.
  • District Court Cases. 
  •  Organizational Powers of how land grants were granted.
  • Find a good map that can show you where it was located.
  • Land grantee, their process for obtaining land.
  • Types:  Individual versus Community Land Grants.
  • Adjudication process post US takeover.
What you can find in a Land Grant?
  •  Maps.
  • Testimonies.
  • Timelines.
  • Neighbors.
  • Genealogies of families for several generations.
Web based searches, subject headings
Land Grants – New Mexico or (state)
Land Grants -  New Mexio – History
Land Tenure – (state)
Indians of North America – Land Tenure
Texas General Land Office: 
Center for Land Grant Studies:
Arizona State Finding Aids:

Spanish Archives of New Mexico, Calendar, Series I
            New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, NM

Albert James Diaz. A Guide to the Microfilm of Papers Relating to New Mexico Land Grants, Alb. 1960, UNM Press.  Out of print.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell. Spanish Archives of New Mexico, Volume I.  Out of Print but reprinted         by Sunstone Press.  Similar to the Calendar, but has more explanations.

White, Kock, Kelley and McCarthy. Land Title Study, Attorneys at Law and The New Mexico            State Planning Office.  Out of Print, 1981. 

Jocylyn Jean Bowden. Private Land Claims of the Southwest, Master’s Thesis completed, 1969,   Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. Film at            the NM State Archives and book form at        UNM Zimmerman Library.  Also at UTEP for records pertaining to El Paso.

Malcolm Ebright.  Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico.  Albuquerque, NM      University of New Mexico Press, 1994.


New Mexico Historical Review
Arizona Historical Review
Texas Historical Commission

State Archives

Colorado State Archives
New Mexico State Records Center and Archives
Texas General Land Office
Arizona State Library and Archives

 Collections to review
·       Vertical Files at libraries.
·     Some small articles and thesis have been published on land grants.   
        Ⓒ 2012 Henrietta M. Christmas

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