Not all people, even from Opateria towns, are Opatas. There was a massive influx of Europeans and Mexicans from the South in different stages who took over the Opata lands. Therefore, some Opata communities went from being 100% inhabited by Opatas to 0% inhabited by Opatas. It is crucial to make this comment with no intention of discrediting any of the information you share.
We certainly want to try to guide you and help you clarify if your ancestor was possibly an Opata. Please do not be discouraged in this process: it could take days, months, or even years.
The following questions/points will help you on this journey:
- Does the last name of any ancestor of yours have any of the following last names?
- Do any of the birth, marriage, and baptism certificates of your ancestors mention that they are indigenous, Indian, and opata. (Usually, documents from before 1810 will have such information)?
- How else are you certain you are an Opata and are not from a different Indigenous Nation?
- For how many generations does the possible Opata ancestors’ family have lived in town from the Opateria?
- Have you documented the possible lead stories told by your family about your Opata heritage and tied it to a particular region of the Opateria and to a period of time?
The following resources are not meant to be considered to be the only resources available but more as a way to kickstart your research journey. The critical point here is that there is no “one fits all” approach to confirm Opata’s lineage for all possible descendants. The best approach is a custom combination of the sources mentioned below. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Oral family history.
- Church records and Government records.
- Historical events.
- Chroniclers of the region.
- FamilySearch free records.
- Opata surnames that were not acquired by marriage by the ancestor in question.
- DNA, particularly for the Opata side (Y-DNA, mtDNA, and/or autosomal DNA tests). If you decide to perform any of these tests, please research them before spending resources on them. Also, we believe the best one is the FamilyTreeDNA. But in the future, it will be SOMOS Ancestria, since there is a collaboration planned with them.
- Facebook Groups for researchers:
Apellidos de Sonora, Grupo de Estudio (ASGE)
Chihuahua State Genealogy Group
Sonora State Genealogy Group
Northern New Spain
- Compiled guide (available only in Spanish).
- Our Opata History project.
- It is also important to understand the dynamic of the last names in the past.
- Searching for Your Indigenous Roots in Mexico by LA Public Library.
- The main groups considered Opata: Eudeve/Eudeva/Dohema/Heve, Jova, and Tehuima/Tegüima (Reference).
Other Opata subfamilies:
-Please note that the word “Opata” also is a last name from the African Continent and the Czech Republic. These names have no connections to us.
-Our current private Facebook Group is only for those individuals who have been confirmed to be an Opata.
-At this moment, we are NOT receiving applications or processing any kind of membership cards.
-If your last name is Machichi and all your ancestors were born and lived in the Opatería and did not come from Europe or another part outside the Opateria, then you are an Opata. This is because there is the surname Machichi (or a word that sounds the same and that was documented in the same way) in the northern region of what is now Morocco, France, and other places.