Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy

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Guide to Colfax County, New Mexico ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Hettinger
Organized: January 25, 1869
Parent County(s): Auditor please add
Neighboring Counties
Mora  • Harding  • Taos  • Union  • Costilla (CO)  • Las Animas (CO)
See County Maps
Location Map

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Colfax County is located in northeast and was named for Schuyler Colfax.[1]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Colfax County Courthouse
230 N 3rd Street
Raton, NM 87740
Phone: 575-445-5551
Colfax County Website

County Clerk has marriage records from 1890, probate records from 1903 and land records, and land records from 1864; District Court Clerk has divorce and court records.[2]

Colfax County, New Mexico Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1907 1890 1907 #8 1864 1903 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1907. General compliance by 1930.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating New Mexico County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation New Mexico County Boundary Maps" (1845-1981) may be viewed for free at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[4]

Unincorporated communities
  • Black Lake
  • Carisbrook
  • Colmar
  • Dillon
Census-designated places
Ghost towns
  • Van Houten

Towns or Places with Name Changes
An Alphabetical List of Colfax County Towns and Place Names that have undergone a name change. The Older name will be listed first and generally followed by the more current name.

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information

  • The Santa Fe Trail's Raton Pass offshoot brought settlers from the Eastern United States to join the existing Mexican and Native American populations. Colfax County was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885), the seventeenth Vice President of the United States. Detailed Historic and Cultural Overview. History and Historic Trail Maps (Dept.Interior).
  • The Colfax County War 1875.
  • Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, James E. and Barbara Sherman, University of Oklahoma Press Norman, 1974.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

The mountains of Colfax County were rich in gold, silver, copper, iron, and coal. page 64; p.90-107;

30 miles to the west of Lucien Maxwell's ranch, Elizabethtown and Virginia City were established in the Moreno Valley close to the extensive placers and mines. Resulting in 5 million dollars of gold output between 1867 and 1872. Near these mines, "one of the richest copper mines of the world" had been  established before the discovery of gold in 1867. page 65.

The existence of coal deposits were first officially noticed by Wislezenus, Tour of Northern New Mexico in 1848. p.63 , and by Lt. Colonel Emory, Notes of  Military Reconnoissance of 1848, page 19.  Although, travellers of The Santa Fe Trail, knew of its existence, many years prior. In 1865, Prof. Richard Dale Owen, noted that a five foot coal bed was clearly visible from Lucien Maxwell's hacienda and was close to the stage road. The survey estimated coal deposits to measure 870, 000 acres with contents of 30 billion, 805 million tons. Coal was mined in large scale.1907, the year of greatest production, output of 1,844,550 tons was reached.

Early Mining

Early coal mining operations. page 64.

Early Places

Early places prospected for gold page 67.

Mining Claims

List of Mining Claims for Colfax County.

Mining Camps

List of Mining Camps.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Colfax County, New Mexico online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See New Mexico Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1910 16,460
1920 21,550 30.9%
1930 19,157 −11.1%
1940 18,718 −2.3%
1950 16,761 −10.5%
1960 13,806 −17.6%
1970 12,170 −11.8%
1980 13,667 12.3%
1990 12,925 −5.4%
2000 14,189 9.8%
2010 13,750 −3.1%
Source: "".

Federal Census Records
Federal Censuses were taken for New Mexico starting in 1850. For links to Federal census indexes, see New Mexico Census.

Colfax County

1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 Free Census Search

1870 US Census, Colfax County: (A-Free), (Fren-Midd), (Mila-Truj), (Truj-Z), Index, transcription and index,

1880 US Census Free Search

1912 - Business Directory:

County Officials, Baldy, Bell, Black Lake, Blossburg, Bonito, Brackett, Brilliant, Capulin, Carlsbrook, Cerrososo. Chico, Chicorica, Cimarron, Clifton House, Colfax, Colmor, Cunningham, Dawson, Dean, Dillon, Dorsey, Elizabeth, French, Gardiner, Gato, Harlan, Hebron, Hunt, Keota, Koehler, Koehler Junction, Lloyd, Lynn, Maxwell, Meloche, Metcalf, Miami, Nash, Otero.

1930 - Federal Census Index: A-C, C-G, G-L, L-P, P-S, S-Z.


1920 - Partial Federal Census Record


1910 and 1920 Partial Federal Census Records

State Census Records

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about New Mexico denominations, view the New Mexico Church Records wiki page.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Colfax County New Mexico Courthouse.jpg

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

1. List of immigrants from Nanno and Portolo, Italy

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Online Surname Links

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See New Mexico Land and Property for additional information about early New Mexico land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Colfax County was, historically, a mining area. Most of the mines have closed. See, List of Mines.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section New Mexico Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Colfax CountyUnion CountyHarding CountyMora CountyCostilla County, ColoradoTaos CountyLas Animas County, ColoradoNM COLFAX.jpg
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

1895 Colfax County Map , 1895 new Mexico State Map

1895 Map of Taos, Mora, and Colfax Counties

  • Colfax County Interactive Map of Minerals and Mines

Cornelio Vigil Map of the Beaubien Miranda Land Grant. US Dept. Justice. Map 3, page 34.

