Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on January 24, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne, Mexico, Research

san miquel churchDid you know that the oldest standing religious structure is in New Mexico?  The San Miguel Mission, in Santa Fe New Mexico, was originally built around 1610. It was burnt along with all of its records in 1680, but its walls remained and the church was rebuilt.

The Palace of the Governors, also built around 1610, is the oldest continuously used public building in the United States.

Hoping for a little Native American ancestry in your family tree?  If your ancestors are from New Mexico, it may be possible.  And you would most likely be a descendant of the Navajo, Pueblo or Apache tribes.

The Navajo tribe helped the United States keep its secret transmissions safe during World War II. Navajo soldiers were trained as “Code Talkers” during World War II. The Navajo language is extremely complex and is almost impossible for anyone to understand without training and extended exposure. The code based on their language remained unbroken throughout the war.

Maybe your ancestors fought in the southwest in the Civil War. Both the Confederacy and the Union controlled part of the New Mexico Territory during the Civil War. The Battle of Glorieta Pass fought in March of 1862 was the decisive battle of the New Mexico campaign and ended the Confederate push in that area of the country.

Are you pretty sure that your ancestors were left here by aliens because you can’t find a trace of their ancestors anywhere? Maybe you need a trip to Roswell, New Mexico to check out the crash site of a suspected UFO. 🙂

New Mexico is the 6th least populated state in United States, but if your ancestors come from there they have a rich and colorful past for you to explore. Check out our New Mexico State Research Guide and learn more about the Land of Enchantment.

Happy Searching!




Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at She is an active blogger on and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.


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