The Torres name was held by several men in early 17th Century New Mexico. Juan de Oñate’s muster roll of 1597 lists a Juan de Torres, son of Baltasar de Torres and presumably this same Juan was listed as Alferez along with a Melchor de Torres when on a wagon train escort in 1608. In 1652 and 1655 a Melchor Gomez was escorting wagon trains into New Mexico. Could this Melchor Gomez and Melchor de Torres be one in the same? Fray Angelico Chavez states the Gomez de Torres and Gomes de Luna families were closely related. In 1619 a Captain Francisco Gomez de Torres was a wagon train escort. This Francisco had properties in Santa Fe and Santa Cruz de la Cañada and presumably had heirs in the province at the time of his death in 1636. In 1681 a Cristobal de Torres passed muster in El Paso del Rio del Norte during the hiatus of the Pueblo Revolt.
Today, the majority of the Torres clan of New Mexico can trace their lineage to this Cristobal de Torres, but does he belong to any of the previously mentioned? In the 1681 muster Cristobal is described as a native of New Mexico, forty years of age and married. His parents or spouse’s name are not mentioned. Cristobal is also listed as being thick set, medium height, rather fat, crooked nose, black hair and an awkward gait.
Tracing the Torres family in the early 17th century is quite challenging due to the lack of records that survived the destruction of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Another important factor is that many of the Españoles were not using their paternal surnames. In the case of Cristobal de Torres, we have been left with discovering who his ancestors may have been by genetically testing known living male descendants. We have been able to accomplish this by using Family Tree DNA and the New Mexico DNA Project. Of those tested, the most distant common ancestor to date has been Marcial de Torres, the great grandson of Cristobal. There is also a lineage tested that matches that of Marcial which may belong to his brother Salvador but further documentation is needed for conformation. The New Mexico DNA Project Adminstrator, Angel Cervantes describes this Torres lineage as being haplogroup I2a, Nordic/Central European origin. Three ancient Germanic tribes brought this lineage to Spain: the Suebi, the Vandals, and the Visigoths. Angel’s opinion is that the ancestry of the Torres belongs to the Vandals or the Visigoth”.
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