Chapter 4 of the UTSA CAR publication An Archival and Archaeological Review of Reported Human Remains at Alamo Plaza and Mission San Antonio de Valero, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas (2022) included a recapitulation of the 1,055 burials for the years 1721 to 1789 listed in table format (Table 4-1). Users of this online database who have not previously read the report are encouraged to download and read the document. This online narrative necessarily repeats the most pertinent information that is more fully explained in the 2022 report. Further, the online database provided here expands beyond the original scope of the report by proving a third consolidated set of searchable names. Here we briefly discuss the compilation of the records from our report, the new consolidated records, two major caveats, cultural-linguistic information related to the records, and a “how to” section on using the search functions.


Click on the arrows in the bottom right corner of the database below to expand your view of the records. For records that are only partially displayed due to length, hover your mouse over the entry to display the full record.




Compiling the Burial Records

This searchable database of burial records from Mission San Antonio de Valero is chiefly a convenient means of providing the public with the results of the efforts of previous researchers. The original documents are retained in the Archives of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and microfilm copies of those original records are also available at the Bexar County Spanish Archives. The entries in the burial registers were made by the priests that served Mission Valero. The data for this searchable database, however, was compiled from secondary sources that relied on the original records.

The burials book for Mission San Francisco Solano and Mission San Antonio de Valero was first translated by the late John Ogden Leal (Leal 1978). Leal’s work was in turn utilized by the late Gary J. Gabehart who tabulated and analyzed the Valero records looking at both aggregate and disaggregate population and ethnic and/or tribal affiliations (Gabehart 1995). Two additional secondary sources were used to support the compilation. The first was the manuscript of a new translation of the Solano-Valero burial registry generously provided by Art Martínez de Vara (2021). The Martínez de Vara manuscript consists of three parts: a modern Spanish transcription of the original Spanish; a modern English translation of the Spanish; and the third part is the inclusion of references to related baptismal or marriage documents. These supplemental records helped to both verify, and in some cases correct, Leal’s original translation. They also identified several of the missing early burials from the 1718-1721 period and provide a means to establish ages and martial and kin-based relationships. A second source was the published transcription of the Valero burial (Garcia Ruiz and Gragera 2020a) and baptismal (Garcia Ruiz and Gragera 2020b) records. These works are direct transcriptions of the original Spanish. These transcriptions faithfully reproduce the original manuscript including word choice, variable spelling or misspelt words, as well as contracted or shorthand words. In the numerous instances when a contraction is used in the original, Garcia Ruiz and Gragera complete the contraction and this is clearly indicated by use of parentheses, e.g. Nac(ion) or Fr(ay).

Unfortunately, a modern Spanish or English translation of the Garcia Ruiz and Gragera works is not yet available. As the Garcia Ruiz and Gragera publications were published after the majority of the CAR report was already completed we were not able to make extensive use of the transcriptions. However, despite the time constraints and the lack of an English translation, both the burial registry (2020a) and baptismal records (2020b) permitted us to further investigate specific contradictions between Leal, Gabehart and Martinez de Vara.

The Burial Data

The burial database consists of 1,055 rows containing 13 columns of data. These include the 12 original columns from the report plus 1 new column of information relative to each burial. The 13 cell types and their purpose/explanation are as follows:

Column 1 - Burial Number – reflects the original number of the burial written in the colonial document. In the case of missing numbers, “9999” was used as a value.

Columns 2, 3, 4, and 5 – Date, Burial Month, Burial Day and Burial Year –a burial date does not always correspond with a date of death, but burials were likely within a very short time period of a day to a few days. The majority of records do not give the actual date of death versus date of burial. In some instances, there is incidental mention of the date, such as “yesterday” or “today” as well mentions of the place where someone died. There are a number of records that refer to the collection of human bones of mission residents who were killed by Native Americans.

Columns 6 & 7 Paternal Surname – Leal (1978) – and- Paternal Surname – Martinez de Vara (2021) Column 6 reproduces the surname of the individual as translated by Leal in his 1978 manuscript. The majority of Native Americans in the earlier records lacked surnames, while those in the latter period tend to have a surname. Column 7 includes the same information from the Martinez de Vara translations. In the majority of cases, these values are identical, but there are numerous instances where Martinez de Vara’s work corrects or amends Leal as well as dozens of cases where new entries not included in Leal are provided by Martinez de Vara. In the original published Table 4-1, a value placed in Column 7 it indicated either a missing name not found in Leal’s work or a difference between Leal’s translation and that of Martinez de Vara. In order to make all of the Martinez de Vara translations searchable, the places where he agreed with Leal were added.

Column 8 & 9– Given Name – Leal (1978) and– Given Name – Martinez de Vara (2021) - this pair of cells operate in the same manner as Cells 5 and 6, providing the Leal translation in Column 8 and Column 9 the full Martinez de Vara translations, both where he agrees with Leal as well as where he provides revised or new information.

Columns 12, 13, 14 & 15 – Consolidated Tribe/Ethnicity/Nationality, Tribe/Ethnicity/Nationality Leal (1978) and Tribe/Ethnicity/Nationality Martinez de Vara (2021) and Tribe/Ethnicity/Nationality from Other Archival Sources, CAR (2022) – the Column 13 and 14 values relate specifically to the original descriptor used by the Franciscans when they made the entry in the burial register. Like the preceding pairs of columns, Column 13 reflects the Leal translation and Column 14 the full Martinez de Vara translations, both where he agrees with Leal as well as where he provides revised or new information. Entries in Column 15 are a result of identifications of tribal or ethnic affiliation taken from some other primary archival source, such as from baptismal records or marriage records that record that information. In some cases, other period archival documents such a military rosters, census records, or other communications provide tribal or ethnic information. As further such information comes to light, we will attempt to update the online database. These affiliations are not subjective opinions on the part of researchers as they represent specific connections to primary documents that justify the attribution. CAR encourages anyone who has primary evidence of any of these records that may be incomplete or incorrect to submit them for review and then revision and inclusion in this online database.

