Colonial Records of Arizona

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Colonial Spanish Borderland Research

This article is part of a series.
Overview of Colonial Spanish Borderland Research
Catholic Sacramental Records
Civil Legal Documents
Military Records
Catholic Church Diocesan Records
Spanish Land Records for the United States
Locating Colonial Records of Genealogical Value
Colonial Records of Texas
Colonial Records of New Mexico
Colonial Records of Arizona
Colonial Records of California
Colonial Records of Florida
Colonial Records of Louisiana
Colonial Records of the French and Spanish in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi
List of Useful Resources for Colonial Spanish Borderland Research

This article originally appeared in "Colonial Spanish Borderland Research" by George R. Ryskamp, JD, AG in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy


During the Spanish period, the present area of southern Arizona, including a portion of northern Sonora, Mexico, was known as Pimeria Alta. Inhabited by the Pima and Papago Indian tribes, this became the northwestern frontier of New Spain. The southernmost region of Arizona remained under Spanish and Mexican government until the United States purchased it in 1853 for $10 million under the Gadsden Treaty. An Act of Congress on 24 February 1863 created the Territory of Arizona with the boundaries of the modern state as we know it today.

Although space does not allow a detailed listing of the numerous Arizona sources now in Mexican archives, researchers should look for materials in the Archivo General de la Nación and Archivo Histórico de Hacienda, Sección de Temporalidades in Mexico City; the Archivo Histórico del Estado de Sonora in Hermosillo; Archivo de Estado in Durango; and the Parral Archives in Chihuahua. Microfilm editions of these records are available in the United States at the University of Alabama; University of Arizona; University of California at Berkeley; Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb; University of Minnesota; State University of New York, Stony Brook; State University of New York, Buffalo; Temple University, Philadelphia; University of Texas, Austin; University of Texas, El Paso; Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College, College Station; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth; Tulane University, New Orleans; University of Utah, Salt Lake City; and the Library of Congress.

Census and Catholic Church Records of Arizona

Arizona census and Church records are valuable, though few in number because of the limited number of settlements. Many Arizona settlers, especially those moving into northern Arizona, are not included in any of these.

Locality Year(s) Reference*
Guevari none AHH
S. Xavier del Bac 1766 AHH
S. Xavier del Bac 1768 SBM
S. Xavier del Bac 1801 AGEM 19; 811:3; ASG, 1986
Tubac 1767 ASG 17:7'12; 1149545; AF 280 #2070
Tubac 1841 AHS 4'2
Tucsón 1766 AHH
Tucsón 1797 JAH 11:18'22
Tucsón 1801 ASG, 1986
Tucsón 1831 ASG 16:5'9, 41'47
Tumacácori 1798 Kiva 19
Tumacácori 1801 ASG, 1986; 811:3
Tumacácori 1841 AHS 4'2
  • AF: Archivo Franciscano, Biblioteca Nacional, Mexico City.

AGEM: Cathedral, Hermosillo, Sonora, México (Arizona microfilm series 422, 40 rolls).

AHH: The Archivo Histórico de Hacienda, AGN, Mexico City.

AHS: Arizona Historical Society.

ASG: Arizona State Genealogical Society, Copper State Bulletin.

JAH: Journal of Arizona History.

Kiva: Alfred F. Whiting, 'The Tumacácori Census of 1798' Kiva 19, no. 1 (Fall 1953): 1'12.

SBM: The Santa Barbara Mission Archives, California.

Six- or seven-digit numbers with no other reference are film numbers from the collection of the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, available through local Family History Centers.

Catholic Church Records

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