Espinosa Surname in NM

The Espinosa Surname in Nuevo México

New Mexicans with Colonial New Mexican ancestry can be traced to the early Colonial settlers who traveled from the “old world” as well as those of Indian and Mestizo families.  Of the five main waves of settlements during the Colonial period, the Juan de Oñate settlement in 1598, the re-settlement by don Diego de Vargas in 1693, and the Juan Páez Hurtado Expedition in 1695 all show a presence of the Espinosa surname.

Among those who journeyed with Juan de Oñate was Macelo de Espinosa. Although his name is mentioned in various references related to the first settlement, there are no records that confirm any legacy of descendants that remained in New Mexico.

It was not until the resettlement by don Diego de Vargas that the Espinosa surname actively appears in New Mexico.  Pedro de Espinosa, a notary and a corporal shows appears in New Mexico shortly after the reconquest.  Pedro was born about 1668 and is listed as a native of Guanajuato and was married to Melchora Hernández.  They had one daughter, María, who was baptized August 19, 1703 at Bernalillo.  Aside from his daughter’s baptism there is no documented evidence which proves or suggests that he remained in New Mexico or left any other children in New Mexico.

Now to the story of Nicolás de Espinosa. Nicolás was listed in the 1695 muster roll of the Juan Páez Hurtado Expedition as a Coyote and native of Los Lagos, twenty two years with straight black hair and pockmarked. Presumably this is the same Nicolás de Espinosa that came with don Diego de Vargas as a soldier in 1693. The Nicolás who came with de Vargas, along with several others abandoned their duties prior to the entrance into Santa Fe and fled back to Mexico.

The above information is part of The Hunt for Nicolás, a genetic and genealogical study of Espinosa families who can trace their family lines to Colonial New Mexico. The study used genetic testing to compare and validate genealogies, proving that Nicolás de Espinosa is the Espinosa progenitor for lineages tracing back to Colonial New Mexico. The study also proved that the paternal origins of Nicolás are Native American and the Y-DNA haplogroup is Q-M3. The results and genealogies of this study will appear in an upcoming New Mexico Genealogist article.

© Miguel A. Tórrez


27 thoughts on “Espinosa Surname in NM

    1. nicolas1695 Post author

      L Morrison, there are still a lot of Espinosa families in NM and southern Colorado and other places with NM roots that still use the s while others use the z. Families changed the s to z for different reasons and sometimes it was done for them. I have heard stories that a particular family changed it to distinguish themselves from another branch among other reasons. Records indicate that very few used a z prior to 1900 and almost if not any prior to 1880. When American school systems were put in place and after World War II seem to be the major time periods for the change.

    1. nicolas1695 Post author

      Crow, yes that is my statement unless their ancestry does not have New Mexican Colonial roots and are of “recent” Mexican ancestry.

    2. R Espinosa

      What is your Abuelo’s name? I’m Espinosa from Pagosa as well and working on our family tree I may be able to help you!

      1. Arlyn Crow

        my grandfather and great grandfather are Jose Espinosa. My grandfather is Jose Leopoldo Espinosa. He is originally from Pagosa springs

  1. Cora

    My Grandfather, Melecio Espinosa, is from Los Herreras Nuevo Leon, my sister had a DNA test done and it said we were the Espinosas from Burgos, Spain. Is this thread from the same line?

    1. nicolas1695 Post author

      hmmm…the DNA testing we mostly focus on is YDNA as it traces the paternal line but there may be a connection. This particular Espinosa lineage seems to possibly have connections to Madrid, Spain.

    1. Norma Garcia

      Hi Evelyn!!! This is Norma Garcia from CA. ..I spoke to you many times regarding Felipe Espinoza…he also is a ancestor of mine…lost contact with you but would love to hear from you. 562 334 0210

      1. Melissa Espinoza-Smart

        I am from this line as well. Nicolas De Espinosa is a gggggggreat grandfather on my mother’s side.

    2. Louise Espinoza Shaffer

      His grandmother, Maria de la Cruz Lopez, married to Juan Francisco Antonio Espinosa, is my 4th great aunt.

      1. Evelyn Herrera

        Hi, you didn’t give a timeframe. My gggrandfather was Felipe Nerio Espinosa from Conejos County, Colorado. I don’t recognize Beceslao and Manuelita on my list. Mine is 1856

      2. Arlyn Crow

        I don’t whether he was related to those persons. I do know that my grandfather’s dad was also Jose Espinosa, just different last name. I will try to obtain more information.

    1. Evelyn Padilla Herrera

      Either one, I traced my Espinosa’s to El Rito. It may not be a connection just thought I would put it out there.

      1. maryanne1996

        Hi Evelyn and all. My Espinosas are also from El Rito NM. Cayetano Hipolito de Jesus Espinosa 1800-1885 bringing colonists to Agua Mansa (Colton) CA via trade caravan 1842 over Old Spanish Trail. I’m trying to find connection to Pagosa Springs, Conejos, La Junta, CO. My grandfather Carlos Antonio born Colton 1881 went to CO about 1904 n married a Lucero. I believe there were other Espinosa relatives from El Rito/Abiquiu in region. Perhaps his older siblings from Colton as he was one of eleven. Do you know of any family ties to CA Espinosas? Call or email me. Mary Anne 760 703 5367

  2. Lionel Espinoza

    My grandfather is Abel Espinoza also from Conejos County, Colorado. He lived just north in Guadalupe

  3. Espinosa1221

    Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a question, is it possible that some of Nicholas’ descendants now live in Garden City, Kansas, because I am related to them. If it helps, my grandfather is Rodolfo (Rudy) Espinosa and he is married to Gloria Delgado.

  4. maryanne1996

    Would love to talk more with you about your Taos Pueblo connections; particularly the Espinosa line. My mother had friends or cousins there but sadly I have no further info. My maternal DNA leads me back to ancient Puebloan but that’s all I know. I have been to the Taos Pueblo and feel a strong connection there.
    My Espinosa lineage yDNA came from Abiquiu/El Rito area.
    You may contact me directly at 760-703-5367 or snail mail at PO BOX 2154, Ramona CA 92065. I hope to hear from you. Perhaps we can also meet my next trip to NM if you live there. Regards Mary Anne Pentis

  5. Louise Espinoza Shaffer

    I am also an Espinoza. However, I carry a 3rd great-grandmother’s name. Her name is Maria Manuela Espinosa and I believe, with the help of others, her parents were Jose Antonio Espinosa and Maria Dolores Garcia. The last place I find them living is in Canova, NM which is between Espanola and Taos. I believe her sisters were María Gertrudis Espinosa and Maria Encarnacion Espinosa. My grandmother was a single mother who had five children that I know of and they all carried their mother’s surname. I don’t believe they all had the same father. Four of the children were born in Rio Arriba. The eldest son’s birth record can be found at San Juan de los Caballeros. I believe I found Maria Manuela’s baptismal record also at San Juan de los Caballeros. Her children are Antonio Jose (Esquibel) Espinosa, Maria Dolores Espinosa, Maria Teresa Espinosa, Maria Conception Espinosa, and Jose Rafael Espinosa, my great-great grandfather. I would really like to find relatives from this family so I can make the connections I need to further my research.


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