A Beginner’s Guide To Researching Your Mexican Ancestry

People dressed up in traditional Mexican clothes

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to research your Mexican ancestry. This is an important celebration, given that individuals of Latin heritage are the second largest ethnic group in the US and have a heavy cultural influence in many US states.

That said, your Mexican ancestry and heritage go way beyond tacos and salsa; the more you know about it, the better you can celebrate it!


Here’s how you can begin working on your family tree with Mexican roots.

Begin Your Research at Home

From pictures to important clues like family bibles, diaries, letters, or other documents, there’s a lot you can find at home. You can also speak with older relatives who may have immigrated years ago to learn from their experiences.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Mexican naming patterns can be complex, and there are a lot of common names across families and even across generations within the same family. By researching yourself and learning about your family, you’ll have a greater context of what you’re looking for when probing through various records.

Additionally, when we talk about researching at home, it’s also about beginning your research here in the US and then tracing your ancestor’s immigration routes back to Mexico.

Take Time to Understand Naming Patterns Before Diving into Mexican Records

If you were born into a Mexican family, you might be aware of these traditional naming patterns, but we’ll give you a quick recap just in case. Here’s what you should keep in mind:


Like the Spanish, our Mexican ancestors have also left us a truckload of genealogical clues in the form of surnames. These were often derived from occupations or places or had a suffix like -az, -uz, or -ez, with the parent’s name as the child’s surname. For instance, Rodriguez would mean the “son of Rodrigue.”

In some ways, these surnames may make the job easier for genealogists, but they also pose other challenges, for instance, the broad proliferation of a few common surnames. This can make the job very hard for genealogists who need more details than just names to find the right records.

Given Names

Many times, Mexican children were given baptismal names in addition to their first names. This means that their actual name and the ones you may find in church records may be different. Also, keep in mind that priests often added Maria or Jose to their names. These are superfluous additions and can be disregarded during research.

Maiden Names

This is one of the best parts about Mexican naming patterns—at least for genealogists. Mexican women didn’t discard their maiden names when they got married; instead, they just added the husband’s name or surname with a preposition. This essentially means that if you find a female ancestor’s full name in a record, you can tell who the father is, and you can also tell whether she’s married and to whom.

Records That Must Be Checked When Researching Mexican Ancestry

A flag of Mexico


It’s not very hard to find relevant records for researching Mexican ancestry. Here are the ones we suggest looking for.

  • The 1930 Census (It’s one of the most complete Mexican censuses.)
  • Civil registration records (Birth, Marriage, And Death Records)
  • Church Records (A majority of the Mexican population was Catholic)
  • Immigration Records (Including Border Crossing records)


While these tips should help you get started, it’s a good idea to look into professional genealogy services in Florida like the ones offered by us at DavisDNA And Family Research. We can help you discover more about your Mexican ancestry and other interesting facts about your family history. Learn more.