The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

21 June 2013

Who are Juan Antonio Baca's parents?

Who are the parents of Juan Antonio Baca? In a previous post I indicated that the parents of Juan Antonio Baca, husband of Maria Romero and father of Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca, may not be the son of Antonio Baca and Monica de Chavez. Fray Angelico Chavez, in his book "Origins of New Mexico Families", asserted this connection based on a document in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, CA in which Juan Antonio Baca is shown related to Barbara Baca, the daughter of Antonio Baca and Monica Chavez. However, not everyone one agrees with Chavez's assessment.

In her article "Juan Antonio Baca m. Maria Romero: A Genealogical Proof Standard of", Henrietta Martinez Christmas demonstrates that it is more likely that Juan Antonio Baca was the son of a family from the Rio Arriba (northern New Mexico) rather than the Rio Abajo (southern New Mexico.) She believes that Juan Antonio Baca lived all of his life in La Cienega/ Santa Fe. She shows that all the records for him are in Santa Fe in the Rio Arriba, and that he seems to have a connection to Cristobal Baca and Apolonia Vega y Coca, who Henrietta Christmas theorizes are his parents. The only weakness to her argument is that she does not have access to the Bankcroft document, and therefore cannot definitively discount the document as inaccurate or that Fray Chavez misinterpreted the document.

The importance of figuring out who are Juan Antonio's parents is to figure out once and for all if Juan Antonio's lineage goes directly through the paternal line to the original Cristobal Baca (the other Cristobal Baca's 2nd great grandfather), the progenitor of the Baca family in New Mexico. If Cristobal Baca and Apolonia Vega y Coca are Juan Antonio's parents, than Juan Antonio's line does go directly up the paternal line. If his parents are Antonio Baca and Monica Chavez, it does not. This is because Antonio Baca is the son of Josefa Baca and an unknown father. Antonio took his mother's surname, not his father's.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I hope that one day we can answer this question by using DNA. I am hoping that descendants of Antonio Baca and the younger Cristobal Baca take a Y-DNA test to help us clear up this problem.


Fray Angelico Chavez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, Revised Ed. (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1992) pp. 144 and 152.

Henrietta M. Christmas, "Juan Antonio Baca m. Maria Romero: A Genealogical Proof Standard of", Herencia, Vol. 13 (January 2005), pp. 26-31.