How can I find records of Spanish immigration to Texas prior to 1848?

+3 votes
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I'm trying to see if it is possible to trace where in Spain my family immigrated from. What are good resources in either spanish or English?
in Genealogy Help by Melissa Andrade G2G Rookie (220 points)

2 Answers

+2 votes
As you don’t have any family connected to you at the moment I am unable to see where you have searched. is free to register and free to use.

If you don’t find anything there please come back with more specific information so we can search other sites for you, thanks
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+5 votes

You probably want to look at Spanish immigration to Mexico (actually the Indies). See Catálogo de pasajeros a Indias durante los siglos XVI, XVII y XVIII. This is a set of several volumes. You can also see the original records at the Spanish archives website PARES at

During the Spanish Empire permission to go to the Indies was necessary, although it didn’t always happen. This would have changed with Mexican Independence in 1821.

The thing to note with the Mexican Church records before 1821 is that they generally gave the ethnicity of the people the records referred to. When the term Español or Española was used it generally did not mean the people were from Spain, but rather ethnically Spanish (and usually born in Mexico) rather than one of the castas (Indio, mestizo, etc). In the marriage records if the groom was actually from Spain a dispensation was required as he was an “ultramarino.” The dispensation, if it still exists, will be in the diocesan records, and it will state where in Spain he is from. Sometimes, this info will also be in the marriage record. The ones I have seen were from the 1600s and early 1700s.

The diocesan records would be for the dioceses as they existed at the time, and not modern dioceses. The Diocese of Guadalajara was the important one for most of central and northern Mexico, over time it was separated into numerous other dioceses. These records are at FamilySearch, but are not indexed or extracted (although 3rd party websites with indices do exist).

by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (509k points)

George, as tangled as the Spain, Mexico and Texas and US is I googled when did Spain acquire Mexico and it was 22 April 1519 and laugh I'm not sure immigration is quite the word, conquest, invasion and occupation, might be more accurate 

1. Hernán Cortés led a new expedition to Mexico landing ashore at present day Veracruz on 22 April 1519, a date which marks the beginning of 300 years of Spanish hegemony over the region. In general the 'Spanish conquest of Mexico' denotes the conquest of the central region of Mesoamerica where the Aztec Empire was based. 

2. When did Spain colonize Mexico?
September 27, 1821
Also, Spanish conquistadors, Hernan Cortes and his soldier, allied with Tlaxcallan tribes to conquer the Aztecs. With this non-native diseases and alliance, which had guns and horses, Spanish conquistadors could kill many natives and won. Since that day, until September 27, 1821, Mexico became a colony of Spain.
The aboriginal natives owned it, then Spanish explorers explored, then Spain took possession, then Americans came in to colonize, and then there were a few wars (1836, and 1846) and Texas declared itself as a Republic, and then the US somehow acquired Texas ...  

To quote from Wikipedia:

House of Trade

Main article: Casa de Contratación

The crown established control over trade and emigration to the Indies with the 1503 establishment the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in Seville. Ships and cargoes were registered, and emigrants vetted to prevent migration of anyone not of old Christian heritage, (i.e., with no Jewish or Muslim ancestry), and facilitated the migration of families and women.[50] In addition, the Casa de Contratación took charge of the fiscal organization, and of the organization and judicial control of the trade with the Indies.[51]

The reference I noted in my answer, Pasajeros a Indias, is the result of the vetting process.

See for example

I liked your answer, George.  I've just never thought of conquest and acquisition etc as immigration ... but I googled 'define immigration' and it is to relocate to a new land with the intention of remaining there (resident) so I've learned a new thing about immigration ... surprised me with a new application of the word  

I guess I mis-interpreted your comment. The main part of the conquest was over with the fall of Tenochtitlán (although conquest of other parts of Mexico came later with Nueva Galicia and Viscaya, for example) which then lead to 300 years of colonization and exploitation.

Mexican history is quite complex ... The interplay of the European Monarchy with the Indigenous Monarchies (the King of Spain considered Moctezuma to be of equivalent stature), the noble women of Mexico were considered as highly "marriageable" by the Conquistadores, in fact some the Mexican nobility married into that of Spain, and their descendants are alive today ... The impact of religion is enormous ... The Spanish concept of limpieza de sangre, and subsequent discrimination through all aspects of Mexican society is essential to understanding Mexican culture

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