Hispanic Texas: Locating Mexican Revolution-Era Texas Border Crossing Records

This is an article that I originally published on the Texas State Genealogical Society’s blog in January 2016. It has been slightly updated and modified.

My Hispanic Texas Roots

My ancestral connections to Texas have been a recent discovery, despite actively researching my family history for 20 years, and they occur entirely on the Hispanic branches of my family tree.

My Mexican Immigrant Ancestors
My Mexican immigrant ancestors, who immigrated to the United States via Laredo, Texas during the Mexican Revolution.
From the personal files of Colleen Greene.

Texas as a Waypoint

I learned in 2003 from her U.S. Petition for Naturalization that my father’s grandmother, my great-grandmother Maria Hermalinda Nieto Compean de Robledo (1887-1974), immigrated from central Mexico to the United States in 1915 via the footbridge connecting Nuevo Laredo, Mexico with Laredo, Webb County, Texas.1 I have identified additional ancestors and an extended family network, who also crossed into the U.S. at this same entry point during the Mexican Revolution.

Deeper Texas Roots

In the fall of 2015, I learned the identity of my biological father (I was adopted as an infant)—Richard De Leon (1950-2003), a lifelong Californian. Richard’s father, however, was a native Texan of Mexican descent. I immediately traced Richard’s paternal line back to the Goliad area in the 1880s, and am currently attempting to dig further back.

Border Crossing Records

These records are critical for those of us with ancestors and relatives who immigrated from Mexico during the early to mid 20th century, and particularly during the violent Mexican Revolution.

Maria Nieto 1915 Border Crossing from Ancestry
1915 U.S. border entry record for Maria Nieto at Laredo, Texas. Great-grandmother of Colleen Greene. Courtesy of Ancestry.2

Where to Find the Records

The records can be located and reviewed from the comfort of your own home, through select libraries, or by rolling up your sleeves and scrolling through microfilm.

Digitized Records

Ancestry provides a searchable database of digitized records, titled “Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1964.”

FamilySearch does not own this digitized collection (see: Online Indexes), but if you are looking for family who crossed at Laredo, Texas (like mine), they do have digitized images for this database.

Microfilmed Records

Online Indexes

FamilySearch provides a free searchable index (“United States Border Crossings from Mexico to United States, 1903-1957”) of the records available on Ancestry.

Understanding the Records

These articles and guides provide useful tips for analyzing the records.

Laredo Foot Bridge
The Laredo foot bridge that stood between 1905 and 1932, over which my great-grandparents crossed in 1915. Courtesy of The Portal to Texas History.3

How did the Mexican Revolution-Era border between Texas and Mexico impact YOUR family history? Please use the Comments form below to share your story with us.


  1. Maria Robledo (nee Nieto) petition for naturalization (1954), naturalization file no. 176716, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California; Record Group 21; National Archives–Riverside.
  2. “Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1964,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 June 2012), Laredo, Texas, 27 October 1915, Maria Nieto, age 23.
  3. International Foot Bridge, Laredo, Tex. {Texas}” Postcard, n.d., University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History(http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth13260/ : accessed June 20, 2012); crediting Laredo Public Library, Laredo, Texas.

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