  • note: The book "Translating Property - The Maxwell Land Grant and the Conflict Over Land in the American West, 1840-1900" by Maria E. Montoya,  provides a limited preview through the page 7 link.  You may inquire at your local library for an inter-library loan. The ISBN number for this book is ISBN 0-520-22744-1.  Some places of interest in this book are as follows:
  • Maxwell Land Grant, Map 1, page 7.
  • Map of the Property Claims on the Ponil River, ca. 1885: page 106.
  • Map of Cimarron, New Mexico, 1865: Figure 20, Page 14 in the insert between pages 77 and 78.
  • Surveyor's sectional map of Colfax and Mora Counties, 1889. Figure 21, Page 15 in the insert between pages 77-8.  
  • Sites of the Maxwell and White Incidents on the SantaFe Trail, Map 4, page 42.[[]]
  • Interactive Formation Boundary Map of New Mexico - shows boundary changes for New Mexico Counties
  • NMGenWeb - historical maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail went through Colfax County in two places.

1. The Mountain Route went south from Trinidad, Colorado, through Raton Pass, down the slope toward the town of Cimarron. There was a stop on the Canadian River at the Clifton House. About nine miles to the southwest the trail splits, one going to the town of rayado and the other to Cimarron. The Road travels on to Springer.

2. The Santa Fe Trail crosses Colfax County from the eastern border of the Kiowa Grasslands near Clayton, New Mexico, and travels through the Gaine's Cattle Ranch, then beneath the Point of Rocks Mesa, and then travels through the Gillespie Ranch, east of Springer.

More information on the Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe National Historic Trail

Santa Fe Trail Family History Project

Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway

Santa Fe Trail Aerial Photos

Santa Fe Trail Museum and Historical Society

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Pre-Statehood (6 Jan 1912)

  • Muster Roll - Coronado Expedition - 1540
  • Soldier List - Onate Expedition 1598-1608
  • Partial List of New Mexico Settlers - 1600

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

World War I[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Vietnam War[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers of Colfax County

Online Newspapers

Angel Fire
1. Sangre de Christo Chronicle


1. The Lantern - first newspaper in Colfax County - 1869, p.289.


1. Cimarron News - 1870, p.289


1. La Tinaja (1937)


1. El Amigo del Pueblo (189x)

2. Colfax County reporter (18xx - 19xx)

3. La Union (1898)

4. Tipografica (1902)

5. El Relampago (1904)

6. El Cometa (1910)

7. La Victoria (19xx-1929)

8. The Gate City Sun (1930-1936)

9. Raton Range


1. The Springer Stockgrower - first newspaper in Springer - 1888

2. El Springer Banner Estandarte de Springer - bilingual - 1889 to 1897

3. Colfax County Stockman - 1897

4. Springer Sentinel - 1901

5. Springer Times - 1912 to 1926

6. Springer Tribune - 1926 to 1968

7. Springer News Bulletin - 1976

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Since statehood in 1912, probate matters have been under the jurisdiction of probate courts in each county. Records of guardianship and adoption have usually been transferred to the district courts. In 1953 the district courts were given concurrent jurisdiction with the probate court over all probate matters in each county.

See the wiki page New Mexico Probate Records for information about how to find earlier probate records.

The Family History Library does not have copies of the New Mexico county probate records. They are available at each county courthouse. You can obtain copies by contacting the county clerk.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, and adoption.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

See Details

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

New Mexico tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information, see the Wiki page New Mexico Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the Wiki page, New Mexico Vital Records, for additional information about the vital records in New Mexico.

Marriage records - are at the County Clerk's office

Divorce records - are at the office of the County Clerk of Court

Birth and death records - are at the New Mexico Vital Records and Health Statistics Office which has records since 1920 and delayed records since 1880.

See also How to order New Mexico Vital Records, order electronically online or download an application for New Mexico Birth Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

Birth and death certificates are NOT issued at the Colfax County Clerk's Office. They may be obtained from one of the following locations: They CANNOT copy birth and death certificates under any circumstances.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Colfax County. For state-wide archival repositories, see New Mexico Archives and Libraries.

  • Colfax County Archives and Libraries
  • Center for Southwest Research
  • New Mexico State Records Center and Archives
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico
  • Rio Grande Historical Collections

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Colfax County. For state-wide library facilities, see New Mexico Archives and Libraries.

  • Angel Fire Community Library
  • Eagle Nest Public Library
  • Arthur Johnson Memorial Library
  • Springer - Fred Macaron Library
  • Seton Memorial Library

Museums[edit | edit source]

  • Eagles Nest
  • Elizabethtown Museum
  • Cimarron
  • Kit Carson Museum of Rayado
  • Philmont Museum
  • Villa Philmonte
  • Raton Museum, Roger Sanchez, 218 S. First, Raton, New Mexico, 87740. Phone 505-445-8979.
  • Springer
  • Dorsey Mansion history Ranch
  • Santa Fe Trail Interpretative Center and Museum Santa Fe Trail Museum and Historical Society

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Colfax County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see New Mexico Societies.

  • Santa Fe Trail Interpretative Center and Museum
  • Angel Fire: Genealogy Club of Angel Fire, PO Box 503, Angel Fire, NM 87710
  • Cimarron: Cimarron Historical Society, Les Davis, Cimarron, New Mexico, 87714,Facebook
  • Raton: Raton Historical Society,Website
  • Springer: Springer Santa Fe Trail Museum and Historical Society., Mike Taylor, 606 Maxwell Ave., Springer, New Mexico, 87747. Phone: 505-483-5554 or 505-483-0474.


Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1.,_New_Mexico accessed 10/31/2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), New Mexico.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Colfax County, New Mexico. Page 473 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 470.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Colfax County, New Mexico," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_New_Mexico, accessed 30 January 2019.

New Mexico Research Outline.

NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.