Hernán Martín Serrano, II

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Hernán Martín Serrano, II

Also Known As: "Hernan "the Elder" Martin Serrano"
Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Zacatecas, Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España
Death: January 1626 (67-69)
Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España (Witness for Capitan Geronimo Marquez October 5, 1601 (Age 45 years) San Gabriel del Yunque, New Mexico, Spain Testimony against Geronimo Marquez Inquisition January 27, 1626 (Age 70 years) Santa Fe, New Mexico, Spain Testimony against Diego d)
Immediate Family:

Son of Hernando Serrano, I and Wife of Hernan Martin-Serrano I de Molina
Husband of Dona Ines Tano Indian Martin Serrano; Inés and Juana Rodríguez
Father of Capitan Luis Martin Serrano, I; Hernan Martín Serrano; Juan José Martín Serrano; Capitán Luis Martín Serrano, I; Hernando Martín and 1 other

Occupation: 1598 Onate Conquistador, Sargento Mayor, Capitan, Captain, Spanish Soldier, * La Canda, NM, Ex Governor Lopez de Mendizabal reference of Hernan and Luis Martin Serrano Tribunal of the Inquisition (Mexico City) Mexico City, Nueva Espana
Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Hernán Martín Serrano, II

Hernán Martín Serrano and his wife, Ynés were one of the first families of Santa Fé.

Born about 1548 in the mining town of Zacatecas, Mexico, Hernán was among the

earliest Spaniards born in that silver-mining boomtown where rich ore deposits were

discovered by Cristóbal de Oñate and his peers in 1540. This amazing discovery

brought a rush of men to the frontier, men set on making their fortune, including

Hernán’s father, also named Hernán Martín Serrano. However, fortune did not smile on

all men in that harsh and dangerous frontier. As an adult, Hernán must have followed

the general affairs of the wealthiest family of the region, the Oñate-Zaldívar clan. When

Juan de Oñate successfully acquired a royal contract in September 1695 to establish a

Spanish settlement in the far northern land known as La Nueva México, Hernán’s

decision to join the endeavor came quickly.

By February 1596 he was already part of Oñate’s group of soldier-adventurers,

holding the rank of sergeant by the following year. The muster rolls (list made of military personnel going on an expedition) describe Hernan Martin Serrano as the sargento of the expedition, tall, sparse bearded, and pock-marked, 40 years of age, son of Hernan Martin Serrano, with complete armor for himself and horse. He is taking his wife and family. With him came his wife, Juana

Rodríguez, and their family, indicating that this couple had at least one if not

more children.

As one of about 131 soldiers who followed Oñate into New Mexico, Hernán eventually

settled at the Pueblo of Okay Owingeh, christened San Juan de los Caballeros by the

Spaniards, and then at the nearby settlement of San Gabriel in 1599. During the difficult

and challenging years ahead, Hernán and his family persevered. However, in the late

summer of 1601 he seriously considered abandoning New Mexico with other soldiersettlers

who viewed New Mexico as a lost cause, with scant hope for any quick riches

and little promise of making a suitable living. However, he changed his mind and

remained loyal to keeping New Mexico as a Spanish outpost.

As a cuadrillero (squadron leader) in October 1601, Hernán described how some

of the soldiers had become farmers and that each year the harvest increased, in particular

wheat and Castilian vegetables, thus allowing them to rely less on the Pueblo

Indians. He affirmed the positive relations between the Spaniards and many of the

Pueblo Indians, having been told by some of them that before the Spaniards arrived

“they had many wars among themselves.”

Except for two “wars,” one at Ácoma and the other in the region of the Jumanas,

the presence of the Spaniards brought peace among many of the diverse Pueblo tribes,

with various bands of Apaches as common enemies. Hernán himself was godfather

to three Tewa Indian boys, attesting to the development of friendly relations. Without

the political alliance with Pueblo Indian leaders, the Spaniards could not have

remained in New Mexico—despite their advanced military technology, they were

far outnumbered by Pueblo Indians.

