The Mexican States: What You Need to Know

Aug 18


Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana

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Challenge #2 (continued). The second greatest challenge that people experience in starting their Mexico family genealogy is just not having enough information or not knowing where to get started gathering information. This article will highlight problems with cities and states that pop up for people gathering information to find someone in Mexico and the solutions to get your family genealogy research moving forward.


As people start their family genealogy research they often will ask about Mexican addresses. A common problem for many is knowing what the names mean. Is the address the name of a city or a state? An example would be: Magdalena Jalisco Autlan.

Knowing the Mexican state is one piece of the puzzle as you gather the information you must have so you can find the person you are looking for or do your family genealogy. The easiest way to handle this is to first identify which is the state name. The answer to the example above is: Magdalena and Autlan are the names of cities in the state of Jalisco.

From the many emails I receive,The Mexican States: What You Need to Know Articles it is obvious there are general misunderstandings about the Mexican states, the capitals and what is a proper address. There are thirty-one states in Mexico. Mexico City is the capital of the country. Most capital cities have the same name as the state. For instance, the capital of the state of Puebla is Puebla. This is properly written as Puebla, Puebla. (There are state abbreviations, but I'll save that for another time.)

So what does it mean if you have an address with Puebla, Mexico? That's a good question. An educated guess is that the proper address is/should be Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. But when it comes to locating someone in Mexico and especially if you are going to pay for specialized family genealogy services or resources, you really want to be certain what the proper address is before you start spending your money.

If possible, ask the person who gave you the address to verify the information. Maybe they forgot an important fact, such as giving you both the city and state name. In some cases, the person may not know there is a difference and was simply passing on the address as they received it.

This may appear to be a minor issue, but it's not. I just received an email asking for help with their family genealogy research. The city and state the person gave me is Puebla, Edo. de Mexico. There is no city listing for Puebla in Edo. de Mexico so it's very likely the correct city and state is Puebla, Puebla. If this person hadn't asked for expert advice, he may have continued searching for months thinking Puebla, Edo. de Mexico was a good address. It can be the small things that stop you from finding someone in Mexico. (Edo. de Mexico will be covered in-depth in the next article of our series.)

If at all possible, you have to verify your information is correct. This is one of the reasons why finding a person residing in Mexico and doing family genealogy research may require you to get the services of experts who can answer questions about addresses and so much more. It is virtually impossible to locate a person if you do not have the city and the state where they are living.

This information will be very helpful to your Mexico family genealogy research. In the next article, we will continue to cover the topic of Mexican state names.