Probates & Wills, Santa Fe: 1774-1896
compiled and edited by Henrietta M. Christmas & Patricia S. Rau
120 pages; 8 x 10 pb ISBN 978-1-936744-06-0 $18.95


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Containing abstracts of wills from 1774 – 1896, this book covers three governmental time periods in the history of New Mexico – Colonial, Mexican, and Territorial. The early Colonial Spaniards made their wills in a more elaborate fashion, as compared to the Mexican Period of New Mexico which showed less flourish but still maintain the same detail; and Territorial wills which left out more of the religious pieces, but kept the minor details of their estates. These abstracts are from Book “E” of the Santa Fe County, New Mexico, Probate and Will Books, located at the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The earliest wills were probated much later from 1877-1897, as their families needed to deed property in their own names. They represent a broad range of wealth, such as the deceased person’s house, land, and animals, to personal property which could be clothing, jewelry, weapons, etc. Items used for day-to-day work play a large part in these wills. Women’s rights were upheld in terms of property they owned and could pass on as inheritance to their children, as evidenced in these wills.

Henrietta Martinez Christmas retired in 1998 as a Corporate Human Resources Director while living in Boulder, Colorado. She has had a life-long interest in the history of New Mexico and spent many summers in Trementina where her maternal grandparents ranched and heard many of their family stories told year after year.
Born and raised in northern New Mexico, she has written over 100 articles for genealogical journals and several family genealogy books relating to New Mexico’s people and their history. She contributed to Sunshine and Shadows, co-authored The Early Pojoaque Valley, Labradores, Jornaleros y Artesanos and Early Settlers of La Cienega, authored Military Records ~ Colonial New Mexico, Notas y Revistas (Notes and Musters), The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers - Their Donation to the American Revolution and helped to extract and transcribe various books for genealogical societies. Her latest book, Chaperito: Land Grant, Parish & Ghost Town, was published in 2009.

Patricia Sanchez Rau retired as Benefits Administrator from the William Wrigley Jr. Company in Chicago in 1999. A native Coloradoan, she and her husband Rudy moved to Colorado Springs after they both retired. Growing up in small towns, her mother’s interest in family history was passed on as they travelled on the Chili Line Railroad to visit relatives in Santa Cruz de la Cañada. Their journeys and time spent together made those families come alive.
With her interest in genealogy, she became a frequent contributor to various Genealogical Society Journals in both New Mexico and Colorado. After meeting Henrietta, they began collaborating on various research and writing projects. They have co-authored Early Settlers of La Cienega and The Early Pojoaque Valley, Labradores, Jornaleros y Artesanos. Pat researched and compiled The Nicolas Ortiz Family of New Mexico.