Between 1601 and 1609, the lack of significant discoveries of precious metals

caused more soldiers to leave in discouragement, reducing the number

of soldier-settlers to 30 by the time Pedro de Peralta was appointed governor in

early 1609. Hernán was among the few unfaltering settlers.

Pueblo Indian leaders encouraged the remaining Spaniards to stay. In particular,

the names of three leaders, referred to as “amigos de los españoles,” “friends of the

Spaniards,” were documented in 1613: Cañasola, captain of the Pueblo of Pecos;

Anda, captain of the Pueblo of San Cristóbal, and Don Lorenzo, captain of the Pueblo of

Pojoaque. These leaders helped to negotiate alliances with the more distant communities,

such as Taos Pueblo.

About 1606–1607, Hernán fathered a son by a Tano Indian woman named Doña Inés.

Due to lack of records, it is not certain if Hernán remarried after the death of his first

wife or if his relations with Doña Inés were outside of marriage. In either case, Doña Inés

apparently resided at the camp of Santa Fe when she gave birth to Hernán Martín

Serrano, el mozo (the younger), who gave his birthplace as Santa Fe in later years.

It appears that Doña Inés was the same Tano Indian woman who was taken as a

young girl from the Tano Pueblo of San Cristóbal in 1591 when the Spaniards of the

Castaño de Sosa expedition left New Mexico. Raised among Spaniards, she became

acculturated and accustomed to the ways of Spanish society. Returning to New Mexico

as a member of Oñate’s expedition, Doña Ines was expected to serve in a role similar

to that of La Malinche, the Indian interpreter who aided Hernán Cortés 80 years earlier.

Doña Inés became so well-assimilated that she lived among the Spaniards in the camp

of Santa Fe, becoming the mother of one of the first individuals born of mixed Spanish

and Pueblo Indian parentage. Hernán, the younger, was distinctively

nuevomejicano. From his paternal heritage he acquired Spanish customs and language

as well as the Roman Catholic faith and the tradition of honor in service to the Crown.

From his maternal heritage he acquired a knack for Indian languages and familiarity

with a region that his maternal ancestors had occupied for centuries. He may very well

have had relatives among the Tano Indians of the Pueblo of San Cristóbal with whom

he interacted. Not surprisingly, Hernán remained a resident of his birthplace for

many decades, until August 1680.

With the official designation of Santa Fe as a villa in early 1610, the main task was

allotment of land for houses and farming, and the construction of new dwellings

around the Plaza, such as the church and the Franciscan convento. The original Plaza

apparently stretched from its present location, in front of what is known today

as the Palace of the Governors, all the way to the area now occupied by the Basilica of

St. Francis and Cathedral Park. It is believed that the church and convento were originally

located on the site of the Basilica and park. In these early years Santa Fe was referred

to as La Villa de Santa Fe y Real Campo de los Españoles (the Villa of Santa Fe and Royal

Camp of the Spaniards). The patron saint of the Franciscan convento was Nuestra

Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción (Our Lady of Immaculate Conception), and in this

form of veneration Santa María most likely also doubled as the patron saint of the

church. It was not until the late 1690s or early 1700s that San Francisco was named

as patron saint of the church and convent of the Villa de Santa Fe.

The number of soldier-settlers in New Mexico remained small, hovering at about

30 to 50 men, many with families, between 1610 and 1640. Hernán Martín Serrano, the

elder, continued to reside in the Villa de Santa Fe and to serve as a loyal soldier of

the king, attaining the rank of captain and reaching the advanced age of about 70 years.

The last recorded account of Hernán comes from the year 1626. He apparently had died

by September 1628, when records indicate that Doña Inés was married to Francisco

“Pancho” Balón, an indio mexicano and a blacksmith of the Villa de Santa Fe. Doña

Inés still resided in Santa Fe in the 1630s and was respectfully regarded.

