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Hernan Martin Serrano is the progenitor of the Martinez name that emanates from the state of New Mexico. Born in 1556 in Zacatecas, New Spain to Herman Martin Serrano. In 1595 don Juan de Oñate began the process of assembling a caravan to make the entrada into what is now the state of New Mexico. Among that first group was a soldier identified as “Martín de Sorchaga” (from the pueblo de Sorchaga Osbispado de Pamplona). This soldier was listed as the son of Martín Serrano. From the 1595 inspeciton report Hernán Martín Serrano was described as being 40 years of age, tall, scanty beard, pock-marked and the son of Hernán Martín Serrano, native of Zacatecas and had his arms (weapons of war). (With Captain Farfàn when he discovered Silver mines).. In a subsequent inspection held on January 8, 1598, a soldier by the name of Hernán Martín Serrano was listed among the group of 129 soldiers that were being inspected in preparation for the pending expedition into the Kingdom of New Mexico. This was three years past the initial inspection of 1595 and many of the original soldiers had become disenchanted because of a moratorium placed on Oñate, changing their minds about going. The identity of Martín de Sorchaga is unknown, but it seems plausible that he and Hernán Martín Serrano are one and the same or perhaps related as both are associated with the “Martín Serrano” name. According to the inspection reports, some of these men were taking with them their wives and children. There is nothing from the inspection report that gave any indication that Hernán Martín Serrano was taking a child with him, but it did indicate that he was taking his wife, Juana Rodriguez. However, there is an entry that stated that Hernán was taking his family, which could be construed to mean wife and child or children. That being the case, then it appears that his oldest son, Luis Martín Serrano I (or an unidentified child if it was not Luis) was born prior to 1598, and would have been a member of the expedition. It could also be that his parents were traveling with the caravan, although this would seem very unlikely. What the inspection reveal is very interesting and noteworthy. The Sargento Hernán Martín Serrano took the following articles with him in into the Kingdom of Nuevo Mexico:His armor and weapons consisted of two coats of mail. One was a short jacket (jaco) with sleeves. Three coats, one of buckskin, the other two of Chamois (gamuza). One beaver and casque, one harquebus, one pistol, one sword and dagger, four fencing foils and some horse armor. His livestock consisted of fifteen horses and two mules, twenty mares, young and old, six unbroken colts, twenty-two cows, young and old, two carts with twenty-six oxen. His riding equipment consisted of two bridles, two jineta saddles and two sets of spurs, also included were a half dozen sets of horseshoes, with nails. Seven augers of different sizes, twelve cutting axes, two chisels, one large bar, and one hoe. A grindstone, three copper ladles, a large iron comal, one large barrel (probably wooden),two pails ( for water?). He was also taking equipment necessary to make ammunition for his pistol and harquebus, it consisted of two molds, a gunner’s iron ladle for making balls, two pounds of powder and six pounds of shot.
This Martin Serrano family history begins with Hernán Martín Serrano in 1598 and involves his two sons, Luis I and Hernán II and their activities up to 1680. After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, several Martín Serrano family members emerge which include Luis II, Pedro Martín Serrano y Salazar and Domingo Martín Serrano. Through Domingo the history will continue on through his son Blas. It will also at this time review some of the land grants that the Martín Serrano family obtained from the Royal domain. Among those land grants obtained were: the Piedra Lumbre (obtained by Pedro Martín Serrano, a son of Blas), the Sabastian Martín Serrano land grant, (obtained by Sebastian Martín Serrano), the Cundiyo land grant (obtained by Miguel and Marcel Martín), the Polvadera land grant (issued to Juan Pablo Martín Serrano) and the Tierra Amarilla land grant (obtained by Manuel Martínez). The Martín Serrano family like many other Spanish families took advantage of the land grants. It is through these land grants that they were able to establish their roots throughout the territory. There were many other Martín Serrano families that were granted lands, but this history will concentrate only on the five mentioned. The Sebastián Martín Serrano land grant, is significant because it was possibly the first recorded land grant given to a Martín Serrano after the reconquest of New Mexico by Diego de Vargas, the Cundiyo land grant, which was given to Miguel and Marcel Martín Serrano was most likely the second land grant obtained by a Martín Serrano descendant, and it also was situated further east, the Tierra Amarilla land grant, because of the significant effort that Manuel Martínez put into trying to obtain it and the fact that it was the most northern of all the land-grants issued to a Martín Serrano descendant and perhaps the largest. Diego de Vargas established the land grants to encourage the settlers to return to New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt. Prior to that, the encomienda system was in place. It will also cover the period of time when the Anglo American arrived in New Mexico. The arrival of the American was a mixed blessing for our ancestor, because during the period of time the territory was under Spanish control, the inhabitants suffered economically. The American occupation improved that situation. It opened up trade to the east through the Santa Fé trail and brought commerce to the area. It also brought an onslaught of Americans who used their money and power to gain control of the territory. Through the act of many unscrupulous individuals, many of our ancestors lost their land. These men used the courts of private land claims to challenge ownership of our ancestors’ land and these challenges were, in most cases were upheld.
Because of its location, the Piedra Lumbre played an important role in the history of the Martín Serranos who lived in the Rio Arriba Valley and particularly the settlement of Abiquiu. It was obtained by Pedro Martín Serrano in 1766. Upon Pedro’s death, his son, Santiago Martín Serrano inherited the land and used it to establish a peaceful relationship with the Indians, who claimed this land as their ancestral hunting grounds. After Santiago’s death, his son, Atanacio Mariano inherited the Piedra Lumbre lands. Because of the continual abandonment of the casa de Raiño due to Indian harassment, Atanacio Mariano sought a revaluation of his grandfather’s land in 1806. His request for revaluation was granted, thus allowing the family to retain the lands. Atanacio Mariano had two sons, Martín de Jesus and José Ramon, who continued to maintain the Casa de Riaño during some of its most turbulent times due to the hostilities of the Ute, Navajo and Comanche Indians. They also used this settlement to continue their trading with the Ute Indians. In 1894, the Piedra Lumbre was taken from the sons and daughters of Martín de Jesus Martín through the Courts of Private Land Claims.
Although the Martín Serrano name originated in New Mexico, by the early nineteenth century many family members began to migrate further north. They traveled to Colorado and California, thus carrying the Martínez name into those areas. By the mid-eighteen hundreds the Martínez name was found in all the U.S. territories west of the Mississippi River.