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