The two known children of Hernán, the elder, were the younger Hernán, born circa

1606–1607, and Luis Martín Serrano, whose year of birth is not known. It is unclear

which woman was the mother of Luis. Was it Juana Rodríguez or Doña Inés, or possibly

another woman? It is known that both sons were mestizos, part European and part

Indian. Both continued in the same career as their father, serving the king as soldiers

in defending Pueblo and Spanish settlements from constant attacks by raiding bands of

nomadic Indians while striving to make a living for their families.

Like all soldiers of New Mexico, the Martín Serrano brothers received no regular

salary from the Crown. Instead they strove to prove their merit and quality as men

worthy of special privileges granted by the governor in the name of the King of Spain.

Hernán attained the rank of captain and was granted a Pueblo Indian encomienda, with the

right to accept tribute from the assigned pueblo in return for his military service.

In 1650 Capt. Martín Serrano and Capt. Diego del Castillo led a small troop of soldiers

with a large number of Pueblo Indian warriors on an exploratory expedition to the region of

modern-day Texas, following the Concho River of south-central Texas, where the

Jumano Indians lived. He also served as an interpreter of Indian languages, and one of

these languages was that of the Jumanos.

 As one of the earliest businessmen of the Villa de Santa Fe, Hernán owned and

operated an obraje, a textile manufacturing shop. In all likelihood, wool was the primary

material woven into textile products such as stockings, pants and shirts. These items

were either sold to local residents or sent on wagons for trade in towns of New Spain.

Some of the wool probably came from sheep raised by his brother, Luis, at the family

estancia located in the area of Chimayó known as La Cañada. Indications are that

Indians worked for Hernán and were paid for their services, as required by law.

Hernán resided in Santa Fe until the Pueblo Indians uprising of August 1680

forced him, his wife, children and grandchildren to flee the homeland of

his maternal ancestors for safety at El Paso. His last known recorded testimony occurred

in October 1685. During his lifetime Hernán married at least three women. By his first wife, Isabel de Monuera, he had a daughter, María, and apparently two sons, Juan and José. María

Martín Monuera married Bartolomé de Ledesma. A widower by 1664, Hernán then

married María de Madrid. It is not certain if they had any children. At an advanced age,

Hernán married Josefa de la Asención González, with whom he had as many as

eight children: Matéo, Andrés, Tomasa, María, Ana, Margarita, Manuela and

Gertrudis. Several of these children returned to New Mexico after it was restored through

negotiations between Diego de Vargas and Pueblo Indian leaders in 1692.

Capt. Luís Martín Serrano, a literate man, served as “alcalde mayor y capitán de Guerra

de la jurisdicción de los Teguas” (chief magistrate and war captain of the Tewa

jurisdiction), basically encompassing the area from Pojoaque Pueblo to Picurís Pueblo to

the Pueblo of Okay Owingeh. In addition to raising livestock on the lands of his estancia,

he apparently grew crops of corn and wheat, some of which he sold to others.

Luis died in November 1661, leaving his widow, Catalina de Salazar, and at least three

sons, Domingo, Pedro and Luis. It was through these sons and as many as 35

grandchildren that the Martín Serrano clan became one of the largest families northern

New Mexico.

In the 1700s the descendants of the Martín Serrano family shortened their surname to

Martín, and in the 1800s the members of this family eventually assumed the variation of



Descendants of Hernan Martin Serrano by Jose Antonio Esquibel

Familia: Martin-Martines-Martinez de Alice Romero

view all 13

Hernán Martín Serrano, II's Timeline

Zacatecas, Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España
Age 29
Ciudad de México, Reino de México, Reino de Nueva España
Age 32
Zacatecas, Reino de Nueva Vizcaya, Reino de Nueva España
Age 38
Ciudad de México, Reino de México, Reino de Nueva España
Age 50
Taos, New Mexico, Nueva Espana
Age 51
Santa Cruz, NM
Age 51
San Gabriel del Yungue, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España
January 1626
Age 70
Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España
Age 70