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Cornish migrant arrival and departures, Mexico: A new approach

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Over the years, I have been asked many times by family history researchers, ‘when did my Cornish ancestor arrive in Mexico?’ This is a hard question to answer. The majority of the Cornish migrants in Mexico in the early nineteenth century were contracted employees to one of the British-capitalised mining companies, particularly the Real del Monte Mining Company founded in 1824, and situated in the Pachuca-Real del Monte district of the modern State of Hidalgo. Work records for these enterprises are woefully incomplete, fragmented and scattered across several archival collections. 

This makes it hard to pin down when the mineworkers arrived. Some also brought their wives or families with them, or they were joined by their wives and children later, which was not always recorded by the mines’ management.

Moreover, not all migrants from Cornwall were employed by the main mining companies; some were professionals, and others were merchants or businessmen who had set up their own mining or industrial ventures, and hence would not appear in the correspondence and reports of the above.

Passenger manifests are annoyingly patchy, particularly for the early migration flows, and while contemporary Cornish newspapers have sometimes provided a clue, a different avenue of research was called for which pins down more precise dates of people’s arrival and departure to and from Mexico.


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