Column 12 is a new cell that was not present in the original report. This column represents consolidated tribal, ethnic or nationality data in an effort to make searches and graphics more useable and functional. The values placed in these cells represent modern spelling convention (such as Karankawa versus Caranquas) and do not reflect the exact transcription or translation used in the Leal or Martinez de Vara columns. Mostly, it attempts to correct the differences related to the variable spelling of the same tribal groups by using a single standardized name rather than a variant spelling of a name. For example, there are seventeen different spellings for the Payaya, a dozen different spellings of Hierbipiamo, and so on. Additionally, the four different spellings of Ipandi, Apandi, Ypandi and Hipandi all describe Apaches, as does the term Lipan. These five terms have been consolidated in Column 12 under the single term Apache. The choice of name is taken from previous scholarship on the topic, chiefly from Mardith K. Schuetz (1966, 1980A, 1980b), T. N. Campbell (1975, 1977, 1979, 1983), and T. N. and T. J. Campbell (1983, 1985). The chief utility of this column is demonstrated by comparing pie chart graphics between Columns 12, 13, and 14. Columns 13 and 14 rely on the unconsolidated terms found in the original record, resulting in 17 different pie wedges for Payaya, etc. The Column 12 derived pie chart has all of them as a single pie wedge.

Column 10 – Sex – this cell provides the binary sex descriptor taken or inferred from the original record.

Column 11 Age– the value in this cell is a number when the specific age is mentioned in the original text or the age can be derived as a result of corresponding to a baptismal record that permits calculation of age at time of death. Other less-specific values are provided when exact age is not derived. Often this value reflects that which was originally entered in the record, such a “3 months” or “less than a month/year”. Many cases can only have a value such as “Adult”. Additionally, there were a few instances where age at dearth was reported in excess of 100 years. In such improbable cases the value of 100 was assigned.


Caveats and the Consolidated Dataset

There are two other caveats that users of the searchable database should keep in mind. The first of these relates to issues of tribal, band, and ethnic affiliations. The castas designation is what the priest recorded at the time as his opinion of the “Nacíon” (nationality or ethnicity) of the deceased. As noted, the majority of Valero entries are for Native American converts, and the priests generally wrote down a specific tribal affiliation rather than the general term “Indio.” Examining baptism and marriage records from Valero show that in a small number of cases, the ethnic/tribal/ethnic affiliation of an individual may be different in other records. Additional research is required to clarify tribal affiliation and users should be aware of this potential issue.

The second caveat, is that this table, with the exception of the consolidated tribal/ethnic/nationality Column 12, represents the original records with no efforts to identify, qualify or correct entry mistakes made by the original recorders. An entry mistake or misinterpretation made in the 1700s is still a mistake in the current tabulation.


Using the Database

The database allows anyone with internet access the opportunity to examine three different sets of data generated from the Valero burial records. The first is data as generated by Leal in 1978; the second the data generated by Martinez de Vara (2021); and the third is the consolidated set that represents specific changes to the original data to make the data more usable and understandable.


Name Search

The database allows anyone with internet access the opportunity to examine three different sets of data generated from the Valero burial records. The first is data as generated by Leal in 1978; the second the data generated by Martinez de Vara (2021); and the third is the consolidated set that represents specific changes to the original data to make the data more usable and understandable.

Spelling and Language

The spelling of paternal surnames (when present) and given names in the database correspond with the spelling used in the original records. While this convention faithfully reproduces the original, there are several complications that can arise for name searches in the database. The most common complications are differences between archaic Spanish and modern Spanish vowel, consonant and diphthong choice.

Variable use of Vowels and Consonants

In the eighteenth century, there were multiple consonants, vowel-consonants, and diphthongs that all made equivalent sounds. This meant that there were multiple ways to spell the same word or name, e.g. Juaquin, Juachin, Joaquin, or Juachin. Modern Spanish, just like modern English, has specific standards for the values or sounds of specific letters or combinations of letters. The multiple possible spellings using different vowels and consonants in eighteenth century Spanish can create confusion for modern users of the original records. The most common of these are as follows:

  • Y and I – as in Ysabel or Isabel
    • or Ygnacio/Ygnacia or Ignacio/Ignacia
  • Y and H – as in Ynojosa versus Hinojosa
    • or Ydalgo or Hidalgo
  • · G and H - as in Guizar or Huizar
  • · OA and UA as in Joaquin/Joaquina or Juaquin/Juaquina
  • · CH and Q as in Juachin/Juachina or Juaquin/Juaquina
  • · X and J – as in Xavier/Xaviera or Javier/Javiera
    • or Ximenez or Jimenez
  • · B and V - as in Balero versus Valero
    • or Abila and Avila
    • or Cuebas and Cuevas
  • · S and C and Z – as in Sisneros and Cisneros
    • or Zoto and Soto
    • or de la Zerda, de la Cerda, and de la Serda

For users of this searchable database, when looking for a specific name, keep in mind the possible variations – Bicente for Vicente, Ysidro for Isidro, Yldefonso or Ildefonso, Ynes for Ines, etc. The Y for I is the most common difference encountered, but if you are failing to find a name, consider the other possible spelling options to try for a better result.