It is my pleasure to introduce to you this blog regarding genetic genealogy pertaining to family lineages that can be traced to ancestors of Colonial New Mexico. The purpose of this blog is to relay information pertaining to my many projects with the main focus being The Hunt for Nicolás, a study of Espinosa families who can trace their family lines to Colonial New Mexico settlers. The Hunt for Nicolás is a study that uses genetic testing to compare and validate genealogies and connect contemporary Espinosa families with that of the progenitor, Nicolás de Espinosa who came to New Mexico with the Juan Paez Hurtado Expedition in 1695.
This study on the Espinosa surname began in 2003 and has been a long but successful journey. The idea for this project arose shortly after a curiosity of knowing my ancestral roots. After working on my own genealogy I felt a sense of belonging that I had not known prior. I knew that this feeling of self-empowerment by knowing oneself was a key element in being a socially responsible person and I wanted to help others feel the same joy. One of the first persons that I helped was a friend who already had a genealogy on his paternal Espinosa lineage but questioned the accuracy of the work. At first glance I knew there were errors as the genealogical timeline in comparison to New Mexico’s historical timeline were inaccurate and knew I had to re-work the tree. I took the tree and began to verify and double check the information and this opened up the door to what has been an evolution of work over the years.
In 2004, I attended my first Genealogical Society of Hispanic America’s annual conference which was held in Española, NM. Ángel de Cervantes gave a presentation regarding his NM DNA Project which had only begun the year before. Genetic genealogy was new but I saw the potential it possessed for comparing and validating genealogies. It was then that I realized that the mysteries and roadblocks that were found in the Espinosa genealogies could be further examined. I began recruiting Espinosa male living descendants to test their Y-DNA and started compiling a database of genetic codes for given lineages. At first this seemed like an easy task and I assumed that I could collect this data rather quickly and have these issues resolved. That was an underestimation to say the least. As it turns out, there were many problems that arose and made progress extremely slow. After collecting many samples since 2004 I finally hit the gold mine in early 2012 when I found a living descendant of Nicolás de Espinosa who had an un-broken paper trail and his Y-DNA sequence produced the baseline for comparison.
The methodologies that I used with the The Hunt for Nicolás have been incorporated into many other surname projects and it is my hope that this blog will foster communication among all who are interested in learning, sharing and validating their genealogies for New Mexican lineages. – Miguél A. Tórrez