FAMILIA-L ArchivesArchiver > FAMILIA > 2005-09 > 1125684022
Subject: The Mexico/Arizona Biographical Survey
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 11:00:22 -0700
Source Materials Series%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Again I am just presenting what is on the Web for informational purpose
only. The information or work can not be verified or source upon my end.
Please be aware that some sites are under construction or unable to view.
The Mexico/Arizona Project
The Mexico/Arizona Biographical Survey was conceived in 1992, while I was
doing research at the Tempe Historical Museum for an exhibit called The
Barrios. It was the first effort to portray the story of the Hispanic
community that had been a part of Tempe since the 1860s, but of which so
little was known. Documentation on Mexican families was vague or
non-existent. Only four Hispanic individuals were prominently mentioned
by name, and in all of the written histories, articles, memoirs, and
archival collections, it was never mentioned that Tempe was originally
settled by Mexican farmers, or that the town continued to be a
predominantly Hispanic community through its first 30 years. In fact,
through nearly all of the published histories of Arizona, the
contributions of people of Mexican ancestry in the late 19th century have
been virtually ignored.
However, these people did not disappear entirely. They were baptized,
married, acquired property, and otherwise left their footprints all over
the public record. And generations of their descendants still live in
Tempe. Reconstructing their history required a genealogical approach.
Genealogy proved that they were here and revealed a lot about who they
After documenting Tempe's Mexican American community, I began expanding
this research to other towns in southern Arizona. In 1999 I received a
six-month fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities,
which supported initial development of a biographical database of
Hispanic settlers in Arizona. The database now has records of more than
18,000 Hispanic individuals who lived in southern Arizona before 1900.
Since June 2000, this database has been accessible to researchers at the
Mexico/Arizona Biographical Survey Website.
The Mexico/Arizona Database
The history of Mexican Americans in Arizona has been buried, obscured,
erased, and all but forgotten. After 1850, there are very few written
records of Hispanic people in Arizona. The documents of the Territorial
Period -- newspapers, business records and government correspondence --
tended to list full names for Anglos, but everybody else was just
"Indian" or "Mexican." Early historians failed to mention that a Latino
population even existed; instead, they offered the theory that every town
had a white founder and every Mexican was an immigrant. However, Federal
census manuscripts -- one of the few inclusive records -- show an
entirely different view. From 1860 to 1880, 60% to 95% of the people
living in the farming communities of southern Arizona had Spanish
surnames, including most of the land owners and business owners, and most
were born in Arizona or Sonora.
The goal of this project is to provide comprehensive documentation of the
people of Mexican ancestry who were living in Arizona in the 19th
century. The biographical and genealogical database now has records of
more than 18,000 individuals.
The survey is based primarily on original archival sources and public
documents. Key documents that the current database records are based on
Federal Census, 1860 and 1870
Territorial Census, 1864 (Arizona State Archives)
Tucson census, c.1797 (Collins, Journal of Arizona History vol. 11, no.
1, c.f. vol. 13, no. 3)
Santa Cruz Valley Census, 1831 (McCarty, Copper State Bulletin vol. 16,
no. 1 and 2, vol. 17, no. 1, 2, and 3)
Most published sources on Arizona History, including Bancroft, Dobyns,
Farish, Luckingham, McClintock, Officer, and Sheridan
Family genealogies contributed by individuals (mostly from Tempe)
Partial survey of Maricopa County records
Partial survey of obituaries, archival collections, and journal and
Complete survey of all records for Tempe, c.1870-1920